Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning on this beautiful day in Iowa!  We are supposed to see a high of 55 degrees ~~ amazing for this time of year.  Joel plans to go biking and we will go for a long walk outside today.  We have the windows open to bring in some fresh air and we are soaking in the sunshine that has been a rarity all winter.  We have seen so many robins already.....maybe they know something we don't, like an early spring??

Speaking of Spring, I will turn 68 when it arrives this March, and Joel will be 70 in June.  Hard to believe, but grateful for every year.  This age thing goes along with the cataract surgery I had this past Thursday.  Not only is everything brighter, clearer, and lighter but I look older now that I can does Joel, and of course I had to tell him.  Ha........And I can see the dust around the house again, plus my sofa pillows are the wrong shades of green and navy!  Not too long ago I told Joel the colors on TV were too dull, we needed to change the brightness, etc.  After surgery?  Vivid!  Yeah, this new world I'm waking up to is amazing.  You can read about my recent journey HERE.

Our oldest and her family sent flowers that arrived just a few hours after I arrived home from surgery. What a loving surprise, and great reminder of Spring.

It has been a week of Bible study, worship services, teachings, an online prophetic conference at Bethel, walking, fellowship with friends, surgery and recovery, flowers, and more.  What have you been up to?

It is a day of

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

I Had No Idea!

Yesterday I had cataract surgery on my left eye.  It went well, in spite of it being "surprisingly dense" as the doctor told me.  He had to bring out the "power tools" to crush and remove it.  It took longer than normal, and I woke up in the procedure with the numbing starting to leave my eye.  I was not in pain, just some discomfort in the moment.  The cool thing was when the doctor put in the implant I saw the most beautiful lights!  Hot pink, purple, yellow, blue and lime green.  I saw the doctor again in his office an hour later and he was very happy to see everything look so great "considering" the effort it took to remove it.  The doctor turned to Joel and said, "You wife is so sensitive to medications, I give her only about 1/10th of what I would others.......She is special.  It kinda shows up with all the wrist bands I had on at the surgical center.  One for identification, one for breast cancer (don't use that arm for anything), two for allergies, sensitivities, and reactions.  I tried to tell the medical staff that I don't react much anymore but they tell me, once you have had a reaction it is on your chart for good. Really?  Healing not accepted.  By the way, the 5 bottles are all the drops I am taking for the next 1-5 weeks between 1-4 times a day.  It is like having a job.

There it is again.  I was not normal.  Not even in this!  I surrendered my desire for normal this past week and embraced the west of weird, just to the right of crazy, and "not normal" person that I am and special body that I have!    Normal is only the person you have not yet my son says.  I have also heard normal is just a setting on the dryer.

Back to the cataract.  After 2 long naps and 9 hours of sleep last night I feel pretty good.   I can see!  I am not wearing glasses at all.  I can see colors clearly, everything is so bright, and I can read the smallest print across the bottom of the TV world has changed now that the cataract that slowly and quietly stole my vision is gone.  Praise Jesus.  Next week the right one will go and then my world will change even more.

I had no idea how dingy and yellow my vision had gotten as the cataracts quietly grew over the lens of my eyes.  It took my breath away when I opened my eyes today.  Tears.  In the midst of all this as I lay in bed this morning marveling at the new world before me, I heard in my spirit, "This is how it is for people who walk in sin."   It overcomes them quietly and slowly and they don't realize how dingy and yellow their world is until they repent, receive forgiveness, and turn to Jesus.  Sin is subtle.  We all sin every day, but sometimes it comes into our lives so subtly and quietly that we are not even aware of what it is doing to us.  When we do know, we repent, receive forgiveness, and embrace what God has for us.  Then our whole world changes!   Just like with the cataract, when it is removed our whole world changes!  And when it is gone we find ourselves saying "I had no idea"!  Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


    I am linking up with Bonnie Gray today over at Faith Barista for OneWordLent, and focusing on the word "remember" as we walk through Lent this week.  This prompt word resonated with me because just a couple of weeks ago, Holy Spirit had whispered a response to Joel's prayers about my journey in healing and what Holy said for me to do began with one word~~"Remember".  I was to remember and write down all that God has done for me in my 67 years of living.  I was instructed to write down all the healing that has taken place in my body and soul over the years, and do it on a daily basis.  So, I have been putting pen to paper, and looking back to remember.

    When we remember what God has done for us, when it is right there before us in ink and written by our own hand, those memories become a testament of His love for us.  We cannot help but feel grateful.  Oh, Jesus, you are so good to us all!

    In this season of Lent we remember how Jesus suffered and died for us.  Even if you were the only person on earth, He still would have suffered and died for you.  It was not something He looked forward to.  He asked His Father to take it from Him, while knowing in His heart it was going to happen. He endured the cross and carried all our sins and diseases as Isaiah 53 tells us.  If He was willing to suffer unspeakable pain and suffering,  how He must love us.

    The other day while in the garden with Jesus, where I go to visualize spending time with Him, I reached out and held His hand.  It felt so rough, and as my thoughts went in that direction, remembering that He had been a carpenter after all, I looked down and saw the scars.  The scars that He carries for me.  For you.  From the cross.  Thank you Jesus.

    Lent gives us the needed time to remember.....

    And as my list of remembering grows longer, peace and trust grows deeper. My belief for His promise of an abundant life grows stronger, my gratefulness for those rough and scarred hands of my Savior fills me, and my praise overflows with love for my Savior.

    In this season let us remember..........


    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    West Of Weird?

    I was listening to a woman speak in Bible study last Thursday morning when she began to quote a verse to go along with her was Isaiah 60:1

     "Arise and shine, for your light has come.  
    The glory of the Lord is upon you."

    This was the 7th time I had gotten that verse in just a few days.  God is definitely making a point and I definitely need to pay attention.  The extra blessing came from the fact that just the night, before during the time of prayer in our Wednesday worship at church, this same woman had prophesied over Joel and I when we went up for prayer.  

    Let me first begin by saying that as soon as the lead pastor asked T. and her husband to come up and pray for others I felt in my spirit that Joel and I were to go to them to ask for prayers on what we had been seeing and hearing from God..  We were not disappointed.  When she spoke words of knowledge over us, it confirmed what we had heard in our hearts.  We came away saying "wow".  Thank you Jesus!   God often repeats what He wants us to hear through scriptures, books, people, and our own intuition.  It is important to keep our ears open. our eyes focused and our hearts ready. II believe T. sharing the verse God has given me so often, is a confirmation from Him concerning what we heard from her.  We are so humbled and grateful by His goodness.

    Our journey with prophecy and speaking in tongues has been a short but amazing one.  Just four years ago God started opening our hearts and minds to the "something more" He has for us.  First came physical healing, then a new prayer language, followed by Holy Spirit encounters.  Prophecy has slowly come to us both as a gift and a gift to give others.

    Today I read a post on Facebook that shared what a professor at a seminary had to say about speaking in tongues,  stating that these gifts were for those times, not now.  They were no longer relevant for us today.  I feel sad for those who don't believe the gifts of the Spirit are Biblical for today.  As I have said before, it has taken us to an amazing place that we cannot go back from. It brings us so much joy and has deepened our relationship with Holy.   The thing is, we are not unique because we have experienced healing, the prophetic,  or because we speak in tongues.  We are still Joel and Renee! Yes, for some who knew us before and are not comfortable with the changes, we are just, as a few have said, "west of weird".  But this life is for everyone who desires it.

    This same woman shared some of her life experiences at the Bible Study.  She comes from a family where healing and deliverance was common.  While speaking she said, "It may sound weird, but............."  My reply to her was, "Oh we LIKE weird!"  Weird is good as long as God is in the middle of it, and being west of weird works for me as long as I know it is from God.   Certainly it is not weird to us, but, well, a place we belong.  A part of me feels like I have come home to the familiar the past couple of years.  And I know that in our search for roots, which I wrote about earlier,  I cannot let go of this place I live, with the prophetic, speaking in tongues, and Holy Spirit encounters, and our deep desire to share what we have learned with others.

    So, if you consider us your west of weird friends, we ask you to consider the "something more" God has for each of you, for each of us.  Maybe you have already "been there, done that".  Maybe you are further along the path than we are.  It is a good place to be.  We are still pretty new on this journey, and look forward to what else God has ahead for us, even if some think of us as west of weird.  We like this kind of weird!

    Saturday, February 20, 2016

    Saturday's Scribbles

    It has been a great week here in our corner of the world.  Temperatures in the high 30's and 40's have melted some of the snow, but high winds have caused more than a few semi's to flip over while traveling Through Iowa.  Sustained winds in the high 30's and gusts to 60 can cause a problem or two.  We plan to walk outside today as winds subside and weather warms once again.  We actually saw a whole flock of robins come through our yard yesterday. gives us hope and joy for Spring.  It is coming!

    Hope.  It sustains us, doesn't it.  Joy.  It makes all things new.  Prophetic words spoken over Joel and I this week, daily mile walks, more energy for me, Bible studies packed with wisdom, deep conversations on God's purpose for us in this season of our lives, and the many answered prayers received have filled us with hope and joy.  Praise God!

    In the news, Trump ran into conflict with the Pope, the media shared a statement of controversy that the Pope supposedly said, and the drama continues in the political arena.  I often wonder what the world thinks of our election process and the way people rip each other apart in the name of democracy and God.  Speaking of the world and elections, I'm thinking of Uganda where elections are bringing great unrest.  Far across the world our friends Dwight and Linny's daughter and son-in-love are hunkered down with 27 fragile children at The Gem waiting for the Embassy's okay to venture out again.  Please pray for Emma and Josh.  Here in our community a semi fails to stop and a young mom of 4 dies on impact.  Pray for her family.  Friends are suffering from cancer treatments, Lyme, and just plain life.  In the news:  A friend's leukemia is in remission!  A family member came through skin cancer surgery with a positive outcome!  Lives are saved instead of taken.  In the midst of it all, the good and the bad, God is good.

    We have been tentatively car shopping this past week as we look into replacing our 2009 mini van with another.  We like vans/SUVs.  It is a process as we look for what we need and balance that with what we want to spend.  We remembered our first car, a 1960 white Ford.  So wide, so big, so low, and no seat belts back then.  Car seats for children did not really exist then.  We happened to be stationed at a base in New Mexico where the commander believed in seat belts, so it was mandatory. Seat belts or be fined.  We installed them in our old car and then soon after bought our first new car, a gold Chevy Nova.  In 1976 we bought an orange/rust mini station wagon.  I loved the color orange back then!!  Ha...And so it many new and new-to-us cars in 48 years!

    Last weekend Joel and I watched on DVD, "Woman in Gold".  It was an excellent movie starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.  We watched a few teachings at Bethel, worshiped at Praise Church on Sunday and Wednesday nights, and visited with some of our family by phone.  We continue to read aloud "Hearing From God" by Barry Bennett and I am reading the book "Spiritual Warfare" by Rick Renner.  Very detailed, but a very ineresting book.  I finished the book, Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy and will begin again this day to glean from her insights on relationships with each other and God, finding roots, and daily living.  What are you reading?

    Thursday, February 18, 2016

    Welcome Home

    As I mentioned before, I have been reading Christie Purifoy's book "Roots and Sky". It is not so much a reading of her words but a devouring.  First let me say, sadly, it has been years since I have eaten chocolate chip cookies....but my analogy lies in past experiences!   You know how you lift a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven to your lips and eat it in three bites, but then when you reach for the second one you take your time to savor its texture, flavor, and sweetness?  Yeah, that would be me with the book,  "Roots and Sky".  Taking in all that I can in big bites, knowing I will go back and read it again, underlining, reflecting, and savoring the texture, flavor and sweetness found within its pages.  Some books are meant to be read more than once.

    It is a simple book concept, journaling Christie's perspective of their first year in the red brick Pennsylvania farmhouse they purchased.  A place that Christie, her husband Jonathan, and their children plan to intentionally put down deep roots.  But don't be deceived, because like most simple things, there is the complex to be found within. There are gifts to be opened and at this time in our lives as we long for roots, it has been a delight to read.

    "As humans we roam the entire world.  We even venture beyond it into space.  The whole planet is ours, but the whole planet is not our home.  Instead, home is the ground we measure with our own two feet.  And home is the place that measures us.  Home is the place that names us, and that we in turn, name.  It feeds us, body and soul, and if we are living well, we feed it too.  Home is the place we cultivate with our love."  Christie Purifoy

    Home.  We have always taken the houses we have lived in and made them into a home.  Did our best to cultivate love and acceptance in a variety of old 1930's with an add on kitchen, ranch style parsonages, and one split level on three acres of land.  All without air conditioning, one without bedroom heat, a couple without enough space.  We made do, grateful for a home.   We have owned a variety, too, of mostly "unique" looking homes, since they always drew our attention when house hunting. We fed these places and I think they fed us well, but we knew it would be temporary.  When looking for roots, something more is needed.  Seasons need to pass, but an attitude of "this is where we belong" needs to be nurtured. Revelation comes, and you just know that you know that you are home.  You sense it deep in your soul.

    One of our children has a front porch on their house.  It is a place where I am always drawn.  I can sense the generations before that have nurtured and loved the land and this place they called home where roots run deep.   I find it very calming to sit in the early morning light and take in the peace that permeates the air.  It is what we long for in our own "red brick house".  And I believe God will guide us there.

    Today I leave you with Christie Purifoy's words......:"This is the inheritance I long for.  I want to observe the ordinary things of earth~~~~the moon, the stars, the rainbows, even the yellowed leaves on the old cherry trees~~and receive their messages.  To hear them say what every weary traveler, every earnest seeker longs to hear ~  Welcome home."

    Some day we will be welcomed home to Heaven, our eternal home.  Yet, we were also created to live here on earth and as "earnest seekers" of God's will and His purpose for us in this season of our lives, we long for our own place where we hear the words, "welcome home".  I don't think we have long to wait.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    The Now And The Not Yet

    "Lord I love the house where You live, 
    the place where your glory dwells."
    Psalms 26:8

    Joel and I watched a movie a few weeks ago titled, "5 Flights Up" starring Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.  It resonated for both of us, this slow moving movie about an aging couple, and the importance of having roots in a place, a community, a home.  A few days later I felt the need to watch it again and after searching every Redbox in our town, we headed to the one video store we knew of and found it there.  We watched it together and then I watched it a third time, because I felt like it was "speaking" to us in this season of our lives and did not want to miss any of what God was telling us.

    During this same time I came across the book "Roots and Sky"  by Christie Purifoy.  I read the first few pages on Amazon and felt a deep "need" to read this book.  Like. Now.  I tried to order it and it was already sold out so I waited until it was available and when it was I was so eager to get it that I was trying to find other books to order just so I could get my free shipping.  Ha!  Books I was not sure I wanted to read, especially when I still had books to read here at home!  So, even though I love to underline and fold pages and hold a book in my hand,  I downloaded it on Kindle.  I knew this book was going to "talk" to me just the way this movie did.....even more so.  I knew I would treasure what God was saying through the thoughts of Christie Purifoy.   I have not been disappointed.

    "Roots and Sky" is a true story about Christie, her husband Jonathan, and their children.   A story about their quest for roots.  A journey of how they were able to "leave their wilderness" and follow God to a place where an 1880 red brick house welcomed them.  A place of roots and sky that became a "coming home" for their family.

    Our family has moved a lot.  Joel and I have been married nearly 48 years and we have moved 22 times.  We have lived here 20 years this April, so those moves took place while we were raising children.  Even though that is a lot of moving, I smile as I remember that my mom and dad were married 23 years when he died and she had moved with him 42 times.  Lots of moving, little opportunity to put down roots.  Our moving has been with the military and ministry, and roots do not run deep when you move every year or every few years.  As adults our children have found places with their families to put down roots. Roots that are growing deeper in the places they call home.  Even though we do not speak for them, we are pretty sure that it is mostly intentional.  Our moves around the country and overseas gave them a world view and plenty of unique adventures, but there were many challenges, too.

    In this season of our lives we are wanting to put down roots.  We are just not so sure what that looks like for us yet.  You might think that since we have lived here in Iowa for 20 years we would have roots, that this would be home.  We were called here to serve a congregation and Joel did so for 10 years.  He served another briefly, before Lyme Disease disabled him.  He has filled in, served, and been staff support and Interim for 20 churches in the area. We have met so many wonderful people here.....have lots of good memories and more than a few of the not so good kind.   The town is familiar and convenient, and our "family" has grown with the many churches Joel has served and the place we worship and fellowship now.   And still, we find ourselves, like Christie Purifoy, looking for a place to put down roots in the final chapters of our lives.  A place that beckons us to live for the next 20 years.  And we want to mix that up together with a new purpose and adventure without the loss of family connections. Healed from the Lyme that kept us in chains for so long, moving forward after breast cancer, I guess we want it all.  Maybe we already have it.  Maybe it is ahead of us in our own red brick house.

    This longing can draw us into living in the "not yet" as Christie describes it.  Instead of living in the balance of the now and the not yet, our focus is only the not yet.  We know God needs to be in the center of our lives, and it is our constant prayer, giving thanks and surrendering all as we say, "Lord we will follow you. Move where you say to move, stay where you say to stay, go where you say to go."  Sunday morning Pastor Jeff described having faith while in our circumstances as being in a waiting room.  It does feel a bit like a waiting room, this place of trusting God to reveal His plan for us in His timing. We believe this stretching, this pondering, this birthing is from God.

    You may find yourself there too, in the waiting room between the now and not yet. Here is the good news.  Jesus meets us there too.  He is in the now.  He is in the not yet, and He is in the waiting room. That place we go to rest with Him, trusting Him.  Our "red brick house" will look different than someone else's.  Our now's and not yet's will be unique.  But one thing stays the same.  Our God. He is good.

    Lead us forward, Lord as your children, in the places you have for us.  Whether in the now or the not yet, the waiting room........You are here and You are good.

    Saturday, February 13, 2016

    Saturday's Scribbles

    Good Saturday morning to you from the frozen arctic.  Good grief!  This present frigid air is challenging us, waking to a -19 wind chill and finding it hard to get out from under the Woolie.  Okie dokie. Today snow is forecast, but we have enjoyed some sunshine this past week.  A rarity this year.  I heard it has been one of the coldest winters in Arizona in years.  What does that mean?  It is down to 55?  Cuz, I will take that.  Perspective I guess.  I think I might be a bit jealous of those who are walking around in fall coats instead of wool lined boots, heavy coats, hats, scarves and gloves.  I am happy for you Jan, Linda, and others....really I am.  (giggle)

    The cold weather of winter has us walking in the mini mall.  We hurry into the car, hurry into the mall, and hurry back into the house.  That is the extent of my outdoor activities right now.  Ha....

    We had Bible study here Tuesday night and I headed to a woman's study Thursday morning while Joel was off to a pastors conference in town.  Ash Wednesday came early this year, but Joel was off in Iowa City taking our youngest to a follow up recheck after knee surgery and I was under the weather so we missed the beginning of Lent.  It felt unsettling to us, missing the beginning of this sacred season of remembering, repenting, reflecting, and re-focusing.

    This past week I have received Isaiah 60:1 now 6 times.  "Arise, shine;For your light has come!
    And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you"

    When I hear something 3 or more times I pay attention.  Getting up to number 6 has me vibrating inside with the need to give God my rapt attention. God has a message and He is serious about it, so I don't want to miss what He is telling me!  I wrote about it this week, but I am still soaking in it, this verse and what it means for me.

    I also wrote about the radiation residue I am dealing with.  May I say, I hate it.  Is that clear enough? I hate it, this weakness and lack of energy.  I am tired often.  Ugh.  I am impatient to move forward.  Speaking of things I am not happy about, that would be my need for cataract surgery. Another surgery.  Yes, I have heard over and over how easy it is.  Gotcha.  I am still having to intentionally give thanks that I can have surgery to see clearly again.  Yes, I want to see better, no....I do not want another surgery.  Two in fact. Okay, enough lamenting on that topic.

    Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  A day set aside for candy, cards, flowers, romantic dates and intimate connections of body and soul.  It is all that, but love goes way beyond what a Hallmark card or one day expresses,  it is about God loving us and us loving God.  And in God loving us and us loving Him,, we are able to love others.  Loving others involves forgiveness, understanding , validation, seeing and hearing others, and getting out of our world and into theirs.

    I have been reading a super book called "Roots and Sky" by Christie Purifoy.  A true story of her and her family's quest to find and put down roots.  It is really resonating with us in this season of our lives and of course I am writing about it.  It is part of that arise and shine verse in Isaiah 60:1.  Like Joel said to me a week ago, "Holy Spirit is stirring".  Yeah.  By the way, Chrstie's sister lost her husband in that recent military accident in Hawaii when two heliocopters collided.  It happened on the day her book was to come out.  So tragic.  The best of times............the worst of times...

    Our week was filled with love, laughter, reflection, talking together, learning together, praying together. We have watched a few teachings from Andrew Wommack, Bethel Church, and other places this week.  We are reading aloud Barry Bennett's book, "Hearing God" and I am reading an interesting book by Rick Renner on Spiritual Warfare.  It is giving me a new perspective.  What is shaping your life today?

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

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Watching A Movie With Jesus

    On this Ash Wednesday I have been pondering my cyber friend Bonnie Gray's prompt word for "One Word Lent". On her blog, Faith Barista, she asked us to think about the word "remember" and what it means for us. "What is Jesus whispering to you to remember?"  Jesus has answered this for me in an amazing way and it began with a scripture that God has been bringing to my attention. Yesterday Isaiah 60:1 kept showing up. When something comes to me in threes or more, I pay attention.  A "message in repetition" is one of the ways God speaks to me.

    First I heard Pastor Bill Johnson share in a video I watched that this was his favorite verse because it was the very first one that God bathed Him in and empowered Him with. It brought great change and peace into his life many many years ago, and he still goes back to it in all circumstances.  I then saw it in a Passion Translation post on Facebook.  Later it came up in a book I was reading, and then Jeremy Riddle was singing it over and over in a song when I tuned in to watch Sunday night's baptismal service at Bethel Church.  "Arise and shine!"  All this in such a short amount of time!    It was definitely time to meditate on this verse and let God speak to me.

    "Arise and shine, for your light has come,  
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you."
    Isaiah 60:1

    I looked at a couple of commentaries to see what they could add to this verse.  Israel was living in darkness at this time.  Seems Israel had a difficult time remembering all that God had done for them. They turned away from Him and stopped relying on His promises.  They forgot to remember.  When they focused on their problems they had tunnel vision. They needed to remember and praise God for His glory coming upon them.

    Connecting this to a "garden" visit I had recently, I could not help but be amazed.  I go into the garden of my heart where I meet with Jesus and He speaks to me.  Often He gives me words of knowledge about my husband Joel or myself through visions/videos that I see.  This time I went into the garden and Jesus took my hand and we went and sat on a small hill.  I asked Him about a time when He told me to leave my shoes outside the garden because I was walking on Holy ground.  He said, "Shhhhhh, watch!" as He pointed ahead.  I turned my head and saw a misty fog about 10 feet in front of me.  After a couple of minutes of looking in the fog, I saw myself as a fearful little girl who had been hurt.  Jesus said, "I was there."  When He said those words, several other unsettling  events began to move across the screen at a fast speed.  Childhood events that were painful once, and then the years I lay on the sofa so ill with Lyme.  From there it went to the uterine cancer surgery I had five years ago and then recently the surgery for breast cancer and the challenge of radiation.  I covered my eyes with my hands and with tears flowing said, "Yes, Jesus, You were there."  You have always been there with me."  Ahead of me was cataract surgery.  He wanted me to remember. Remember that He healed me of Lyme and 27 years of sickness through prayer.  Remember that He healed me of cancer twice.  Remember that He brought beauty for ashes into my life.   Remember that He. is. always. with. me.  That He would be with me for another surgery.  I turned to Jesus in my vision and asked, "And my future?" Before I could finish asking the question He said, "I am already there". He then took my hand and had me walk backwards with Him.  I asked Him if I could turn around and He replied, "I have a surprise for you!"  I asked, "A good surprise?"  And He said, "A delightful surprise!"  That is where it ended.  I am looking forward to that surprise as I remember God's goodness in my life.  As I arise and shine and remember His glory is on me.

    Yes, today's prompt resonated with me in a powerful way.  Bonnie asked us readers what Jesus was whispering to us to remember.  Oh, Jesus.  He never fails to respond to us, does He.  And how God connected the remembering to Isaiah 60?  Amazing.  This verse tells us how to respond....Do not not be discouraged.  Do not forget.......Arise! Shine!  The promise of His light has come. The promise of His glory upon us is here.  Only God.

    On this Ash Wednesday Jesus whispers "remember" to us.......I don't know where His whisper will take you.  For each the remembering will be different except for the One remembering we hold close. What Jesus did for us.  Whether He whispers into our heart, shows us a movie of our past, or speaks to us in the still voice of a child, He does so with a deep sacrificial love.  He died for us to live. Listen, remember, arise!  His glory is upon us!!


    Tuesday, February 9, 2016

    Radiation Residue

    Where am I now 4 1/2 months after surgery and nearly 7 weeks after radiation?  I am still in recovery and even though I am doing really well, I have been striving hard to do what I did before radiation. It is my personality to be determined, so I was frustrated with what I saw as lack of progress.

    I knew I had done well with the issues there, so I decided to do a google search and ended up at when I typed in "still tired 6 weeks after radiation".  It was an eye opener and I decided to share it here since some of you might wonder about the recovery process.  I learned that quite a few women are still dealing with tiredness 6-8 months after radiation.  All the cells in the breast were destroyed and the body is trying hard to heal and make new cells.  That takes energy.  That makes one tired.  There are even a few women who feel abnormally tired for up to a year.  If chemo is involved it is sometimes longer. ( I did not have chemo.)

    So, the pushing I have been doing has not helped.  After talking with God and Joel, I am resting twice a day for 20 minutes, getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night, and in-between I am doing what I can at home while saving energy to walk a mile a day most days.  I am not comparing myself to others and I am not beating myself up for not being where I "should be" on this recovery journey.  Yeah....I was......but no more.  I am eating healthy, taking vitamins, using essential oils.  Emotionally I still feel a bit vulnerable, so along with the above I am staying close to Jesus and Joel.  :)

    My skin looks great.  I am still losing some dead skin, but it is all healed underneath and 95% of the area is looking healthy.  I have some tenderness, but so very little it is not worth mentioning. I also spend time stretching that right arm since there is a tightness there that I want to have released. I'm still dealing with a bit of inflammation, but I am going to use essential oils for that now.  I am just plain tired too much of the time in my way of thinking, but today was helpful for that.  This is radiation residue.

    I now understand why I need to go back to see the radiology oncologist in May and then the following May.  Radiation is not as easy as we think.  The body has been zapped and zapped again.  What was unhealthy has died AND what was healthy also died.  It takes time for that to heal.  I am doing well.  I am not where I want to be, but I am seeing more and more progress and giving thanks!

    Hope this is helpful for you.  It is a good reminder for me, as I continue to move forward one day at a time having the wisdom to accept what I cannot change and change what I can.

    Monday, February 8, 2016

    Mountains, Butterflies, and Sleighs

    Today I stopped over to my internet friend Sharon's cyber home and read a powerful post and analogy about God being like a mountain in our lives. Solid, never moving.   It was just what I needed to hear today as the problems in life began to appear like mountains. Immovable and never-ending. The Bible tells us we are to "cast those problem mountains into the sea", but sometimes the mountains become so much bigger than my God as I focus on them...speaking to them and commanding them to be gone.  Sometimes I forget that I need to tell the problem how big my God is, NOT tell God how big my problem is.

    God, in His love and wisdom, presented me with Sharon's words of insight this morning, and peace settled right back into my soul.  It can be so easy to take our focus off of what God has done for us, how much He loves us, and wants what is best for us.

    We have been praying for friends and family, and friends of friends and family who are in storms and finding the "mountain shrouded by fog" like Sharon spoke of today.  Dear sweet children like Steven and Samuel who are fighting cancer and dear James and his medical challenges.  Friends and family who battle the disease called cancer ~~Dale, Kris, Barb, Jo.  Myself as I wearily prepare for cataract surgery the end of the month.  Those who search for answers.  And our sweet friend, A. ,who battles Lyme with such grace and deep faith in our God.    Our hearts break for those who are walking through storms.  The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

    When life gets in the way and screams at us on a level that is hard to ignore, we can get lost in the voices that speak death and destruction.  When we are in a vulnerable place, the future can look uncertain. Some might wonder where God is in the midst of it all.  He is here.  Solid, immovable. Offering abundant life.

    Last night Bethel had their baptismal service and I listened as person after person, and child after child shared why they wanted to be baptized.  Over and over I heard.....because Jesus died for me....loves me......healed me.......Never changing is our God.

    This morning as we meditated and prayed about our future, saying "yes" to God at all cost, I saw clearly Joel and I being held in the large hand of God.  We were holding hands, and also each of us had hold of a finger of God's as we moved around swiftly and with such grace that soon it was like we were on a butterfly as we soared and yet then seemed to glide across an invisible ice as if in a sleigh. It was Wonderful.  We were in the Father's hand together and all was well.

    He is here.  He walks beside us holding our hand.  He walks before us preparing the way.  He walks behind us because He has us covered.  He carries us because He loves us. with such a deep unfathomable love.   And sometimes we soar on the wings of a butterfly or glide in a sleigh with Him on our journey.  He is always with us.  Always.  Solid, immovable like a mountain.  The great I AM holding us in the palm of His hand.

    Saturday, February 6, 2016

    Saturday's Scribbles

    Good morning from our corner of the world where more than one kind of blizzard visited Iowa this past week.  Monday night was Iowa's caucus and the media was out in full force along with all the candidates who hope to take up residence in the White House.  Words filled the air like a blizzard from every social media created by man.  Passionate people speaking out for the person they want to see sitting in the Oval Office.  And if you watch the news, there is still the aftermath, of accusations one against the other. The media loves a good fight, hoping for something that will raise their ratings and bring drama into the situation.  In some ways it is amusing......

    On Tuesday we had yet another kind of blizzard.  This one from nature.  I had a morning appointment to see the eye specialist and struggled with wanting to go.  I am weary of doctors.  The weather was a perfect reason to stay home but after hearing God's whisper for me to "go" we took off like true Minnesotans (or Iowans) to drive across town.  There were a couple of glitches but we made it.  One of three patients who did not cancel.  Ha....The appointment went well, the report was good and we were home in time for lunch.

    The snow continued on all day and we ended up with at least 10 inches.  The winds were high and travel was not advised in town or anywhere else.  We hunkered down, grateful for our warm house. We woke up  Wednesday to our neighbor's snowblower and when we looked out he had done our driveway too.  Sweet!  Joel was heading over to do my sister and BIL's driveway so he only had to venture out once.  We had to laugh when we drove down one street Thursday morning.  Someone had taken all the piles of snow and built a super cool dinasauer .....even coloring it green.  How fun!

    So, the blizzard is over and the caucus has moved out east.  This weekend the focus is on the Super Bowl.  So much excitement in one week!

    We received an email a couple of days ago letting us know that the Lutheran Bible Institute (Trinity Lutheran college) in Washington state was closing its doors.   This is the end of another great ministry.  Joel and I graduated from The Lutheran Bible Institute/Golden Valley Lutheran College in Minnesota in 1968. It began in St. Paul in 1919 and closed it's doors in Golden Valley MN in 1985.

    Our first year we were there it was LBI, the second year it shifted and expanded it's programs and became GVLC.   The Washington campus came out of LBI in Mpls., along with the LBI located in California, if I recall it right.  LBI/GVLC was such a great place for students.  The professors/teachers had a deep foundation in faith, and many brought their experiences from being missionaries to their classrooms.  Joel and I learned so much there which went with us into the world as a young married couple.  And speaking of married, The Lutheran Bible Institute was known by many as the Lutheran Bridal Institute.  So many of us met our spouses there!

    LBI campus in Golden Valley, MN

    Joel and I both went there interested in mission work in Africa.  The draft and 8 years in the military kept us moving forward on a different path (not off track) and then going to seminary with 4 kids was yet another adventure.  We fell in love with Montana and went that route.  Later in the 80's we looked into mission work again, but at that time our multi-racial family kept us from being accepted as missionaries to Africa.  God had other plans.  But our faith was strengthened and rooted through our two years at LBI/GVLC where we studied the word in depth.  I still miss that, friends.  I still miss the classroom setting and the Word being revealed and studied.  We both are forever and eternally grateful for LBI colleges and the seeds they have planted in so many.

    This past week was filled with blizzards created by humans and nature.  We have watched teachings that have increased our knowledge and deepened our faith and desire for more of Jesus.  We have been saddened by some news received, and delighted by other news.  We have walked at the malls ~ we have watched TV, finished yet another puzzle, read aloud together, and worshiped.  Just another week from our corner of the world.

    How is the first week of February shaping your life?

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

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

    The Shalom of Heaven

    Sometimes I am stunned by the circumstances people are struggling with.  The storms that come against God's children are too many to name.   It is challenging to stay in a place of rest when we are buffeted around by the enemy, and it can be so difficult to stay centered in that place of peace with Jesus. Difficult but not impossible.  If we look back over His ministry we can see that He was always speaking peace over people during His ministry, reminding them to not be afraid.  He was and is the Prince of Peace and just where does He reside?  In us!  There it is, what we need to stay in peace!

    Last week I watched a couple of teachings at Bethel Church that presented me with a fresh  perspective on peace.  That "Be still and know that I am God" promise put into action. Some of what I received from the teachings was so insightful.

    "Jesus anointed us with peace and we are expected to use it.  He knew troubles would come, and He prepared us for it with peace.  We can trust His covenant of peace and live a full abundant life.  We are recipients of an endless supply of peace, so use it in all circumstances.!"

    John 14 tells us Jesus gave us peace as a weapon of warfare.

    "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  
    I do not give to you as the world gives.  
    Do not let our hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

    John 14:27

    I have never thought much about peace as being something that God gave every one of us to use, release, or hold on to in tough times.  Another weapon of warfare.  He is the Shalom of Heaven and since He resided in us so does His Peace.  So simple, yet so powerful, this truth found in His Word.

    Any of you dealing with circumstances that want to steal your peace? I know I am raising my hand. Well, don't stand with the enemy who steals, kills, and destroys, but choose to stand and agree with the Peace that passes all understanding.  The Prince of Peace.  Choose Peace, and have such a firm grip on that precious gift that no one and nothing can take it from you.

    Lord,  You have told us to speak to our mountains, so I come before you in prayer for all of us who have been hearing the lies of the enemy and agreeing with them. I repent of believing those lies.  I speak to the mountains of anxiety, fear, and worry, and I command that each be broken off in Jesus name.  I speak Peace into the minds and hearts of us all, and I declare that we will receive a flow of the peace that passes all understanding.  We give you Praise for the Shalom of Heaven, and we rejoice that we can live out of a place of peace.  We speak Peace into the minds and to the heart sand souls of your creations.  In Jesus Holy and powerful name.  Amen

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016

    Putting Off Or Stepping Into

    As I look out the large picture window in our living room all I see is blowing snow.  The winds are strong, the snowflakes are coming down fast and furious, and white dominates the landscape.  I am thankful to be inside where I can stay warm and cozy by our fireplace.

    Like true Minnesotans (who live in Iowa) we headed to my doctor appointment this morning with the eye specialist.  There were a couple places as we traveled where you could not tell where we was definitely a blizzard outside!  In fact we had a strong gust of wind come across while the wiper was in the rest mode and Joel went up on a median before bouncing back down a few seconds later because he was in a whiteout and could not see.  That got our attention.  Seriously not a good time to be out, but we headed across town and arrived 25 minutes later at the eye clinic.  We were one of three patients who came in.  Usually we wait an hour just to see someone, but even with the storm causing problems, we were home in a little over an hour with a good report.

    Now let me back up a bit.  I have been challenged at time with keeping the pressure down in my eyes to a level where it will not affect my fragile optic nerve fibers.  (that darn Lyme damage )  I also have been struggling with vision problems from the cataracts that have set up residence in both eyes.  So, even though I knew I needed to go in for a recheck, I did not want to go. I have been pretty weary of spending so much time in the care of the medical world.  Yesterday was my final visit to the surgeon. That felt good, but I just did not want to face the "what ifs", feeling a bit like a wind tossed snowflake  going from a place worry or anxiety into then a place of trust and confidence concerning today's appointment.   I had been praying, and we had been speaking over my eyes. We knew God wanted them healed, but the enemy was whispering into my ear worst case scenarios.....Yeah.......I was feeling, well, vulnerable.

    When we woke up to a blizzard today I told Joel  that we should just stay home.  Everyone else would.  I could just reschedule.  He said he would call the clinic and see if they were open and they assured us they were, but we could reschedule in only 3 weeks.....Joel asked me what I wanted to do and I heard God's voice say quietly, "Go".  Just one word........"Go".  So we went and as the doctor looked into my eyes to test the pressure I recalled what God had sent me this week via Facebook, and I said quietly to God, "These are YOUR eyes."  I am your child and these eyes are YOURS.  Let me see with Your eyes."  I moved from that place of worry and fear to a place of trust, determined to settle in there and stop being blown about by an internal blizzard.  My history tells me I can trust God.  He has always walked with me.  His Word tells me I can trust Him.  It would not change now.  God never changes.

    I was grateful that my eye pressure was the lowest it had been in a very long time.  That is good news because we then could go ahead and get tested and set up for cataract surgery. They will call by Friday to give us the dates and times.  Of course, I would love to wake up and have those cataracts gone and my vision clear, but as Joel reminded me last night, "God heals through surgery, too.  He healed you of cancer, He will heal you of cataracts."

    I wanted to put off what I dreaded I would hear today.  I was believing the lies of the enemy and looking only at my history ~ ~I did not want to face things. Have you ever been there?  Usually for me it is anything medical.  Sometimes I put off small things, too, but I have learned over the years that when God is with us, we are better off stepping into that which causes us to tremble.  Why?  Because we are never alone.  God is always by our side.  His power resides in we can be bold as a lion. And even if we feel weak as a lamb, no problem.  Then He carries us.  This is how much our Papa God loves us.

    A few nights ago I had a nightmare and as I lay in bed hoping to drift off to sleep again, I started to worry about my eyes.  I kept going over it in my mind until the worry grew in size.  Until my problem became bigger than my God.  Needless to say, I did not go back to sleep.  But first thing in the morning while still in bed I read the Passion Translation's prophetic words on Facebook.  It began in God's words..."Come and gaze up My face.gaze into my glory..........I will give you new eyes....MY eyes which will give you true understanding...............I call you into true vision that you might see..............From this day forward I am calling you to put aside your blindness and use my healing eye salve, the revelation of My love.  Oh how He loves us!

    Then Monday morning I picked up our daily scripture book and the first verse was about "irritants in the eyes that we do not want to take into the new land".  That spoke to both Joel and I in more ways than one.  Again, another verse later on eyes.  God was making sure I knew He was with me.  He gave me promises to hold on to...........and yet worry still wanted to sneak in.  I sometimes want things to happen in my way and my timing.  Sigh.

    When we find ourselves in a storm, whether it is a storm from the enemy or of our own making, we need to remember how much our Papa loves us.  God is never against us.  He is always for us and because we are bathed in the grace provided by His son, we need never fear.  Can't walk?  He'll carry you.  Afraid to take that first step forward?  He will take your hand and lead the way.  Confused on what direction to go?  We will hear a voice behind us telling us whether to go to the right or to the left.  We need not put off that which causes us dread because when we take the hand of Jesus, we have the courage to step into what is ahead.  And when we step into what God has for us Satan runs the other way defeated.  Victory is ours.  That is how much He loves us.