Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On The Road Again

We spent the weekend of April 17th in Wisconsin celebrating our granddaughter's confirmation day.  Abbi did a great job with her faith statement, expressing what it means to her to believe in Jesus.  It was a day to celebrate Abbi, as friends and family gathered together for good food and fellowship.

It was our first time traveling since last July, so it was nice to get away.  Our favorite stop along the way is the Rural Route 1 Popcorn store.  They sell amazing Popcorn and caramel corn, but the store also sells beautiful jewerly. Cards, pictures, kitchen ware, etc.  It is a high end variety store and is always full of people when we stop there.

Our visit was short,  but it was packed full of fun with family before we headed back home to prepare for a trip to Arizona.  It was a last-minute decision to get back on the road and travel as my body was still complaining about all it went through during the months prior.   We weren't sure how it would go but we took out the suitcases, packed them up, and tucked them in the van along with the cowboy preacher's bike he loves to ride.  We took off early last Wednesday morning to drive to Arizona.   The first night we stayed at my sister and brother-in-law's townhome in Wichita.  So nice to have a place to stay where you know you don't have to check the mattresses for bed bugs that could be hiding!  Yeah......We check every hotel.

The next day we headed down through southwest Kansas,  the panhandle of Oklahoma,  and then the northern part of Texas before settling for the night in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  I have to say the energy and atmosphere around southwest Kansas, Oklahoma Panhandle, and the northwest corner of Texas did nothing for either one of us.  It is not a route we plan to travel again.  We stopped at as Walmart to fix a time and low tire and I used the bathroom inside.  Two stalls broken, dirt, piled wastebasket, and I was out of there.  Everywhere we looked there seemed to be run-down houses, beaten up yards and and nothing cared for.  It was like people did not take any pride in where they lived.  ( Just our perception)   In one section of Texas/New Mexico there was no service for 95 miles.  No cell phone service, no gas stations, etc.  It is amazing how dependent we have become on all the conveniences of life.

The atmosphere seem to change when we enter New Mexico.  I don't know how to explain it-- it was just more positive even though the landscape look much the same until we arrived at Tucumcari, a great looking place tucked along Route 66.  Fom there we caught the Interstate to Santa Rosa for the night.  The next day we drove west to Flagstaff AZ. , before heading south to Phoenix.  It was a 6000 foot descent into the desert valley, and our brakes, which had started acting weird earlier in the trip, were challenged by the steep drop. The car vibrated and made loud noise every time Joel put on the brakes.  Not fun.  We made it to Mesa through 6 lanes of traffic during rush hour quite easily.  The Interstates here are laid out well!  Yesterday we had new brakes installed.

I am taking another blog break until we are home again and can share pictures.  For now we are enjoying the gracious hospitality of my sister Jan and brother-in- law Lanny and the beauty and warmth of Arizona.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Comforts of Home, Friends, and Prayer

 As I sit on the sofa typing, I can look around our open living space and see so many familiar comforts of home that are unique.  A plaque on the wall that says in large individual wood and metal letters..  T  R  U  S  T.  A large metal sculpted wall hanging of a fish ~~the long ago symbol of Christianity that is still used today.  There are canvases made of slides Joel took decades ago. Some of my books sit on an end table we have that is made from an old wine barrel and another that is made from an old sewing machine table that still has the working pedal base.  Our grandmother clock stands tall in the dining area, created at our request by Filipino craftsmen 40 years ago.  I can see an old school desk that looks like it belongs in "Little House On The Prairie" and an intricately carved prie dieu kneeling bench that comes from an old Catholic church.  So much of what we own has a history and a story behind it.

One of my favorite things to look at is a beautiful framed photograph taken by a dear friend.  I met her through the blogging world, and one day when I was visiting her photography blog, I won a prize for being the 1,000th person to link up.  I could chose any picture to have framed and I chose the one below.  A beautiful picture of a tree with stain glass added to me it represented a place of worship in nature.  Come to find out an enlarged version of the framed photograph hangs in her church.  I ferl so blessed to have this in our home.

Another blessing from God is that it turns out A. lives only 10 miles from our oldest daughter and her family in another state.  So we got to meet in person when visiting our family.  What fun that was!   Only God.

At this time in my dear friend's life she is fighting hard for her health.  She was diagnosed with Lyme and was treated, but over time she now has other serious medical problems that have come up and are keeping the doctors baffled as they try to help her become well enough to return to her beautiful home where she can see the world nature provides.  Joel and I are suspicious that this could still be a tick related infection, but we are only two past victims of Lyme and the nasty co-infections, and not doctors.  In any case,  my heart aches for  her.

She is a beautiful woman who deeply loves the Lord and has been so faithful on this long, hard journey.  We can only learn from her example.  The framed photograph she gave me is a beautiful reminder to lift her up in prayer, to stand firm in agreement that this is NOT from God and declare that He wants her well.  We speak against the root cause of these horrific symptoms and we pray for healing to be released into her body.  It is a great comfort to know that God hears our prayers.

And as Lyme has once again reared it's ugly head, where we live in Iowa it seems the ticks are bad this year with neighbors complaining of finding them on their body and their pets just from walking the paths and river road near by.  Someone at the bank today came up to Joel and told him she had found three ticks on her and what should she do?  Around this time of year we do hear from more than a few who know our stories and need advice.  Our advice is to always get antibiotics for ANY tick bite.  Don't take a chance.

So as I end this "Friday's Scribbles", I return to my friend who is on my heart today.  I ask you to lift A. up in prayer.  And remember that life is lived moment by moment, with only God to rely on. His promises are yes and amen so stand on them and and remember that just like A. said in her email today.........God is truth.  That we know when nothing else seems certain.  His Word is truth.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Fork In The Road?

The birthing process is made up of stirrings, contractions, discomfort, pain and effort.  And at the end of the process emerges the gift of a life, created by God with the help of mom and dad, of course.  A beautiful gift that has made the waiting and the journey worthwhile.

We go through a similar process when God works in and through His people, pruning us, stretching our beliefs and renewing our spirit. This birthing, this being reborn, and renewed in Christ to be more like His image, is a process that we take part in.  We open and surrender ourselves to Holy Spirit, so that we can be all He has created us to be.  Our unique selves, made for His purpose.

Joel and I have been in transformation the past 4 years, but especially the last 7 months. Our journey began with Joel's overnight microwave healing and continued on with my own healing journey.  We developed a deep passion for healing through prayer and could not learn enough about it. In the past 7 months the journey has involved healing through surgeries and radiation, and more recovery time than I want to admit.  But this is not the whole story.  This season has also been about way more than healing, it has been about having a closer relationship with Papa God and about being open to His continued purpose for our lives. It has been and still is about removing God from a place of our own understanding and saying with our whole being............We want more of you any. cost.

I recently saw a picture in my mind of a road and ahead were two forks.  I identified one fork as our Lutheran heritage, where we have been rooted our whole lives.  The other fork in the road was all that we have learned beyond our Lutheran beliefs, a place of more of Holy Spirit manifestations, more of the prophetic and a different understanding of healing.

As I looked at this picture it became a person with arms raised to God in praise. The fork in the road was really not a place of we go to the left or to the was a blending of who we were and who we are now and finding peace with how both are molding and shaping us into who God desires.  In this process involving effort, discomfort and even pain, our focus needs to remain on God.....who in His infinite wisdom is creating something new~ someone new.

I don't think this process is unique or a one time event, but is an ongoing part of everyone's lives. We are transformed and renewed by a loving God who does not want to leave us where we are, but encourages us to grow and be shaped into the image of Christ for His purpose as long as we take breath into our bodies.  This birthing process is not always easy or comfortable, but it is an adventure we don't want to miss out on, that's for sure.  So we continue to ask with expectation and even some anxiety for something any. cost.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

The sun is shining this beautiful Saturday after waking this morning to a brisk 16 degrees.  Yikes! We are heading for a high of 40 although the sun will need a great deal of heat to get us there. Nature has been a bit confused this week as we dealt with snow, wind, rain, sleet, warm, cold.  The birds and squirrels we see are as tired of it as we are, I expect.

I have been adjusting to new glasses.  My vision is 20/20 now but I cannot read without glasses, and the small astigmatism is corrected when I wear them.  The dark circles under my eyes are hidden now too.  :-)  I am always amazed at how the body adjusts quickly to something different.

Another week of Bible Study here Tuesday night, church at Praise Wednesday, and Thursday morning Bible study with the women at Praise.  In between I rested quite a bit, and prayed even more as my body fought a virus off.  Friday night was dinner here for 4 and a time of fellowship. Tomorrow afternoon friends will come by.  Sunday is also Joel's last Sunday at Salem Lutheran in Lake Mills.  He has enjoyed his time there very much.

Our neighbor has the cutest dog....named "B.D." because his ears making him look like a bat dog! He loves to run and has the shortest legs we have ever seen on a dog.  The neighbor kind of inherited him from a family member, but that little guy has stolen all our hearts here in the neighborhood.  He is delightful to watch, and lets us pet-less people give him some loving when he comes around.  Dogs do know how to give love.  I have read several stories lately about dogs in nursing homes and how much encouragement and love they provide for the residents. They have a lot to teach us in that area.

Speaking of love, have any of you watched "Little Big Shots" yet on Sunday nights?  It is so good. Love having good, clean entertainment.  The kids are amazing.  I am still reading Rick Renner's book and have added Roots and Sky back to the list.  A few teachings have been thrown in to the mix, along with some of the Azuza Now gathering at LA today.  It is a bit over the top for us though.  Yeah.  It is even farther to the "west of weird" than we are.

Joel and I have been watching the Property Brothers lately.  The trouble with that is the ideas we form for our own house......and when we look around we can see so much that we could be doing here.  We still don't know if we are staying or leaving, but if we do stay, we plan to make our home into something new and fresh.  Houses need make-overs a much as people do!

We have so many we love and care about who are struggling with sickness and disease.  I thought I would list them and ask for prayer for healing.  Barb, Roger, Dale, Stephen, Kris, Samuel, and Doug are all fighting cancer.  Anita is in need of healing so she can go home again where she belongs.  We lift them up in prayer, and we give thanks that you are the God who heals..Jehovah Rapha.

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

Friday, April 8, 2016

So, What If?

There is a little woodpecker dancing around on the tree outside our living room window.  He's looking for bugs to satisfy his hunger, them moves on to another spot, pecking away at each new location.  He is a bright spot of color on this cloudy day.  As I watch him go about his task, I can't help but wonder what he is thinking.  Is he thinking?  Or is he like the scarecrow who sings, "If I only had a brain...."

Do all God's creatures feel?  Think?  Spiders and nasty ticks too?  And what about trees?  All living things.   Our cells are living.......bacteria and viruses are living......the dreaded cancers are living.....

So do all living things hear us?  Squirrels and birds respond to the sound of our voices......I don't know about spiders and ticks, but there is even scientific proof out there that reports that our cells hear us.  And bacteria and viruses......

IF we go back to the beginning of our Bible you read that Adam was given dominion over the earth. The earth and all that is on it.  It could be argued that Adam blew it big time when he,along with Eve, chose to disobey God and sin entered the world.  Dominion was lost.

Then Jesus came.  He spoke to the fig tree and it died.  He healed the sick, delivered the demonized, multiplied food.  He told us to speak to the mountains and they will slide right into the sea....figuratively?  Literally?  

So what would happen if we spoke to the viruses and different bacteria that attack our bodies? What if we spoke to our cells?  What would happen if we spoke to the storm in the name of Jesus? Jesus told us that when He left the earth as children of God we would have Holy Spirit reside within us.  The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.  "Dunamis" Power.  Dynamite.  Don't forget, he gave us authority and only by HIS authority and in His name we are to go out into the world and preach the gospel, raise the dead, cast out demons, and heal the sick.  It was a command, not a suggestion. And He said, you will do greater things than even I.  Is that even possible?  Speak to the mountains he said.  Ask and keep on asking.  Seek and keep on seeking....knock and keep on knocking.  Be persistent, in fervent prayer.

If this was only for the disciples then does that apply to the commandments, too?  To loving one another?   To salvation?!?!  The Bible was written for all.  Jesus' instructions were for all.  God's promises are yes and amen for all.  Salvation is for all.  Is healing for all?  There is power in the living Word.

So, what if?

What if we could speak to the sicknesses and diseases that attack us?  What if we, too, could speak to the storms? The mountains?  What if we could do what Jesus' commanded his disciples to do? What if we stepped out in faith and believed what we read in His Word?

Thank God we can.  What have we got to lose?  What have we got to gain?

So, what if............?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Life She Had Imagined

Ever since God sent me the promise found in the Psalms that speaks of being covered by His feathers, I have held it close as my own.

"He will cover you with His feathers 
and under His wings you will find refuge."
Psalm 91:4

When I asked God for confirmation on going ahead with radiation after surgery for breast cancer, I asked Him to send me a feather as confirmation.  I looked everywhere we walked last fall, seeking that feather. Then one day when I went to Facebook, there it was.  A friend had posted a beautiful photo of a feather and written a powerful post to go with it.  It spoke to me.   I carried this promise and virtual feather close to my heart through six weeks of radiation and all that came with that.  I held the promise close through my slow recovery and even the two cataract surgeries. Even though I have not had a feather fall from the sky............yet......., I seem to have them show up in other ways.  Yesterday it was this quote that got my attention, at first because of the feather, but then the words drew me in.

And so, she decided to start living the life she'd imagined.  

How would I incorporate these powerful words into a my journey where I'm the "she"?  As I thought about it, my story formed quickly.
Jesus whispered quietly to her, "I have come so that you may have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I have healed you (Is. 53:4) and set you free from the life of isolation you existed in, because it is for freedom from cancer, Lyme, MCS, and more that I set you free. (Galatians 5:1) I love you, My child, with a deep abiding love. (Ephesians 3:18)  I want you with Me and My Father. (John 3:16) My Father created you with a unique purpose.  He has placed dreams upon your heart to help Him fulfill those plans. (Jeremiah 29:11)  Do not fear, I am with you always ( Matt. 28:20) ) and delight in you. (Zeph. 3:17).

And so, she decided to start living the life she'd imagined.

And what does this mean for you?  What promises stir you to live the life you had imagined?  What dreams has God laid on your heart?


Monday, April 4, 2016

Walking The Land

There is something about the West that has always drawn me.  It is not just because my husband wears cowboy boots, vests, denim shirts, and a great Stetson hat.  No, it is much more.  I love the way the land presents itself.....both barren and beautiful at the same time.  We have lived out west in Utah, New Mexico and Montana and I lived as a child in South Dakota so we are familiar with western landscapes. Each place had it's own beauty to offer.  After returning from Montana to the Minnesota in 1983 we mourned the loss of living in the West for a long time.  It was not just the people, even though they were great.  It was not just the mountains and their majestic beauty, since we did not live near the Rockies.  It was the land.  The history embedded in the land. The pioneer spirit is there ~~independent, rugged, persevering.  We have only been back to visit Montana one time, mostly due to my past health issues, but memories are held close to our hearts.

I am attracted to places like The Pioneer Woman's BLOG, not for the recipes, but for her stories and photos of their life in Oklahoma.  I find it all intriguing.  Wide open spaces, hard work, and a satisfied life.  At least that is how I see it.  Joel and I both like the West.  If we believed in reincarnation, we would be thinking we were once pioneers out west, but since we do not, I think that maybe the beauty of the West, the history the land holds, and our good memories are what pull us in.  I expect it is one of the reasons we liked Gold Canyon AZ so much.  It certainly would not be due to it being near Phoenix.  Gold Canyon sits on the edge, nestled between the Superstition Mountains and the suburbs of that over populated desert city.  There is a rugged beauty to be found there in the green desert.

The land out West draws us.  There are also other places the land calls to us,  but in different ways.  Joel's childhood home and land is familiar and holds history.  In fact we will be buried in the cemetery next to the church where he grew up.  Just a quarter mile from the home farm seventeen Dahlens are buried, so far.  The lakes, rolling hills, and farm fields  where Joel spent his whole childhood bring forth an emotional response.  We are also drawn to the land and front porch of one of our families.  A porch that gives us a view of the flat fields and roads for miles, bringing us a sense of peace and quiet.  Far from town, it holds generations of history that you can sense deep in your soul.  I am grateful that our three treasures there will have that history for themselves and can look back at who walked the land before them.

In our years of moving, the 22 plus moves we have experienced around the country and overseas to the Philippines, our children missed out on putting down any deep roots, and so did we.  But as adults they have each found a place for themselves.....a land where they left footprints that brings them peace and a sense of "here is where we belong".  After a few years of "wandering" they walked the land God gave them and put down roots. They are living out God's purpose for their lives on their own soil and we are so grateful for that.

Do you feel drawn to your own land, a land you have walked on where you held the soil in your hands? Many have done so.  One blogger friend shares amazing photographs of the beauty surrounding her from their home in rural Wisconsin.  Another shares the stunning view she has from her home of a proud towering mountain in Washington state.  Another speaks of their home in the mountains of California. Yet another, city life, vibrant and alive to her.  Each place is as unique as the people who share their stories.  Each one says...."we have come home"......

I cannot express fully the connections between the land, God, and our own need for roots, but as I read Christie Purifoy's book, "Roots and Sky" and as I have read the comments on her blog, this need for roots in a land God has provided resonates with so many people.  This is beyond the desire for roots in the eternal.  It is the need to be able to "walk the land" and know that you know that you know where you belong here on earth.  I believe that sometimes we choose the land and sometimes the land chooses us.

Do you know what my hope and prayer is for each of you, for all of us who desire to walk the land?
That we have found or will find our own place to walk during our journey on earth, where we have dug deep into the soil, put down roots and feel at rest.  A place where our dreams and God's purpose for our life have united together to create the peace and quiet our souls longed for.  A place where we realize "we have come home".

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Holy Hilarity Sunday

My husband likes to celebrate the Sunday after Easter with humor....a time to laugh at the devil.  It is called "Holy Hilarity Sunday" and when my cowboy preacher heard about it, he incorporated it into his sermon for the Sunday after Easter.  It is a service of jokes, a time to laugh with joy, celebrating Jesus victory over Satan.  Joel loves a good, clean joke.  He loves laughing at the devil.  He loves Easter. So Holy Hilarity Sunday is a good fit for him.  It is all done very appropriately and is combined with hymns and scriptures. His sermon is focused on our victory over Satan, and how we can laugh at the devil (not taunt him), We still need to be aware that he goes about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, but our God is bigger!

A couple of years ago, our oldest daughter and family gave Joel a T-shirt with these words on it.  "The Sermonater"  Of course it is taken from "The Terminator".  Joel wore it today, telling everyone that as the sermonater he is able to fight the devil and his lies with God's Word.. We all are.  Yes, the devil has no power over us when Jesus lives in us.

So have a Holy Hilarity Sunday everyone!  Laugh at the devil, rejoice over the victory we have because of Resurrection Sunday, and be filled with joy.  Victory is ours!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles Woven With Gratitude

It has been a week of snow, rain, sun, clouds, cold, warm, and wind.  Spring in Iowa!  The trees are getting little green buds and the robins are singing  their songs.  I expect we will soon see some daffodils and tulips around the neighborhood.  We have walked some this week, although I still do not have the energy to walk daily or over 15-20 minutes.  That will come.  Joel has ridden his bike three days this past week averaging 12.5 miles each time.   We have plans to stain the front porch when the warmer weather is more consistent, and look forward to some porch sitting before the mosquitoes arrive.

This past Sunday was Easter and we were on the road by 5:45 am....I wrote about our adventures that day in a former post HERE.  A day for healing prayers, a day for sunrise worship, and a day to remember all that Jesus did for us.  Tuesday night we held Bible study, Wednesday night we went to learn more about the prophetic at church, Thursday morning I headed to the women's Bible Study and Joel was in a nearby town for his colleague group.  Joel has two more weeks of preaching at an Iowa church 45 minutes from home....and then we will head off to one of our granddaughter's confirmation. P

Wednesday we watched the funeral of Officer Susan Farrell live stream on WCCI's TV webpage.  You can read about that HERE.  Friday we watched the service for Officer Carlos Puente-Morales. Difficult days for the families and friends of these two officers and the men in blue. Today department is sending 8 officers, including our son, to the western edge of the state to attend the funeral of the prisoner who was killed in the crash.  I am forming in my head what I would like to say about our country's quick to blame thinking with police officers. Somewhere along the way, the officers who dishonor the badge became ALL police that protect and serve.  We are currently a country fueled by hate in so many areas.

It has been a week of gratitude and sadness.  The deaths of two officers.  And gratitude  that our son and his female partner were not the ones picking up the prisoner.  Our daughter and her family missing the shooting at the Capital by a brief window of time.  Gratitude.  That these events happen daily?.....sadness.  Sad that our friend is having to fight so hard to finish chemo- the medical cocktail that will improve her chances of living.  Grateful for our friend's answered prayers, excellent care and the deep love of her family.  The sadness that comes with another friend fighting hard in the hospital to be whole again. And amazement and joy for her unending gratitude to God for walking with her on this journey.  And one more friend who is on a dark journey of her own, Lord have mercy.  Gratitude for her faith.  The world appears to be filled with grief and sadness this week, but when we look up.......we can only express gratitude.

Hopefully this will be my final update on my recent health issues.  My eyes look great, and I am now off the eye drops which has helped the pain levels some.  I am still struggling with low energy. Three surgeries in 5 months did not help, but I was told that the radiation did such a number on my body...and why when my sister did so well with it?  Maybe it was the 27 years of Lyme I battled.....who knows.........add to it the virus I am battling.......but I am trying to be patient and rest when I need to, push when I need to, praying and praise God always that this, too, shall pass.  As far as the breast and underarm area, I still have tightness in underarm and aching if I sleep on the right side too long.  I am doing some exercises again to help stretch the areas where the scars are.  I still have skin discoloration and I have one are a that is not back to its regular tissue, so I am using the aloe vera gel and Vitamin E oil with prayer.  It is all a process and I am so grateful I am healed and the cancer is gone.  Grateful I can see and my eyes are doing so well.  I will be getting my glasses in a week that will correct the astigmatism and for reading.  I have cheaters" but am weary of taking them on and off!  Through all this we have gratitude.

Today would have been my mom's 106th birthday.  She died at age 92.  She had quite a life story, filled with the good, bad, and the rest, and was welcomed to her heavenly home by Jesus.  Happy Birthday Mom!  What a celebration you must be having today!!  Thank you Jesus.

I watched only a couple of teachings this week, read mostly Rick Renner's book and a few good blog posts, and enjoyed some TV time.  I love Madam Secretary.  I'm looking for a good fiction book to read again......I am poor about reading fiction!  Any ideas?  

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