This is just a blog about my thoughts, my family, my everyday life. Because I am a Christian and have ups and downs like everyone else, I hope it will encourage others to either turn to Christ for the first time, or lean on Him when times are rough. Often life is just random and funny. I started this blog after many years of writing to my church about our vacations. They began to encourage me to blog and finally I am. Thanks for reading.

"Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!" Nahum 1:15

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. John Piper

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Prostitution, Faithfulness, and A Song in My Head

Often, when God is trying to teach me something, I am hit on all sides and everything comes together like a puzzle.  The truth or lesson is there in every scripture I read, or song I hear, or words people say.  (I guess I am the one in the class that has to stay after school for extra tutoring.)
A song got stuck in my head this past week and the words just kept repeating themselves over and over again. It was the chorus to a Caedmon's Call song entitled "You Created." Of all the gifts God bestows on me, none compare to the gift of His Son, Jesus.  I am to enjoy nothing more than I enjoy Him.  So, the questions is: "Am I doing that?  Do I enjoy Jesus more than anything?  All the time?"

But You created nothing
That gives me more pleasure than You
And You won't give me something 
That gives me more pleasure than You.

In a few weeks, I will begin a study with a friend on Hosea.  We are both pre-reading it so that we will be familiar with our topic.  And what is the theme of Hosea?  Prostitution of the worst kind: Finding loves anywhere and everywhere else, but in God.

Hosea 1:2   When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD." 
And God ordered Hosea to name his children Jezreel, No Mercy, and Not My People. (I think God was trying to tell him something. No hidden message there.)  'So, Hosea, marry a prostitute and have children that will dishonor me' (I paraphrased).  And Hosea said, "Yes, Lord."
All of the gifts God gives me were never designed to bring me more pleasure than Christ. There is nothing created that will give me more joy.  
No newest fashion. 
No delicious meal.
No goal achieved.
No task fulfilled.
No amount of money.
No security reached.
No newborn child...or grandchild.
No human love.
No acceptance of others.
No right to my own privacy, time, schedule, life.
My unfaithfulness to God is nothing less than prostitution.

Hosea 2:7-10  She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.'  
8 And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.  
9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness.  
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. 

If anything does bring me greater pleasure, then I just don't know Jesus well enough...because He is to be the source of a greater joy. My desire is to experience complete satisfaction in Him alone...all the time - no matter what. 'He won't give me anything that will give me more pleasure than Himself.'
When all of the things of this world fade...and they will, the Lord Jesus will remain.  

Hosea 2:13-16  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the LORD.  
14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 
16 "And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.' 

May my heart be true to the One Who loves me most and may He always be my greatest pleasure. In honesty, I will need to be reminded of I guess it's good to have songs rolling around in my brain...sometimes.  And I believe Hosea has much in store for me.
When I stray Lord, lure me by back with Your great love and faithfulness.  I want to love you more and more.  

Hosea 2:19   And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  
20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.  
21 "And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth,  
22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel,  
23 and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people'; and he shall say, 'You are my God.'" 

The verses below are reminders of God's purpose in having things in proper order.  Let's start over with His plan...and let go of ours. 

Luke 12:31-32   Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Colossians 1:16-20  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 

Revelation 4:11  "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."  

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I have made mention before that I have a brother in prison.  We correspond on a regular basis and I try to see him every other month or so.  His recent letters have had me digging into scripture.  He picks a topic and sends me the references and I look them up and thus the discussion written form.  Thankfully, we have a bible program on our computer and I printed up seven pages of verses.  (Sheesh!)  His discourse this time was on integrity - finding it, losing it, and regaining it.
This is an awesome subject for him and it opened my eyes as well.
Integrity exists out in the open AND behind closed doors.  It is who we are when NO ONE is looking, but God.  It sustains us as we wait on the Lord for answers to our questions and teaches us patience.  We can be sure of our footing when integrity rules our hearts, because there is nothing hidden in our agendas. The arrows of slander that are thrown do not stick and it is the Lord who shields us.
Integrity, once lost, can be hard to regain - and maintain.  The Lord Jesus is our only Standard. So whether we have failed in this area and are striving to regain our integrity, or we are just doing our best to walk worthy of the Lord's call on our lives, we must keep our eyes on the One who sees our every motive and intent.  We have His word to guide us.  Oh, that we might walk as Job did, and bring our Lord much glory, so that He might consider us as well.  Press on.
Titus 2:7-8 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 
Job 2:3 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason."
Psalm 25:21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Psalm 101:2 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
Proverbs 2:7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Little Terrorists

Bella, Luke, Emma, Lee, and Ivy in front.
Sometimes my grandchildren can hold me hostage.  There are nine altogether, but they are rarely all together.  These were at my house for a bit this weekend.  Don't they look sweet? They are. HOWEVER, they have learned the art of negotiation.  It was like a game show or better yet, a battle of the wills as we came to mutual terms on some things.  Don't get me wrong: There are no mean faces, screaming voices, or stomping feet.  All smiles as they try to charm me into compromise.
It was dinner time and we had hot dogs and PBJ according to wishes.
I don't want buns, I want bread.
I don't want anything but cheese on mine.
I don't want anything but catsup on mine.
Luke and Ivy opted for the PBJ sandwiches.  Luke will swallow his in a heartbeat, especially when accompanied by chips of any kind.
Ivy is a terrorist.  Look at that sweet face.  The youngest is often catered to by everyone else in the family, simply because she is the charmer, the baby, the conman...or congirl as the case may be.
I told them all we would have rootbeer floats when they ate their dinner.
After one bite, Ivy declared she was done.
I overruled her opinion and said she was not.
She said, "I don't want it."
To which I replied, "Okay.  But no root beer float."
She repeated, " But I don't want it."
I looked at Lee and said, "I do not negotiate with terrorists."
We pulled the sandwich into little bites and she ate all that was required in order to get the dessert.
I've decided to make that my mantra when dealing with anyone under that age of....(to be determined.)
The reason they are all sitting around the table is because she would not move to the couch for a picture.  She was drawing and she was staying put.  I did not want tears in my picture, so I let her win...this time.  Everyone else acquiesced and came to her....and so it continues.  My little terrorist - until we meet again.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Goodness in My Week

Daily I try to ask God to dictate my time and even though this week each day seemed full, it was also very fulfilling.  He gave me opportunities to minister to my mom who has been recuperating from a hospital stay, and to work in my yard - weeding, pruning, and tossing plants.  (I know some Farmer's Almanac somewhere would tell me it's the wrong time of year for some of that, but none the less, I found great pleasure in doing it.)
A friend texted me and we planned a spontaneous lunch.  I see her every Sunday, but there is never time for a lengthy conversation - just passing well wishes.
A young girl brought an elderly woman (along with a pumpkin pie) to visit my mom.  I'm not sure which she enjoyed more - the pie or the company.  Just a small window of time given to lift someone's spirits brings glory to the Lord.
Later in the week, I hired some worker bees to clean out her garage - a daunting task at best. I mean down right nasty, daunting task.  It isn't the fault of my mom: it is her good-naturedness that over the years has said, "Sure you can store your (fill in the blank) in my garage" until it has decayed into pieces unidentifiable...and I am not kidding.
She is aging, but if she lives to be a hundred, that garage had to be dealt with.  This was the week. My headhunter Jeremy found two willing subjects to take on the job.  Well done, boys...I mean young men.  You have served your country well, ridding it of a varmint's hideout and what I am sure must have been some obscure diseases fermenting in makeshift petri dishes.  (I had to look up "petri" as I had an "e" on the end, which is acceptable, but not actually correct.  Blogging does teach me something.)
Today I hosted some lovely ladies for lunch.  We have not had a chance to visit together in many months, so it was a treat to treat.  I am fortunate that these girls hang with me from time to time. They keep me young and I thank God for their precious friendships.
I also wrote on my calendar for the first time this year.  I bought it in January, but just could not manage a schedule for a while.  It stressed me.  Living as the Lord dictated - as He brought people and events to mind was freeing.  I did many wonderful things without the benefit of a written plan. However, Fall is fast approaching and I've decided to set some things in motion, following His lead first.  Hopefully, my choice to watch the days pass with scrawled reminders will not hinder my new perspective.  I live unto the Lord above...and all that He brings to pass is good.  Very good...and so are those I meet along the way.
Titus 3:8  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. And I am one of them.


Two tired hombres...Andrew and Keison.  (Jeremy was inside talking with my mom as she showed him highschool pictures of me and he kept razzing me with texts as I ate lunch with the girls below.)  I know who did all the work here.

Hannah, Victoria, Tori, and Madi

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Inside Snow

Before our lesson began, I told my Sunday School class that we would do something really fun that day.  Of course, they started looking around the room for a hint.  I said it is something that would never happen in July.
One boy said, "Play in the snow?"
"Yes!" I answered.
Then there eyes scanned the room again.   "How?"
We proceeded with our lesson on Nebuchanezzar's dream and how he ended up in a field eating grass, with long matted hair, and bird-like claws because he chose to glorify himself instead of God. Honestly, we humans just don't get it, do we?  We forget it is the Lord who gives and takes.  Blessed be HIS name.
Back to snow...
I pulled out my bag of tricks and divided up the class.  I only had nine that day, so it was very doable. Four boys and five girls, so Hannah joined the boys.  (She has seven brothers, so she fit right in.)
Inside the bag were about 150 paper wads.  We had the perfect snowball fight.  They did not melt and the ammo was easy to return in fire.  The pictures are blurry because no one dared to stop for a picture, risking a hit. Enjoy!  (Video at bottom)

The team with the most snowballs lost, as it indicated that the other team threw the most balls. (Girls won, BTW)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Old Houses, Old Memories

Old houses bring back memories quicker than almost anything else.  They are tangible reminders of yesteryear and often have the same features to them as when I was a little girl. It is so weird how transforming it can be to my brain.  Suddenly I am in my grandmother's kitchen or bathroom...or playing in my brothers' bedroom.  It is both comforting and sad.
Recently while on vacation, we visited some friends of ours who had moved out of state. Their house turns 100 this year.  I asked if I could take some pictures and write about it without revealing and names or particulars.  They graciously agreed.
So here are some treasures for you.  They most likely will never be repeated.

This is a handcarved knob.

Love that these open!

Floor grating

This is wallpaper that lined the cabinets in the kitchen.

This is a TV tray that folds to fit in the stand below.  So cool!

I sometimes wonder if years from now, my house will be a reminder to someone else.  Maybe...but they just don't do excellence in all of the houses now like they did back then.  I am thankful I can remember the quality, along with the sweetness of time.

Monday, July 6, 2015 the Pages

I try - from time to time - to add to my 'Notes to Me From Life' in the sidebar of my blog, but I have trouble finding time to write myself notes on real paper so as not to forget anything.  And so I forget....
Anyway, I am in love with peace.  It breaks down all walls of anxiety with a vengeance.

14.  Peace
Dear Me,
Peace is without a doubt your goal for each day.  I don't mean silence... because you could stay inside your house and experience that all by yourself.  I mean peace that comes in the midst of any crowd, whether the noise level is deafening or barely an audible whisper.
Nothing compares to facing the trials of this world with the peace that passes all understanding. It is not swayed by or dependent on events or words.   Instead, it is the calm assurance of knowing He has already planned each of your days ahead of time.  Now live them.
Jesus said, "My peace I give to you."
And I answer, "Thank you very much.  I'll take it."
John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

And Such Were Some of You...and Me

1 Corinthians 6:11-12  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. 

Sometimes...when you least expect it, an ugly emotion will creep in uninvited and take root for a while.  Though it doesn't happen often, when I do get mad it is usually at Tommy.  It stems from my desire to control and dates all the way back to Eve.  I am silent when I am angry.  Very silent.  And the silence is deafening, if you know what I mean.
One particular day while on vacation, I became angry over something very insignificant.  Isn't that how it starts?  Something small grows bigger as we entertain and magnify it and then try to reason it away - often without success.  (How can it disappear when given so much attention?) What surprised me was how mad I had become - like an unanswered teapot as it whistles steam to deaf ears. And the steam kept building.  The thing is, he was totally unaware.  Totally.
I tried to rid myself of this irritation before it became evident and affected anyone else. How could this happen?  Wasn't I a Christian?  Where was the Holy Spirit?  My anger had risen so quickly and I held on to it like a comfortable, vindictive blanket.  I wore it well and carried it around with me throughout the day.  (The picture I am painting is a pitiful one, for sure.  Our sins are pitiful and keep us in bondage...because we choose bondage over freedom.  Oh, fools that we are!)
I prayed and reasoned with myself, analyzing the matter; turning it over and trying to minimize the offense - his and mine.  It was no use.  If we could all reason away our sins, we would have no use for the cross, which makes black hearts clean, and dead men live.  Why could I not let this go?
Sitting not far from Tommy and his uncle, I heard their conversation.  It was about a new believer who was stuck in a habitual sin.  Tommy quoted the above verse. "And such were some of you..." Were.  No one with Christ is locked into sinful behavior.  We have been set free.  I went and looked up the verse preceding it.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.    And such were some of you.
That statement hit home like a much needed drink of water.  My specific sin may not be listed, but I certainly was greedy and selfish and I was my own idol at that point.  I let go of the distress I clung to so tightly.  No analyzing or dissecting.  I simply confessed my sin and asked God to forgive me and remove it.  I am no longer a slave to familiar selfish emotions.
God's word is alive. It has the power to convict and pierce our hearts.
"And such were some of you...and me, too."