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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Going Into Darkness

A friend of mine wrote, "Where there is a shadow, there is a light."  I love that statement.

Two times this past month, our power has gone night. I had forgotten how dark dark is.  It's dark.  As I drove into the driveway, I was not greeted by the little orange nightlight peeking through the blinds in one of my windows...nor by a welcoming porch light.  I unlocked the door and Blackness said, "Hello, come in" and I backed away.
Looking across the street, I could see that my neighbor's lights were on...all the way down the street. Suddenly a voice said, "Power won't be on until ten." It was my neighbor two doors down. I breathed.
I thanked him for telling me and told him I thought it was just my house, and I feared going in, but if it was a power outtage, then okay.
"I've been watching too much Justice Channel," I said under my breath. Surely Houston's Most Wanted was not lurking inside...but does happen.
Anyway, I started lighting candles and headed down the hall when there was a knock at the door. "Tommy?"  I asked. No answer.
With my Aim-n-Flame in hand, I opened the door to see my neighbor with his five year old daughter Bailey standing there in her pjs, wielding a sword that turns into an axe. Okay. Cool...and appropriate.  He was just checking on me to see if I was safe.  I told Bailey her sword was really awesome and her dad said, "It should be for what it cost me." I thanked them for checking on me and we said our goodnights.
And then there was light.
I've read several articles lately about darkness.  Seems it's a popular topic. Some live in darkness even when the sun is shining - because they choose it.  God made it...but He does not want us to dwell in it. He gave us light and then He gave us Light.
John 3:19  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 
John 8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 
John 12:44-46  And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.  I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness...and that includes me.  Lights out;)

Friday, September 25, 2015

The S.S. Believer

My brother in prison took a carpentry class this year and chose to build a ship.  He started in March and finished in August.  Most of the wood is scrap that he dug out of the trash.  Prisoners and guards would come by and watch him put it together, shaping it into something beautiful.
He said, "That's what we are - scraps in the trash - until the Master Craftsman picks us up and begins to work on us.  He shapes us through the time we have on earth.  He will not stop until we look like His Son, Jesus."
He is faithful to finish the task.
Philippians 1:6  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 
My brother Wilbur built the ship.  My brother Owen built Tommy's pulpit (in the background) when we started the church.  A church member bought our Lord's Supper table at a garage sale for ten dollars.  God has been very good to us.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Grandchildren in Church and a Brother in My Kitchen

I had three of my grandchildren at church with me on Sunday.  In such situations, I sit on the back row in case of when I need to give them a look that says their lives are in danger without being observed by the whole congregation.  Our church sanctuary is curved.  I usually sit on the front row with Tommy until he rises to preach - and then I am left there alone, trying to look as put together and attentive as I can look.  I refuse to try to look that way with three children asking me 'how much longer?'  I don't know how to glare at them and look sweet at the same time...but I am working on it.
So, come Monday, we are spent, even without grandchildren.  I could barely open one eye this morning.  I thought, 'oh well, one eye is better than none.' My allergies were attacking me without reason and I could not fight back. I put on the most comfortable thing I could find and decided today was a day to stay home.
My brother called and wanted to come over and talk.  This usually means he talks and I listen as patiently as I can until his voice rises to a decibel point that causes me to start looking around the room for a frying pan. This time he wanted advice...which I thought I was fresh out of, but since there was no one else in the room, I managed to offer some crumbs of wisdom that lay on the unmopped floor.  My brother likes to sit at my kitchen table and drink tea while venting about life's issues.  I tried to look as if I cared, but in my mind, I was grabbing the mop and loading the dishwasher.  Before long, I was grabbing that mop and loading that dishwasher, all while making pumpkin soup on the stove.  I asked if he wanted some. He shook his head and made a face, so I forced him to try it.  He ate two bowls.  He reached for the last Reese's peanut butter cup that the plague of locusts left over the weekend then asked me if I knew how good those were. I shook my head no, because I did not get one.  And he gobbled it down.
My brother and I are less than one year apart.  We have been somewhat close all of our lives. I am thankful for my family....all of them.  I am glad that he still thinks I can help him in some way and that my kitchen is some sort of counseling center for the unable.  If there are any pearls worth sharing, they are from God who chooses to use a woman who barely combed her hair today and slapped on just enough makeup so her brother would not ask any questions about her swollen face.
He left in search of his grandson who was getting out of school soon.
My days are no different than yours, I am sure.  My goal in life is simple - to bring God glory in all I do, think, and say everyday.  Sometimes it means staying home and listening to my brother...and loving my grandchildren enough to sing with them on the back row of church. Life is good.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Are You Hiding in the Details?

These are stars my class made last Sunday.  They represent the star over the manger.  They have absolutely nothing to do with this post I wrote, but hey, aren't they great?  And count 'em - 18 kids!!

Sunday after church, I was talking with a young lady and we were sharing our struggles and opinions. The years that lay between us dwindled as we found common ground and emotions.  Emotions are universal and ageless.
We considered the ramifications of hiding in the details of order to avoid it. Hmmm. Been there, done that, as they say.  It's easy to do - hide.  Often we don't even realize we are doing it.  It's habit.  We hide behind our children, our lists of things to do, our failures and successes.  We just don't want those inadequacies to become public knowledge.  So, we make excuses - usually good ones that even we would believe - in order to avoid any limelight that might shine our way.
We shy away from parties, people, commitments, people, unknown waters, people, social events, and did I mention people?  Yes, I thought I did.
During these periods, we tend to micro-manage and second guess our every move.  We focus so much on getting something just right that we miss the whole reason behind doing it in the first place. We must not get stuck in or bogged down with the details that are only stepping stones to the main event.  Details matter sometimes, but rarely to the point of agonizing over them.  They represent a small portion of the abundant life we are to be living...abundantly!
Maybe you are someone who has never struggled with feeling...small in a big world.  Well, I don't know you...and I'm not sure I want to.  People who struggle need people who have struggled to show them the way out.
Whether you are twelve or sixty-two and any age inbetween and beyond, it is pretty certain that you will go through a time of uncertainty in your life.  There is One Who endured it all...public humiliation, rejection, mocking, and death as He sought to please only One Other...on our behalf. That's all that matters, by the way...pleasing One Other Person. You and I were made for only one purpose - to bring glory to God.  There is no other goal for us and no higher calling.  Get out of the details.  He has plans for you...and me.

1 Samuel 16:7   But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 
John 4:34-35  Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Are Writing A Gospel...

I picked up my first Bible the other day.  My grandparents gave it to me when I was a little girl. First Bibles are least mine was, and it had pictures, of course.
I write in all my Bibles.  I can't seem to help myself.  A verse will 'speak' to me, or a preacher will give the meaning of a word and I will write it in the margin.
All of the empty pages have poems, sayings, stickers, and mottos of the days when we all thought Jesus was coming back at any minute.
Remember 'One Way to Peace Through the Power of the Cross?'
This was my second Bible.

I used these for longer periods of time, simply because I could not afford a newer one.  I would tape them and glue them and then tape them again. I have had many Bibles since then.  Now we have them stacked on shelves for anyone's use.  Some are tattered, but it doesn't matter.  The words are the same.
This poem has stuck with me throughout the decades.

 You are writing a gospel,
A chapter each day, 
By deeds that you do,
By words that you say,
Men read what you write, whether faithful or true,
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
                                              author Paul Gilbert

Jesus is still coming back by the way and that day is closer today than it was yesterday.  I still look for it and long for it and expect it.  May the chapter I write today be a true one.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Labor Day Weekend 2015

We kept four of our grandchildren for the weekend. I had big plans that included houses made from boxes, feeding ducks at the park, indulging in donuts, chocolate milk, cinnamon toast, and a picnic. All did not go as planned, but does it ever?
They are all unique and uniquely loved. With every year, there are new challenges.
Ivy (3) is potty training and would announce, “It’s coming!” and then race down the hall to the IKEA potty I keep on hand for emergencies like this. Mine is green and hers at home is red. She let me know mine should be red, but she bonded with the green one none the less…and I am thankful.
Luke and Emma are nine year old twins. Luke is my lego-loving, minecraft playing, sweet-toothed young man. He is also my snuggler.
Emma is a natural dancer. She is built like her daddy – all legs – and sings like her daddy, (and mommy) but her rhythm is God- given. She is fearless and embraces life…so look out, world.
Bella (6) is a music lover, too. In fact, she hums and sings all day long no matter what she is doing. She's a little on the timid side when it comes to unfamiliar things…much like her Grammy.
Tommy and I enjoyed the full house for a change, but aches and pains accompanied Monday’s morning sun….and they were mostly mine. I am sharing some of our fun with you.  
Bella's Hut 
 Luke's Hut
 Ivy's Hut
 Emma's Hut 
This is the Village of East all aglow.

Bay Area Park...where it began to rain.

Emma has no idea how fierce geese can be but I think this goose has met his match.

Our picnic took place back home on the patio...cuz fun happens anywhere.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Thunder in the distance soon gave way to rain. It described exactly how I felt so I let go of everything I had been squelching inside. Standing on the patio and looking around me, I saw sweet memories....and some dead plants begging to be freed from the ground's grip...another day.
It was Change - the faceless enemy, my enemy. It is constantly at my side in a world that refuses to stop for a minute.  It's my bittersweet companion.
Going back to bed on a day like this would be so easy...but it would yield nothing productive and wayward thoughts would cripple me further and plunge me deeper into avoiding life. We all have our ways of dealing with unwanted burdens... mostly by not dealing with them at all.  Avoidance was a habit that needed breaking.
So instead, with very little enthusiasm, I did the normal things of every day life: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, mopping and then something wonderful happened.  (No, there was no jumping about with joy and spontaneity.)  When my mood did not rule me, and I decided to 'do' instead of 'be'...grace took over.
So - what if Change is actually one of the tools God is using to draw me closer to Him? What if my face is towards His more often when my heart hurts?  Perhaps I am looking at this all wrong. What if the very thing that grieves me most is the very thing He is using for my good? There is nothing under the sun that can't be used by God for good.
Okay Lord... restructure me, shape me, mold me, change me.  Teach me that with Your help I do have control over my words, thoughts, and actions. Teach me that something very good can come from all the things over which I have no control.  Help me to embrace them and treat them as gifts from You.
Sometimes life is difficult. How foolish of me to always run from the unknown. We cannot know our own potentials without challenges and challenges don't come without changes.
Daniel 2:20-22  Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 
Did you see that last line? "He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him."
He knows what is in my darkness and He brings the light.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wisdom and Beauty in Unspoken Words

Unspoken words.  I love them.  They are beautiful and say so much.  It is the spoken ones that give the most trouble.  Just when I think I have my brain and tongue under control, they conspire to betray me - and not without my permission, sad to say.
Hasty words are seldom beneficial, and often regretted.  Why do we think our words will matter or somehow change the direction of heated outbursts?  No one communicates well in those situations and the ability to be rational is often obscured by emotions.
Where is wisdom when you want so badly to say the right thing and everything you think of to say seems wrong...but you say it anyway? Why do words fly out of our mouths so quickly?
Why do we put so much value on our thoughts and opinions anyway?
Why do we feel the need to fill airspace with noise?
Why can't we just be silent?
What if instead we just listened?
What if we swallowed our snazzy comebacks?
Be still and know...  It just might convey all you are wanting to say.
When impulses seem to be too strong for silence, be silent anyway.
Proverbs 29:20  Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 
Ecclesiastes 5:2  Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth.THEREFORE LET YOUR WORDS BE FEW. 
Psalm 4:4  Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and