Friday, January 31, 2014

Mothers and daughters.....

You will have to suffer through another post about Annaleigh today.  I just can't get enough of this little girl!   Tonight I got to visit again with Gwen, Tim and Anna and even got to see all of the grandkids!  And Ken got to me Anna also.   I just love this picture of Gwen, Anna and me.  We have similar pictures of Gwen and me with all of the kids.  All I could think about tonight was that mother - daughter thing.  There is such a special bond and when the daughter become the mother, even for the fourth time - it kind of takes your breath away. 

I remember Gwen's birth like it was yesterday.  Truthfully it was almost 35 years ago.  And unfortunately, my mom was not with me.  As a matter of fact she did not meet Gwen until she was 7 weeks old.  I can't tell you how much I missed my mom during those seven weeks.  It was such a wonderful thing to share my daughter with my mom. 
And this is the picture I snapped the first time my mom met Gwen.  I will love this picture forever.  The absolute joy and wonder on both their faces!  So I am thankful for the many, many pictures that are taken of me, Gwen and Lia, Ellie, Zeke and Anna.  And more than anything, I am thankful that I got to meet all of my grandchildren as they were born. 
What a big week this has been.  We were talking about how special it will be that Anna will have the only January birthday in our family.  A few months ago I learned about an amazing women's conference that is taking place this weekend.  I told my friends that I would not be able to go because Gwen's baby was due.  They all laughed at me because her actual due date was in February.  But I knew for sure that I should not register for this event.  And then Anna made her appearance, just as I suspected she would, the last week of January.  What a great time for a birthday.
Jesus, thank you for reminding me how special that mother - daughter connection is.  Holy Spirit, remind everyone reading this blog to appreciate and celebrate the mother/daughters in their lives.  Bless Gwen and Tim and their family.  Thank you for all that you are doing in them and through them.  Thank you for family and new life.  Amen

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Annaleigh

Is there anything sweeter than a newborn baby?  Or anything more precious?  I don't think so..... especially today.  Introducing my new little granddaughter Annaleigh Ellen.  She is just about 2 minutes old in this picture, after they placed her on Gwen's tummy.  Look at that wonderful face.  She arrived a healthy 7lbs2oz and 19.5"long. 
And she is beautiful.

You might have noticed that I missed a couple of days of posting.  I've been a bit busy the last couple of days.  This was a long process for Gwen and Tim, but through it all they have been such troopers.  They had several days of very little sleep and an extra trip to the hospital and doctors before the actual event.  It is really an experience to stand by and watch your child go through this process.  I am forever grateful that Gwen has invited me to be a part of the birth experience for all of her children.  I was humbled to watch my daughter and son-in-law endure this painful event with grace and good humor.  And then to welcome the newest member of our family.  Nothing can compare to this. 

I did an awful lot of praying in the last 24 hours.  As Gwen and Tim were able to rest and sleep for a few minutes, I kept my eye on the monitors and my heart and spirit were trained on Jesus.  It seems kind of odd to PRAY for pain, but I was actually asking for longer and stronger contractions to bring forth the birth.  And I was praying for rest and peace for Gwen as she went through this.  What a blessing it was, near the end of the process, when the charge nurse came in to evaluate Gwen's progress.  She was a cheerful African American women who promptly said that she would be praying for good progress for Gwen.  Both Gwen and I agreed that she sounded Kenyan!  And my spirit just jumped when she said that she was praying.  I agreed that I had been and would be praying.  When baby Anna's arrival actually happened much more quickly than expected, she explained "Oh, the wonder of prayer!"  There was such a calm and peaceful spirit in the room - even though there was quite a scramble to get everything ready.  It was amazing to have this praying nurse in the room.  It was just another way I was assured of the wonderful plan and purpose Jesus has for Annaleigh. 

I got to spend about an hour with Gwen, Tim and Annaleigh after her delivery.  And this included the best thing in the world....... I got to sit in a rocking chair and rock my new granddaughter.  It was just the best thing in the world.   Yes, this was a wonderful day for a birthday.  Happy Birthday Annaleigh Ellen!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sun Dogs.......again and a reminder of the covenant!

So this morning on my way to work, I was treated to another amazing display of "Sun Dogs".   If you don't know what a "Sun Dog" is.....

A sun dog (or sundog), mock sun[1] or phantom sun,[2] scientific name parhelion (plural parhelia), is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.[3]
Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun, and in ice halos. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sundogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low.
The first time I saw sundog's was on December 19, 2005.  That day, I was able to get some amazing pictures.  Here is one from that day.
Today I was not able to get to a place to take a great picture.  But as I made a turn around a corner almost to my work, I saw the full arc rainbow around the sun.  And it was stunning.  When you see these you really think that there are 3 suns rising! And this morning they were that bright.  At first I couldn't really see the full arc rainbow.  But as the sun got slightly higher in the sky, the rainbow appeared.  It took my breath away.  Yes, it was a good way to start the day.

All that to say, this was a severe weather emergency day.  The temperature was -8 and the wind chill temp was -35.  Yes, it was cold.  And all the schools were closed.  And tomorrow looks even worse.  It is predicted that when I leave for work it will be -13 and wind chill of -40.    I still had to go to work.  And it was an extra busy day since there were extra children at the center (all those kids who were off of school). And all the schools will be closed tomorrow also.  And I have to go work tomorrow!

But the appearance of that rainbow really lifted my spirits.  It is a lot like seeing a rainbow after a really bad rain storm.  It is that assurance that the worst is over.  And it is a reminder of our covenant keeping God.  A rainbow always causes me to breath a littler deeper and relax and rest.  The feeling is the same when I remember that I am under God's covenants.  What a blessing it is to know that I can rest in the promises of God.  Yes, it is a good day to be thankful that I am a child of the King! And I am so thankful for this amazing atmospheric phenomenon and the full arc rainbow that shined down on me this morning!

Jesus, thank you for all the blessing you pour down on us every day.  Thank you for bringing bright spots into the coldest and darkest time of the year.  Holy Spirit, what an amazing way to remind me that I am safe and secure as a child of the King - and under the covenant.  Keep us all warm and peaceful during the dark and uncertain times.  Thank you for spectacular shows in the sky!  Amen

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Can't get her out of my mind today

Anna Elizabeth Toensing
Gosh, I know that I have blogged over and over about all of my relatives that have in some way, impacted my life.  I have told many, many stories about my mom and dad and their families.  I even did an entire post about this women.... my mom's Aunt Anna.  I have not ever posted this particular picture of her.  It was taken in 1954 - the year I was born.  She died in 1956.  I don't have a single picture of her with me.  I looked and looked and there are simply no pictures of me with her.  I had a dream about her last night and she was dressed exactly like this picture.  Somewhere in my mind, I was seeing this picture.  I just love the flowers in her hair and on her dress.  I know that I am thinking about her because of the anticipated arrival of my newest granddaughter Annaleigh.  In my dream she was holding a little girl.  And that girl was me.

I once told my mom about a dream I had when I was much younger.  I told her I was in a room I did not recognize but I could see a women sitting in a chair with her ankles crossed.  She was holding a very delicate tea cup.  There was a coffee table in front of her, and a much younger version of myself was sitting on a small stool with a tea cup of milk on the table in front of me.  When I told my mom this dream she immediately said, well that was Aunt Ann!  She used to watch you for me in the afternoon and she would serve you "tea" when she had her cup of tea.  During the last year of her life, my dad was very sick and in the hospital.  Aunt Ann would watch me so that my mom could go and visit my dad in the hospital when my sisters and brothers were at school. Clearly this made an impact on me since this memory was brought back in a dream.  If I close my eyes, I can see her as she was in that dream. 

I am so glad that Gwen and Tim decided to use the name Anna.  I know that it is a family name on ALL sides of the family, but tonight I am just celebrating the connection to this amazing women.  And more than that, I am celebrating tonight that Jesus has shown me another reason that I am grateful for the insight the Holy Spirit has given me into my family.  I love that I can see how this women impacted my mom and had a part in the woman that she was.  And then I can see how my mom effected my own life and also my children.  And even my grandchildren.  Isn't it wonderful that you can actually see how important it is to spend time with your grandchildren?  I am so thankful for this Godly, Jesus loving woman who shared her faith and values with the family that God provided her - her brother and his children.  Because of her selflessness, my mom had a great substitute "mom" and my siblings and I had a wonderful "Aunt Ann".  I pray that Annaleigh is blessed with these same character traits of Anna Toensing and is filled with the faith and love of Jesus. 

Jesus, thank you for this reminder today.  Please watch over Gwen and Annaleigh and provide the perfect birthday for her!  Holy Spirit, thank you that you are increasing my awareness of your working in my family and my life.  Help us all to see and celebrate those important people in our families.   Amen

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Unexpected worth........

So over the last few weeks, Ken has been going around the house looking for unusual things to photograph.  It's interesting to me the things that he chooses.  This photo WAS NOT taken by him.  It is my phone photo because I wanted to share about this today.  His photo would be much, much better than this. 
But I was thinking about these "desert cups" (as my mom called them).  I will never forget my mom's reaction when I asked for these during her "clean out" before she moved to her apartment.  I had a very specific list of things that I really wanted.  And these were on the list.  She told me that these were "grocery store give aways" that came with jelly inside.  She could not believe that I wanted some old jelly jars.  But, for me, I remembered having these beside my plate, night after night.  Usually they held "sauce" (canned fruit) but sometimes, on special occasions, they held tapioca pudding. My family will tell you that I love tapioca pudding. I guess that's why I love these glass dishes so much.  Such wonderful memories from my childhood.

Isn't it true that the value of our memories has nothing to do with the COST of whatever created those memories.  I suppose that I would have loved these just as much if they were costly crystal.  But the thing is, we most likely would not have been using them everyday if they WERE crystal.  Really, who uses those good dishes everyday?  So the worth of these dishes for me is the memory.

I am so glad that our worth has nothing to do with our financial status.  Jesus sees our value even when we are unforgiven. Or beat up and dented and dirty.  Then Jesus can clean us up and use us everyday.  He doesn't save us for big occasions.  Even though we are just like this grocery store jelly jar - sort of common place - Jesus is happy to put us into service.  With the presence of the Holy Spirit we are just as valuable and beautiful as the most expensive crystal.  I am so grateful that these really pretty little dishes led me to this important reminder tonight.    

Jesus, thank you for these wonderful glass dishes that hold so many memories.  Holy Spirit thank you for the reminder that our worth is not tied to anything except our value to Jesus.  How wonderful to know that Jesus is pleased to use us everyday!  Amen

Friday, January 24, 2014

From CYC to Beth Moore

Today my devotion began with the Bible verse - Luke 2:52. 
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and men"
This was one of those times I just got stuck on the very first line of the devotion.  My mind started to wander back to a time when this verse was spoken over and over in my house.  At the breakfast table, in the car, at bedtime.  I grew quite tired of hearing this verse recited over and over.  It was the key verse for the CYC program (this was a kids midweek program similar to Awana) that Gwen had joined with her friend Angel.  It was held at Angel's church and I was quite happy when Gwen decided that she wanted to go every week.  Eventually Doug even attended this program.  There was lots of fun and many, many bible verses were memorized!  I well remember sitting at the breakfast table going over Ephesians 6:10-18 (armor of God verses) until I had the entire thing memorized!  And just for good measure, here is Gwen with her friend at CYC!
Okay, enough with the flashback to CYC.  On to the devotion, which I did finally complete.  I really love the overall direction of this study.  Today's title was "Picturing Jesus".  I just love that this scripture about Jesus was used to "picture" him.  I spent a bit of time on the section of this lesson that focused on Jesus having "favor" with men. 
Beth Moore says "people didn't just respect Jesus, they liked him.  The word favor is undeniably related to the word favorite.  It is safe to say that Jesus was a favorite of many who knew him."   I love thinking about this verse in this way.  It does make Jesus seem more human.   And then I glanced at the side bar on the page of this lesson.  Here is what it said............
In today's terms, Jesus was a man who could preach an anointed sermon, then change a flat tire on the way home from church. 

There was a lot to think about in the devotion today.  And I love that I am drawing closer to Jesus by thinking about his humanness as well as his Godliness. 

Jesus, thank you so much for who you are.  Holy Spirit I love that you reveal more of who Jesus is.  Thank you for bringing our family into the CYC program.  Thank you for Beth Moore and this amazing devotional.  Help us all to be willing to see Jesus in a different way.  Amen

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blast from the past..... like circa 1900

Today I was thinking about all of the important people in my life that I have never met.  That is because they all died before I was born.  I think this came off of my post yesterday missing my loved one!  I am certainly not the only person who experienced this.  But I got to thinking about my grandparents.  I only had one grandfather alive until I was just shy of 3 years old.  I really don't remember him at all.  And I had one grandmother who died when I was 3 1/2 years old.  I never really knew any of my grandparents.  I admit that I have always been fascinated by my mothers mom.  As I have said before, she died when my mom was only 2 years old.  Whenever I felt bad about not having any grandparents, my mom would remind me that she never knew her mother.  That was a sobering statement.  The picture above is of my grandmother (my mothers mom) and her mother and sisters and possibly an aunt.  My grandmother, Nora Larson Toensing is second from the left. I believe that the others are from the left, Louise, then Nora, then Effie leaning on Ellen.  The two women in the front are the unknowns.  I believe one of these is my great grandmother, Martha Rockne Larson.  I believe that this picture was taken around 1900.  Don't you just love the clothes?  And the hair styles?  And all of the other "stuff" in the picture?  I sure wish that I could have had a complete explanation of this picture.  Like, when and where was this taken?  Was it for a special occasion? 

And this is why I love scrapbooking.  Even if very few people look at my completed albums now, someday way off in the distant future, maybe a great great grandchild will be thankful that I not only put the pictures on the pages, but I also wrote about them. 

For tonight, I am looking very closely at this picture.  And I am imagining these very important people.  And I am missing them.  It is different than the missing I talked about yesterday.  But none the less, it is missing them.  Tonight I am also thinking about my soon to be born new little granddaughter.  I can't wait to hold and cuddle her and also share her picture on this blog! 

Isn't it wonderful that God's plan includes this wonderful answer to this sense of loss and missing we feel for our grandparents and great grandparents by providing our OWN children and grandchildren?  What a blessing that is!

Jesus, thank you for this picture, for all that you are showing me.  Holy Spirit it is amazing how you bring different pictures into my mind.  Help us all to see and embrace the generations in our family.  Thank you for pictures, preservation, scanning and scrapbooking!  Amen

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When important people are gone......

Today I was thinking about this picture of me, my  mom and dad and my sister Karen, taken in 1957.  It came to my mind at work when I saw this one little girl with her mom.  I don't know what it was about this little one and her mom, but I suddenly was thinking about this picture.  It certainly wasn't the clothes (especially since it is below zero - again - and the girl was wearing a big puffy coat).  But I couldn't wait to get home and find this photo to look at it more carefully. 

Yes, there was something that triggered my mind going to this photo.  I am not exactly sure where this photo was taken.  I was just 3 years old.   I love that my dad has his camera around his neck.  And look how stylish my sister is!  This was taken in 1957 and I love that Karen looks like the college girl that she was.  I love my mom holding me and her big smile!  But it is still a mystery to me why I was remembering this picture today. 

Truthfully (and remember that I promised truth when I started this blog), when I look at this picture, I am just missing these three people very much!  Even though I am sure that my mom, dad and sister are celebrating right now in heaven, there are just days when I feel the loss more.  When my dad died, I wasn't overly surprised.  He had been sick for some years and was in his 70's.  My mom was almost 96.  My sister, however, was only in her 60's when she died and it was a shock.

The last couple of days I have been a bit hard on myself.   And I've been feeling sort of in a funk. No real reasons, just have had a bad case of the blahs.  Of course Ken would say that it has something to do with the constant snow and the return of below zero weather.  I suppose that might be contributing to my general malaise.  And now I am thinking that I just haven't realized that I was simpling missing these important people!  I know that I have blogged before about missing my mom and dad and my sister.  I am sure that everyone out there reading this blog, has their own missing loved ones.  My thought today is....... it is okay to be missing these important people.  

And then here comes my favorite little thought for the day.
Today, Lyn, we believe God wants you to know are needed, you are wanted, you are loved.
So I want to remind you (and myself)  that even when you feel "blah"and think that you are not needed or wanted, and when you are just missing all of those important people who are not longer here, Jesus loves you!  And more than that, there is a plan and purpose for you, waiting to be discovered and worked out. 
I am still missing my mom, dad and sister.  But I admit that I feel much better, just sharing these thoughts! 
Jesus, thank you for your incredible plan, purpose and destiny.  Thank you for you love!  Holy Spirit thank you for the reminders and the gentle direction that you give to lead me to the heart of the matter.   Give comfort to all who grieve and bring an added measure of peace.  Thank you.  Amen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Taking the first Jesus' time!

Today I have been contemplating this quote from my devotion.....

It's not easy to head off into uncharted waters, but every journey starts with a first step. Fear will keep you from taking that first step, from untying the boat from the dock. Fear will also keep you from making new discoveries. Don't let fear keep you tied up, set sail and see what God has planned for you.

This resonated with me since, more than once, I have been given the same advice.  Someone once told me "Jesus can't steer a docked boat.  You have to be untied from the dock and setting sail for Him to steer you onto the path of your destiny. 

I admit that I am one that really likes to have the trip mapped out BEFORE I untie that rope and set sail.   The problem is, I don't seem to go anywhere using this method!  As a matter of fact, the last few years I have been just tied up at that dock.  Not going anywhere and not accomplishing anything.  I have not gotten any closer at all to my destiny.   And I certainly have not felt that I was on the right path. 

But I admit that it is fearful. There is a lot of unknowns when you leave that security of the dock.  And the worst is the fear of making the wrong decision and going the wrong way.  Sometimes I find myself even wondering if I am supposed to be out there sailing at all.  Maybe I am supposed to be tied up at the dock.  Have you ever felt like that? 

Then I read the Momastery Blog today and it ended like this......
You can’t miss your boat. It’s yours. It stays docked till you’re ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else’s. Let them have theirs while you wait for the boat God made for you. God’s never early and never late. And know that love and life are patient. And that God is forever tries.

This was just the encouragement I needed tonight.  I can trust that the Holy Spirit will prompt me to set sail when the time is right.  And more than that, Jesus will not be upset at me for staying docked the last few years.  So if you are feeling or sensing some of the same things I have been today, take heart!  Jesus is patient and the Holy Spirit will get us where we need to be. 

Jesus, thank you for this today!  Holy Spirit thank you for reminding me that you are never late! And thank you for always reminding me that I am not in charge.... you are!  Amen

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ebb and Flow.....

Today, Lyn, we believe God wants you to know that ...

there is an ebb and flow to this life

Trust this peaceful rhythm. If there were constant flow,
we would drown in the intensity. Ebb is as necessary as flow.
I just love that so often Jesus speaks to me in this "Message from God" app.  Today I have been considering this message about ebb and flow.   I love the instruction to trust in the peaceful rhythm.  Yesterday certainly felt like an ebb day.  I was just bathed in peace and as you know, accomplished much.  So it seems kind of odd to say that it was an EBB day.  My spirit says that I was at peace yesterday.  Today, on the other hand, I haven't really accomplished as much. 
Since I have started this new job in October, my work weeks have all been FLOW!  I seem to go from one day to the next and by the time Friday comes, I am very tired.  And I do feel at times like I am drowning.  But then comes the weekend.  I have been able to step back and relax and feel like I can do another week.  Yes, this is one picture of that ebb and flow.
Then I started thinking about the last several years.   Most of the year I am just in that day to day flow.  And then there is that amazing time called vacation.  Yes, it is the ebb time that brings that longer lasting peace.  It holds peace than just a weekend. 
Considering my spiritual life, I can certainly see that ebb and flow.  I just had never considered that ALWAYS being in the flow might cause me to drown in the intensity. 
I am remembering some amazing times with the Lord.  Really HIGH times.  When I was just sailing on the move of the Spirit.  But I can see that I might have started to drown if things had not taken a quieter turn.  You really have to have some down time to assimilate and take in all that the Lord has said and done.  It seems that without that ebb, you might lose much of what was given to you in that flow.   
This has all led me to think about my "ideal" vacation.  I love the ocean.  I LOVE THE OCEAN!  Ken and I have been to the gulf many times, but it just does not effect me the same way as the ocean.  When I sit there and watch those waves ebb and flow and see the movement of the tides, something happens in my spirit.  It feels as if I am "reset" after a time at the ocean.  Even just a couple of days is enough time. 
So tonight I am thankful for the ebb and flow. 

Jesus, thank you for knowing us so well.  You know that we need down time to process what we have received in the flow.  Holy Spirit, thanks for the reminder that we need to celebrate the EBB as well as the FLOW.  Amen

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Results of a productive day.

So I had a very productive day today.  It was snowing outside AGAIN, so Ken and I just decided to stay in.  I decided to do all the end of the year filing.  So I went through the drawer full of papers, statements, bills, reports, etc and sorted it all.  I managed to start organizing for taxes and put together anything I would need for that job.  I then managed to actually get everything filed.  I even went online and looked at all of our retirement accounts and made sure everything looked okay.  I did some laundry, took out some trash, and even spent some time doing some scrapbooking.  I organized some photos by event and sorted a bunch of pictures.  And then I decided to do this on-line professional development class for my work. This was the result of that activity.

I actually got this piece of paper which is good for 3 hours of credit of Professional Development.   I am quite happy about this since I need to have 15 hours by next October and most of the classes are NOT on line and also cost you money to attend.  But I have a few comments about this class. 

1.  Are there really daycare teachers that do not know that preschool children need 2 to 3 glasses of milk a day?
2.  Do these same teachers not know that a food label of "sodium" means SALT?
Seriously, there was a 20 minute section devoted to salt.  The primary object of this portion of the lesson was when reading food labels, sodium means salt.
3.  Have they ever really tried to get twenty little 3 year olds to eat legumes? Or dried beans? 
4.  Serving food family style?  You have got to be kidding me!
(Family style would mean that the children serve themselves out of bowls and only take what they want.  From my observations in the last couple of months there would only be 2 or 3 kids that actually ate a balanced meal.  Several would only eat the bread, some would eat the fruit, others would only eat the meat (if there was ketchup), and very few would eat the vegetable. And that is assuming you actually HAVE things that resemble meat, or vegetables, or fruit.   I would like to know who would be cleaning up the mess if we let the kids pass dishes of food around!  I can't imagine that the person who made that recommendation has ever been a teacher in a room with 15 or 20 three year olds. Get real here.  Maybe if you have 5 or 6 kids you could pull this off) 
5.  And exactly how are you supposed to include peanut butter or other nut butters or eggs in your daily menus when you have so many children with allergies?
****As a side note, last weekend I completed another professional development course on allergies.  The primary purpose of that teaching was use of an epi-pen!  I guess it is good that I took that course first!
6.  Lastly, don't they realize that teachers have NOTHING to do with the food that is purchased or prepared or served in most daycare centers? 

So, my comments aside, it was a productive day.  Isn't it funny how much better you feel when you actually accomplish something and have something to show for it? I guess that is why I love scrapbooking.  There are all of those albums to admire.  And today I also have that certificate in hand to get those professional development hours. 

Jesus, thank you for productive days and accomplishments.  Holy Spirit, remind me to be grateful for the organization that provided that online course today.  Jesus, help me to remember the things that are really important and to let go of the things that are not necessary.  Thank you for a relaxing day that brought refreshment to my spirit.  Amen

Friday, January 17, 2014

Plaid coat reminders........and two things to work on!


I know this has happened before and I have shared photo's like this a time or two, but I just couldn't resist.  The top photo is Gwen and Doug in 1984 and the bottom photo is Ellie, Zeke and Lia from December 2013.  When I saw Lia yesterday in her plaid coat, I suddenly flashed to Gwen in a little plaid coat.  Gwen was a couple of years younger than Lia is in these pictures, but I feel the flashback.

Is there anything better than the joy of children when they are sledding?  Or just outside playing in the snow?  Last week at work, when we were trying to get 14 little 3 year olds into snowpants, coats, boots, hats, mittens and scarfs, it didn't seem so great. 
The problem in that situation is that the children that are FIRST to get ready get overheated before we finish getting everyone ELSE dressed!  And I can tell you that the teachers are so overheated that they do not want to put on their own coats, hats, gloves and scarfs!  But looking at these pictures and seeing the joy and fun that the kids at work have outside, I have been reflecting on playing in the snow! 

The first realization that I had was that if adults wore heavy pants and sweaters, snowpants, fur lined boots, big parkas with fur lined hoods, mittens (not gloves) and scarfs, WE WOULD PROBABLY LIKE THE SNOW MUCH MORE THAN WE DO!  Really, isn't this true?   We are simply not prepared for the weather.  So no wonder we don't enjoy being out in the cold and snow.  Being prepared for whatever we are walking through, is thought number one today.

The second realization was that the snow IS really beautiful!  Today was one of those days when everything was glistening (by the way, this happened because it was so very cold when it was snowing).  When you just stop and look at a small bit of snow, it is really amazing.  Incredible acutally.  I for one have a really hard time NOT thinking about the driving and the shoveling.  Kids, on the other hand, just appreciate the snow - for the snow!  So thought number two tonight is to just be in the moment.

I know that in so many ways,  I am not really prepared.  And I have a really hard time staying in the moment.  I tend to think through every possible consequence and my focus shifts to the "what if's".  So today Jesus reminded me that I need to work on these two things!  In a way, these seem like opposites.  On one hand - be prepared.  But on the other side of this, just stay in the moment.  WAIT A MINUTE!  How do you do that???  Is the idea to be prepared to stay in the moment?  YES! 

I just got the message.  When you are prepared for all situations, you have the freedom to just be in the moment.  Yes, further work required!

Jesus, thank you for bringing me something new again today.  Thank you for speaking to me even when I feel like I have my fingers in my ears.  Holy Spirit, help all of us to understand the depth of these really simple ideas.  Thank you for children, grandchildren and yes, thank you for snow!  Amen

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Grandma Lyn instead of Miss Lyn and grace to begin again!

This is what I came home with tonight!  Painting by Ellie!  I simply adore this picture.  I spent the day with my little sweeties as Grandma Lyn instead of my work life -Miss Lyn! When I asked her what this was a picture of she said "sort of a rainbow.  And grandpa likes rainbows".  I don't really SEE a rainbow, but if she says this is a rainbow, then it's a rainbow!  You can't see it in the picture, but there is one spot that Ellie left a hand print.  Really special.  I had a great day with Ellie and Zeke while Gwen had some appointments.  Lia was in school all day.  After Gwen got home we went to "Pick up" at Lia's school and she was so glad to see us.  It was great to see her school.  The day went much to fast.  Ellie also told me that I needed to go camping with her next summer.  I told her my idea of camping was a hotel and we didn't have a tent.  She told me that I could borrow a tent from the "other grandpa".  Ah, I don't think so Ellie!  I love being a grandma!  But there will not be any camping for this grandma!

On the way home, I decided to stop off at KFC for a quick dinner.  Well, it was anything but quick.  I spent 21 minutes in the drive through.  The short version of the story is that the person who took my order never "entered" it into computer.  The person at the window must have had a bad day.  At one point she said "why don't you just pull around that corner and go somewhere else."  I was not amused.   At least the chicken was okay when I finally got home.  That reminded me that sometimes you need to wait a while for the rewards.

Today I realized that I have had sort of a down first 15 days of January.  But I am remembering that someone said this would be a "roller coaster" year.  That means that in the next couple of days I am bound to start up that next hill to a higher place.  I have not done very well on my journaling.  I have missed more than a couple of days already.  And I am behind on my devotional.  But the best news is that I AM STILL OKAY!  There is grace and these things are not required.  So I will just say, tomorrow is another day!  And begin again.   Isn't that wonderful?  So don't be so hard on yourself.  If you haven't accomplished those resolutions you made on December 31, just say, tomorrow is another day! 

Jesus, help us all to be easier on ourselves.  Help us to have grace to accept what we haven't done and courage to begin again.  Help us also to forgive ourselves for the things that we may have done in error.  Jesus thank you that you ALWAYS forgive us when we ask.   Holy Spirit, thank you for family, for grandchildren and special days of fun.  Remind us to spend time with the people we love.  Amen

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I love word plays.......especially when Jesus speaks into them!

I just love word plays.... of any kind.  And Sunday night I heard one that has just not left my mind this week.  I was with a group of people who were talking about the weather.  Friday was an awful day around here with rain that turned into a terrible icy mess when the temperature dropped.  Sidewalks and parking lots were treacherous.  So ICY was the topic of conversation!   After listening to the conversation someone said, "oh, I see!'  And suddenly we all just stopped.  Did we really hear that?  ICY and I See!  It was one of those moments when the light bulb of understanding came on for many of us in that group.  That ICY awful weather reminded us that Jesus says "I SEE!"   Suddenly we were all talking about how we had seen or heard something in the past week that reminded us that Jesus was right there, listening to us and saying to us "I SEE!"  Sometimes it was knowing that Jesus was hearing our prayers.  Sometimes it was a sense of understanding - that Jesus really "got" what was happening to us.  It was clear that the Holy Spirit wanted us to know that He could use even our conversations about the weather, to make a point.  And this time we got it!
There has been a lot of new posts about an increase in people hearing and seeing exactly what God is doing in and through them.  Personally I have been praying for better ears to really hear what Jesus is saying (and also those around me) and better vision that would see situations from Jesus' perspective FIRST rather than only looking at what is happening in the natural.  As a matter of fact, this is one of my "resolutions" for 2014.  I think it is good to set some goals - targets - to have something to aim at.  So hearing and seeing better is one of my goal.  Remember that top of my list for 2014 is to "Expect the Unexpected"!  Hearing this word play, and then realizing the message of "I SEE", was an unexpected surprise. 
I think I will view that slippery road or sidewalk a bit differently next time!
Jesus, thank you for using our silly English language to make a point.  Thank you Holy Spirit for opening our EARS to hear what you were saying and reminding us that we can SEE from your perspective.  Thank you for that special group of people on Sunday night.  Help us all to remember that you do see and understand.  Amen
PS Again I have missed some days of blogging.  The reason is just plain old TIRED! 
I always miss putting my thoughts onto this blog, but some nights I simply can't even think! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

When a church sign makes me stop and think......

Last night I saw a great sign as I passed by a local church.  The sign read
"We plan, God's purposes prevail".  I loved it!  I was thinking about it all evening.  I realized that this was a shortened, re quote of Proverbs 19:21 shown above. 

This got me to thinking about all the times I make these great plans.  I am quite the planner.  I make lists.  I like to have things mapped out well ahead of time.  More than anything I like to have vacations planned and reserved months in advance.  Yes, I am a type A planner.  And then there was this sign...........

What a reminder.  How many times do I get irritate, perturbed, and downright angry when my plans don't materialize.  When things change or people change and the situation changes.  I confess that I have never stopped and considered that it might just be that Jesus had some other purpose that prevailed over my well thought out plans.  And truthfully, in the end, I am grateful that things did NOT go as I had planned.   I love the picture above.  Doesn't that photo bring a sigh?  I love sunsets, don't you?  I think that the reason this picture was chosen to accompany this verse is because at the end of the day, it is good to remember that God was in it all!  It was His plan and purposes that were worked out in the day.  And when we see these things in the natural world, we understand just how small we are in the big picture. 
Then I remembered seeing this picture on the internet last week.  This is called "the Hand of God Nebula".  The article part about this photo.......
"....taken by Nasa’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array or NuSTAR and scientists are still trying to make sense of the nebula’s amazing shape."
So I will be remembering that my plans are just that...plans.  And I will also remember that Jesus has a purpose that will prevail over anything that I can try to plan.  And I will marvel at the wonder and beauty of God that is revealed in all of creation.  From the sunsets to the nebula's way out in space. 
Jesus, thank you for who you are.  Thank you Yahweh for your plan of creation, for breathing the Word - Jesus, and Holy Spirit for bringing it into being.  Holy Spirit, help me to hold my plans loosely and to celebrate your purposes.  Thank you for these amazing pictures.    Amen

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A found treasure in the bookcase.....

I was doing a bit of organizing on the book shelf in my bedroom and suddenly an avalanche of "stuff" came tumbling down.  As I was putting stuff back on the shelf, I noticed this...

Yep, this was my mom's 5 year diary that she began in January of 1932.  It had been a Christmas present from her Aunt Ann.  It has a worn brown leather cover and a lock that at one time had a key - but no longer works.  This is her writing - Nona Etta Toensing - received from Aunt Ann  Christmas, 1931.  Now let me tell you that my mom would think it was just crazy that I was sharing about this today.  She would have no idea why I thought it was amazing to have this book in my hands.  And I had to look at January 12.
As my mom would say, there is "nothing special" about what she wrote.  Often she just reported what she did at school or in the later years, at work.  I noticed on January 11 of 1932 she noted "It's a real blizzard today!"  But none the less, on the next day, things went on as usual.  No snow day in 1932 - school as usual.   On Saturday, January 12, 1935 she says that she had a persimmon and loved it!  Now considering that they lived in South Dakota, and it was the middle of winter.  Plus they rarely had anything extravagant.  So eating a persimmon was big news!  I would imagine that this was the first time my mom had ever tasted one.  My mom recorded her important family events like the birth of nieces and nephews.  She delighted in playing cards and often went to "card parties".  There are many mentions of  both ice skating and roller skating. On October 25, 1936 she penned the words "Well, diary I am now married.  I am Mrs. Harry A. Johnson".   In fact, that is the last entry in this book.  It was as if she closed one chapter of her life and started a whole new book. 
I think that the importance of this little 3 inch by 5 inch book is that there is a direct connection to my mom.  I can trace over the writing and know that it was her hand that wrote those words.  I can "hear" her in every sentence.  The pages are filled with references to church, choir rehearsals, and young people's society (youth group).  She also saw a large number of movies.  It is fun to see the names of the movies and the particular ones that she especially enjoyed.  And there are many mentions of her friends and family.  For me this represents my mom's "journal".  As I have been making it a point to return to putting "words on a page" every day in 2014, this book reminds me of the importance of my journaling and this blog.  These words will someday be a direct connection to me for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And now there is a connection to my mom.  So when I am sharing about my ordinary days, some good and some stressful, I will be thinking about 82 years in the future when someone comes upon these words, and sees value in them. 
Jesus, thank you for found treasures in my bookcase.  Holy Spirit, thank you for the reminder of my mom today.  Thank you for my family - past, present and future.  It is an amazing thing that we can stay connected to our generations by our words.  Jesus, help me to be faithful to share all that you are speaking to me.  Amen

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A life full of possibilities......

So after a rather tough and exhausting week, I really needed this today........
Today, Lyn, we believe God wants you to know that ...your life is full of possibilities.
Don’t be discouraged by what seem like dead ends. Every moment in your life carries infinite possibilities, just waiting to be discovered. Like a vine finding its way even through the slightest openings in rock solid walls, so will you.
You  might have noticed that I missed a couple of days of posting this past week.  The reason was total exhaustion.  I got home from work so tired I couldn't even think straight.  Even making dinner seemed like a task that I couldn't handle.  The good news (for me anyway) was that it was not just ME having this problem.  All of the teachers said the same thing.  WE ARE TIRED!  I don't know if it was the extreme cold, the fact that the kids have been inside for way to long, the longer hours (because we are short staffed right now), or just because.  But by Friday afternoon all of the teachers looked like walking zombies!  I thankfully agreed with Ken's suggestion to order pizza - delivered last night!  I didn't move from the couch until I went to bed at 9:00pm last night.   And my last post also highlighted another aspect of this last week for me.....lots of less than wonderful events happening to me each day.  Let's just conclude by saying, it was a bad week. 
Yes, I needed that encouraging message that there are infinite possibilities not only out there but also IN ME. Amazing things, ready to show up and change everything.  I love the picture above.  It is actually of my front deck taken in the summer of 2011.  Suddenly, we noticed a burst of color on the deck.  We were really surprised since we have not planted those flowers for several years.  Sure enough, a seed from a long ago plant must have decided to take root and grow under the deck.  Isn't that encouraging?  I love to consider all of the seeds sown in my spirit that may be laying dormant and just waiting to take root and grow.  I especially love the vivid color of this flower that bloomed. 
My plan this weekend, is to take some time for quiet and rest in the hopes of helping to water those long ago sown seeds.  I will be remembering that there IS MORE than what I experienced last week.  Bigger and better and more fulfilling possibilities that are not black and white or grey.  Possibilities that are vibrant shocking pinks that will not be missed.  And just like that one flower, possibilities that spring up in the most unlikely places. 
Jesus, thank you for reminding me that there is more.  That within me, are many amazing possibilities because you are in me.  Holy Spirit, thank you that you give us rest and renewal and comfort in those cold, dark days.  Thank you for gentle reminders and wonderful pictures of your work in our lives.  Please bring rest and refreshment to all of my fellow workers and the children we care for.  Let me reflect your light and love to those around me.  Amen

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Yes, I can clean off a table!

Today I had one of those days.  When I got home I needed to reflect on the words of the picture above.  For a whole host of reasons, I came home feeling like I didn't meet the expectations of many people today.  It was a bunch of little things, a couple of bigger things and just the day..... but in the car on the way home I realized that I started to beat myself up.  You know, that "self talk" that we all do that just makes you feel even worse than you did to start with.  It included things like "why do I even bother?" and "why is it so hard?"  I had to remind myself that it is NOT all about me!  The other people involved in these bothersome things, may well have had some part in the problem.  And then I needed to remind myself of all of the words above.  Especially LOVED!  Because, yes, it was just one of those days. 

Isn't it true that we are often our own worst critics?   We get so down on ourselves and become convinced that all of those terrible things about us are true.  Today - for a brief moment - I convinced myself that I did not know how to wipe a table!  Isn't that silly.  But when I realized that I was speaking that to myself, it really brought me to a sudden stop.  My message today on "What God wants you to know" was "You are what you think about yourself". 

I finally got the message!  And I concentrated on those words above.  I am a child of God.  I am protected!  I am strong!  I am chosen!  I am forgiven!  I AM LOVED! 

And so are you.  Be blessed.

Jesus, thank you for this reminder today.  I know that you are the ONLY one that I need to please. Thank you Holy Spirit for bringing me back to that point of peace and love in you.  And thank you that I didn't stay in that terrible place for very long with your help.   Amen

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When -1 feels a bit like a heat wave.....

Right now it is -1 and when I came home from work tonight, it felt so much warmer than it had been.  Isn't that sad?  At one point yesterday it was -17, but I never left the warmth of my house to experience it.  Today was bad enough at -9 when I left for work this morning.  But the sun shined today most of the day, and if you didn't think about how cold it was outside, and just looked out the window, it looked really nice.  There are piles of white snow that has drifted into interesting shapes.  In some places the snow is smooth and shiny.  Really pretty. 

Today my devotional posed this ........... "write a song today.  Just begin to write and let Jesus lead you to your song for today"

Now I am not at all a song writer or a poem writer or even a real writer.  So I offer up my song for today, asking for your grace as you read these words jotted in my journal. 

From the depth of the thermometer, the sun rises.
Rays send warmth and light and life.
Touching frozen bricks and glass and fingers and toes.
It is well with my spirit, my body and my soul.

The hard iciness of hurt, pain, shame and regret covering me,
melts in the light of the Son.
Every hidden dark corner bursts with His light and His life.
Rivers flood out, like the springtime thaw.
And there is love.

As I typed these words into this blog tonight, I am seeing what Jesus was saying to me this morning.  Here is another picture through the natural of how Jesus works in us  - through the weather.  I see with a new depth of understanding just how much that tough exterior that had surrounded my heart and emotions, that false protection, just got melted away by Jesus.  It had nothing to do with anything I did - it was all about Jesus touching me.  And then the Holy Spirit working deep in my spirit, found all of those dark places that I didn't even realize were there.  Suddenly, everything is different in me and I know that amazing wondrous love of Jesus. 

Yes, this is my personal song.  I know that you all have a song to write tonight also.  The devotional was written about Mary's wonderful "Magnificat" song in Luke.  She truly magnified all that the Lord had done in and through her. That was her song for that day. While she has an amazing part in the Big Picture of God, we all have a part in "His Story".  And tonight, he wants us all to hear his message through our songs.

Write on friends! 

Jesus, thank you for reminding me today of all that you have done for me.  Thank you for Beth Moore who reminded me today to write my song.  Bless all of my friends who take a moment to write their own songs.  Holy Spirit, keep a song in our hearts.  Amen

Monday, January 6, 2014

When the messenger is your daughter.....

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am seeking to draw closer to Jesus in 2014.  I have been paying more attention to the things around me and listening more carefully.  The last couple of days have been out of the ordinary.  First we had snow and now we are in the DEEP FREEZE!  So we have been in the house.  I have used this time to do some much needed things like laundry, and then I scrapbooked for several hours.  And I have spent more time than usual reading.  Today, when I talked with Gwen (who has been housebound with her three kids for way to long), she mentioned that her teaching from the Sunday night youth group was posted on YouTube. (Gwen and Tim are leaders in Fuse, their church youth group).  The series they are doing is called "Behind the Music" and the song Gwen was talking about is "How He Loves".  Here is the link to the video  Fuse - Week One - Behind the Music - How He Loves 

There was so much in this teaching that I learned from my daughter.  Yes, I learned about the message behind the song "How He Loves".  And the take away message is that even in the down times, when things are not going so well, when we are "icky" or life is "icky", He loves us so much!  Gwen made the point that Jesus is jealous for us.  When we are doing something else, He is waiting for us and wants to be spending time with us.  I needed to hear this today.  I will be pondering on this for awhile.  It is a big thought that needs more than just a quick pass.  It was the message I needed today.

It was so amazing to receive this message through Gwen.  I am so blessed to be able to see how Jesus is using Gwen and to know that she is exactly where she needs to be.  Ken and I often joked that Gwen was a perpetual student.  She loves school, she loves learning, and she loves teaching.  Clearly she is a gifted teacher and more than that she loves sharing her faith and reaching youth for Jesus.  It makes my heart so happy!  Even more, it is an encouragement to me to keep on seeking the Lord for that exact right place that I need to be so that I am walking in my destiny. 

Praying you are blessed by this teaching also......

Jesus, thank you so much for Gwen and all that you are doing in her and through her.  Bless those youth and leaders at Fuse.  Thank you for all that you are sowing into them.  Holy Spirit, bring further revelation to me on this amazing message.  Thank you for continuing to draw me closer and deeper.  Amen

Sunday, January 5, 2014

When Jesus calls us to do impossible things.......

So here it is, only the fifth of January, and I am so tired of the cold and snow!  This was what my car looked like this morning when we opened the garage door to begin the dig out process.  Unfortunately our house has this sort of "alcove" which causes the snow to just pile up next to the garage door (and on top of the car parked closest to the door).  I would guess that we had somewhere around 9 or 10 inches of new snow yesterday and today.  And now we are going into the deep freeze.  Like -13 for our projected HIGH temperature tomorrow with a wind chill of -50.  YUCK!  The good news is that I don't have to work and neither does Ken!  So it will be another day of hunkering down and enjoying being inside.

Today I have been thinking about my devotional question of the day........
"What would we do if God never called us to greater things, to things that were more His size?" 

The Bible is full of stories of people who were called to great things that they could NEVER do.  It would be hard to image what the Bible would be without these.  Off the top of my head, I am thinking of Daniel in the Lion's den, David fighting Goliath, Peter walking on water..... yes there are many, many times when God gives people tasks that are totally outside of their ability.  It is then that we really appreciate HIS ability to work through us.  I have no doubt of the power and ability of God to do anything he chooses.  He is the creator of the world.  He BREATHED and the world came into being.  I know that He is powerful.  What is harder to imagine is that He asks US to participate in His work.  Today as I was out in the snow, I was thinking of the power of God that is displayed through the weather.  The weather is part of creation and part of God's plan and destiny for the world.  And it is totally OUT of our control.  So in answer to the question above, I think that we would lose sight of the power and ability of God if he didn't challenge us to experience a tiny bit of it ourselves.   When you have one of those moments when Jesus calls you to a thing that it totally outside of your ability, and then you COMPLETE that task..... well it is an amazing feeling. I remember when I knew that Jesus was calling me to go to Africa on a mission trip.  This was totally out of my ability on so many levels.  And when I returned from that trip I was absolutely sure of one thing..... Jesus had done an amazing work and I was right, it was out of my ability. 

Won't you consider the question today?  Think about what life would be like if we were never challenged to move out of our own ability.  And then consider all of the people from the Bible that accomplished impossible tasks through God. 

Jesus, thank you for the reminder today that you have a purpose for calling us to tasks that seem impossible.  You are God of the impossible!  Holy Spirit, keep me open to the "impossible" things that Jesus asks of me.   Thank you for warmth of home, shelter from the storms outside, and rest from work.  Amen

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Resolving to have the best year ever......

Well I couldn't help but share this clip from the Elijah List by Rick Joyner.  I just loved this post.  There is so much in these words.  I love the very first quote here.  No circumstance in 2014 can effect how good a year it is.  It will be the best year yet if we resolve to get closer to the Lord.  And then we will have peace and joy in that best year ever!  So ponder this...................

Having the best year yet does not depend on what happens in 2014 as much as it does on how close we get to the Lord. Psalm 16:11 declares,
"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

You can know that this is your calling, because it is the calling on each of God's people. It is God's will for 2014 to be your best year yet—full of more peace and more joy than you have ever experienced before, because He is calling you to draw closer to Him. Every year thereafter is supposed to be even more full of the peace of God and the joy of the Lord because it is your calling to get ever closer to Him. All we have to do is follow Him and resolve that we are going to fulfill our highest purpose as human beings—to love Him above all things and to love one another.
Peace of God
It is that simple. Those things that divert us from simplicity of devotion to Christ bring pain, confusion, frustration, and fear into our lives. If we place seeking the Lord above all things, as is basic to those who resolve to keep Him their first love, then every major decision we make in our lives will be based on first seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness.

As we are told in Romans 14:17, His Kingdom is "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
If we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness in all of our major decisions, then we will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord, which leads to true peace that leads to true joy.
As we proceed into these times, the distinction between those who have built their lives on the Kingdom of God and those who peacehave built on the kingdoms of this world will become increasingly pronounced.

Those who have the peace of God will become more quickly distinguished from those who do not. Those without the peace of God will be growing in fear and discord. Those who have the peace of God will be growing in the joy of the Lord, and this will cause them stand out more. You are called to be one of those standout people who represent the Kingdom of God. If you follow your calling, this will be your best year yet.
So I will resolve to follow my calling.  My calling to draw ever closer to Jesus.  I am so thankful for my Beth Moore devotional that will encourage me to go deeper and get closer to Jesus.  I am so grateful to live in this era with the internet, things like the Elijah List and Facebook that are bringing me encouragement and reminders.  And I am so thankful for my friends and family that walk with me on this path.  Yep, 2014 is going to be the best year ever! 

Jesus, thank you for who you are.  You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  You are an ever present and always loving and caring friend.  Holy Spirit, thank you for peace and joy that fill us with the love of Jesus.  Lead us all to grow closer and go deeper into Jesus in this year.  Thank you for the best year ever!  Amen

Friday, January 3, 2014

Preparing for promotion day......

Here is my sweet Lia, way WAY back in 2009 when she walked across the bridge and "graduated" from 2 year old preschool to 3 year old preschool!  It was her first "PROMOTION"!   Today, at work, I spent most of the day preparing for promotion day.  You see, on Monday there will be lots of confusion and probably, lots and lots of tears.  This will be happening because Monday is "promotion day" at my school.  All of the kids who have had November or December or early January birthdays will be promoted to the older class. So even the littlest in the baby room will be losing some friends to the toddler room.  Today I was working in the 3 year old room.  There are 8 friends moving out of the 3 year old room and 5 friends moving INTO the three year old room.  This process requires lots of work for the teachers.  There are cubbies that need new names.  There are folders and charts and name tags that need to be changed. It's almost like the start of a new school year. Taking out 8 kids and adding 5 mean that you have a totally different group of 20 kids. Even the names on the rug in circle time need to be changed (If you think this sounds odd to have names on the rug so that the kids have an assigned spot, you have never witnessed what happens when three or four very active boys sit shoulder to shoulder during circle time.  Not good. Assigned spots allow us to "divide and conquer!") All this to say, it was a busy, busy day.  And I have been thinking about "promotions".

Several years ago I had many, many words about coming into a year of promotions. I remember the feeling of excitement and joy.  I didn't really understand what these words meant in the spiritual, because I was thinking in the natural.  I felt that I would be coming into a higher level - you know, the next grade up!  There would be new things and more to learn.  I remember also thinking about what it means to get a promotion at a job.  Usually a promotion means new responsibilities and a bigger salary.  But what actually happened in that next year for me did not fit my idea of promotion. Things did not go well that year. It was a time of shaking and in fact crumbling. I even lost my job.It really did not feel like a promotion in any sense of the word.  But now, looking back on that year, I can see all that the Lord was doing deep in my spirit.  There was a lot of junk that needed to be stripped away - and that happened.  I needed to have my priorities straightened out and they were.  I thought I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing and where I would end up.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  This year of promotion was all about the plans and purposes and destiny of Jesus being promoted in me.  It was about Jesus being promoted over ME!   And that reminded me of this verse (actually the very old song that I was humming while typing this!).......

Galatians 2:20 -   I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved and gave himself for me. 

And now, looking back at the last 5 years, I am beginning to understand exactly what Jesus was saying to be about promotion.  This has been a 5 year promotion process that has gone deep into my spirit and taken me to a much higher place, closer to Jesus.  And the process is not done.  The words that I have been hearing about "expecting the unexpected" and also drawing closer to Jesus are still part of that promotion that I heard about more than 5 years ago.  I am thankful for the reminder today, that Jesus is in the business of promotion!

Thank you Jesus for once again, using my day to day life to remind me of your plans, purposes and destiny.  Holy Spirit continue to work in me and bring me to the place you desire for me.  Bless all of those little ones being promoted on Monday.  Please help the transitions go smoothly and calmly.  Bless all of the teachers at this school and Jesus, help me to reflect your light and life to everyone that I work with.   And Jesus,  thank you again for Lia and all that you are doing in her life.  Amen

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reflections of "snow years" of the past....

Well............we have had more snow.  I mean MORE SNOW!  I woke up to 3 to 4 more inches this morning and then when I came out of work, there was another 3 or so inches on my car.   Okay, enough is enough!  I was flashing back to the winter of the picture above.   I have blogged about this winter one previous time.... but I just can't help but reflect on that winter - 1978-1979 again.  That year I was pregnant with Gwen and it seemed that every week we had another 5 or 6 inches.  Notice the yard (I use the term loosely) since it is just a snow pile. I could not lift the snow up to throw it on the yard.  Remember I was pregnant!   You can't tell in this photo, but Ken had been up on the garage roof more than once to shovel it.  The weight of the snow was dangerous on the roof.  Yes, that was a bad winter.  And now for the really bad news.  We did not start getting all that snow until January.  And this year the snow began to fall in December.  Yes, It does cause me to worry!  The good news is that NOW we have a snow blower!  And Ken is also home to take care of the snow! 

I've been thinking about this year - 2014.  I was reminded this morning on Facebook by my dear friend Evangelist Lucy Wa Ngunjiri, that the number 14 is significant.  The number 7 signifies spiritual perfection and the number 14 is DOUBLE SPIRITUAL PERFECTION!  Boy, did I need that this morning.  What a wonderful, positive way to think about the year that we are in.  I love this.  I have not had this on my radar at all as I was looking ahead.  So this is the first of many "unexpected" things for me.   I am going to be looking for that double spiritual perfection.
Lucy included this in her Facebook post today......

I therefore declare and decree year 2014 to be a Year of Hope & Divine Perfection. God will PERFECT- His chosen ones spiritually, in health, in establishing them plus many more. Can we therefore make a U turn from other ways and focus ONLY on God to remain the chosen of God?

I receive that and agree with 2014 being a year of Hope and Divine Perfection!  And I will be continuing my journey of drawing closer to Jesus.

Jesus, thank you for all of the amazing people you have placed in my life.  Bless Evangelist Lucy and enlarge her sphere of influence.  Holy Spirit, cover us with the hope of Jesus and keep us open and pliable to all that Jesus is doing in us. Thank you for warm houses, reliable cars, snow plows that keep our roads passable and the sun that breaks through the clouds and brings us hope.  Amen

PS Thank you to Ken for a wonderful end to this snowy day..... hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014

Happy New Year!  Yes, it is 2014.  We have never done anything special on this day or New Years Eve for that matter.   I was looking through our pictures and realized that I didn't have a single picture of anything on New Years.  Then I came across this picture of Ken from New Years of 1955 (I think).  Not exactly sure since there are slides from different years in this particular group.  I love that Gwen and Tim have some kind of "party" on New Years Eve that includes their kids and they have photos for them to remember in the future.   Yes, I love this picture. 
Today was a snow day!  We have had about 4 or 5 inches and more is expected.  It is clear that this is going to be a "snow" winter.  We have already used the snow blower several times and I know that  more is coming.  It was nice to just stay in all day today - with the exception of the snow blowing and car clearing.  However the bad news is that Ken has the cold I've been fighting for the last week.  So not a great start to the year for him!  But the day inside was great for quiet time!
I was so glad to begin that new devotional from Beth Moore.  It is really going to be good to have this to focus on each day.  Today the topic was the name of Jesus.  I confess that I took some time to really think about the questions.  I am not doing this study to rush and get it done.  I really want to achieve a closer, more intimate walk with Jesus through this process.  So today, I am encouraging you to think about the name Jesus and what it means to you.  Say His name and let it sink into your soul.  Let it fill your mind and spirit.  And then write down how you feel about that name after you do this.  I am so thankful for that devotional tonight! 
Jesus, thank you for days to just stay in.  Holy Spirit, bring more revelation to me as I continue to ponder the name Jesus.  Remind us all to stop and think and breathe in the name above all names - Jesus.  Jesus bring your healing touch to Ken and everyone who is suffering with illness today.  You are the healer and the restorer.  Thank you for the new year and all that you in store for us.  Amen