Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Walking in the footprints.....of Kenya

Today I received a wonderful email that included several pictures of Hope-Lyn's 9th birthday. Hope-Lyn is my namesake! This is Hope and her mother, Evangelist Lucy Wa Ngunjiri.  Lucy is the founder of PBB Ministries and a radio personality on Kameme FM.  PBB (Prayers Beyond Boundries) ministry is a large prayer focused ministry that is a grass roots prayer movement.  They are currently in week 13 of concentrated prayers for Kenya. Large crusades are held all over Kenya and people are saved and changed through this ministry every week.  Every week she ministers to Kenyan people, all over the world, through her radio broadcasts.  They sponsor a children's home (orphanage) and school that has cares for and educated many, many children.    Yes, Lucy is one of those people that have really solid and deep footprints that I am walking into.

I know that I have blogged in the past about my relationship with Lucy.  We met in 2004 when I visited Kenya.  She was my translator when I spoke to children and teachers and shared that Jesus had a plan and destiny for each one of them.  Something happened in that meeting - it was certainly a God thing - and Lucy and I just "connected".  I was just a regular women from the United States and Lucy was already quite a well known radio personality.  One thing is certain, Jesus had a plan and destiny for us to be in relationship.  I have been so blessed and encouraged and, quite frankly, challenged by Lucy's faith and trust and wisdom.  If you would like a peek into her ministry, take a look at Lucy's Facebook page.

When I met Lucy, her husband was working in Sudan.  It was not a safe place to be.  He was working in the refugee camps and there was a war going on.  Yet, she seemed so calm about this.  She told me it was where Jesus wanted him to be, so it was going to be alright!  Her trust and faith in Jesus were so clear.  I have had several opportunities over the last 10 years to see Lucy.  My family got to meet her and her husband and Hope-Lyn and I was blessed to have her in my home for a visit. Lucy is convinced that I need to return to Kenya and that there is something for me to accomplish there.  I am just trusting that Jesus will reveal His plan to me!

But here is the thing, I can't really believe that Lucy feels that same connection!  I am always surprised that she remembers me, thinks of me and prays for me and my family.  She is one very busy lady that has much on her plate.  And I know that, other than my prayers, I have nothing to offer to her.  Yet she still calls me her friend.  That is how I know our relationship is God-ordained.

Her email today included this line....."I am dedicating Psalm 20 to you and your beautiful family".

 1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm. 
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!

What a powerful blessing to know that she is praying this for me and my family!  Sometimes the biggest surprise about these footprints is how deep, how firm and how strong they are.  And another surprise is that we don't always CHOOSE the footprints we walk in!  Sometimes the choice is made for us!  I believe that I will be spending some time meditating on these verses.  Then I will continue to walk on in those footprints!  

Jesus, thank you for you plan that brought Lucy and I together.  I know this is one of those times that I just don't understand fully what you are doing, but for today, I am just so thankful for Lucy and Hope-Lyn.  Help us all to see and appreciate the people that YOU have brought into our lives.  The ones that we know have to be because you planned it.  Holy Spirit, open our eyes and give us ears to hear you speak to us as we look at the people around us who have shaped our lives.  Thank you for encouragement that comes through email.  Thank you for friends and family.   Amen

Monday, September 29, 2014

Singing while I walk in those footprints...

Wow, it's been a long time since I first heard this CD.....and it was life changing.  In the course of several months, I acquired ALL of his CD's.  Each one seemed better than the one before.  I had some "favorites" among other music, but nothing really touched me to the same depths as this music.  I am sure that there was a powerful anointing on Terry when he worshiped and as these (mostly live) worship times were recorded.  I have 9 different CD's and I don't think I can choose a favorite one.  I planned and hosted an entire women's retreat weekend using one of these CD's.  It was one of the best weekend retreats I have ever led - or for that matter- been on!  Yes, I love this music.

Now, here's the thing about this music.  Somewhere around four years ago, there was a point when this music was no longer on the market and Terry MacAlmon was not touring.  He had experienced a personal crisis of faith and had stepped down from the ministry.  So, suddenly, all of his music was considered "off limits" and across the board,  it was no longer used in worship.  So, in obedience to my leaders, I stopped listening to this music as well.   What happened to me personally, was that I experienced a dark place as far as worship.  It became so hard for me to even enter into worship, no matter where I was.  This was a difficult, difficult time for me.   One of the hardest things for me was that I didn't really understand why all of this music was so suddenly not good.  Okay, he might have made a mistake, but which one of us hasn't been there?  But does that immediately discredit everything good that Jesus had done in the past?  And where is forgiveness in this ?  After some time, I saw that Terry and returned to ministry and was touring again.  Even after I was told that it was not a good idea to return to this music, I thought I would trust that Jesus would show me if this was not something I was supposed to be doing.  So I began again to listen and worship.

The result was almost an immediate upswing in my spirit.  As a matter of fact, I really believe that it was this music that spurred me to step out and begin this blog.  And it was around that time that I stepped out into some other new and different places also.  So this music represents some powerful footprints for me.  I have walked in them, stopped and then began walking once again.   As I have mentioned before, I may not agree totally with Terry, but Jesus is the central focus of all of his music. That music is a wonderful blessing to me.

One of the most divisive things in the church is how we treat our sisters and brothers who fall, make mistakes, or have some other kind of crisis.  This whole process with this music has convinced me that I need to just keep my focus on Jesus and trust that He will guide and direct me.  And I believe that is a good place for others to stay.  So my encouragement to you tonight is to keep your focus on Jesus!  And that is enough.

Jesus, thank you so much for Terry MacAlmon and this amazing music.  Thank you for speaking to me and ministering to my spirit through the words and melodies of these songs.  Holy Spirit, it is so amazing to know that you will guide and direct us and keep us on that right path.  Thank you for footprints and music and mostly, thank you for Jesus.  Amen

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A different kind of footprint today!

Today was a celebration day for our family.  We had a big party to celebrate Doug and Susie's soon to be born baby!  Who doesn't just love a baby shower?  There is no happier occasion.  The party was held at a beautiful location.  The room was lovely and the views were breathtaking.  From the outdoor deck there were views of lovely lakes, a waterwheel, trees and nature.  It was so calming and peaceful. We had a "woodland animal" theme (very much Doug and Susie) and there were little paw print decorations.

And of course we are all anxious for those sweet little baby footprints!   I am so excited for this baby to come!  This will be our fifth grandchild and each one is so special.  This is the first time that the sex of the baby is going to be a surprise and I am more than anxious to know whether it is a boy or girl! Alas, we have a few more weeks to wait.

I love this verse from Proverbs 17:6............

Children's children are a crown for the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. 

I love this idea of grandchildren being a crown!  Let me tell you I have had my share of tiaras and crowns on my head with Lia and Ellie.  But the thought of the message behind this verse is so much more.  I love being able to see the destiny of my grandchildren.  To watch them grow in their walk with Jesus and their love for Him.  There is nothing better than knowing that there is an eternal plan and destiny that is being worked out through our family.  I remember my mom telling me that she had always thought that grandchildren were the very best...UNTIL she had great grandchildren!  She said that it was such a blessing to add one more layer of crowns on your head.  Having children was just great - like a tasty piece of cake.  Having grandchildren was wonderful - like smooth creamy frosting on that cake. But those great grandchildren are like the sprinkles and the cherry on top!  My mom had 22 great grandchildren when she died.  Anna would be 23 and this coming baby would be 24.  So she had lots and lots of sprinkles and cherries!  She embraced and loved on all of them.

Yes, today was a day of feeling very blessed.  When I look at my all grown up adult children, I get a bit teary.  Seeing Doug today, I had moments when I flashed back to a time when I wasn't sure I would ever see him as an adult.  And here he is, a husband and father.  And seeing Gwen with her family just makes my heart happy.  I am so, so blessed.

Yes, these were new footprints today that I walked in....coming footprints of a sweet new grand baby.  We all just need to look around us to see and celebrate the blessings that are right in front of us.  Take a moment and see the blessing that you are to your parents and your grand parents - yes even your great grand parents.  Each of us need to see and understand this and celebrate it. Today we need to see the place that we hold in our own family.  And enter into the celebration that our life brings.

Jesus, thank you so much for new life and celebration.  Thank you for joy and understanding that comes from knowing our own place in our families.  Holy Spirit, help us all to see and celebrate who we are and the family that Jesus planned for us.  Thank you for Doug and Susie and this wonderful new life!  Amen

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Following in the footsteps of my daughter!

This is Gwen and her friend Angel in 4th Grade.  Angel invited Gwen to CYC (a midweek children's program at her church).  Gwen really wanted to attend, so we added this evening event in to our already packed schedule.  The good news was that sometimes I drove Gwen to CYC and Angel's parent would bring her home.  I had no idea how important CYC would be to Gwen and to me.  I'm not exactly sure when it was, but at some point, the wonderful women who taught Gwen's group, encouraged her to "pray and ask Jesus into her heart".  Now (remember my blog from yesterday) this church did not believe in infant baptism and practiced "believer baptism".  I really didn't care at this point.  Gwen was very clear that something important had happened and she felt changed.  I know that Gwen began to pray for our family.  I started to help her do Bible memorization, learning passages along with her.  And shortly after this, I experienced a very real change in my own spirit and truly began to know and understand the real presence of Jesus in my life.  I know that my own spiritual walk really started as I walked in Gwen's footprints.  That may seem like an unusual thing...for a mother to follow her daughter.  It's interesting because this was just the path that Jesus planned for my life.  I had a strong church background, so many seeds sown in my generations, always knew Jesus was real.....but I had not really been living fully for Jesus.  Yes, this was a real banner year for both Gwen and I.  And for our family.  Sometimes it IS a child that leads!

That church that hosted this CYC program... well, it is not a church that exactly matches my beliefs.  But the core, the center of it all, was Jesus.  And that was enough.  I am so thankful for that little girl who would not stop asking her friend to come.  And I am so grateful that Gwen pressed us to let her attend.  If I stop and consider what might have been had I dug in my heels and refused to let her go to a different church, I get very sad.  I know that there are some people and churches that would discourage letting a child attend a different denomination for this kind of program.  In fact, our pastor at the time, told Gwen that nothing had happened when she prayed that prayer, since she already had Jesus in her heart at her baptism.  Unfortunately, he missed the point that something very real HAD happened!  Again, I think this is an encouragement for all of us to really consider the body of Christ as our sisters and brothers. We need to stand together in unity, and BE the body of Jesus, working together.  Not fighting among ourselves.  When we succeed in that, we will have the power and the authority to stand against any enemy that might attack us.  And let's face it, we need that power and authority today more than ever before.

So these first footprints had the solid foundation of Jesus as the central, core imprint.  And these footprints were those of a child.  But Jesus did an amazing work in these steps.  He not only changed Gwen, but he also changed me.  Really quite an amazing thing.  I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit drawing Gwen and I to come into a deeper place with Jesus.

Jesus, thank you for your great love for us and your plans and destiny for each person.  Thank you for children's programs and the amazing volunteers that change peoples lives every day through your Word.  Holy Spirit, thank you for speaking to children.  Keep us all mindful of the ways that we treat our brothers and sisters in Jesus.  Help us all to tear down walls that divide us and be open to standing on the unity we have in Jesus.  Amen

Friday, September 26, 2014

Seeing Eye to Eye..........sometimes!

I just love this picture I took on Thursday of Anna and Zeke.  They just love being together (usually). Now that Anna is mobile and crawling everywhere, she sometimes gets into Zeke's toys and at that moment, he is not to happy with her.  He told me "Anna is rude!" which is his word for not being very nice.  But I captured a moment when Zeke was playing with Anna and letting her touch his favorite blanket.  Anna is just all smiles whenever she sees Zeke.  I am sure that Anna will do quite a bit of following in Zeke's footsteps. For right now, they see things "eye to eye".  I expect that might not always be the case.  But I know that Anna will look up to her sisters and brother and watch the way that they go.  Yes, I have been thinking about footsteps and the paths we walk over the last couple of days.
When I saw this post from The Passion Translation it was a breath of fresh air for me.  I realized that over the last couple of days I have been thinking about those footprints that I saw.  And it is kind of hard to imagine following the wrong set of footprints.  So, now, as long as you are loving the truth, and have wonder and worship of God you WILL be on the right path, walking in the correct footprints.  PHEW...............  I'm so glad I settled that before I began to write about those footprints.  In fact, I think that is why I got so "stuck" when I started writing about this.  There was a part of me that wondered if all of the "footprints" I had walked in were the "right" ones.  But after this reminder from the Bible, I know that my path has been the "right" path and the right footprints!

And, as far as that "seeing eye to eye" phrase, here's the thing!  I have learned that there is really only one thing that matters...Jesus and who He is and what He did for us.  If I step into some one's footprints for a part of my path, there might be things that don't exactly flow with what I believe.  As long as Jesus is the center and the core of that footprint, then I am in the right place!  I have learned much, and grown much by walking with people who are different than me as far as the "side light" things that seem to divide the Christian community.  One of the saddest things is having one part of the Christian Church degrade or discredit another for one of these "not central" issues.  I think that has weakened the power that we have in Jesus.  So I am not afraid to talk about ALL of the footprints that have been my path.  I am thankful for how I have grown and learned from each of them.

Well, I think that is enough to chew on for today.  I am sure that some of you may be thinking "what is she talking about?" or "is she totally nuts?".  I am convinced that this is exactly what I need to be writing about right now.  This is the beginning of a new year in the Jewish Calendar.  And this year is a year of double blessings.  I am trusting that if you follow along with me, we will both be surprised and amazed by what Jesus is revealing to us.

Jesus, thank you for what you are beginning to speak through this footprint vision.  Thank you for the reminder today that all that is really important is Jesus...who you are and what you have done for us.  Holy Spirit, please continue to speak to us all as we seek to go deeper into the path we are following.  Thank you for grace and love and truth.  Amen

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Walking in footprints of the past.........and the present

So this is a picture of a very young Doug, at that famous walk in Hollywood, California, standing in the footprints of Eddie Murphy.  This was actually the very first "big" vacation that we ever took as a family.  We flew to California, stayed in LA, went to Disneyland and MGM Studios. On our first day we took an amazing whale watch boat trip and we saw whales!  We took a brief tour of Hollywood (can you believe that we were actually there on Academy Awards night and the traffic was terrible.  We had no idea and drove into the mess) Ken got stuck driving around while the kids and I looked at a small area of the names on the walkway.  I'm still glad we did this.  We completed this vacation by driving to San Diego and visited the beaches and the Zoo! One of the most memorable parts of this trip was our return home.  We heard that there was a late spring snow storm in Chicago and decided to try to get on an earlier flight.  When we actually got placed on an earlier flight we did the RUN through LAX to get to the gate on time.  We had four seats scattered across the plane, but we were thankful to get in at Ohare. It was one of the last flights to land before the storm hit.  The next morning we woke up to a thick snow everywhere.  It was hard to process going from warm, sunny and ocean to cold, snowy Chicago.   But now, on to the reason for this reminiscing.  Walking in the footprints.

Today I was thinking about the many, many people that have left footprints...and I am talking about SPIRITUAL footprints...that I have walked into in some way.  Certainly there are people in each of our families that have left imprints that we follow.  Then there are the well known names from the past - the greats - the spiritual giants.  They leave footprints that many, many people walk into.  And then there are those people who are walking with us, right now.  The book writers, the conference speakers, the evangelists....the well known in the Christian world.  Included in this list are the local pastors that reach so many every week.  And there are also those faithful everyday people, like the couple I blogged about yesterday, who volunteer their time and touch so many lives.

I've been stopped at that paragraph for some time.  Just thinking about all of the different people that have left an imprint that I have walked into.  I am having a hard time deciding which person I am going to focus on in this blog!  Yes, I think that this might become a bit of a series, as I work through this thought.  Actually, I am sure that if you all stop right now and think about this, you will be able to come up with your own lists.  And I didn't even include all of the Biblical people that I can't wait to meet!  I have realized how important people in our own family tree are in our spiritual walk.  They leave footprints that we walk in as well as sow spiritual seeds into us and our families.

This is really interesting.  I don't often feel so "stuck" as I am writing this blog.  For some reason this just seems so BIG!  Earlier today I was getting my eyes checked.  I was sitting in a dark room waiting for my pupils to dilate, and as I was praying, I SAW (in my spirit) a very clear row of footprints. At first I was thinking about the popular "footprints" on the sand picture and poem.  But this was very different.  The footprints were deep and solid.  They were like the prints in concrete that we saw in Hollywood.  So I am sure that there is a message here for me and for you!  For now, I think I will just spend some time meditating on the fact that these FOOT PRINTS are very real and Jesus has something to say to us in them.

Jesus, thank you for speaking to me today.  Holy Spirit, continue to show me and everyone reading this today, not only the footprints that are before us, but the footprints that we have already walked in.  Reveal to us, the people who left the footprints that we are walking in right now.  Help us to understand the importance of this message, and to consider the footprints that we are leaving as we walk out each day for you.  Amen  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Facebook.....more than it seems

There is a lot of stuff out there about how BAD social media is, in so many ways.  While some of the points might be true, there is a lot of GOOD stuff about Facebook also!  Tonight I want to share something that has really touched my life through Facebook.  I have 121 friends on Facebook.  Not a big number, but not a small number either.  And here is the thing.  There are a few of these "friends" that I have never met in person, yet they are really some of the most important people to me.

Well, here's a little personal story tonight.  This goes along with truth telling and it is also an important part of my testimony.   Way back in 1991, I met a wonderful couple, Bob and Sue.  Now here's the thing, these two people helped me make sense of my life, when nothing in my life seemed to jive.  At the time, Sue was working as a nurse and often missed the meetings that brought us together.  But every time she was there, she helped me see Jesus and brought understanding to me.  Bob and Sue spoke into my spirit and helped me grow up into a disciple of Jesus.  Bob was an Elder at our church and when my daughter Gwen was confirmed, Bob was the Elder that prayed for her.  He spoke a verse to her that continues to speak to her today.  It was a sad day for me when Bob and Sue moved out of the area, but I knew that they were following God's call on their life.   Sue and I continued to stay in touch via "snail mail" and I loved hearing about all that was happening for them. It was very sad learning that Sue had cancer.  And while I celebrated that Sue was in heaven with Jesus when she died, it was still a sad day for me.   Now here is today's REAL story.  I don't know exactly how I started following Kathleen Mate-Thiede David Thiede.  David Thiede is Bob and Sue's son and Kathleen is his wife.  When I  first found her page, I was immediately interested.  There was so much encouragement and hope and joy in her posts.  She was sharing and posting and praying for so many people.  It didn't take long for me to ask to be her friend.  I really don't know why she accepted my request.  I am sure that she doesn't have any idea (even today) how I found her.  We do have a few mutual friends, so that is most likely what made her friend me.   Very soon, through her posts, it became clear that she was not well. Yet her posts were filled with thankfulness and hope.  It is clear that Kathleen and David have an amazing relationship filled with love. Very often when reading her posts, I will get a flash of Bob and Sue.  Recently she posted a picture on a "throw back Thursday"  that included Bob and Sue. It was certainly a wonderful memory jog for me to see Bob and Sue as I remember them.   I didn't quite know the depth of Kathleen's illness until just recently.  Another one of her friends started a fund raising page for Kathleen....fund for Kathleen Thiede.  On this page you can read about her complex medical issues, as well as understand their great financial need.  

If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is very hard to be humble enough to ask for help.  I am so thankful for Kathleen's friend that started this page.  I can tell you that this couple has a real need and this is not a scam.  Tonight I am just so thankful for Facebook and this connection.  And I am praying that some of you, reading this blog, will be motivated to help these wonderful people take care of their pressing medical needs.  I have been so blessed and felt so supported by this amazing lady that I have never met.  When she says she is praying, I feel those prayers.  What a gift she is to me and so many others.  And Jesus is calling me to stand with them as they seek your support.  

Jesus, thank you for connecting me with Kathleen and David.  Thank you for the connections that we make through Facebook.  Holy Spirit, you put this on my heart  so I am trusting you will motivate others to participate in what Jesus is doing today.  Bless Kathleen and David with the assurance of your love and care tonight. Jesus, bring restoration and health and healing to Kathleen!  Thank you for all who read this blog.  Amen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Amazing what you find when you are cleaning!

These are my Great-Great-Great Grandparents Lars Mikkelson Rokne and Martha Bardsdatter Osgjerd Rokne.  Lars lived from 1795 - 1852 and Martha lived 1801-1857.  They lived in the Voss area of Norway.  In 1850 they immigrated to the United States with their 6 children.  In the family record book that I discovered today, I was surprised to learn that they settled in Chicago when they arrived in the United States.  However, as it was noted in the personal journal of Lars, they discovered that there was a serious Cholera epidemic in Chicago when they arrived.  So they decided to go to the home of a cousin who lived in Woodstock, Illinois!  During the time they lived in Woodstock, Lars worked as a Teacher in the Norwegian school and as a Pastor's assistant in the Norwegian Church.  According to this family record book, he was most likely the worship leader since his journal is filled with hymns.   They actually lived in this area for more than 2 years, until the death of Lars. (I never realized that I most likely have a relative buried somewhere near Woodstock - very close to where I live) At that point, Martha and some of her children, relocated to a community in Iowa, very near the border of Minnesota and Iowa.  She died about 5 years later and is buried in a local cemetery in Big Canoe, Iowa which is near Decorah.

For today, I'm stopping at that.  Let me just say, somehow I missed that my ancestors came to settle in the Chicago area when they came from Norway.  I think that part of the reason that I never really knew this story, is because this line of my family tree is my Mom's mother's family.  And you might recall that my maternal grandmother died when my mom was only two years old.  So she wasn't around to share these stories.  My mom often spoke about how sad it was that she really never got to know any of her relatives on her mom's side.  And I know that she didn't really know the story I just shared.

I was not really surprised to find this today.  In prayer I have been hearing quite a bit about all the seeds that have been sown into me through my past generations.  I love that today I discovered that my 3 times great grandpa was a church worker.  And more than that, he was a worshiper.  It is really something to consider all of the prayers that he might have prayed for his children and grandchildren.  And possibly even beyond that.  It is giving me the added push to begin today, sowing prayers into my future generations.

At a great meeting last night, I was hearing that I needed prayer for my eyesight.  Now I actually have an appointment on Wednesday for my yearly eye exam.  And I confess that I have been having much more trouble reading lately than I should (if my bifocal contacts were actually the correct strength).  I felt that the "eyesight" that I was hearing about might have actually been my SPIRITUAL eyes.  My discovery today just confirms that thought.  The Holy Spirit led me to this book and information today.  I am seeing more clearly the impact of the past on ME and the impact that I can have on the future generations in my family.  This is feeling like a gift today.  I love that I feel a connection to these long distant people, and I know that I will spend some time looking around Woodstock the next time I pass through there.  And there is more to this story, and additional family ties to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Remembering my last post, I am encouraging you all to stop and take a look at your past generations.  Consider that relative who might have been sowing those important spiritual seeds into your life.  Even if you can't now see anything from your ancestors, begin today sowing into the future. And ask the Holy Spirit to increase your spiritual eyesight.  You just might be surprised at what you find!

Jesus, thank you for even more revelation about my family.  Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me increased perspective on the seeds that have been sown into my generations.  Give us all a nudge to consider those from our past who contributed to our spiritual growth.  Thank you for people who take the time to preserve family history for future generations through books and journals.  Amen

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Live each day fully!

So I spent a few hours today creating a game for Doug and Susie's baby shower that is next weekend.  I have pictures of Doug and Susie from their childhood and people will need to guess how old they are in each picture.  This got me thinking about Doug when he WAS my little boy.  I really had to search to find a picture of me with Doug since I was the photographer back then.  This was one of the first pictures that Gwen ever took!  She did a pretty good job I think.  And I am thankful to have this picture.  And I am also feeling thankful that I have another little boy to love on.....Zeke!
Yes, I sure love this little cutie!  (This picture was taken by Ellie, and she sure did a good job, also).  And who knows, I might have another little boy to love on!  (We do not know the sex of Doug and Susie's baby.  It seems that I might be the only one who thinks BOY, but who knows, I might be right!)

I think there is something really special between a mom and her son (and a grandma and her grandson).  There are times when it doesn't seem possible that Doug is "all grown up".  When I consider the health issues that Doug had as a child, I feel extremely grateful when you hear about children with cancer or disabilities who don't grow up.  I have been following another blog for quite some time - Mary Tyler Mom.  If you go to this link, you can read stories of children with cancer (September is Childhood Cancer Month).  You can also read Donna's story, the blogger's daughter who died from cancer.  Here's the thing, FOR ALL OF US,  We need to be living everyday as if it were the last day we had here.  A funeral yesterday, and thinking about babies today brought me to this revelation.

What is really important to you right now?  Does it really matter that your entire house is perfectly clean?  Or are there people that you should be spending time enjoying?  Is is more important to work outside of work, or should you be outside, breathing in the fresh air and watching the birds fly around.  And more importantly, are there people out there who you should call, stop by to see, smile at?   These are all things to consider. We really need each other.  Family, friends, neighbors, even those people we just encounter on a regular basis (the grocery clerks, bank tellers, waitress')  all are important.  I am so thankful that I get to actually SEE and hold my grandchildren every week rather than just connecting with them electronically.  Yes, I think it is time to put down our phones, close our laptops, shut off our tablets and pay attention to the people around us.  And in the process of connecting with people, we will also connect in a deeper way with Jesus.  There is nothing like good fellowship and conversation to bring insight and revelation and solutions to difficult situations.  Yes, we all need that quiet place.  But we also need this kind of connections.  In a balance of the quiet and connected we will find a deepening relationship with Jesus.

So, make tomorrow a day of quiet and connections.  Go outside and breathe in the fresh air.  Look at the trees and watch the sky.  Celebrate another day.  Celebrate your family.  And mostly, celebrate Jesus.

Thank you for who you are Jesus.  For your amazing love and grace.  Thank you for reminding us what is really important.  Draw us deeper into your heart, Jesus.  Holy Spirit, nudge us when we hold on to things that are not important.  Help us to connect with those around us.  Thank you for Doug and Zeke!  Amen

Friday, September 19, 2014

Coming to the end of the day.......

This morning Ken and I attended the funeral for the wife of our friend from High School.  It may seem odd to say this, but it was a really good service.  There were many, many people there. The Pastor was wonderful.  It was very clear through out the service that Cheryl knew Jesus and she was now at home, in heaven.  The best part of the homily was that the Pastor challenged everyone to make a commitment to live fully for Jesus.  He said "don't muck around the edges" .  He then said "this is the time to just do a cannonball off the high dive! Just jump in and be fully immersed in Jesus"   I loved this!  What a great picture!  I doubt that there was anyone sitting in those pews that could leave the church without thinking about where they are personally with Jesus.  There were two more things that I really liked about this service.  First, there were no flowers.  I know that this might sound silly (and some people might be very upset by this).  But I spent more than 20 years as a church secretary and I can tell you, the aroma of "funeral flowers" lingers for a long time.  This family had requested no flowers and I was happy to see that request was honored.  The second thing was the funeral pall (the covering over the casket during the church service).  It was a beautiful white fabric that looked quilted with a light blue cross.  It looked like a warm, soft quilt.  At one point in the service, the Pastor talked about the 23rd Psalm.  And he also mentioned that Cheryl had sung "I am Jesus' little lamb" and he leaned over the casket and said, "and now Jesus is holding her in his loving arms."  It was as if that quilt with the cross was just a picture of that message.  The music during the service was comforting and uplifting, the last hymn was "I Know that My Redeemer Lives".  A good way to end this service.

Later in the day, Ken and I decided to drive into Chicago so that Ken could photograph the sunset.
This was my view when we parked the car.  Yep, that is the Adler Planetarium (with my shadow).  We got downtown in record time for a Friday night, surprisingly by taking all back roads - no interstates or tollways!  And then we actually found a great parking space (thanks to signs posted all along the roadway that said "NO PARKING".  However on close inspection the signs were for TOMORROW!  I am sure most people thought they could not park there today!)  Ken set up his camera and I sat and watched the people and the lake.  And the sunset!
 As the sun dropped below the buildings, you could sense the coming darkness.  But then the lights began appearing on the skyline.   We stayed until the city was alive with lights.   I couldn't help but see the connection between these two events today.  Cheryl's life here on earth was done... you could sense the darkness coming....but then there was the amazing light of Jesus shining through.  And you know that she is alive with Him, basking in His light.    It was a perfect ending to this day.

Jesus, thank you for speaking to me so clearly today.  Continue to bring peace and comfort to Cheryl's family and friends.  Thank you for her church and Pastor Mueller.  Holy Spirit, encourage all of us to take that jump off of the high dive, and become immersed in Jesus.  Thank you for lakes and buildings and sunsets.  Amen

Thursday, September 18, 2014

When they get you in the mail!

So this week we got a reminder of our vacation, in the mail!  We got a bill for $3.80 for unpaid tolls from the State of Florida.  Now, here is the somewhat frustrating thing about this bill.  There is an implication that we just "drove through" the toll without paying.   This is NOT true!  The tollway that we traveled in Florida had no toll booth and no way to pay the toll!  There were a few signs about this Toll-by-plate stuff.  We wondered how the many rental cars in Florida pay their tolls.    Now we are quite familiar with the concept of tollways, living in Illinois.  As a matter of fact, the car we were driving had an IPASS displayed on the upper middle of the windshield.  It has been wonderful to drive through most Midwest and Eastern states with tollways and have the IPASS take care of the toll.  So, this toll-by-plate stuff in Florida was crazy!  My brother-in-law told us we would most likely not ever get a bill if our account was under $10.  But here it is, $3.80 and we get a bill.  Thankfully I could pay this online.  I was just contemplating how much it cost the State of Florida to send out this invoice.  There were 5 pieces of heavy stock paper that included a picture of our car, a return envelope and the envelope that it was mailed in.  I have to believe that they lost money on this! Isn't that typical of a government operation these days?  The one positive thing about this bill is that I really appreciate our IPASS even more now.  No more looking for change on the floor of the car (but in all honesty now you need lots of BILLS to pay our average toll these days.  Gone is the .15 toll, replaced with the $1.95 or more toll).  Thanks to IPASS, we just sort of grin and bear the cost of driving around the Chicago area.

Psalm 25:4-5 TPT
“Lord, direct me throughout my journey,
So I can experience Your Plans for my life.
Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to You.
Escort me along the way, take me by the hand and teach me,
For You are the God of my increasing salvation,
I have wrapped my heart into Yours.”

I love that this Psalm is talking about the journey.  Certainly today I was thinking about travels (and tolls).  Isn't it comforting to know that Jesus will not only reveal the path for us, but he will also ESCORT us along the way.  Jesus takes our hand and then TEACHES us!  Isn't that just the best news?   I know that this lets me step back and relax.  Quite honestly, I have felt a bit off the path in the last several months.  It really helps me to know that even during this time, Jesus was there, escorting me, helping me and instructing me.  I have learned so much in the last few months.  I have learned that change is very necessary.  And that without that change, you might misinterpret the voice of the Lord.  I have learned that there is light at the end of that tunnel.  I have discovered that there is MORE than today!  And I have felt my heart growing closer to Jesus.    

I loved this recent word from Chuck Pierce. The idea of the people mover is amazing.  I have felt "moved" and this gives me an explanation and even further direction.  Read this and then meditate on it.  Let me know what your thoughts are please! 

Chuck D. Pierce: The Divine Replacement Has Begun!
"This is a time of divine replacement so that I can create the sound of victory and cause the field to rejoice. I am causing some to vacate and others to be positioned."The divine replacement has begun.
"I am moving people. My 'People Mover in the earth' has been activated. This is a time that MY chess game is beginning and I am strategizing over the harvest fields in the earth realm. "I am releasing strategy and moving My pieces in place. The winning move is at hand. Be a part of this divine replacement that I have created in the earth. I will now set positions in places."Let My Spirit come down on you. I am anointing you with favor to move into markets and ministries."

Chuck D. Pierce    Glory of Zion International Ministries

Jesus, thank you for helping me see my recent changes in a new light.  Thank you for always being with me, even when I feel that I've walked off the path.  Holy Spirit, thank you for speaking through people like Chuck Pierce.  Give us all ears to hear Your voice when we read or hear these words.  Give us grace to evaluate our own life and the courage to move when you direct us!  Help us to accept with grace, when other people decide to move and grow.  Amen

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Leaving behind the reasoning of the world.........

You know, some day Ellie and Lia and Zeke and Anna might be upset with me for sharing how much they have touched my life.  But, this blog is all about truth telling, and this is simply the truth!  On Tuesday, Ellie was home sick from school.  She had a cold and that "croupy cough" that all moms (and grandmas) know so well.  So instead of just Zeke and Anna during the morning, I got to supervise Ellie also.  For most of the morning she just reclined on the couch and watched a bit of Disney Junior.  But after lunch, she perked up and while I was feeding Anna, she was busy cutting and taping and coloring at the kids picnic table.  I love listening to her as she is busy "creating".
She proudly brought this to me after carefully drawing shapes, cutting them out, and then taping them together.  She told me it was me!  And then she said I could tell by the feet (????) and the "Boy hair" (which is any short hair). How can you not just love this?  I love that I have a really big smile!  And I love that I have red, yellow and orange (which Ellie told me were "happy colors") all over me.  She signed the back and then put this by my purse so I would be sure to take it home with me.  She even left some of the tape sticky on the back, so that I could just stick it up if I wanted to!  Gotta love that girl!

This morning this was on my Facebook wall thanks to the Passion Translation.

Did you hear Him Whisper this to you today?

"I am calling you to leave behind the reasoning of this world, the opinions and traditions of men, and come into true life with Me. You have lived in your mind, now live in My Spirit. The realm of the Holy Spirit is opened by My grace so that you can know me not in your mind but with your spirit. My Spirit will give to you gifts, fruit, wisdom and power. Live in My Spirit and you will find your true destiny."

Now I know that I have been doing quite a bit of sharing from the Passion Translation.  I would encourage everyone to find their page and like it.  You will be blessed.  So today I was thinking about Ellie's wonderful person/gift.  Reasoning of the world would not appreciate this at all.  But I the am constantly seeing the gifts and destiny in each of my grandchildren.  Ellie is filled with compassion and mercy and it already is expressed in so many ways.  She will give you her favorite toy if she finds out that you really want it.  One time she offered to give me her ticket to see Disney on Ice when she found out I had never seen it!  That is so Ellie!  Yes, she is that "Warrior of the Lord" that will be praying and interceding for others.  She is going to effect her world in amazing ways.  And I can't wait to see what is ahead for her.  I think I will be doing a bit more quiet time, just being with Jesus so that I can move closer to leaving behind my mind and living in His Spirit!

Jesus, thank you for Ellie and all that you are doing in her and through her.  Holy Spirit, continue to draw her closer to Jesus.  Thank you for her creative and artistic nature and for her great compassion. Thank you for the reminder to put away the things of the world and to come closer to you.  Help us all to take steps forward in this each day.  Amen

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Expecting the "unexpected"!

So I was concentrating on all of the traffic around me as I was driving home from Gwen's this afternoon.  There was quite a line up of cars that had grown longer and longer (thanks to the Canadian National Freight Train blocking the busy road) and we were inching along.  Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this odd creature that peeked its head out of the tall grass on the side of the road and started to walk closer and closer to the cars.  As the cars began to move, it turned around and darted back into the grass.  When I got home, I actually drew a picture of the animal that I had seen so that I could show it to Ken.  My drawing  looked a bit like a cartoon dinosaur, keeping in mind that the creature I saw was about 2 feet long and possibly a foot and a half tall.  I described it as a smooth, solid black creature without ears.  Ken identified it on his second guess (his first guess was a weasel) - A RIVER OTTER!  And that is exactly what I saw.  Not exactly what you would expect to see!  And the article I read said that the River Otter is a member of the weasel family!  So Ken was actually correct on his first guess!  This made sense with the lakes that were all around the area I was driving through.

Earlier today I had been thinking about that "window" word that I had heard a few days ago.  As I was meditating on that word, I heard "expect the unexpected"!  As I was thinking about those two things together - the window and the unexpected - many things started to run through my mind.  The first time I thought about the window, it was a quiet, calm scene that came to mind.  But today, I was seeing the exact opposite of that.  I was seeing lots of scarier things out of that window.  In fact I was thinking about 9/11 and suddenly that window became the TV and I was seeing those buildings fall.  Yes, that was very unexpected.  So I wasn't really surprised today to see that unusual animal out the car window.

I can't wait to see more of the "unexpected"!  This seems to be a time of seasons changing all around.  Things are happening in the natural!  Zeke noticed this morning that the leaves on the top of the trees in their neighborhood had started to turn red!  He was very excited.  And, truthfully, it was unexpected to already see leaves changing.  I loved this (from the Passion Translation Facebook site)

When Jesus looks at you, he never sees your history, he sees your destiny, he sees who you really are. You are his lover, his friend, his delight, his bride.When you think you deserve a lecture, he gives you a kiss.When you have failed him, when you are your worst, Mercy rises up and says you know I love taking chaos making it into beauty and symmetry. I work the night shift and my plan is Night and day. Evening and the morning is the first day. God always begins in the dark. He's comfortable working to make you more like Jesus Christ.

This was an unexpected find on Facebook today!  I can't wait to see what will be coming around the corner for all of us.  I love that Jesus doesn't see our history.... only our destiny!  And I love the reminder that God always begins in the dark.  Isn't that a great encouragement to us all?  Even if we are in a really dark place, it is a good place because God is beginning something there.  So if it is looking dark and gloomy out of that window, expect the unexpected and rest in the assurance that Jesus sees our destiny and is already working in us and for us!

Jesus, thank you for speaking to me in even little things, like a surprise animal out my car window! Holy Spirit, continue to encourage us during those dark times.  Keep our eyes open to see those unexpected sights.  Thank you for seeing our destiny when you look at us!  Amen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Processing some sad news........ and looking ahead

I just love this picture. This is Ken and a few of our high school friends at one of our recent "reunion" picnics.  Some of these guys were Ken's friends in high school and some were my friends.  And we have just reconnected with these great people in the last 5 years. We so look forward to seeing these friends each summer. Today we learned that one of these old friends lost their wife this morning.  She had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago, but this was still a shock to us.  We did not get to see Steve and Cheryl this year at our annual picnic because they had a family event to attend in Michigan.  It is really something to feel this loss, yet we were not that close to this couple.

I thing like this really does make you stop and look at your life and consider.  I am so thankful that Cheryl knew Jesus and today she is celebrating in heaven.  And I am grateful for the comfort that this gives to Steve also.  It also gives me a push to be more open with everyone that I meet and talk with, to make sure that they have had a chance to know Jesus.  It does make you stop and think.

Ken and I have been doing a bit of talking about retirement lately.  Okay, lots of couples in their early 60's are taking more concrete steps to plan ahead.  I guess all of these things, PLUS turning 60 have made today a bit more difficult for me.

But then, I just flash to last Sunday night.  Every day this week, I have felt the excitement build in my spirit.  It has been a long time since I have had this sense of anticipation and feeling that there is so much more to come!  And I have so much yet to accomplish.  I love these times when you can see that Jesus has given you "advance preparation" for a situation that you will be facing.  It is just one more way that we can see the constant presence and care that Jesus gives to us.  On Saturday I got to visit with a very dear friend who recently moved.  Being with her is so filling for my soul.  We have been friends for a very long time, suffered the trials of teenage children together, seen so many changes in our lives, and now are loving our role as Grandmas!  It is so good to have these joyful reminders today that bring me the assurance that Jesus is truly in control..
Diane and I talked a great deal about the future.  What it might look like for each of us.  How grateful we are for time to really connect with our grandchildren.  What Jesus might have in store for us.  Honestly, I am so thankful for good friends!

Yes, this post tonight is all about friends.  The friends we have who knew us "way back when".  The friends that have grown and changed with us.  The friends who are growing old with us.  I love the passage above.  Yes, friends are a fragrant incense that remind us of God's presence with us, even in the worst of times.

Jesus, you are in charge of the length of our days.  Please comfort Steve and his entire family today as they mourn the loss of his dear wife Cheryl.  Thank you for renewed friendships and new friendships and long time friendships.  Holy Spirit, give all of us "over 55's" the assurance that you have much more in store.  Thank you for reminding us that you have a plan and destiny for each one of us.  Thank you for restoring my anticipation for all that is ahead.  Amen

PS  My thankful journal for today is old friends, renewed friends and longtime friends and new friends!  Yep, thankful for all!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Peace from the Passion Translation......

Today I opened my mailbox to this simply amazing book.  I have used quotes from the Passion Translation in this blog several times.  All I can say is if you haven't seen or read from these amazing books, I encourage you to check out these translations by Dr. Brian Simmons.  Reading each word just brings Scriptures to life in new ways and really gives you more to think about and chew on.

Today this showed up on the Passion Translation Facebook page.....
I love this! And I especially liked that the post also encouraged people to save this image, to print it and to share it!  How great is that?

And yesterday, on 9/11, this was on their Facebook page....
¹Look! Yahweh now reigns as King!
He has covered himself with majesty and strength,
Wearing them as his splendor-garments!
Regal power surrounds him
As he sits securely on his throne.
He’s in charge of it all, the entire world,
And he knows what he’s doing!
Psalm 93:1 The Passion Translation

Ken and I watched a special on TV last night that was all about the construction of the "new" World Trade Center.  I was surprised by my reaction to this program.  The show profiled many of the construction workers who spent YEARS working on the memorial and the buildings on this site.  I was overwhelmed by the end of the program, as we watched the placement of the spire that tops the building.  The spire, which climbs 370 feet above the roof of the building, contains a beacon light so everyone who sees the building, knows that the USA has rebuilt.  It was clear that this was a kind of symbol to show the world that we might have taken a hit, but we have come back.  It came as kind of a shock to me that at the end of the program, I really want to visit that place.  Quite honestly, this is a new feeling for me.  In the last 13 years I have never wanted to walk where the awful events of that day happened.  I have never been to New York City and every time that Ken and I talk about visiting, we make a list of "must see" places.  Until last night, the 9/11 site was not on the list.  After that program last night, I can't imagine being in New York City without seeing that place.  I saw the events of 9/11 on television, as it happened.  I watched the buildings fall.  I did not have anyone close to me, personally effected by a lose on that day.  But, we all felt the trauma and fear.  I remember opening my Bible and looking for a verse that might settle my spirit.  And I ended up in Psalms.  I wish I had had the above translation on that day.  What comfort and peace there is in knowing that God is in charge of IT ALL - THE ENTIRE WORLD and He knows what he is doing.  

So tonight I am so thankful for Dr. Brian Simmons and the Passion Translation.  I am grateful for the producers of the program I saw on the construction of the new World Trade Center.  And I am thankful for Facebook that brings me these amazing words each day (AND keeps me in touch with so many friends and family).  

Jesus, thank you for the reminder yesterday and today that YOU are reigning over the entire world! Holy Spirit, keep us all in peace as we remember the events of 9/11.   Help us all to stay grounded in your Word as we watch events in the world.  Please bless Dr. Simmons and bring him encouragement and strength as he walks out his destiny.  Amen 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A time of Jubilee

So today we went directly from Summer into late Fall, sort of overnight.  It was actually COLD at the bus stop this morning with the kids.  As a matter of fact, I had to hit the closet shelves for the kids winter clothes.  Out with the shorts and in with the sweatshirts!   If we know one thing, living in Chicago, it is "if you don't like the weather, just wait a couple of hours, cuz it is bound to change!"
As a matter of fact, I can think of a couple of times that we experienced all 4 seasons in one day! I am sure that we will have some warmer weather in the next month, but for tonight, our heat is running!

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of "Jubilee".  This is a time of total rest.  It is also a time of celebration and worship. And it was a time of freedom and restoration.    Recently, it was suggested to me, that this might be my time of Jubilee. I have been blessed with this time of respite from work. And quite honestly, this is the first time that I have not been working since I had tiny babies.  And to top it off, I have the chance to spend time with my grandchildren as well as helping out my children.  What a blessing!  As I have been considering this jubilee, I have felt like it has been a time of entering into that quiet place in a whole new way.  With the arrival of the Jewish New Year, there have been many articles about a shift happening.  Last year (from September of 2013 to September of 2014) was the year of the door. This New Year is the year of the window!  This is what one prophet said about this.......

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we'll transition from the year of the door to the year of the window. For 2015 the Jewish calendar shows the year 5775 as HEY (a window, looking, hands lifted, beholding something great, reveal.) Two Thousand and Fifteen will be a year of seeing: a year of watching and tremendous revelation. We will need to stand strong in our identity in Christ as we speak to the mountains that are revealed. As we take authority in Christ we are going to see huge advancements in the Kingdom of God, but not without a battle.We're also going to hear sounds of Jubilee like we've never heard before. We're going to hear sounds of victory and new music coming to the earth. New worship teams and worship leaders will emerge and lead us into the presence of the Lord like never before. We're entering a season of harvest and reward following hard work – a year of Jubilee. When we take a break from constant work and focus on Jesus and His window of revelation, our faith and trust are stretched, and consequently they grow. For those who put total trust in God there will be a rich reward. This will be a year of serving from a place of rest.

Isn't this exciting?  I am so happy that we are going from the door to the window.  And I love the further ideas of looking, hands lifted, beholding something great and and to reveal.  It is especially wonderful to know that this is a time of rest.  I have this picture in my mind of a beautiful scenic mountainside, with green grass and trees, flowers scattered around, and a lovely lake in the distance.  I see myself sitting in a wonderful, comfy chair just gazing out this floor to ceiling window, totally at rest. And it is a great place to have that quiet time!

Jesus, thank you for the seasons!  What a wonderful reminder that change is good.  Holy Spirit, thank you for the revelation of jubilee for me and the connection to the New Year.  Help us all to enter into a time of rest so that we can grow in our faith. Amen

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Find your quiet place....

This is one of my favorite "quiet places".  Another little nugget from the speaker on Sunday night was to "find your quiet place".  He talked for a long time about the need for us all to get away with Jesus and just be.  He even used the picture of putting your thumbs in your ears and your palms spread over your eyes to help you get to that quiet place.  Certainly there is a lot of "noise" in our world today.  We have cell phones pinging and ringing at us 24 hours a day.  There are screens around us every way we turn.  It is hard to get to that silent, quiet place.  It was a good reminder of the importance of quality time in the word and just meditating on Jesus.
This is one of my favorite "quiet places".  Now this picture is actually more than 5 years old when my car was brand new- still on the lot!  But it has been one of the most wonderful places of worship and prayer as well as quiet.  I  have spent a great deal of time in this car, and really love just driving along in the quiet.  

I know that this is a time of shaking, fears, and general unrest and lots of stress.  And that is the reason that we MUST take time to be in that place of deep intimacy with Jesus.  We have to get away and be immersed in the Word - the Bible.  If we don't know what our calling is, what our anointing is, or where we are supposed to be going, the only place we have any hope of getting answers, is in the quiet stillness with Jesus.  

What a great reminder.  You know, I remember when I first tried to do "daily devotions" and I found it tiresome and really not very fulfilling.  It was only when I began to just read the Bible, and then sit quietly and meditate on the things I had just read and think about Jesus, that I began to "get it".  So I just encourage you to press on and find that place - even if it may be a bit unconventional.   

Now for my thankful things for today.... 1. Thankful for places of quiet in my life. 2. Thankful for my three "granddogs" - Sammy, Kylie and Chandler (who greeted me today with lots of love)

  3.  Thankful for ATM's that allow us access to cash at anytime! 

Jesus, I love spending time just being with you.  Thank you for showing us that we can get away with you no matter what is happening around us.  Holy Spirit, keep us hungry for those times of quiet with you.  And Jesus, remind us that it is never too late to begin again.  Amen

Monday, September 8, 2014

More birthday surprises..... and more insight from last night

Today I am starting my blog with my grateful items!  I have been so surprised to get several birthday cards in the mail!  Today I got this darling card from my sister Julie.  I love this sweet message that sisters belong to each other.  And, as Julie said on the inside of the card, even though we are far apart in distance, we are connected.  I couldn't help but think of Lia and Ellie (and I am sure Anna will join the mix as soon as she is a bit older).
This was the first day of school this year.  Yes, they do belong to each other.  This card and reminder from my sister Julie was just what I needed and made me feel connected to her, in spite of the miles that separate us.  So the cards are number 1 tonight, and sisters are number 2!  Yes, I am so thankful.  And my number 3 is the fresh from the garden tomatoes and green pepper that a friend gave me last week.  Tonight I made Ken's very favorite dish (Chicken Paprikash) with those yummy veggies!   

Okay, I mentioned that the speaker last night shared a bunch of thoughts that would have me thinking for a long time.   So I have decided to share my reflections as I go through these short little phrases that I noted.  Tonight.... "Don't fight where you are NOT called.  It is not your concern. Stay in your calling!"  I thought about my post recently after a friend asked me what I thought about the problems in the world.  I liked this answer!  I am not called to fret or worry about anything!  In fact we are told very clearly NOT to worry.  Or be concerned.  And I was thinking about how great this advise really is.  Any time that I think about getting involved in some kind of battle, I need to stop and ask myself if this is something that I have been CALLED to be involved with.  In thinking back over the last few issues that I have faced, there is at least one that I should just have left alone.  It was something that was outside of my calling - it should not have concerned me.  And even when I am feeling a bit unsure of exactly what my called is, I am fully aware of those things that are NOT my calling.  Wow!  That is such a freeing thought.  I am thinking about all of the issues that I do not have to be concerned about.  Yes, I can breathe out now.  

Jesus, thank you for the reminder that there are lots of things happening in the world that are NOT my concern.  Holy Spirit, help us all to know what and where are calling is so that we can fight the fights that we are supposed to.  Thank you for the words of wisdom that give us so much to think about.  Jesus, thank you for my sister and friends that blessed my birthday.  Amen

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Interesting way to start a new year!

So quite a bit ago I shared this picture on one of these blogs.  It doesn't matter that I already shared this, I need to share this again.  Today.  I have just gotten home from a meeting that was really life changing for me.  I suppose that it is bold (and possibly a bit stupid) to announce that truth.  Yet, there it is.  On paper.  For all to read and consider and judge.  Tonight, that just doesn't matter to me at all.   That red stamp, on the flyleaf page of my very first Bible, is part of tonight's story.  It has been part of my life since 1962.

The meeting tonight began with a prophetic song that contained these words...
Enough is Enough! Enough is Enough!  The Lion of Judah is about to play Rough!

I have certainly felt that enough is enough, many many times.  Haven't we all?  I love this truth!  Jesus, the Lion of Judah is about to play ROUGH!  Can't we all think of "stuff" in our life, or around us or in the world.....things that Jesus needs to play ROUGH about?  This song set the tone for the night.

And then the guest speaker for the night came to the front.  I had never heard him before, but I had heard "OF" him.  He has an unbelievably big ministry in China.  Yes, China.  And his message tonight was to activate the anointing in each of us.  Not to anoint us, but to ACTIVATE the anointing that has already been sown into us.  How could I not think about that stamp in my first Bible? That red stamp from a missionary to China. Something that I have never forgotten.  That was the first time that someone spoke an anointing over me.......someday you will be a missionary. 

Okay, moving on.  This man shared many really amazing thoughts that I know I will be thinking about, meditating on and considering over the coming days.  He spoke clearly that the church in America is moving into a new season.  It is happening right now.  And we need to have all of those anointings within us activated so that we can fulfill our destiny in this new season.   And he spoke about the call on women.  I can't remember the last time (or if ever) I heard someone speak more clearly about Jesus promoting women and using women very powerfully in ministry.  As he was speaking these words about anointing on women, he walked up to me and put his hand on my head.  WOW!   He said that Satan is after the women because he knows exactly how powerful the women are.  At the end of the meeting, he literally walked around the entire room and prayed for every person to activate their anointing.  He prayed the apostolic over me.  

After this, several other people prayed for me.  All of these prayers were powerful.  Really more than I can begin to write about tonight.  And then, just as I was walking out of the room, the speaker turned to me, pointed at me and said "Rivers run deep and clear.  Streams of living water running out of you".  

Well, that just about does it for me.  That tag line about the streams of living water is my own very special "key" that announces to me that this message is a true message for the Lord.  That message from John 7:38 is my life verse and the meaning of my name.  

So, yes, I believe that something very real happened tonight.  I don't know exactly what that means, but I am sure that it was very true and powerful.  

This message is not just for me.  It is for each person reading this blog.  There are many, many prayers that have been prayed over you and for you.  There have been anointings and promises and dreams and visions that have been sown into you.  This is the time for all of those things to be activated and ignited in you!  I encourage you to stop right now, and receive the activation of all of these things deep in your spirit.  Say YES! to all that Jesus has for you to do.  This is a new season and it is a time for us to get up and get going!  

Jesus, thank you for providing the exact message that I needed!  Thank you for bringing this speaker to my area.  Give us all the grace to receive this activation and to move out and do as we are instructed.  Amen

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The bad, the good and the.....GREAT!

So I didn't post a blog last night.  And the reason was, well the BAD of this post.  We have a very large open green space behind our house and a small creek that separates us from older homes on the other side.  I knew we might be in for trouble, late on Friday afternoon, when I saw a large tent and several smaller tents on one of the properties across the creek from our house.  People began to arrive around 5:00 and by 6:00 there was a LARGE, very noisy group.  The music was so loud that at 7:30 we called the police to complain and they could hear the music during the phone call!  Well, the music quieted down, for a time.  But at 11:00pm the wall of our bedroom was vibrating with the beat. I couldn't even say that I enjoyed the music, since it was all in Spanish!  And it was still going on at 11:30pm.  Needless to say it took me a long time to fall asleep and I woke up this morning with a headache.  Okay........ that is the explanation of the BAD.  And I did struggle a bit with my grateful list... but here it is   1. I am thankful for great friends and wonderful times talking over lunch! 2. I am grateful for protection during the strong storms.  3.  So thankful for my E Bible that allows me to always have a Bible with me (on my cell phone).

Now, on to the good....
Today Ken and I spent the better part of the day at his workplace!  They had an employee open house and tours of the new facility.  This is the view out of windows from the actual offices on the 10th floor of a large office building.  And this is certainly good.
It is really nice to have such a good view.  And here is Ken enjoying that view from the kitchen area of the office.   HOWEVER,  he doesn't get to spend much time here.  Unfortunately, his work space - the Metrology Lab is actually in the basement of the building.  Yes, that's right - the basement.
And here is one picture of Ken in the lab.  But that brings me to the GREAT of this day.  I loved getting to sit in the corner (I actually was sitting in the corner out of the way) and listen to Ken give guided tours of his lab.  He was able to interest everyone with the information he shared - even the littlest child.  He gave several demonstrations of the equipment that he works with every day, including one tester that measures the amount of air that will pass by the top of a pen if it were to be swallowed.  (After telling ALL of the kids that they should NEVER swallow anything, one little girl said she learned her lesson after swallowing a quarter!)  There were many more people than Ken expected.  He did his little tour 5 different times.  Yes, this was a GREAT part of today.  It is really neat to see Ken in his work place and it was good to see the interest of the many, many people who stopped down to see what actually happens on the lower level! 

Which brings me to my thankful list for today....1.  I am so thankful for Newell Rubbermaid and Ken's job.  2.  I am grateful for amazing views from 10th floor windows.  3.  SO thankful for quiet and peace tonight!

Yes, I have had a really nice birthday - today is actually the day.  Ken and I enjoyed a nice dinner out at the place of my choice - (I love Clucks and Fries!).  And now I am enjoying the quiet.   

I want to end this post with this bit of really good news......

News flash! God has sent angels with special orders to protect you! They're big and they're not to mess with! Listen to this:
"God will send His angel-messengers
With special orders to protect you wherever you go
Defending you from all harm.
If you walk into a trap they’ll be there for you...
And keep you from stumbling!
You’ll even walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of darkness,
Trampling every one of them beneath your feet!
For here is what the Lord has spoken to me:
“Because you have chosen to be My great lover,
I will greatly protect you.
I will set you in a high place,
Safe and secure before My face."
Psalm 91:11-14 The Passion Translation

Jesus, thank you for reminding us of the truth of who you are and what you have done for us.  Thank you for good days that follow bad nights.  And thank you for great endings.   Holy Spirit, help us all to appreciate the work that has been provided for our families.  Jesus thank you for those amazing angels that you dispatch to protect us.  Amen