Monday, May 31, 2010

Grateful for our freedoms.....

"Lord, we pray for these brave men and women standing in harm's way so that we can live freely and continue to enjoy the blessings you shower upon us in this land. May they all come home soon. Forgive me Lord for not praying for them more often, I sometimes forget they are still over there, but they are. There is so much we don't see. So much of their daily lives that we have no clue about, the sacrifices they make for us. May we join with them in prayer today....."

Counting the tremendous blessings of freedom and those who have paid the ultimate price with their lives, now and in years past. Their courage in the face of fear, death and destruction is unimaginable to me in my safe little life.

#323 walking about freely in my own neighborhood, #324 freedom to worship where I please without fear, #325 being able to sleep without fear of someone coming to throw me out of my own home, #326 free to live and work without fear of someone taking away everything I own, #327 free to shop in stores where food is plentiful, or to grow my own food...#328 being able to take a breath and know I won't hear gunshots, bombs outside my window, #329 enjoying the freedom and privilege of learning and knowing our children can go to school unthreatened #330, being able to enjoy the luxury of time off and vacations......I wish those in the military could take a long one right now. They deserve it!

Most of all, I celebrate the true freedom we have in Christ today, for it is His grace, His love, His sacrifice, that makes us free indeed! What an unspeakable gift.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

Continuing the gratitude counting daily....
holy experience

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How Big is Your God?

Even now, I can hear my former Pastor Gary Kinnamon's voice ask the question, "How Big is Your God?" I had heard many messages before on that subject, but for some reason, he brought it home in such a way that I never forgot it.

Being human, I still let circumstances overwhelm me, threaten to make me forget that God is bigger than anything I can ever face, but I never really forget it for long. My prayer is that you will let this one thing sink in today. I have seen God move in ways and situations that I thought were immovable, and I am sure you have too.

He is bigger than:

Any addiction
Any broken relationship
Any illness
Any lost dream
Any circumstance life can throw at us....anything!
"Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:26,27
He is with you now, ready. Waiting in the wings to come to your aid....just ask. He may not eliminate the "problem" although sometimes He does, He will be with you in the midst of whatever it is you're facing. We have that assurance in His Word! We can rest in that. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life...." and "The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever-"
Psalm 138:7,8

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The best gift....

Ready to go to Yosemite!

I didn't know how she would respond when she saw me come down the escalator on my arrival. Being a special needs kid, you can never be sure. I was hopeful, I was expectant. Mom had told her I was coming and she said her face had lit up in response. She is my wonderful niece, Lauryn. Now 7, she was a late talker, and has some of the characteristics of autism, but is also very demonstrative, loving and engaged with those she is closest too, so no one is quite sure. She does have a fear of floaties in pools, balloons and popping gum and for a long while, men with beards.

One thing we know, she never misses a thing. She may not have a full vocabulary yet, but she makes herself known in every other way. Every new word she speaks is full of wonder for us all.

She saw me when I was at the top, coming down, and she ran to her poppa (Grandpa, her all-time favorite) excitedly. She was holding her doll, jumping up and down, running to and fro, not knowing what to do. When I got to the bottom she ran up, holding out her baby with her eyes closed, (what she does when she is embarrassed but still wants to make contact) and held her out for me to take, which I did, overjoyed to have received her most precious possession! I can't think what would have happened if I had rejected her gift....left it lying, the thought is unbearable!

She didn't say "I love you," audibly but she gave me what was closest to her heart. She is very attached to her "babies" right now. They are not just dolls to her but her very own babies. She talks to them, feeds them, takes them everywhere....and she didn't hesitate to trust me with them. I will never forget that one most precious moment at the airport.

On my last day, when I left her in her classroom, I wanted to wail like a baby myself. But I swallowed my grief for another time. The time was this prayer. We bonded again these past two weeks, her love is won with repeated attempts at closeness. At not giving up. Little by little trust is gained. I wait for the day she will throw her arms around me and say, "I love you, Aunt Lori" and hug me tight, I admit, I want that for me, when she is ready. But for now, I am happy with all the little ways she shows me.

God wants us too, when we are ready, to give Him our most precious possession too, our hearts!

Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Friday, May 28, 2010

The hope of God is eternal

Bridalveil Falls,Yosemite National Park. Being here is like visiting an old friend, having camped there many times over the years.

I found these verses today when I was reflecting on the last two weeks many memories made, so much joy, and also the sorrow of parting, always mingled in. Why must life be so hard for so many? Why must we always have problems, sadness, mixed in with all the goodness? God answered me this way through the prophet Isaiah....

"Yes, my child, right now in this life there is always some sorrow, some disappointment mixed in with all the blessings, but, look now at what I have done! I have pointed to the hope and assurance that there will come a time when all will be restored, as it was meant to be, for I have promised it! And in the meantime, I have poured out My Spirit who gives a comfort that will never leave you. So that in spite of everything, you can have this perfect hope, and have it now."

"Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field. And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places; and it will hail when the forest comes down, and the city will be utterly laid low.

How blessed will you be, you who sow beside all waters, who let out freely the ox and the donkey." Isaiah 32: 15-20

This is the hope of His Word and it never fails! It cuts through everything with a hope that will last beyond this life, and this world. It will never die.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I am back home in Arizona! Soon to be blogging again and getting all caught up with everyone.....Can't wait. What a blessing to be missed in two places but what emotional turmoil as well, part and parcel of having family and friends in more than one place. Due to some winds and tempurature variation, my landing was bumpy. I am not in love with flying so I was very glad to get back on the ground! Look for a new post tomorrow!

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27

Friday, May 21, 2010

In the stillness...

As I was swinging in the twilight, the patio lights flicked on. My folks have always had lights around the back deck, sometimes they change, but always they are there. Dad turned them on for me because he knew I was sitting out in the swing to reflect, to end the day.....Something tells me like the breath in the trees that this moment will not come again. The particular wind in the trees, snatch of neighbor girls singsong voices, in them I hear my own voice mingled in from years ago. The gentle clink of windchimes, the single bullfrog, only will happen just this way, tonight. Circumstances may be similar, but my feelings, thoughts, sentiments, frame of mind, just this way, just tonight.

The stillness envelopes me as I remember things of long ago. I see the spot in the yard where the clothesline stood. I see the sheet drapped over it and I see us fishing for prizes at my birthday party once. My brother and his friend Doug attaching prizes behind the sheet.....I feel the sadness that comes when past and present collide, and a bit of joy too. This is life, and the breath of God flows through every moment we exist.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account." Ecclesiastes 3:10-15

Monday, May 17, 2010

Multitude Mondays

For several centuries the Celtic church of Ireland was spared the Greek dualism of matter and spirit. They regarded the world with the clear vision of faith. When a young Celtic monk saw his cat catch a salmon swimming in shallow water, he cried, "The power of the Lord in in the paw of the cat." The Celtic chronicles tell of the wandering sailor monks of the Atlantic, seeing the angels of God and hearing their song as they rose and fell over the western islands. To the scientific person they were only gulls and gannets, puffins, cormorants and kittiwakes. But the monks lived in a world in which everything was a word of God to them, in which the love of God was manifest to anyone with the least creative imagination. How else, they wondered, would God speak to them? They cherished the Scriptures, but they also cherished God's ongoing revelation in His world of grace. "Nature breaks through the eyes of a cat," they said. For the eyes of faith, every created thing manifests the grace and providence of Abba. Brennan Manning, "The Ragamuffin Gospel"

Continuing the gratitude counting daily....
holy experience

#315 getting reaquainted with old friends, #316 overhearing a Mom's whispered prayers in the dark, #317 the beauty of our animal friend's companionship, #318 phone calls that draw us near even when we are far away, #319 loving hands held together in prayer, #320 sitting in the porch swing at twilight, #321 a Dad who still wants to make sure I have enought covers......some things never change, #322 Gods amazing grace which covers all.....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hope in exile....

Originally posted last year....

Jeremiah 31:1-6

Jeremiah 31
1 "At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people."

2 This is what the LORD says:
"The people who survive the sword
will find favor in the desert;
I will come to give rest to Israel."

3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, [a] saying:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

4 I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines
and go out to dance with the joyful.

5 Again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them
and enjoy their fruit.

6 There will be a day when watchmen cry out
on the hills of Ephraim,
'Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the LORD our God.' "

When I read Jeremiah 30-33 the compassion of God seemed to leap from the page this morning as I was reading in my "prayer closet" I selected just a portion above....when I think of how many times Israel turned their backs on God and yet, He reached out to them with hope and healing, longing for their restoration.

What are you exiled from today? A child, a church, God, a marriage, a friendship? It seems in life there are many forms of exile we face, but God seeks to restore us; always there is hope. Cling to His word, there is promise there.

I close with this verse, again from Jeremiah, 33:3...."Call to Me, and I will answer you, and i will tell you great and mighty things,which you do not know."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Once again I am on my way to California to see friends and family....Hopefully I will get some posts up during the next two weeks! Here is a good "flying" verse:
I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth.
Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered. Psalm 108:3-6
I am glad the He will be watching over me up there....I am not crazy about flying!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gratitude for Grace

A man walked into the doctor's office and said, "Doctor, I have this awful headache that never leaves me. Could you give me something for it?

"I will," said the doctor, "but I want to check a few things out first. Tell me, do you drink a lot of liquor?"
"Liquor?" said the man indignantly. "I never touch the filthy stuff."
"How about smoking?"
"I think smoking is disgusting, I've never in my life touched tobacco."
"I'm a bit embarrassed to ask this, but---you know the way some men are--do you do any running around at night."
"Of course not. What do you take me for? I'm in bed every night by ten o'clock at the latest."
"Tell me," said the doctor, "the pain in the head you speak of, is it a sharp, shooting kind of pain?"
"Yes," said the man. "That's it--a sharp shooting kind of pain."
"Simple, my dear fellow! Your trouble is you have your halo on too tight. All we need to do is loosen it a bit."

The trouble with our ideals is that if we live up to all of them, we become impossible to live with.
The tilted halo of the saved sinner is worn loosely and with easy grace. We have discovered that the cross accomplished far more than revealing the love of God. The blood of the Lamb points to the truth of grace: what we cannot do for ourselves, God has done for us. Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Jesus shattered all the carefully constructed societal class structures of His day. He ate with undesirables and sinners; He blessed children who had absolutely no rights whatsoever in first century Palestine, they were almost like non-people; and He readily engaged in open conversations with women, another breaking with tradition. In doing so He recieved much criticism from the religious leaders of the day. By those same actions, He opened the gateway for Grace....

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life." 1 Timothy 1:15,16

Monday, May 10, 2010

Walking miracles

I was attempting to organize my closet when I found this book written by Hement Mehta, "the ebay atheist" who auctioned off the opportunity for the winning bidder to send him to church. His "host" sent him to several different churches. The results were chronicled in the book. I found his observations interesting because they revealed how the church can sometimes come across to unbelievers. In the final chapter he asks himself the question: "Is there anything that would convince me I'm wrong about God? I can think of one thing, a miracle. If I witnessed a miracle, that would do it." He defines a miracle as an occurrence that has no other possible natural explanation. In other words, not something he heard people praying about in prayer meetings.....finding a perfect roommate, a husband, an avoided car accident, but something like an amputated limb growing back, and dead being raised back to life.

People in Jesus day saw those miracles happening all the time and some of them still didn't believe. I think of all the lives I have seen transformed by God's power.....people literally "born again" into new life in Christ. People walking in the world, miraculously switching direction and beginning to walk toward Jesus. New life.....Changed in an instant from darkness to light, from despair to hope. The miracle of changed lives, years later, still changed! Touched forever with the same blinding light that turned Saul, persecutor of the church, into the Apostle Paul. I see "mini-Pauls" all around me.....miracles!

I think there is hope yet for Hemant Mehta, I don't think his heart is totally closed, he just needs a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 8-9

I continue counting blessings, miracles of lives transformed, I count these names, precious ones who have been changed forever, in the grip of His matchless grace, once heading toward death, now toward life eternal, and.....hope.

#301 Pat, #302 Elaine, #303 Lori, #304 Vera, #305 Will, #306 Lyle, #307 Ginny, #308 Janet, #309 Coral, #310 Debbie, #311 Diane, #312 Rick, #312 Lenora, #313 Abel, #314 Tristan, 15 lives transformed, fifteen people who I could call at a moment's notice and know they would pray for me, with me. Fifteen people who have ministered to me in the past or work, at home.

And that's not even counting the bloggers!....You know who you are, more miracle lives! All of you on the sidebar of my blog, and all of you I follow, and some I stumble upon, each one of you lights up the darkness with your words, faithfully bearing words of hope, His words.
What a blessing......
Keeping the gratitude and the miracles alive, along with Ann and many others....
holy experience

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Here's a bouquet for all the Mom's out there!

"Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck." Proverbs 1:8-9

Does anyone do something exactly like their Mom? I counted several things yesterday, I didn't realize there were so many!

I scrape my fork on my plate just like her....
I make a certain face in the mirror when I am putting makeup on....
I say....."Well???" when I don't know what else to say....
I like tragedy to triumph stories....
I dry dishes exactly like her...
I can't walk a straight line, I always drift one way or the other....

Most valuable things I have learned from her:
Don't moan when you are sick, you will get more sympathy....
If you sing, it will make you and others feel better....
That having a relationship with the Lord is the most important thing....
Everyone has a story....
Get up and be positive, no matter how tough it is....
Reading the Bible can help you through anything....
And she taught me that prayer changes things....

I love you Mom!

Friday, May 7, 2010

One flower at a time....

"Just as a whole world of beauty can be discovered in one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one small moment. Just as no great travels are necessary to see the beauty of creation, so no great ecstasies are needed to discover the love of God. But you have to be still and wait so that you can realize that God is not in the earthquake, the storm, or the lighting, but in the gentle breeze with which He touches your back." Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary

I tried to fit you into my agenda today, God.
Forgive me. I should have known You would not fit neatly into the little space of time I had designed for You this morning.
You see, I had a day planner going in my head and I knew I needed to fit you in so here I am.
Okay, Lord. I got the lesson.
Now that I am here in the quiet, I can hear you enough to see how foolish I was.
Thank you for allowing me to start over.
Forgive me for trying to make you small again.
Thank you for Your grace and mercy, it washes over me anew.
Make every task Holy today Lord, In Jesus name, Amen.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer

Not just today, but everyday people are praying. You don't hear about it on the news, but it is happening, all across our land. You don't hear about churches going out into the community feeding the homeless, finding them shelter, hitting the streets with the Good News, taking care of orphans and widows. They are the hands and feet of Jesus, living in the Spirit following His lead sometimes at great personal sacrifice. There are those of us who enter the daily trenches, praying under our breath all the while, living out our faith to others, being a light in the darkness, doing the best we can. And there are those raising children at home, making hard choices, doing the right thing when nobody sees. There are the persecuted Christians being martyred all over the world for their faith, you don't hear about them either. Still they pray, still they meet, adding members daily. There are those in the land of shadows, helping people with AIDs die, educating their children so they might have half a chance. Here in America we can still worship without fear, and I pray it will always be so......Join me in prayer for our country today.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

He sees you.....

Don't think I don't see you,
I feel your pain rolling out of bed in the morning.
I am as close as your breath
"You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways." Psalm 139:3

I see you making your way into the kitchen blindly for that
first cup....
I see you getting ready for work, presenting your best self.
Crisp, clean, ready as you'll ever be
to face the day....exuding outward confidence,
but I know you are quaking inside.
"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me." Psalm 139:1
Don't think I don't know.
I am nearer than your next prayer
I know about that speech, that presentation, that project
that irate caller, I know what you face.
I know you feel unprepared, but remember:
There is nothing that comes up today that I am unprepared for,
that you and I can't handle together.

So today, when you feel My Presence, know this.....
I am with you, in fact I have already been there!
"You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5
I see your courage, I see your dedication.
It hasn't gone unnoticed.
I am with you my child, in every moment of the day.
I love you....

I felt led today to focus on workers outside the home today, (I know there are many working just as hard inside the home.) Since I have been off work, I have had a new appreciation for those who get up and fight the daily commute, since right now I don't have to. The days are flying by and soon I will be joining them again....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Multitude Mondays

Lifting my Gratitude today for what the Word does in my life!

#291 When I lose my way, it brings me back to the right road: Proverbs 3:6......#292 It gives me clarity of mind, important for someone like me who tends to over-analyze things to death: 2 Timothy 1:7....#293 It draws me close to the Lord because I know those are His living words: Hebrews 4:12....#294 It brings peace when my soul can't seem to rest: Psalm 119:165..... #295 It gives me strength and assurance that He is with me at all times: Hebrews 13:5.....#296 It causes me to grow and makes me better able to handle stressful situations: Romans 10:13-17....#297 It keeps my eyes focused on eternity and it exposes my inability to do what it says on my own: John 15:26....#298, for without Him it would be impossible: Matthew 19:26 #299 It exposes things in my life that ordinarily I would not see a need to change: 2 Timothy 3:16....#300 I am blessed when I read it! Revelations 1:3

It is set apart from every other book on earth and it does what no other book can do because it is alive, filled with the very breath of God!

When I try to live without it, I sink fast!

Keeping the gratitude alive, along with Ann and many others....
holy experience

Saturday, May 1, 2010

God's Adventure Club

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. J.R.R. Tolkien

The magic of a new day, a trail untried, the magical bend in the curve, the mystery of not knowing where it goes, the hope of new adventure, the challenge of not letting go of the great mystery that is life. Sometimes it is not easy to remember that we are all a part of God's grand scheme of things.
Greer, Arizona

I pray that we can see a glimmer of eternity in the little everyday moments today, capture them and hold them close for we have no certainty that they will come again. These times are dear, every last one, for each of them takes us nearer and nearer to our future forever home.

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14