Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pics from 'round here.....

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Miami Arizona

Some other interesting buildings in Globe, Arizona which is close to Miami. Yes, there really is a Miami, Arizona....some palms but no water!

Globe is one of those funky old mining towns that popped up during the late1800's and early 1900's. I love some of the old buildings there including this one with the pyramid shaped steps.

The Old Globe Courthouse

Courtyard of Blessed Sacrament Church

and this was the funniest thing I saw.....

Rent is real cheap, provided you aren't afraid of heights! If you can't climb you're out of luck!

Monday, May 30, 2011

"I Don't Think I Can Do This"

I don't think I can do this......

Sometimes that's all you can pray. That's what my prayer was this morning. But there is nothing wrong with praying that way. Actually, that is what our prayer should be every day. Because as soon as we think we can do it, that is, anything without Him. We are done for.

All the great men and women history down through the ages have either thought that, or prayed that.

"But Lord," Gideon replied, "how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!"

"But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else." Here is the Lord's reply after Moses insisted that he was not eloquent enough to speak to the people: The LORD said to him, "Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

Moses went, and God graciously allowed Aaron to go along, as his mouthpiece........

And Jesus didn't waltz His way to the cross, He agonized over it......When He prayed to let the cup pass in the garden that night, that was an I don't think I can do this prayer. But He did it for the joy set before Him. He had the end-result in His sights.

And as I reflect on what every soldier going into battle must have felt like today, I add this gratitude to my list:


I am thankful today for every person all through the years and up to this very day, every soldier fighting for our freedom and liberty.

For every gut-wrenching, "I don't think I can do this" prayer they prayed.....

For every tear shed for the ones they left behind, both then now.

I say, Thank you for doing it for me, for us, for our freedom.

Because of them, I can stand on my two legs, walk, run, breathe the free air,....and live, work and worship without fear.

My list has grown to #700..............and counting.

holy experience

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Remedy for Regret

The way I see it, one of the best ways to minimize regret both now and in the future is to cherish the present.  Nothing makes you feel more acutely the weight and passage of time more than knowing that you weren't fully living it when you were there. The thing is, it takes time to learn that. I think of times spend with loved ones and I want desperately to get that time back because I know where my mind was back then. Too many times it was distracted......or I was irritated by some small thing.

Or focused on myself. I wish I could go back......redeem it somehow.  

Now that I have reached fifty plus two, time feels like an out of control river rushing under a bridge, and me watching from above. Instead of focusing on what time I still have, I get caught up in time I see already gone. It's like trying to drive by watching the rear view mirror.

I lose sight of what is still to come, and there is so much more.

I think it is a mistake to think that once you get a certain age, the best years are behind you. Every stage of life is important and necessary and of great value and each season carries it's own unique lessons. And when I think of eternity, all I see is an ocean of time with an giant expanse of more joy and peace than I can possibly imagine. 

I am determined to live more right here in the present. I confess, this week my focus has been on just getting to the end of the week. I started the week already looking ahead to the weekend.....I wonder now what moments I stole from myself or someone else.......

That is the best way I can think of to let the people in my life, and God know that I truly cherish them......

Right now.
First two pics are from google
Last two were taken of niece Lauryn by her big "Sis"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Congratulations Graduate!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5,6 

Congratulations to one special graduate today.....

Cassandra: You came into our lives and hearts as a little girl with bundles of energy and giggles.......you brought us "older" folks some spark and light. A barefoot girl, you didn't like shoes much, could barely keep a pair on you....well, that part hasn't changed much! We marveled at how who loved to watch TV upside down. It seemed for awhile there, you were either running, screaming, twirling, or hanging upside down.

On one of our first introductions, we had a tea party and gave ourselves flower names. You made us laugh when you kept insisting we go back to the kitchen for real sugar, real milk, real tea. No pretending for you....I still have the picture of the three of us, you Elaine and myself, you with your pinky up and cup facing straight down.

In some ways I suppose I will always see you a bit like that, spinning around on the swing, hair flying. Making the neighbor boy sick when he tried to spin as fast as you.....Being pushed by Ivy the goat, also on the swing. I remember watching movies together and you falling asleep as I read aloud from whatever book I was reading at the time.

You passed me in height, which I realize is not saying much, me being vertically challenged the way I am. You grew into a beautiful young woman when I wasn't looking, and I want you to know I am proud of you.

Proud of your work ethic, your sensitivity to others, your giving heart.

Hold your head high tonight, and savor the moment.

Realize that these are the times that we all wish we could go back to, if we only knew then what we know now. Pick a career you have a passion for, and don't settle for anything less. When you love what you do, it won't feel like work.

I will miss seeing you walk across that stage tonight, but I know you will have the love and support of friends and family to cheer you on. We will  be cheering too, from Arizona.

Remember us when you walk those halls in college, going about your day. Pause and remember when you feel a gentle breeze, that it is my prayer touching you on the shoulder.

The best advice I could give you to carry you through to adulthood is to hold God close and keep your Bible handy. If you do that, you will be at peace whatever happens. You will make mistakes just like we all do, but you have the character to get back up and keep going. And always remember:

"Angels on your pillow.................Angels in your dreams!"
Aunt Lori

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life." Sandra Carey

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Set your mind......

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

A pilot friend of mine once said that there was nothing in the world more relaxing than flying. Something about being above it all makes your problems seem smaller. Every now and then I have flying dreams, and it's wonderful. I soar around skyscrapers and sometimes I just hover and float. Don't you wish we could just order up our dreams?

There is a way however, that we can lift ourselves above it all, where Christ is. That is by setting our minds on things above. Scripture is the best and most immediate way to do this. Since the Bible is a living book, it has the power to transform our very thought process! This is not Harry Potter magic, where you wave a wand and presto, all your problems go away (darn) This is actually way better, because though circumstances can change in the blink of an eye, God never does!

When we read the Bible with an open heart, we are tapping into the very source of Life itself.

The Word was there from the very beginning........."In the beginning was the Word......." Not only that, the Bible says the Word and God are one and the same! It is timeless, ageless, and all sufficient. It is wisdom, it is power, it is the bread of life, it is the manna that came down from Heaven! It is the best way I know to keep my thoughts going in the right direction.

If you are living with someone who constantly sees the negative in every situation, it is hard not to find yourself going right down that road with them. To stop being who you are, and become them. But you don't have to. You can be determined to set your mind above, where God is.

Find some life.....

Go outside, take a walk.

Go to the Mall and watch people.

Get around someone who can show you yourself again.

Do like my best friend who has been known to break into song and dance everytime Beyonce's "Single Ladies" comes on. And if she can still sing and dance after everything she has been through this year, anyone can....like she is fond of saying:

Sometimes you just gotta give it a little dance.

Happy Birthday Elaine, best of friends.......you continually inspire me to see the good in everything.......

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Speak Words of Life!

 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:21

If you speak negative words over your children, you are cursing their future. Moreover, God will hold you responsible for destroying their destiny. With authority comes responsibility, and you have the responsibility as the spiritual authority over your child to make sure that he feels loved, accepted and approved. Joel Osteen, "Your Best Life Now"

Imagine a best case scenario for a book lover. You have a neighbor who is an Amazon seller who leaves you all the books she thinks you would be interested in. She comes like a book fairy and leaves them on my porch swing, or by the door. Each delivery is like a bit of Christmas. This is how I happened upon the Joel Osteen devotional book. I am going to stay far away from a discussion on "Prosperity Gospel Theology." That is for God to sort out. I don't believe that if we say and do the right things we will be rich and healthy. I just don't think it is in the cards, or anywhere in Scripture. Having said that, I can see the value in some of what he says, for instance:

"Negative words will cause our children to lose the sense of value God has placed within them. As parents, we have a responsibility before God and society to train our children, to discipline them them when they disobey, to lovingly correct them when they make wrong choices."

Our words carry tremendous weight, and negative and destructive ones can leave a child in ruins emotionally, dealing with the by-products and after-effects many years into their adult life. We don't hear much positive these days. What they put on the news is mostly bad. TV shows that criticise and humiliate people get the ratings. Even the humor is often cruel and sarcastic.

People are hungry for a good word. A positive word. A happy message. I think that is a big part of why Joel Osteen's pews are filled. Is there someone in your life today who is determined to stamp out your optimism? Your peace? Someone that seeks to drag you down into their muck and mire?  If you are filled with God's Holy Spirit today, let me tell you that they don't have that power. They may choose to live that way, but you as a child of God, do not!

This much is true.......A blessing is not a blessing until it is spoken. It is not enough to think it; you must vocalize it. Your children need to hear you say words such as, "I love you. I believe in you. I think you're great. There's nobody else like you. You are one of a kind." Daily Readings from Your Best Life Now

Really, we could all use some words like that. As gifts to each other, and also to ourselves......

Tomorrow I will post about how the Bible says to stay positive when you have someone determined to tear you down with their negativity.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gratitude is Counter Cultural

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:20

I went on a walk last night, just before the last bit of light was snatched out of the sky. My mood was on the somber side. As I walked, however, I was keenly aware of one thing. That it was still cool. Something in my soul jumped up and said......"Remember this, remember this......" For soon, it will be so stifling hot we won't be able to walk outside without suffocating.

I found myself at the community pool just as the stars came out......both pools were empty, both the inside one and the outside one. I missed my niece terribly just then. She loves to go swimming more than anything in the world. I could see her in my mind and hear her voice and I felt the regret of knowing all that I have missed with her being one state away.

At any given time in this life there are things to feel sad about. But living this way.....this way of looking back is not what God wants us to do. We have a forward thinking God. When we are depressed, we are off balance. Our vision is skewed. We think of how things were, and compare them to how things are now. When we fear that things will get worse, we assume we know what the future holds, but only God knows that. When I think like that I am playing God.

This is dangerous thinking because then, I forget to be thankful for all those things we can praise Him for right now.
I was given a great gift growing up. I was taught it by my folks, who thought it was a value to be passed on, and the best way I can repay them is to pass it on to others. I see this photo of my Mom's table and I smile. I see in my own table, my own home a reflection of the joy within it. With each and every item on her table, there is a story......
The kerosene lamp that she has always had on her table 
The robin that has a special meaning of hope in the midst of sorrow
The mug from a favorite place, the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite
My own prayer journal
In a world that says to always seek bigger, better, and more than what you have. I am so grateful for what I do have. For the love that resides in my home, the peace, the smile that greets me....... 
I am rich and blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We Are Blessed....

Help me not to live too fast or too preoccupied Lord, that I miss the beauty in little everyday moments. For these will not come again, and they need to be caught, captured. They are all a reflection of You....each and every little one.

Sometimes just the acknowledgment of these, is a form of prayer that God hears.........He writes it down in His book, He takes note. We thank You, Lord for each and every moment you give us. When the gate of our heart and soul swing open to let You in......if only for a moment between breaths.....

 We are blessed.......

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No One Knows

"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows." Mark 13:32

In case you have been in a coconut or under a shrub in the desert, (I have seen these people) you have heard that this is the day. The end of the world as we know it will happen just about the time I get off work today....6PM. That is just not right. To think I have to put in a whole twelve hour shift! All kidding aside, I think this has turning into one great big circus. There are billboards all over town sponsored by a radio station called Family Radio, which has nothing to do with the Family Life Radio I listen to every day. They are very distressed about it, even tried to buy all the billboards but they were blocked. Who are these people???

Amidst all the speculation and untruth floating around out there, the Word stands firm on this subject. That is where we need to go, and that is where we need to remain. The end will come someday, but we don't know exactly when. Jesus said He will come back when we least expect it, but he also gave us some clues and signs we should look for. I don't know about you, but I think we need to start looking up. It could be today, or it could be in 50 years, but I know one thing, we need to be ready. End of story.

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonions 4:14-18
That's God's story and I'm stickin to it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Angels at IKEA

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1

It was just another task on the long list of things to be done. Going to get a TV stand to put on the gargantuan TV that came out of the Mother's house. So many tasks had preceded this one, that all days, for many days, had spilled over into one another. One day bleeds into the next in a seemingly never ending tasklist. It is a military type existence......Up on your feet, lace up your boots, be physically and mentally ready for whatever comes next.

She was running on empty, fumes of exhaustion left over from somewhere in time, when it all started. Through it all, she has kept her sense of humor and momentary lost her sanity. I have been helping out, holding her up.....praying her through it.

She was standing in the aisle of IKEA. Ready once again for a nervous breakdown because the tag on the TV stand didn't match the one on the display rack. Do you know how big IKEA is when you are exhausted? All the way back upstairs to the display, making sure she had the right tag...."Yep, there it is." All the way back down to the checkout. Again, error on the scan. Earlier she had led her Mom to a seat and told her to stay there until she came back.

Insert mental image here of elderly woman with Alzheimer's who walks extremely slow and gets turned around......a lot, in two floor big box IKEA. Another mental image of exhausted, stricken daughter with very large box that won't scan.....teetering on the edge.

Later she said, "I must have looked pretty bad, like I needed help......" She was standing glassy-eyed in the aisle staring again at the display, contemplating another long walk downstairs, when just then a kind angel appeared at her shoulder, "Can I help you, are you finding what you need?" What welcome words, they might as well have been coming straight from Heaven itself. He knew his job, he saw the mistake right away. He fixed the mess.

Ever had someone come and clean up the mess at a time when it seems all you have been doing lately is cleaning up messes? You never forget it.

All the while, she is hoping and praying her Mom stayed where she put her. She usually doesn't wander.....yet.

Then, another "angel" came when she wheeled the heavy box out into the parking lot. It was like he appeared from nowhere, she tells me later. She asks me if I sent him. She says, "I know you were praying. "

I said, "Yes, of course  I was."

Photo courtesy of http://thehalfwaypoint.net/2009/09/50-simple-ways-to-pay-it-forward/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Emptying Ourselves

Enjoy....don't forget to turn my playlist off!

Use my hands use my feet
To make Your kingdom come
To the corners of the earth
Until Your work is done
Faith without works is dead
On the cross Your blood was shed
So how could we not give it away so freely?

Leeland, sung by Brandon Heath

Thought this was a wonderful video. I had this song playing on my morning walk and I was thinking about how we spend most of our lives trying to fill ourselves, when actually we are called to empty ourselves for others. It is only with the help of God's Holy Spirit that we can do this without resentment and discouragement. It is not easy, but without Him it is truly impossible. And in the midst of it all He provides the strength and knowledge that nothing we do for Him is in vain.......That is His promise, and He will follow through when everyone else walks away.

"Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew19:26 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Place of Refuge

How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues. Psalm 31:19,20

Ever been falsely accused of something? It hurts......Even though you know the truth, and the ones who love you best know. It still hurts. Especially if it is someone in your own family. Jesus knew all about that. His own brothers doubted Him. Those in His hometown did too."Isn't this the carpenter's son....." And He was God! If you are suffering from this heartache today, please turn it over to the One who truly does understand. He is the One, the only One who can heal from this particular wound that runs so deep.

Let the Balm of Gilead bind up your wounds today......be comforted.

He doesn't miss a trick.......

From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do. Psalm 33:13-15

Lord, I pray for those today who have been hurt by those who should be closest to them. You know this heartache well. Only You can heal these deep wounds. Bring them to a place of healing today and bind up their hearts with Your precious Balm of Gilead. Let them feel this warmth in their hearts today and let them be restored in You. Amen

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gratitude Still Intact

Shining behind everything this life can put us through is a fierce and undying gratitude because we know God has already given us much more than we deserve.

Sometimes the circumstances of life just tend to deflate you. Today, sitting in prayer I felt emptied out, emotionally and spiritually flat. I stuttered, I stammered, I stopped. The creative energy flow valve was shut off somehow. Caretaking does that. Sometimes taking care of someone else, can literally take the life right out of you.

But this is what is amazing about living the God centered life. Gratitude simply won't die. We know what we have been saved from.....everything that this life can throw at you can't make a dent in that.....not for very long anyway. Sometimes that surprises me. The unexpected hope that flowers despite everything blooms in the form of Gratitude.....

Seeking inspiration this morning, I opened the Word which never fails. I read

"As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember as I pour out my soul:

The words, I remember stood out. Gratitude is all about remembering......We have a living gratitude for all that God has done for us that wells up within us even in the worst of circumstances.

By this I don't mean that we walk around with a fake smile all day, a false front that everyone sees through anyway. No, I mean that even if we are so mad we can spit nails one minute, there is something, rather Someone, that keeps us from going over the edge. Someone that holds us back from total despair. Someone that keeps us thankful at the end of the day, and hopeful at the start.

Satan was working on me this morning. At prayer, and then when I sat down to the computer and didn't see the pictures I had loaded. I shut everything down, slammed the laptop shut all the while......gratitude still intact, gratitude still intact....NOT. Then Elaine reminded me that she had set up two accounts, one for her and one for me. My little fit was wasted. They were there all the time! I sheepishly sat down to blog

Gratitude once again, intact.

Holding out and holding up.

My soul is downcast within me;

therefore I will remember you........Psalm 42:6

Continued good health, beautiful Arizona weather, blooming cactus, the gift of laughter through everything, encouragement from the Word, a best friend who appreciates everything I do, good food, enough money to pay bills, new computers that work, the blessing of good neighbors.....#688-698

holy experience

picture taken in my  Mom's backyard

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lost and Found

"In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!" Luke 15:7 New Living Translation

I posted earlier in the week about our resident Intel cat who greeted me in the parking lot at work on Wednesday, very displaced and perturbed. Her feeding station is all the way around the back of the building, but the landscapers had shown up and she got scared and fled. Seeing her like that bothered me, I wanted her back in her safe place, away from people who may not be too friendly to her. I saw fear in her eyes. I know she recognized my voice and wanted to trust me, but because she was disoriented and scared, she ran from me.

I contacted Steve, our resident Intel saint. He takes his dogs to hospitals and care homes to visit the shut-ins and does so much for the feral cat population at Intel. He has been known to come in on his days off to trap cats and take them to the vet for neutering....He was worried about "Mrs. Howell" too. I worked all week, but a bit distracted. Thinking of her scared there in the parking lot, wanting food.

Yesterday to my joy and relief, I heard her meow when I called. She had found her way back.......She was very happy to see me, as you can see in the photo.

I thought then......how in God's name do people live through it when their children are lost? I cannot begin to understand how they keep functioning among the living. How do they get up and go to work everyday, knowing they are out there somewhere. Lost.....scared.....confused, maybe trapped somewhere by something or someone they can't get away from? I can't imagine anything worse.

That's how God feels about us when we are lost to Him. Maybe it's you that needs to find your way back. Maybe you are out there somewhere far away from God. Away from love, safety, home. Maybe you just feel like you are......He wants you back. He longs for it. With every fiber of His Holy being. He sheds tears when we turn away, intent on going our own way, even for a moment. God-sized tears. Jesus came to bring you back.

Like the father of the prodigal son, He waits. He gazes out the window hopefully, longingly. He aches to see that lone figure upon the road. He aches for you.  And He will keep waiting until every minute of what we call time on this earth is up. 

And all of Heaven will rejoice. Welcome home!

I encourage you today to insert a name after this last line and pray that the individual you hold in your heart will come to the Lord and find out what it means to be truly home......I hold Curtis up today, Lord. He needs to find you. Amen

Friday, May 13, 2011

Butterflies and Caterpillars

 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:16,17

I was reading something  in a book titled, Classic Christianity by Bob George that struck a chord with me the other day. He was talking about how we walk around defeated because we have failed to recognize who we actually are in Christ. I think there is some truth to this. Sometimes in our efforts not to appear better than anyone else, we walk around like caterpillars instead of the butterflies we are. Who ever heard of a butterfly walking around in the dirt when they could easily fly, in fact, were made to fly?

It's a delicate balance. We want to be accessible, approachable, and still we have to be "in the world but not of it....."Jesus was the master at this.  He was equally as comfortable in His skin in the Temple or at the home of "tax collectors and sinners." Neither atmosphere changed who He was, and yet He made Himself approachable to Chief Priest and Prostitute alike.

While the Apostle Paul was fully aware that he wasn't exempt from falling into sin, and that many times he was unsuccessful in his efforts to do the right thing, he also never forgot who he was in Christ. He didn't live a defeated life! He didn't let his failures keep him from what He knew was sure victory at the end of the race! He kept his eyes on the prize.

We hold within us the power of Almighty God in the form of His Spirit........the same Spirit that moved across the waters before creation.....also the one who raised Jesus from the grave and broke the power of sin and death forever....That Spirit!

We should never forget what Jesus has saved us from, but we should also remember that when we rose up out of that water from Baptism, we became a new creation!

So enjoy your flight today......and as they say on every flight, feel free to move about the cabin.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

News from my little corner

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

What's going on in your little corner of the world? No doubt many things. Someone may ask you how you are, and you reply......"Fine." But you know you aren't. You know when someone is asking in passing....that they don't really want to know. But then there are those that when they ask, they look into your eyes and you know.....you really know, they really do care.

Sometimes all it takes is just the right person to ask and the dam breaks.

We all have things going on in our lives. Sometimes it really helps to hear about other's struggles and joys. It gets our mind off ourselves. So what is going on in your corner? Here is a little snippet of what is going on in mine:

An answered prayer from yesterday......My brother had a good talk with his boss, with whom he has had a very hard time lately. The talk was fruitful and ended well.

Old computer went where old computers go when they die. New computer came yesterday and now we have a HUGE monitor and very fast Internet. WOW, I must force myself to stay off of it!

Car went in to shop and what was supposed to be free warranty work turned into a broken belt which will cost over $500.00 count it all joy! I have a credit card I can use! All in all, it was a day that was a blessing. Elaine went with me and we made a day of it! As full time caregiver, she enjoyed the day of freedom and I am glad she spent it with me.

I am enjoying my new camera, though each day I learn more of what I don't know about the technical aspects of photography. I am also struggling with the Canon computer software. Got it to work last night, but all the pictures ended up on my desktop. I guess I saved it there inadvertantly??? I don't remember saving them there!

Elaine's garden is doing well. It is yielding fresh spinach like mad, and the tomatoes are exploding. Okra is coming up and so is the squash. I cooked a mountain of spinach night before last, and though a whole kettle didn't yield much, it was delicious! We also enjoyed some of our generous neighbor's home grown zucchini last night. Thanks, Bob and Eileen for sharing!

This morning as I made my way across the parking lot at work, the cat who I feed regularly as part of our spay and neuter program at Intel was meowing at me from under a shrub. She was very scared and upset. Her feeding station is all the way on the other side of the building. And it is a big factory. The landscapers must have been here. I have no idea how to get her back to where she belongs. I must leave her to her own cat resourcefulness in getting there.

Most of all, I continue to rejoice in God our Savior, for " in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." I can't imagine walking through life without His help!

Enough about me........How are things in your corner of the world? Please drop me a line or send me a prayer request and I will be happy to pray for you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thankful for Positive People

"Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner!" Max Lucado

I am very thankful today for all the people in my life who have been positive. From my earliest memories I can recall hearing my Mom sing in the mornings, up early before anyone else, starting the day in a good mood. We never had to worry about approaching her......I realize now, what an incredible gift that is. My best friend says they never dared approach their Mom unless she had her two cups of coffee in the morning.

Both her parents continually saw the worst in everything and everybody. Unfortunately, they still do. She never felt like she could share anything with them. Whatever she did was met with either cynicism or criticism! The amazing thing is, she remembers always waking up in a good mood. Even her Mom says, "You were always a happy kid."

No matter what is going on in her life, she always has a smile and a word of encouragement for others. And these days, there is much in her life that would keep her in bed all day. I am in awe of that.

All my life I have been surrounded with people whe have made the choice to face each day with hope, gratitude and expectation. They know that every day is a good day simply because they get another chance! I am realizing this is not the case for many many people.....How rich I am, how blessed! In turn, the best way I can repay God is to give that gift to others.....I pray that I will, with God's grace.

The best thing I can do to honor God today is to wake up positive. No matter the circumstances!

So today I salute all of you positive people out there.....You know who you are!

Tomorrow I hope to have some photos to share. Since my computer crashed, I haven't been able to get them to transfer from my computer to blogger very effectively.

Until then, I am continuing the Gratitude Count in my heart's tally today along with Ann and many others. May the Lord bless you and make His face to shine on you today....Lori

holy experience

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Deader than Dead

Ding dong my Dell is dead......

Everyone knows the blue error screen that comes up. You know the windows one that encourages you to hit an option to restart and reload and hopefully get everything back up and running the way it was before.

Then there is the black screen of death, the land of no recovery. That's where mine is now. No service will be held. The new one is already on it's way. The laptop, thankfully, is serving as temporary stand-in until it gets here. It is doing a fine job, but it is a bit unfamiliar since I don't use it as much.

How dead is dead? When someone is dead you know it. There is no doubt. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, he had already been in there for 4 days. In fact, after Jesus heard that he was sick, he stayed where he was for an extra 2 days. Jesus knew that he would die, of course. He just wanted Lazarus to be very, very dead by the time he got there, so that the doubters would have no room to argue that he really wasn't dead, after all.

The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” John 11:12-14

Of course, by the time they got there he was indeed dead. Martha was concerned about how bad it would smell when Jesus told them to roll away the stone, yet she and her sister believed that Jesus could do it. They knew who He was.

Many of the Jews there believed that Jesus was the Messiah after they witnessed this miracle, this man who had command over death itself. However, many of the Jewish leaders were concerned and deeply troubled at this because they thought it meant certain destruction of the religious hierarchy they had constructed for themselves. They thought it meant death to them as a people, instead Jesus was trying to bring them life.

From that point on, they sought to kill Jesus. Not only that, they wanted to kill Lazarus as well! Imagine, having been raised back to life, hopping out of the grave bound in stinking grave clothes, only to find out that somebody was plotting your death......

It always amazes me, this account in John. It amazes me that someone could see a miracle like that and not only not believe, but be so threatened that they would seek to stamp out Jesus, who was the very embodiment of the God that they thought they so sincerely believed. He was right in front of them and yet they still couldn't bring themselves to believe, despite the many miracles they witnessed day after day.

Some people think that all religions are the same, but here lies the HUGE difference that makes Christianity stand out from all the rest:

Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Gandhi, L. Ron Hubbard, to name a few.......All Deader than Dead.

Jesus is alive. He rose from the dead on the third day and He intercedes for us today at the right hand of the Father, and is alive within us in the form of His Holy Spirit, who testifies to this truth.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's All About the Light

 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12

Taking great pictures is all about the light. Finding it, chasing it, capturing it. And not just any light either, the right light. I am finding with my photos that either I don't have enough light or I have too much. Once in a while I get it right on the money, and at this point it is a fluke when I do because I don't know what I am doing.....yet. Right now I am trying to figure out how to get just the right amount of light in pictures I take at sunset, so they don't look washed out. 

Jesus talked a lot about light. In fact, He was the light. When we find Him we find everything. We don't have to chase Him, because He already made the first move. He died so that we could find it, find Him. The Bible says in John 1:4: 

 "In him was life, and that life was the light of men."

I am so glad I don't have to run all over the place to find Him. He is right here with me at all times........When life comes crashing in, I can go to a quiet place and find Him. And when I can't get to that quiet place, I feel the stillness of His Spirit in my soul. I carry Him around and He allows it, wants it.

That blows my mind.

And He leads me places.......Sometimes He leads me walking. The other day while I was mulling over everything in my photo book, trying to make sense of it all and get my brain to work, I went out for a short walk around the park. I sensed Him saying, "See what you would have missed if you hadn't come out here?"

Taking a walk is like letting the light in.......but only if you open your eyes to what He wants to show you. I confess, sometimes I have walked and been so upset I haven't seen a thing.

But I don't like walks like that, I want the other kind.

Peace in Him, Lori

photo courtesy of public domain pictures

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where we came from

“ Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert." Isaiah  43:18,19

Yesterday I was listening to Glen Beck and he was talking about how we as a nation are in danger of forgetting where we came from, losing our ideals as a country. Those are not his words, but were the gist of what he was talking about. You hear all kinds of talk today about how America is no longer a Christian nation. We have kicked God out of every public arena possible in the name of the first Amendment, which actually was written to protect religion, not limit its expression. But that is another topic.

I don't know if we could call ourselves a Christian nation any longer, but I do know this. All over this great nation today, there are people gathering for Bible Studies, holding hands around a table, sharing their concerns about their families, work, praying over everything that is in their heart, and sharing their love for God. And not just a few. Thousands upon thousands. All through the week and not just on Sundays. They don't just call themselves Christians, they courageously live what they believe until it hurts.

This is what my relatives came to America for. They came with hope flaming in their hearts for that freedom, not only to work and make a life for themselves, but to believe and practice without fear. I like to imagine what they felt when they saw the first glimpse of Ellis Island......and our Lady Liberty. Maybe the sun was shining on her, maybe it was dark, but there is no doubt that they saw something in her that our modern eyes could never see.

My Grandmother came over from Russia and almost died on the ship when she was 6 months old. Many years later she met my Grandfather and they bought land in North Dakota. They worked from sun up to sun down. Sometimes my Grandmother took over for my Grandfather at the plow, in place of the beast of burden. And they suffered a great tragedy. Their sweet little Annie was accidentally shot by a foster child at two years of age. My dear Grandfather left the rifle out only once. I believe he took that guilt with him to the grave. When they left for California, they left their farm and all the animals, most of whom they named.

They left Annie's grave too.

When they got to California, my Grandmother's relatives didn't treat her very well. They gave her all the jobs nobody else wanted to do. When my Aunt and Uncle came, they lived in a chicken coop in back of the house. These were strong people, people of character.

They persevered, went to church, raised their families, and eventually started a successful business.
They didn't believe anyone owed them anything. They knew they would have to sacrifice to get what they wanted. They knew the importance of waiting.....patience. Personal sacrifice.

And they knew that every blessing they received came straight from the Almighty Hand of God.

It is those ideals that I feel America and many Americans are in danger of losing, and not just our youth.

Would anyone you know endure harsh treatment from relatives and live in a chicken coop now? Would I?

It is what I am pondering today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A few photos.......

These were taken at twilight in Micke Grove Park, Lodi California, where I grew up.......it was just my Dad and I running around, looking for good shots. It was a good evening and a precious memory of just the two of us.

As I walked around in the quiet of twilight, I thought of other times there when I was a kid. Going to the zoo and even then, feeling bad for the little grey fox that paced endlessly.  And years later, evenings spent running there with my then boyfriend. Good memories all......

My Dad, sitting with "The Reader" Downtown

There is something comforting about walking streets you have walked for years.......that familiar bump in the sidewalk, that alleyway with other shops you remember from before.....

And finally, the tree where I lost my first lens cap. Three trips to different stores came up empty. My Dad has taken it upon himself to look for it ever since. It has become a personal challenge to find it.....

I have so much to learn about this camera.........and photography in general. I would be grateful for any tips from you pros!

Peace and blessing to you this day, Lori

Monday, May 2, 2011


Will hopefully result in some photos, as soon as I can manage to read the manual and get them loaded on the computer......

With prayers and some reading, I hope to have them up here soon.

Thank you for being patient. I sure had a blast with this camera, my first real grown up camera.

Now if I can just learn to use it!

"For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." Romans 8: 24, 25

Joining Ann and all others in continuing the Gratitude Count today, among those I count as precious in my bouquet of memories brought back from home are these......

Being able to join my family in church for the first Easter in a long, long time. The first song raised the roof and the little impatient one sat through the whole service......that was a miracle in itself. She was enthralled by the large woman in purple with a streak of purple in her hair that belted out an incredible song.

Taking pictures with my Dad, just he and I, walking downtown, riding around town finding just the right light at twilight.....

Conversations with dear friends.......

Seeing my sixth grade teacher whom I hadn't seen in years......I was amazed she knew me right away!

Dyeing Easter eggs that for some reason turned out only two colors......the glitter made it work.

Enjoying time with Mom, holding her hand and going to a Christian Women's Luncheon with her.....the bonus was I won the doorprize she wanted and I happily gave it to her. That was a God thing!

Going to breakfast with my brother and seeing my Arizona neighbor there.....a pleasant surprise!

A special answered prayer.......

And then coming back to my Arizona home is always a wonderful thing, I appreciate so much the sacrifice it took just now for me to go. What a wonderful friend I have.......#679-687

holy experience

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Ultimate Happy Ending

There is something in us that wants happy endings. Just consider how many watched the recent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I have to admit, I was one of them. We watch because we hope that the end of the story will be just as beautiful as the beginning.

Easter is the ultimate happy ending. Indeed, it is because of Easter and the Resurrection that we can go through anything this life has to dish up. And sometimes as we all know, things happen to very good people that are just not fair. I was reflecting on this as I finished the book of Job today.

If we do not find ourselves in the midst of something we consider extremely unfair, then we know someone who is. It is the lament we hear over and over again, the refrain of our times......"It's just not fair." I can count about 5 people right off the top who I can say this about. You know the kind I mean, good honest people who follow the rules and do the right thing. They work hard.....love God and their neighbor, sacrifice for others and life just seems to dump on them.

When I was back home my Mom told me of her friend, Yvonne. A hard working woman who works as a checker in the local market, Yvonne is struggling to raise the two kids still at home. She has to leave a 12 and 15 year old alone after school because she has to work. She worries because they are starting to give her grief by rebelling. Her husband left her and offers no financial help, though he is very well off. He sees them every now and them and plies them with expensive gifts and then they ask their Mom why they can't have this or that at home. She recently wanted to buy her older daughter a TV set and was going to use her tax return to do it. Then she got a letter informing her that there was a mistake in her refund and she actually owed more than the amount she was getting back.

But Yvonne will be alright.....She would be the first to tell you because she knows the Lord is able. She knows the tomb was empty that day. She has the hope of the resurrection. Because of that, we are able! We know the ending of the story and it's a good one.

Job knew it too........

And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.

If you are going through hardship today, remember Easter. You can rejoice because He is not in the tomb anymore, He is here with you......There is an ending to our story that holds tremendous hope, and because of this, we can go on. We can it make it because we know what Job figured out.

God is in control, and the ultimate victory is ours in Him.