Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Soul Washing

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’? Job 38:8-11

This is a must do when you're at the beach.........Ah!!!!!! To see those waves come rolling in, to hear that thundering look out over the horizon and see nothing but water meeting sky......To think that God has set these boundaries......Fills me with immeasurable gratitude for just being here.....

This makes the whole trip worth it........

To see what the shore offers up
To see it wash back.

Gives the soul a cleansing too....refreshing for the spirit as well as the body.

I feel like God washed my feet yesterday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Post from the road.....

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Wandered the grounds of the Grand Californian last evening, enjoying the relief of Southern California weather perfection.......It is amazing how a simple change in the weather can improve one's outlook. We went from the arid and blistering 110 heat of the desert and crossed over into  balmy 75 degree heaven......Ah, the simple joy of opening windows and letting things breathe........A thing that we all take for granted until we can't do it. I hope I never lose the joy of appreciation.

I was up with the chickens as usual this morning. Elaine's Nephew insisted that he would be the first one up, but I knew better. My eyes were opened at first light, at the sound of birdsong in the air. I tiptoed out to where everyone was sleeping and made the first pot of coffee, then went out to greet the morning. I was treated to a barest of sliver moons in a pastel sky.

I read from one of the books I brought.....The Holiness of God, by R.C. Sproul.....jotted down a prayer request and a blessing in my prayer journal and then took a stroll around the RV park. It was wondrous. Just being up.....just being able to be watch the birds flit from tree to tree, (we don't have trees this big in Arizona)

Made me feel like I was just waking up to creation all over again.

As I sipped my first cup of coffee made in the old aluminum pot, I was very glad I had made this trip......

Saturday, June 25, 2011

When you feel like dust

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:11-14

Sometimes I feel my dustiness.....When I am tired, when I roll out of bed and everything is creaking. When I can't seem to sleep when I need to, and then nod off in the chair, unable to keep my eyes open. We are so frail, and yet there is a part of us that will last forever. The part that God breathed life into......

Our Spirit.

That is the part that keeps on going when the body and mind are all tired out. That's that part that will keep on going when we take our final breath on this place we call home.

But until then, we take time out in between the all tired out times. I am planning one of those timeouts tomorrow. I will be heading to the coast.....and blessedly wonderful temperatures. Instead of being huddled inside to escape 110 outside, I will be throwing the windows open to greet balmy perfect breezes and temps of around 70 in LA.

I am looking forward to practising more with my camera......

and reading....

and maybe some blogging too!  

And......a special shout out to Michelle DeRusha over at "Graceful" for introducing me to "picnik" a wonderful site where you can play with your photos and do cool editing stuff.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Taming the tongue

Greer, Arizona

On June 11th, what has now become Arizona's largest wildfire in history was started. It was human caused, reportedly by a campfire. Around 534,639 acres have burned. The Wallow Fire, as it has been named, is dying down at last. My heart was broken when I read about some of the most beautiful country in our state going up in flames, not to mention the houses and towns threatened. No human deaths occured, which is a miracle. I am happy to say that one of my very favorite towns, Greer has been spared. Go here to check out a great place to stay if you ever find yourself in our State.

Such a devastaing fire, started by one small flame......that's is what was on my mind when I read this verse from James:

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches........
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!

The other morning I illustrated the validity and truth of Scripture with my own actions. I wasn't planning on it, of course, but I did it all the same. It happened as I pulled into the parking lot at work, where we have recently installed solar panels. The fact that they are a wonderful power source is a side note to what really matters to those of us who leave our cars out there in the baking sun for 12 hours now that it is approaching 108-110 in the shadeCovering. They only provided us with two rows of them, in a virtual sea of spaces, however. To say that these are much sought after spots is an understatement.

So now I leave at 5:10 instead of 5:20.

I had just finished praying as I approached what I thought was an available spot. There was a motorcycle parked there. Immediately I cursed them. Yes, I did. And then I had to pray again.

For forgiveness.

How quickly my heart and my tongue can turn from blessing to cursing, Father, forgive me. Sweet and bitter water out of the same fountain.....

And yet, He is faithful to forgive....once again.

I think of that devastating fire, all the damage that will take so many years to restore. I think of all the destruction that negative words can cause and how maybe someone can never ever be restored, repaired from the hurt that goes so deep. I think of how much good that wonderful words can do. How a face can light up from a simple compliment.

It is humbling.....makes me want to do better.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Lasts Forever

"For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

There are so many warnings in the Bible about staying focused. God knows the world can knock us off-kilter. It has the capacity to swallow us up and spit us out whole if we are not careful. This morning I read, rather, listened to, the book of Jude. It was very sobering, and all the more when you realize it is written to and about those inside the church, not outside it!

I know the capacity of my mind to wander, leave the trail, go off in a different direction. I go after grass that seems greener, not seeing the steep drop off on the other side until it is much too late. 

Something can seem righter than rain to my own heart, my own intellect.....until I see it the way God sees it, and I can only see it the way He sees it when I am immersed in His word. It is my magnifying glass that allows me to see myself and the world more clearly. It settles me, sets me right again.

Since I started commuting, I have started listening to it on CD. I can't express what that has done for me. As much as I love to read, usually 2-3 books at a time, I am extremely lazy when it comes to reading Scripture. But I can listen to it for over an hour a day and cover a lot of ground. I figure, this is one thing that is making a change in me for all eternity. It is the mysterious process known as the grafting in of the Word of Life.

This is a change that is not temporary, this is a change that will last forever.

The only single drawback to listening to Scripture instead of reading it is that I sometimes get sidetracked by how the voices sound. I loved the way the reader of the book of Jude sounded this morning. He had a good "Jude" voice.....thunderous and emphatic without being too dramatic. On the other hand, I find the woman's voice who reads 1st, 2nd and 3rd John very annoying. I actually have to read those books because I find her voice so distracting.

The woman who reads 1st and 2nd Corinthians has a British accent and she is great. I tend to want to hear her again and again. She sounds like a combination of Maggie Smith and Cate Blanchett. Imagine Lady Galadriel reading Scripture!

See how easy it is for my mind to wander? I think I need to read more.....Hmmm.

"Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault." Jude 1:24

Have a peaceful day everyone!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Car Wars

No pictures today, I can't get blogger to upload a single image.....

Living in a commuter-belt, as I like to call it. I long to wake up on a quiet street. This morning there was a little bird trying to compete with the hum of the freeway, that assault to my ears that takes place starting around 3:30-4:00 AM. I dream of living somewhere you could actually walk or bike to work. My friends and I biked everywhere growing up. Imagine being able to hop on a bike and be at work in about 15 minutes! I think it would improve people's dispositions a lot.

Here in Arizona the road rage is out of control. As the temperature climbs it gets worse. Yesterday I got in my car after visiting with a friend at Paradise Bakery and the gauge read 115! It always amazes me how someone can get so impatient with the poor pedestrian trying to cross the street at Walmart, when they are out in the hot sun and there is the driver, the air-conditioning blowing their hair back making exasperated faces when they have to wait.

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with cars. Everyone that knows me, knows about the strange dreams I have about cars and driving. Some of my oft-repeated ones are:

I realize I am in a car and nobody is driving.

I am driving from the backseat and there is a stop sign coming and I can't get to the brakes fast enough.

I am driving a very small Flintstones like vehicle that I can easily pick up and move around. One time I dreamed that it had no floor.

I am driving in the half-light and I can barely see where I am going (usually this takes place on the freeway)

Last night I dreamt I was in a big pickup truck where I could pre-programmed  the whole trip and all I had to do was get in it and ride, the truck drove and steered itself.

I think there is a reason Europeans don't have the weight problems we have. From what I hear, they eat bread, cheese and pasta with real butter and don't gain weight. I think this is because they walk and bike everywhere. Maybe this is a myth, I don't know, never having been there.

I dream of a quieter world without motors. Don't get me wrong, I love my little car. I call it my little buggy-wuggy. (It's a bright yellow bug) I am also looking forward to taking a motor home trip this coming week, and I love that too!

I don't think there will be any kind of motorized vehicle in Heaven. I don't think Jesus needs a car to get where He wants to go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My best self

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings

How often I have stood in the meadow and gazed at this beloved view. It is part of me, I consider myself part owner anyway, having been blessed enough to have grown up near Yosemite. We went there every year. How grateful I continue to be for my parents, who instilled in me a deep love and appreciation of nature. Those memories have carried me through many tough times. I can't help but smile when I think of all those thrilled at the first view of those magnificent cliffs. Sometimes, unable to contain our excitement, we would pull over and run outside just to get a whiff of the sweet pine-air.
I have always found my best self close to nature. I really become the person I most want to be. I become at ease and the self confidence that alludes me nearly all of the time, comes to life in it. Much of the time I am ill at ease in the world, never sure of my place in it. But there, standing in a meadow, or on the shore listening to the crash of the waves, my best me comes out. I like myself there. Nature beckons me, invites me to be a part of it.....asking nothing in return except to come and enjoy.
Feel the peace of it, relax in it, and thank God for His marvelous creation.
Nature itself glorifies God as nothing else can. People many times fail to do that, but nature never does.
"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
Stroll over to Moonboat Cafe and see the post that inspired my own post today........thank you Cassandra!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finding God from where we are

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

My friend, who has become the caretaker of her parents in recent months, told me of a nightmare she had the other night. She said, "It was so terrible I didn't want to tell anyone about it." She was trapped in a pipe and she couldn't get out. She couldn't turn in any direction and couldn't go back or forward. She says, "The worst part? Everyone knew I was in there but nobody came to get me out." She looked at me and said, "That is exactly how I feel right now."

I know how she feels. Sometimes we are so trapped in our circumstances that we lose hope. People tell you to look at the picture, but the "big picture" has become blurry and out of focus. It no longer means anything. All you can do is think of where you are right now, and you don't see an end to it. That fact makes it hard to put one foot in front of the other.

You wake, still exhaused from the day before. Leftover stress. You wonder how to feel that freedom that you know is rightfully yours in Christ, because all you feel now is imprisoned in a cell without hope of parole.

There are few things I know for sure. One of them is, Jesus came so that we wouldn't have to feel that way ever again. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36

After all.......we have the very same Holy Spirit that allowed Paul to sing hymns of praise while locked in prison. And it is that Spirit that gives us the freedom to have hope even in the midst of our circumstances, whatever they may be, however they try to enslave us.

As in this picture above, we see life and beauty on the other side, but we just  don't know how to get there. We feel that vision is for someone else, not us. Not right now anyway.

It is in that very moment God is asking us to seek Him. "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 4:29

I like how that verse is worded. God is saying that we need to seek Him in that very instance where we feel that hope is lost. That very moment when we are most overwhelmed and discouraged. Hope is lost when we begin to feel like we will end, before our present circumstance does.

Our old enemy wants us to think this way. His goal hasn't changed since the very beginning, to kill, steal and destroy. He knows he can't have our soul, so he does everything else he possibly can to steal everything else from us, including our hope and joy. That is exactly what happens when we look too far into the future. We read things into it...... think that things will always be the way they are now. Jesus knew how we are, that is why He had some very good advice.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Jesus.

There is a way out.......Ask God to be with you in that moment and He will. He has promised it, and God can't ever go back on His word. He may not remove the circumstance, but He will provide you with peace in it, and give you more than enough strength to deal with it.

In order to counteract those other voices, we need to fill our thoughts with God's promises found in His word.

Get alone with God. Find some time for yourself. Even Jesus had to go off alone, many times.

Start the day determined to ask for strength for that day and that day alone.

Draw comfort from the fact that others are praying for you.

And last but not least, continue to tell God the things you are thankful for. Satan hates that most of all.

holy experience

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Dad you never had

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families.......Psalm 68:5,6
That's Our God!

I am blessed, truly blessed. I had a real Dad. We were pals, and still are. My Mom was the disciplinarian in the family, Dad could never do it. I never doubted that he would have walked through fire for me. His own Dad left the family when he was very small. That day haunted him all his life. I don't think he has ever fully recovered, even at 82 the memory is as clear now as it was way back then. He determined that when he had kids, it would be different. I can never think of a time in my life when he wasn't there for me.

But I know that is not the case with many.  

This post is for you. For all of you who longed desperately to see a face in the crowd rooting you on, and for everyone who was crushed and disappointed when Dad broke a promise......for the hundredth time. For those of you who never had a Dad who cared enough to make the promise in the first place, and everyone who ached for love and kindness and got harsh critisicm instead.

Or angry words......
For those who longed to hear, "I am proud of you!" You might be all grown up now but even so, the child in you still wants to hear it.

And that thing you were really really good at, that God made you good at?  That thing you stopped doing because nobody was in the stands? When you gave up on yourself? God saw that. He was cheering from the stands and saying.....I knew you could do it!

He was proud of you then and He's still proud of you now. Feel His love wrapped around you today.

He's the Dad you never thought you had.
If you always longed to feel the strength of a big hand wrapped around yours, letting you know that everything in your world was safe, take heart. God can fill that void perfectly. He can take all those empty spaces and replace them with His great love and protection.

Oh, how He wants to do that for you today.

And Daddy, remember how you shopped for weeks looking for that perfect Christmas gift for me? You must have been so excited for me to open it, that beautiful hat and matching scarf. Back then I thought I was too cool to wear it. Forgive me for being too childishly selfish to fully appreciate your gift of love. I wish I had it back now. If I did I would wear it proudly and never let it go......I love you! Happy Dad's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I really like you!

"God promised to make you free. He never promised to make you independent." — Madeleine L'Engle (The Irrational Season)

I went downstairs to the cafe today at work. There were people everywhere, people I had never seen before. I thought,"Who are all these people and where do they come from, and what is their story?" Then I thought......"Why do I feel so disconnected to them all?"

I guess because I don't know their stories.....You sit by a stranger and they start telling you things about themselves and they are no longer strangers, they are potential friends. Especially if they are going through some of the same things you are. There is a kinship, instantly. You figure out how you are the same and how you are different.....what you have in common and what you don't.

There is a solid connection where there was only possibility before.

I guess that's why I love this blogging thing. I feel connected to all of you, like I do know you....well, at least I feel like I do. And I like you! We have never met face to face, but I count you all as friends. That's what Jesus said, "I have called you friends." I try to stop in at least every other day or so, to see what's going on in your neck of the woods. Sometimes I comment, and sometimes I say a prayer as I'm reading your posts. Always, I am amazed by the wisdom and creativity I find there.

I want you to know I consider you my brothers and sisters, and I am glad you are out there. I'm glad God led me to your blogs, and to you. 

And someday, in this place or that other place we look to call home someday, we will meet, I am sure of it.

I really look forward to that day because......

I really do like you all!

"I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." Philemon 1:4-6
Yours truly, trying to stay out of the sun!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Heaven is for Real

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10

Ever want to see what Heaven might look like through the eyes of a four year old boy? I couldn't resist picking this book up as I strolled by the book aisle at Costco. I usually try to stay away from that section, but this is one I just had to buy.  It beckoned me, it did. I always want to hear what children say, since Jesus thought they were pretty important.

To be honest, my motive for buying it was simple. I wanted a bit of escape from this life for few hours. I had read "90 Minutes in Heaven" and found it to be totally credible. I ended up reading this one in a couple of hours. The book chronicles little Colvin Burpo's journey to Heaven as he lays in surgery after his appendix ruptures on a family vacation.

To hear Colvin's descriptions, as only a four year old would tell it, is precious. We have no way of knowing if he actually went there. Maybe it was a very powerful dream, maybe it was a vision. Maybe he actually went. I do believe that in these last days, we are seeing many things that the Bible talks about. I also think that as time goes on, we will see more of them.

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions."

This much is true. God wants us to go to Heaven and be with him when we die. In Colvin's own words:"Well, Jesus told me that he died on the cross so that we could go see His Dad."

I believe that what little Colvin saw was real. I think there is wonderful potential in these types of books, and that is to point the way to the truth of Scripture. I loved how Colvin's Dad, who is a Pastor, provides Scripture verses after several examples of what Colvin saw, constantly letting his son tell his story his own way and in his own time. This is a very close family, and a very real family. At one point while Colvin was in surgery and they thought he wouldn't make it, his Dad tells about how he went into a room and raged at God while praying.

Later Colvin describes that during the time he was in surgery he recalled seeing his Dad in that room praying and his mother in another room, also praying and talking on her cell phone. That gave me chills, since they never told Colvin any of that.

One thing is for sure. Heaven is for real and God wants us to go there.

Sometimes it takes a child to remind us.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In it to win it

Eph 6:10-17......Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Lately I have tried to go without it. Things have been chaotic, busy, upside down, inside out. God was tapping me on the shoulder. He started with a message I heard on the radio. I thought, "that was a good message, I'm glad I heard it." Then proceeded to go about my day. And then this morning I read about the incredible account of Balaam and his talking donkey:

"Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown." Numbers 22:31

Again, tap tap tap.......Okay, Lord, I get the message.

This is a spiritual battle we are in, and I've been going in without my weapons. I have forgotten what I need to do.

Pray. Get saturated in the word. Maybe even do some fasting.

Exercise and rest help too.

After all, if a heavenly messenger was detained twenty one days in some heavy duty spiritual combat, which is what I believe this verse describes, what makes me think I can function just fine without my spiritual armour?

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Daniel 10:12,13

This post was incredibly difficult. It took me two days of starting and stopping, sitting down and getting up. This morning I even went to Starbucks to see if that would help clear my head. My mouse didn't work so I came home. Actually, I was in such an agitated state, I forgot to check the mouse battery. Whatever the cause, I was thwarted once more.

This just serves to prove my point all the more, this is a real battle my friends. But we are in it to win it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Every Morning

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.........Lamentations 3:22-23

Four days......12 hours long.......working continually........we made it. This past week we merged two giant factories automation systems and hundreds of programs that make everything work and dealt with the impending disaster that came with it. It was like trying to make fire and oil co-habitate. My part in it was small, but stressful, since factory managers and group leaders were hovering close by. At the worst possible time one of them came up and asked if I needed any help. He must have seen my glazed over look. I was overwhelmed.

Praise God, by the time we all left last night, my area was almost normal. No doubt there were sleepless nights for all involved. I can only praise God for the end of the week. He brought us to the other side, just as He always does.

I am sure there will be glitches, but there are people there working them out. Today is a day of rest for me.......I am meditating on the great old hymn this morning as I anticipate some much needed mental rest for a few days.

Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be. "

Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

I love the line about no shadow of turning........God never changes, and that is the one thing we can always count on.

Hymn written by Thomas Chisolm who died in 1960 at age 94. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 1,200 poems and hymns including O To Be Like Thee and Living for Jesus

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When did pop lose its soul?

Is it just me???

Pop music has lost its soul. I was driving to work this morning after a very long stressful week and I needed to hear something that would make me smile.....a feel good CD. I had Simon and Garfunkel in there from awhile back, so I put it in. Instantly I was taken back........I remembered high school English class....we all had to print out a popular song, read it out loud and then discuss the meaning behind the words....the soul of the song.

I must say, that at 14 I was very innocent. The song I chose was "The Boxer," by Simon and Garfunkel. Before I read it aloud, I had to ask my Dad what a whore was. That was the closest they got to a bad word in the song lyrics back then.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the "soul" of pop today, with the "soul" of the pop of yesterday. Here are a few snippets I found that frankly, made me sad for where we are today.....

It doesn’t matter if you love him
Or capital h-i-m
Just put your paws up
‘Cause you were born this way, baby Lady Gaga

I got a dirty mind
I got filthy ways
I’m tryna Bath my Ape in your Milky Way
I’m a legend, I’m irreverent
I be reverend Kanye West

Feels so good being bad
There’s no way I’m turning back
Now the pain is for pleasure
‘Cause nothing can measure
Love is great, love is fine. Rihanna

(These were the ones I could write, the others were too foul)
and yesterday....

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I would lay me down....

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.
And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies. Simon and Garfunkel

Ah! Poetry and words that touch the heart and soul.
In my opinion, music, like art and comedy should be universal. Something everyone can share and appreciate. It should inspire emotion, deep feeling, sadness, joy, wonder, longing....the full range of emotions. There is so much beauty, goodness, wonder and love in the world.

It makes me wonder what the fallout is going to be for our youth that fill their heads with this is no surprise that so many are depressed and hopeless.....

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8

I leave you today with an almost prophetic song. To me this is one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written. If you get a few spare moments, pull it up on Itunes or Pandora and listen to it. Think about where we are today, everyone walking around with their heads bent, texting......plugged in, tuned in and tuned out of the world around them. It will produce some chills I guarantee it!

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

And a special side note of Congratulations to James and Elizabeth on your wedding day today....I wish you much joy and God's grace to light your way......

Friday, June 10, 2011

From death to life.....

"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life;" Romans 6:11-13

I wasn't going to listen to Romans this morning on the way to work. I thought.....I listened to this last week. I have heard it all before.....But I forgot one very important thing about God's word. It has staying power, the power of life in it. It never fails to bring life to the hearer. As I listened to the words of Paul again, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I began to get chills up and down my arms.

I was hearing it against the backdrop of everything we have been through these past many months

I got a picture in my mind of impassioned Paul, speaking in front of a courtroom, striding back and forth. One moment Prosecutor of sin, the next brilliant public Defender of the faith, (as if it needed any defending.)

As I listened to the first 6 Chapters the words flowed over me and I reflected on the past 3 days.....that's where the chills came in. We can go through anything, my friends, because we are a people who have been brought from death to life. That's how we roll.

That is the reason for the hope that lies within us. That's the thing that makes it possible to rise up in the morning and do it all again, and with an attitude of hope that no circumstance or person can ever stamp out. That's the brilliant backdrop, the reality that we can't see with our eyes, but that we feel with every fiber of our being.

Each one of us knows the truth. We were built to last. Though our bodies are perishing, our God stamp......our spirit, our soul will live on. And one day, we will rise, as He rose, with new bodies. Bodies that can live in God's world, with Him forever. What a tremendous hope!

 "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." 1 John 3:2-3

And He is with us now. As I look back on the past few months, I cannot deny God's hand at work....we have talked about it, Elaine and I. I have stood beside her, helping her to navigate this particular valley of death. That's what it has felt like anyway.

Dealing with all the stress of a Dad with dementia, one minute angry and accusatory, the next minute apologetic....

His move into a rest home........

Her Mom's move in with us.......

Learning to live under the same roof with Alzheimers and everything that goes with it......

The emptying out of their house, which we did ourselves, with the help of some very helpful "angels" to cart off some of the biggest items, finishing only just last Tuesday.

Moving everything left into storage.

And finally, the sale of their home.....I can only say that God has been glorified through it all, because we know the truth of these words......"I will never leave you or forsake you......and He hasn't.....and He won't.

And in between all these lines there is the everyday life, the toughest part. Where the nitty-gritty battles are fought day in and day out. The fatigue and stress of living with someone who has lived their whole life through a prism of negativity. The life you escaped from.

I look back in disbelief at what we did......the three of us.

I look ahead with hope, because He showed us again that He will never leave us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How did we do that?

Ever look back and wonder how in the heck you got through something? All you can do is look back in disbelief and amazement and say, "How did we do that?" The wonder comes when you look back and see God's hand in it every step of the way.....It has been that kind of a week. I fully intended to post today, but I have been in the midst of two difficult days at work. It is still going on......

Remember the book.....Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? I lived the title yesterday, and so far it is better but still very challenging at work. I fully intend to make it to the other side and post with a bit more detail tomorrow.....

I promise.

But for now, my brain is fried, I just had to really think about how to spell "kind." My left eye is twitching, and my teeth ache. I think I am grinding them at night. "SIGH"

I see the light at the end of the tunnel.....looking forward to going home.

Peace and blessings to you all, Lori

Monday, June 6, 2011

Praying Always......

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—" Ephesians 6:18

"Prayer, and only prayer, restores my vision to one that more resembles God's. i awake from blindness to see that wealth lurks as a terrible danger, not a goal worth striving for; that value depends not on race or status but on the image of God every person bears; that no amount of effort to improve physical beauty has much relevance for the world beyond." Philip Yancey

I was on my break the other day at work, and decided to sit in my car a bit and listen to the radio. I was just in time for David Jeremiah's Turning Point which I used to listen to all the time. He was talking about prayer and reading from one of Philip Yancey's books. In it, he described a man, a desperate alcoholic who prayed and prayed to be released from his terrible cravings, and yet every morning his first thought was not God but Jack Daniels. At one point in his process of prayer he realized that it was God's mercy that kept the desire there. He realized that the prayer was changing him from the inside out.

Ever prayed for something for so long that you wondered whether it was doing any good at all? I know I have. But then I realize something else. Maybe that change in myself or someone else is not happening as fast as I think it should, but while I am praying about it, something else is changing.

I am drawing near to faith is not weakened but strengthened. My frustrations in what I feel are unanswered prayers draw me to the Word of Life......and that in turn gives me the peace I need to wait......because I know in the waiting, something very powerful is happening.

And be assured, that thing you're praying for will happen when the time is right......

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13,14

I join with many today in the Gratitude Community.......#700-710

Thankful list: Hanging onto cool mornings for a bit longer, answered prayer about the sale of a home, green offerings from the garden, snatched times of peace away, continued good health, air-conditioner on borrowed time that still rumbles to life, good health of my parents at 81,82, beautiful Arizona sunsets, laughter, always laughter that has continued even through stressfulness of caretaking.....friends who pray.

holy experience

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We're All A Bit Difficult

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

In a recent conversation I said, "The frustrating thing about people is, you can't make them do the right thing, that's why I like animals," I said. She smiled and scoffed,"You can't even make your cat do the right thing, that's not a good analogy for you." I took offense to that because, well.....she was right. The truth is, I spoil him! He jumps on my lap while I am trying to post, he steals my chair when I get up from the table, and he would snatch food right off my plate if I let him.

But it's easy for me to look past all that because it is easy to love him. He follows me everywhere. He greets me when I come home at night. He circles around my feet when it looks to him like I might sit down, and then he plops into my lap and turns upside very blissful cat.

It's the same with people I love.......It's easy to overlook their faults and little idiosyncracies, even lavish them with affection, because I love them.

But what about strangers? What about someone I don't know? What about the difficult people in my life, your life? Those porcupines.

What makes dealing with them so frustrating? Because I can't make them behave the way I think they should. I can't make them do the right thing, make the right decisions. BEHAVE.  

And because I don't love them, even though God says I must.

When I am describing "difficult people," it's always those people out there. I naturally assume that I am not one of them. It's a finger pointed outwards, accusingly. We have all worked with them, sometimes even lived with them. Maybe you live with one now. You know the kind......
Complaining, egocentric, selfish, negative, narcissistic, disagreeable, argumentative.......It would be oh so easy to just cross them off. But I can't.

Because God doesn't cross me off. No matter how many times I disappoint Him.

Probably, most "difficult" people don't think they are difficult. And there are times, I am sure, when I am difficult for others to deal with....... and very difficult to God.

Because I know how much slack God gives me each and every day, how much He has lavished on helps me to deal a bit less harshly with the porcupines in my life. I can only hope.

God reminded me of this today when I was busy complaining to Him about someone else.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Explaining Light

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Einstein could explain just about everything about how light works, but he couldn't explain the source of light itself, where light originally came from....."And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to (can be detected by) the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light 
Source: Wikipedia

We have all these fancy technical explanations about how light works, but until we know the source of the light itself, we will remain in darkness, no matter how well we can explain the theory.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

I wish for you a sun-dappled path today, and illumination for each situation you encounter. I pray that His healing touch will be a balm to your weary soul and that you will be saturated with His peace. May you feel His grace resting within you, and may you find a quiet place in the sun to rest for a moment as He gives new strength to your bones and joy that touches your heart.

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Desert Speaks

For the LORD’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
“He found him in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He encircled him, He instructed him,
He kept him as the apple of His eye.
Deuteronomy 32:9,10

Monday was a tough day......It was a day where months, actually years of stress caught up and culminated in words that have been bottled up far too long. It had to be said......and she had to get out. So we Destination: Anywhere but there. Caregivers of the very demanding understand this need to escape.

Who knows whether the words stuck. They were probably forgotten within 10 minutes.That is the thing with Alzheimers, you never know what sticks and what doesn't. She is not at the stage where she would be in danger alone......yet, although that will come. So we went.

No one tells you. The rules change daily. What is okay one day is met with anger and denial the next. A day trip was necessary, crucial.....sanity was precariously balanced on the edge of a very fine line.

Grabbing my camera I said, "Let's go to Globe, they have old buildings and it's not too far away."

And God gave one of His unexpected little surprises, well actually two. A call came on her cell while we were driving around......cousin Sandra, two states away. A welcome voice from someone who understands the situation and everyone involved. Healing balm for a hurting heart.

Driving along I saw some pretty plants and a sign that said, "Botanical Gardens." We stopped and found a neat surprise there, a place called  Besh Ba Gowah "Place of Metal" Archaeological Park. The name is referring to the mining that took place there. It was an old Salado pueblo ruins that had been excavated and partially reconstructed.

We paid our 4 dollars and were invited to watch the 15 minute video, which we skipped. My camera was itching in my hands....God gave a gift......Sometimes He speaks in desert blooms. It was like He was saying.........."This is for you........."

and so is this........

This one reminded me of a fire-cracker.....

As we walked through, we heard the Spirit speak in birdsong.....saw the glory of Him in the blooms that even thorns do not prevent.....
heard His whisper on the breeze,

Telling us all the while that He loved us and longed to give us rest......

In His Presence......

it was very good.

Thank you, my friend. I am so glad you insisted we get away.
You knew how much I wanted a camera day.  
It was one of those God things that it turned out like it did.