Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gratitude: A Season --A Lifestyle

This is the season for giving thanks, my favorite holiday of the year.  Thanksgiving will soon arrive along with our children, in-loves, grands, and one granddog, Tucker.   Having our family under one roof is a blessing, one we do not take lightly. 

For the past few days we have been preparing for the gathering.  Meals planned, groceries bought, emails and texts going back and forth, turkeys thawing, bathrooms cleaned, and fresh smells coming from the kitchen as I bake bread, cookies, and pies to grace our tables.  We are so thankful that our home will be bursting at the seams with love and laughter when 11 adults and 10 grandkids come home. 

Thankful.  We are so very thankful for each and every one and what they bring to the mix.  Each of our children and their families live life a little differently.  Each one has made their own way in the world that surrounds us, making choices and staying busy with all that defines family, so on the rare occasion that we come together as one unit Joel and I feel a deep sense of gratitude. 

We also remember those who are not here, including our son Kevin who has been gone nearly 10 years now.  We remember, too, the years that Lyme disease stole from us....but we do not dwell there.  We spend our time grateful that those years are behind us.  We give thanks that our children are whole and healthy.  We give thanks that they know who God is and call Jesus their Savior!  Oh, yes, we are humbly grateful.

We have so much to give praise for.  Our blessings overflow during this season and throughout the year. Ann Voskamp has written a powerful book about counting our blessings.  "One Thousand Gifts" ~She shares that it is in the gratitude that we find joy, peace, grace. An every single day choice for gratitude.   Gratitude is a lifestyle, not only a day filled with family, friends, food and football. 

Most of you will gather with family or with your memories during this season of giving thanks.  I pray you have an abundance of blessings to lift in praise.  I pray you have the love of God and family to warm your hearts.  I pray your table, your home, and your heart is full.  And I give thanks for you who visit my cyber home.  See you Saturday!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning here in our corner of the world, and we are blanketed by fog as temperatures rise once again.  Tomorrow we are going to see 48 degrees which should melt the rest of the snow.  I can't help but think about parts of northern New York where they are dealing with so many feet of snow.  It hard to comprehend from the pictures posted.  And now a melt?  Yikes. 

Joel and I just returned from walking outside on the association paths.  The fresh air was heavenly!  We have also walked in the Mall, at a church, and once I walked around our main level here which was really difficult to do now that I walk faster and longer.  I only walked 25 minutes but at least I was able to exercise.  

We along with a few neighbors decided to turn our Christmas lights on early this year.  It is so nice to look out and see the porch lit up, along with neighbor houses.  Maybe it is the bitter cold that moved us into the season before Thanksgiving.  No tree yet though.  Nada.  Nor Christmas music....just the lights illuminating the darkness. 

We are busy getting ready for the family coming for Thanksgiving.  I made my annual pumpkin bread for everyone to take home.  I triple the recipe and use mini pans to bake in.  I think I started making this recipe 40 years ago. 

Our Christmas shopping is mostly done since we celebrate the day after Thanksgiving this year. As the kids get older we need more space for eating, so this year we are borrowing a table from the church to go with our dining table, plus lots of chairs.  So thankful our dining room holds two tables.

I have been reading the same books, watching the same shows....and listening to the same preacher/teachers this week.  The cold weather has me trapped inside, the return of nasty pain, has me in a funk, and I am thinking Phoenix cannot come fast enough.  Okay, there it is.  The "I wish winter was over before it begins" complaint.  Sigh......So today I am making cookies, and shaking up the house with praise music.  I plan to turn on the Hallmark channel and get myself into a festive mood. Here is hoping your week has been filled with joy, good health, good weather, and plenty of Hallmark movies to make you smile and get ready for the holidays. Until next time............

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Safe In Our Daddy's Arms

The little girl ran up to her daddy, giggling with joy as he lifted her up in his arms and swung her around.  His eyes were brimming with the love he felt for his child,  His laughter filled the air, he was so delighted with her presence.  As they walked towards home, the little girl rested in her daddy's arms, trusting his love for her.  They were connected on the deepest level, heart to heart, spirit to spirit  She knew who she was and whose she was.

What if this were us?  What if we ran into our daddy's, our Papa God's arms laughing with joy as He lifted us up, swinging us around.  Can you see His eyes brimming with all the love He feels for you, His child?  Can you hear His laughter filling the air because He is so delighted with His precious one?  Will you walk with Him towards home, resting in your Daddy God's arms, trusting His love for you.  Knowing who you are and Whose you are.

When we read God's Word, we hear the truth of how He feels about us.  He tells us in Zephaniah that He delights in us.  He rejoices over us with singing.  The Word tells us that He sent His only son....Jesus...for us.   For you....for me.  He has a deep love for us and desires us to have abundant life.  He is our Papa, our Daddy, our Heavenly Father....and as His children we are loved beyond our understanding.  Safe in our Daddy's arms.

"The Lord your God is with you
He is mighty to save
He takes delight in you
He will calm you with His love
He will rejoice over you with singing"
Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, November 17, 2014

Not One Prison

"There is not one prison
that God wants you to stay captive in."
Abi Stumvoll

Falling asleep last night I prayed for quiet peaceful dreams to come.  I woke up at 2am from a nightmare where once again, safety was an issue.  We were in a car, my son Matt, who is a police officer in real life, was outside the car being shot at by a man dressed all in black wearing a ski mask and carrying an AK47.  Matt was unarmed, so he crawled around the side of the car and climbed in the back.  He told me to reach under the front seat and take out the 9 millimeter he kept there.  I did, and he instructed me on how to take the safety off.  For some reason, as dreams go, Matt could not get to the gun so it was in my hands.  As the man came up to the side window pointing the gun at Matt with the intention of killing him,  I lifted the gun up, aimed, and pulled the trigger, once, twice, three times.  As he lay dying I put my face in my hands and repented of killing someone while at the same time giving thanks that we were safe.  Double edge sword. 

Waking from the nightmare, my heart was pounding and safety alarms were starting to go off in my body, so I visualized Jesus with me, and spoke aloud Isaiah 26:3 until sleep came.  At 5am I woke up alert from yet another crazy dream, feeling the old unsafe fears wanting to resurface.  Really?  I prayed for peaceful dreams to replace the "always busy doing" dreams and ended up with nightmares!  I was ticked.  I am no longer captive to this stuff.  I know where these nasty dreams come from so I spoke aloud to the enemy.   "I refuse to partner with you anymore.  I am not believing your lies.  I send you to the foot of  the cross and I receive peace in place of fear.  Jesus is here and I am being held safely in His arms."  Satan slithered away, sleep came again and the nightmares stopped. 

Today I went to Bethels website and saw an unfamiliar face of a younger woman named Abbi Stumvoll, who had preached on Friday night.  I decided to see what she had to say, and as God often does, what she shared was just what I needed to hear.  She spoke about her own journey with inner healing.  Life had been difficult for her as she believed the lies spoken over her as a child and young adult.  Four years after discovering God's deep love for her and His desire to bring her healing she said,  "Being set free from fear, anger, or whatever chains hold you, seldom comes as the "suddenly" we read about in the Bible. We cannot force God to give us our "suddenly".  It usually comes as a process moving us to a place where we are fully persuaded God will do what He has promised in His Word.  It is our responsibility to hear and trust the truth....trust the process and step out in faith.  It is God who sets us free to be who He has always planned us to be."  Amen!!  This is good news for all of us isn't it!

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Luke 4:18,19
(Isaiah 61)

There is not one prison that God wants you to be captive in.  Not one.  He sent Jesus to set the captives free!!!  Free!!!  Sometimes it is difficult to face the pain so we run from it, but that only gives it more power.  The power we desire is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and lives inside of us.  So, when we turn and face those fears...the pain......even pursuing them, God shows up with Heaven's armies to do battle with us, bringing us out of captivity.  It may not happen suddenly but it will happen.

It is for freedom that Christ sets us free.  No chains.  No prison walls of fear, anger, sickness, bitterness, unforgiveness, childhood trauma, poverty, or more.  Not one prison. 

"It is for freedom that Christ set us free.
So stand firm then and never again
be burdened by a yoke of slavery/bondage."
Galatians 5:1

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where we are waking up to a balmy 18 degrees with several inches of snow forecast for the day.  Winter has arrived via the arctic vortex and I expect we won't see the ground again til Spring.  I keep telling Joel, it is 22 here and.... 80 in Phoenix....it is 19 here and..........wait for it.......80 in Phoenix!   It must have been a shock to those living in Oklahoma City when they enjoyed a warm 80 degrees one day and a high of 30 the next. Yikes.  That is so wrong!  Certainly we have not eased into winter here in our corner of the world, but it seems the whole country is being challenged by bitter cold and record snows already!

We had to walk in the Mall a couple of times this week, but when the paths and road were free of ice we walked outside even when it was cold! I actually wore two pair of pants, a hooded sweatshirt under my winter coat and wool socks with my tennies the one day!  We like the fresh air!  I just had to share the beautiful pictures Joel took with his phone on one of our walks.  The sun was setting and God was busy painting the sky as only He can do!


Everything looks afire with God's glory!

The clouds look like cotton balls
Love the reflection on the water

Last Sunday my sister and BIL came over for a nice visit.  Monday Joel worked outside to finish up leaves, etc. and we did a little Christmas shopping.  Wednesday Joel headed out at 8:30 am for a Synod/ Pastors meeting and luncheon and he got home in time to grab the supper I had ready for him to take to church as he had to teach confirmation and then followed that with a pre-baptism meeting and then a worship committee meeting.  Phew!  Add all that together along with over three hours of driving, and when he came home close to 10 he sat down in the chair and promptly fell asleep!

 I had spent the day getting ready for our speaking engagement at Trinity Lutheran church here in town.   A few months ago we were asked to speak on our healing on Thursday November 13th.   It was a nice, small gathering with 4 pastors in attendance, including Joel.  We love to share what God has done in our lives, we were able to pray for someone's healing, and we heard from others who shared how God has blessed their lives with the miraculous. 

 Joel had headed out to pick up our bulk food order early in the morning before the luncheon, and then after supper he went to another Lutheran church here in town to help them with a "mock" interview as they prepare the call committee to interview candidates for the position of Senior Pastor.  He has done this before for a couple of other churches.  When the mock interview was nearly over, a man there said, "We want to hire YOU!"  It made us laugh, but was a compliment of course.  That's my cowboy preacher!!  Friday we grocery shopped, took a long walk in a 10 degrees wind chill, and after lunch took a long nap!  Tomorrow Joel has a funeral/graveside after church.  Busy week.

I am still finishing up the photo album and journal for our second oldest daughter.  I also took some of our favorite photos of grandkids and had 5x7 black and whites made to be framed for the dining room wall.  I had picked up box frames at IKEA, copying our oldest daughter's idea for her own home.

Our kitchen sink is ceramic and had gotten badly stained over the years.  Our cleaning lady wanted to bring bleach in to clean it and we said no.  I used a mixture of baking soda, borax, and salt but it did not come off.  Finally I thought about what people can use to whiten their teeth....a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste.  I used that and it all came off.  It looks new!!!!  So there is an idea for anyone who has the same issue going on.  I am going to try it on grout next.

I have been reading Kris Vollottan's book, "The Supernatural Ways of Royalty".  Very thought provoking on how we see ourselves vs how God sees us.  Are we paupers or royalty?  As God's children we are royalty.  I also have been using the Passion translation of the book of Psalms for part of my morning readings.  I really like Dr. Brian Simmons translation.  We taped (yes we still use our VCR/DVD player to tape shows) several shows that we were too busy to watch this past week, and vegged in front of the TV last night catching up.  We still finding Madam Secretary the best new show on TV.  So what is going on with you?

Until next time.............

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Story To Share

Today Joel and I went to the large Lutheran church here in town to speak during a luncheon.  We had been asked to speak on our healings and it was great fun to do so.  Well, after I got over being nervous about it anyway.  It was a small gathering of people, mostly around our age, who listened to us speak for about an hour.  Counting Joel, four pastors were in attendance.

After we finished speaking, more than one person came up to share their own stories of a healing, Holy Spirit encounters, or receiving the gift of a prayer language.  No one spoke of it to the group, only one-on-one with us.  In our Lutheran world, visions, speaking in tongues, and healings are not really talked about very much, but what we are learning is that God is working behind the scenes in mainstream churches.....people are just too uncomfortable to talk about it.  Maybe like me, they wonder how others will respond to what they have to share.  It makes me sad but it also makes me more determined to keep sharing our own stories and reaching out to others to listen to theirs.  Our stories are His stories too. 

After most of the group left we prayed with a woman who had asked Joel for prayer earlier.   She is an aquaintance Joel has known a long time.  We prayed, laying hands on her, and speaking to her health concern.  I confess, I love doing this.  I love commanding sickness to get out in Jesus name.  I love when Jesus lets us be a part of seeing His healing power at work.

We have done so just a few times so far.  One man came over to our home and asked for prayer for pain in his hip, leg, and lower back.  He could not bend or sit on anything soft, and he walked with a limp, challenged by stairs.  He was in constant pain.  He told us he was ready to be healed.  He did not leave disappointed as Jesus healed him from hip, leg, and lower back pain.  His whole body was tingling all over as we laid hands on him.  Only God.  He was soon running around our dining room and bending down and touching his toes.  Tears were shed as we gave God praise for this man's healing.  God is amazing!

We have prayed for others and they have had pain leave, or experienced improvement, and one person broke out in a sweat as we Prayed with his wife, commanding his body to heal....he believed his body was responding and it was working hard as it healed causing him to be soaked in sweat.  Only God!

Joel has asked people at the church where he is Interim to share stories of God's touch in their lives.  A couple of weeks ago a woman shared her story of having Jesus come to her while she struggled with an infection that required surgery.  Laying in the hospital deathly ill, Jesus came and held her hand, filling her with peace.  She had a long journey to healing, but she did not worry after that.  Isn't God amazing?

I share these stories because we believe they are HIS story.  Just like every healing written in the Bible, just like every story of healing told throughout the centuries,  every healing that occurs through a doctor, a surgery, or speaking to the disease using the same power that raised Jesus from the dead....God is the healer!  Only God!

Yes, we love sharing our story from debilitating disease to health and healing......overnight for one and a process for another.....and we love hearing the stories of others.  We love it when Holy Spirit lets us be a small part of the healing....using our hands, our words.  It is humbling.  It is exciting.  It is amazing.  Only God!

Do you have a story to share?  I would love to hear it~!