Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

What a beautiful 4th of July we are having.  Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze to keep the bugs at bay.  I am watching my neighbor trim all his bushes and trees.  We like the natural look, but he is in charge of the grounds at our local college, so he knows what he is doing, I'm sure.

Speaking of Independence Day, we have much to be thankful for.  We may have a lot of problems here in the U.S. but we must never take our freedom for granted!  Many have paid a high price for it.

Remember last week I shared a picture of our rust/burgundy lilies?  Well the next morning they were mostly gone thanks to some deer that came through the front yard!  Joel put out Irish Spring shavings and it seems to be working as they have left the rest. 

Last Sunday night we rented and watched American Sniper.  Powerful.  Intense.  Sad.  We do enjoy military movies.  Joel and I spent enough years as an Air Force family that we are quite military minded. After 9-11 Joel looked into going back into the Air Force as a chaplain but he was "too old".  I am thankful for that.  It was a long is a long war. 

For a couple of days this past week our setting sun and our moon were both a dark orange color due to the ash in the air from the fires in Canada.  We are still having sunshine but with a think film of cloud cover making the skies more gray than blue.  Strange.

We have been getting ready for Joel's farewell/recognition/retire-refire party next weekend.  The church is having a special celebration combining the three and then our family and extended family will come to the house for more fellowship and supper. 

Last night we watched the city fireworks from our living room once again.  Nothing landed in our yard this year, but we had to close up from all the smoke.  This was our 10th year to sit in the comfort of our living room and watch through the trees. 

America the Beautiful!

Walking along Lake and carnival

Our first smoothies of the season
Mixed Berry and All-in Suicide Smoothies

Today we drove over to Clear Lake, walking along the lake, through the carnival and arts and craft areas before heading to Cabin Coffee for our first all fruit smoothies of the season.  We actually got one free so that was nice.  Then we headed back to the car....walking our mile for the day.  They will have fireworks tonight over the lake.  Clear Lake's 4th of July celebration is 5 days long this year and is one of the top celebrations for the state of Iowa.  Lots of people......lots!  People stake out their places to watch along the lake shore.....with blankets staked in the ground,  chairs, etc.  We opted to come home and not stay with the crowds.  We saw enough last night.  I expect we will settle in for some porch sitting tonight.  Lovely day for it.

So how has your 4th been? 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shalom, Shalom

Last night Joel and I watched a teaching by Havilah Cunnington who is a preacher, teacher, and prophetess out at Bethel Church in CA.  She is a powerful speaker who is open and honest with her words.  Her sense of humor and way of teaching reminds us both a great deal of our oldest daughter Bethany, who herself, teaches Old Testament at her church.

Her teaching was based on Isaiah 26:3:

"You will keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You
 because he trusts in You."
Perfect peace is translated, shalom...shalom.  Double peace.  Having peace that is so powerful that it is peace and then peace again.  Don't we all want that? 

Our world is in chaos.  ISIS is planning attacks on our country during this celebration weekend, and our cities, government, and law enforcement agencies are on high alert. That includes our son.  We could let ourselves be filled with fear, or we can let ourselves reside in peace. Perfect peace.  Shalom, shalom.

The murders of those faithful prayer warriors in Charleston shook our world.  How can this be?  How can people still hate others because they are of a different race?  How it must anger God to see His creations struck down as they were talking to Him in a house of God.  The response of other church members to this young man, has been amazing.  They are keeping their focus on God in the midst of such tragedy.  We are all a blended family of God.  That is where peace resides.  Our immediate family is multiracial.  Our children, in-loves, and grands bring together histories of African American, Puerto Rican Black, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Hispanic, Caucasian, and Native American ancestries created by God.  Shalom, shalom. 

Our friends Deb and Dave are still struggling with a fungal infection that has attacked Deb's body.  Weeks in the hospital, drugs that went after her kidneys and caused high fevers and heart issues were tried and thrown out.  Pneumonia set in from the mucra.   There was one more newly approved drug to try and the doctors did.  She is now home, getting stronger, and tolerating the new medication.  Hundreds of people who have been praying are feeling a sense of joy and peace restored.  Added to that peace is a long fought for appointment with Mayo for next week.  Peace in the storm.  God is at work.  Shalom, shalom.

Here at home, a return of a nasty old symptom has caused me anxiety the past two weeks.  We have been praying, fighting for release, and listening to God's voice on how to procede.  What we have been hearing is "I've got this.  Rest in me.  Trust.  Focus on Me."   It is a small storm, but has attempted to take our peace.  Where do we turn to?  Jesus.  Shalom, shalom.

Storms will come to us in life.  The Bible tells us where to find the peace we need during these times.  Jesus is the answer.  When we bring everything to the foot of the cross, when we remember where our help comes from, when we trust in the Lord with all our heart, we can be at peace in the midst of it all.  We can have that perfect peace.  Shalom, shalom. 

"I will trust you with all my heart and not try to figure it all out". 
"Peace is the battleground for trust,
and trust begins in our mind.
Make a decision to not be in fear. 
A decision to trust"
"Perfect peace is translated, shalom shalom."
Peace, Peace from the Prince of Peace"
Havilah Cunnington

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In Amazement

Today Joel and I are celebrating our 47th wedding Anniversary.  In amazement we are giving thanks for so many years together.  We met at Bible college and were married soon after graduation.  We both had a desire to serve as missionaries in Africa, but God had other plans.  Eight years in the military and then 35 years of church ministry have now brought us to a place where we stand in amazement at the edge of a new season of our lives.

Our children are grown with families of their own.  Their lives are full and independent as they live out their days where God has planted them.  Joel has two weeks of work left here in north Iowa where we have lived for 19 years.  Most people our age are seeking retirement, and we probably would be if we had not been forced to live in 90 year old bodies while battling Lyme Disease.  We thought we would end our days sick and old before our time....but then God.

Then God brought healing and more of Holy Spirit into our lives, and we have been set free to seek Him in new ways.  Then God shook our world upside down, opening "something more" before us and we are still amazed.  Moving to Gold Canyon is part of the "then God" .....being open to a new ministry is another "then God"  A desire for a Spirit flowing church is an empowering "then God".

We have been told we have a restless spirit that can't settle in one place.  We have been told we are brave......we have been told we are crazy.  Some envy us this new adventure....others would never take the risk.  We feel we are being obedient to God's calling, just as we were the past 35 years.  Why else would we move 2,000 miles away from everything and most everyone we know to a massive city in the desert if it was not because we heard God whisper in our ear and touch our hearts for such a place.

Today I cannot help but wonder what the next few anniversaries will bring....where will we be....what we will be doing.....We began 2015 with God telling us this was going to be a "pivotal year" for us.  So far it has been!  We often ask, "What is the plan, God?"  Who knows how long we will call the desert home, who knows what life will throw our way.  We just know that we are on the edge of a new season in our lives and we are looking forward to it.  In amazement.

Come Holy Spirit Come

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday afternoon, the sun is shining, the temperature is around 79 and the humidity and dew point are in the lower numbers.  All is right here in our corner of the world.  I took a couple of pictures of what is blooming right now in our little garden.  We enjoy all the colors and fragrance.

A variety of our flowers in bloom

We have been walking daily around 1 to 1.5 miles which has been nice.  Joel is biking when he can.  We are trying to go out earlier than normal as the sun is pretty intense now.  Nothing like Arizona, though.

I watched another live-stream conference out at Bethel Church called "Kingdom Culture".  It was really good, and I always learn so much! Speaking of watching, did any of you see the service for Rev. Pinkney in Charleston?  It was beautiful.  Always love how the African Methodist/Ep. church people express themselves.  Us Lutherans could use a little more of that!

We went out for supper with my sister Kay and BIL Dan this week at the grocery store deli.  They have great food for a good price.  We stopped over and visited with them after our supper.  They live in one of those solid 1950's houses that has stood the test of time.  They have done such beautiful updates, improvements, and remodeling over the years it makes me want to go home and start in on ours! 

Joel celebrated his 69th birthday on Wednesday.  I made him a rhubarb pie for Father's day and another for his birthday.  His favorite.  He had meetings that night but we had his favorite southwestern salad the night before and again for lunch.....lettuce, cucs, tomatoes, black olives, cheese, rice, and black beans with sour cream or yogurt and he has salsa on his too.  It is really good!

I'm still plugging away on Praying Medic's book on Divine Healing and Joel and I are reading together a book on being prophetic.  Very interesting.  We watched some TV.....some teachings.....and did a little porch sitting.  We have not made it to the lake yet this year.  Maybe this week.

Joel has two weeks of Interim work left at Faith Lutheran, and we will be having a little party here at home for him.  Most of the kids, in-loves, and grands will be here and a few of my family.  Low celebrate his 35 years of ministry.  The church is also having a farewell.  So nice of them to put the two together.  Like I said before, they are the small church with a big heart.

Hope your summer is going well
Until next time..............

Friday, June 26, 2015

Living Up Or Down

"Most people will rise up to how you treat them,
and what you say to them or over them.'
Candace Johnson
Bethel Church

There it is again....word power. 

If we criticize and put down others......if we speak negative things over them.....if we talk badly about others whether they are around to hear or not?  We are speaking against what God tells us in scripture. 

Children will live up to or down to what we speak over them.  They are shaped by our words.  They are shaped by our actions.  They are shaped when our words don't match our actions and when they do.   God holds children in high regard, and so should we. 

As adults we are affected by what others say about us and over us, but we need not be.  We can release their words and embrace God's.  In God's eyes we are enough.  We are His beloved.  We are sons and daughters of the King.  God delights in us and rejoices over us in singing. He loves us with a perfect lovc. 

Those words have power in our lives.  They give us courage to live up to them.  Let our words do the same.  Word power.

Monday, June 22, 2015

She Fights For Health, But Not Alone

Deb and me last fall

I have mentioned before that our friend, Deb Grant is fighting an aggressive fungal infection.  She is in the hospital because her heart rate won't stabilize, the fever won't leave, and she has pneumonia from the infection.  Her immune system is compromised and a number of doctors have been trying to figure out why.  So many medications, so many tests, so many doctors, so many symptoms. 

Today her husband Dave put a post on CareBridge that was entitled..."Who Do We Trust"?  Every doctor seems to come to a different conclusion.  Every test comes up negative.  That is good, right?  But somewhere, hidden inside her body, the doctors believe they are missing the cause of the immune suppression, giving residence to the fungal infection that is normally in the air we breath.  But it seems the doctors cannot come to a consensus.  Thus, Dave's question....."who do we trust"?

I first knew Dave when I was 12 and I moved in with my older sister and her family.  They were very active in church and St. Olaf Lutheran became my second home.  I felt very comfortable there.  Dave was one of 5 Grant boys who lived in Brazil with their missionary parents.  Their pictures and stories about living on the mission field were always pinned to one of our church bulletin boards and I used to pray and read about them, wondering what it was like to be a missionary. 

Fast forward to the early 1990's when Joel was serving two churches in West central MN.  We went to a Super Bowl party (I know, some of you are thinking...sports?  Joel and Renee?).  While meeting the people there a man introduced himself as Pastor Drave Grant.  He talked awhile and mentioned growing up in Brazil and in amazement I asked him... "Are you Dave Grant of THAT Grant family?  I used to pray for you in Sunday School!  We became fast friends with both Dave and Deb.  Our journeys into adoption also connected us, but we felt like God had brought things full circle connecting a young girl who had an interest in mission work with the Grant missionary boy who was now a grown man.  Isn't God amazing!

We have seen each other periodically over the years even when we moved, they moved, and life intervened with sickness and churches.  They prayed for us when we fought Lyme.  We are now going to battle for them with Deb's sickness. 

Which brings us back to the question, "who do we trust"?  Dave and Deb are faithful followers of God. We know who they trust......they trust God.  Our Healer.  Our Protector.  Our Papa.

 Dave and Deb have faith-filled family and friends to support them.  They have a loving congregation that is supporting them on this journey.  They have God to rely on. 

We trust God in the midst of the storms of life.  We expect doctors to have all the answers, but they don't.  God does.  He holds Deb in His hands.  It is God we trust as we lift Deb up in prayer and stand firm with her, as she fights for health.  Will you join us?