Here I Am – Again

Here I am again…

haitianbutterflyTangled threads, knots, and black holes, and here and there I marvel at a bronze, or silver, or even a gold streak, not added by human hand – another year of my life tapestry.

 

In case you aren’t aware, a tapestry design develops from threads of different colors worked left to right (the weft) OVER vertical threads of the background cloth (the warp).

 

Picturing a cross will give you a visual – vertical (God to people, us reaching to God) – horizontal – people to people (living the activated faith life)

 

gardenartcrossWhen the tapestry is completed three truths are evident:

 

Though the (thicker) vertical threads form the foundation of the tapestry, when the tapestry is completed they are no longer visible

 

Though the horizontal threads form the design of the tapestry, without the support of the strong background, they would unravel

 

The two – vertical threads and horizontal threads – become one.

 

My life – a tapestry.

 

So here I am again – looking back on another year’s work. The tapestry is still incomplete.

Some parts seem muddled and dark. I do not understand them, and wish I could rip them out and finish the design myself. I’ve obviously tried that before because there are holes here and there, where I’ve tried to manipulate the design.

 

TombCalvaryBut as I count the holes, my eyes well with grateful tears because sections I know were black holes just last year, are now covered over by exceptionally beautiful threads and design. I run my fingers over Bronze (judgment) and Silver (redemption) beautifully worked together. I am learning just as the tapestry is made of two, this design would not be possible, one without the other.

 

Tears of remembrance at the weaver’s surgical correction of my foolish attempts to ‘fix’ the tapestry are painful, but healing too, and I understand what He had to do to repair my blunders.

 

There is much to be done in the coming year. I do not know how much time is left before my tapestry will be completed and ready to present. Despite my strong will wanting to leave out the dark colors, my weak tendency to be jealous of another’s tapestry, and my foolish anxiety over the year ahead, I remember, and sigh deeply.

 

I am not the designer.

He who creates beauty where none exists has taken my lumpy, knotted threads, and is working in what can only happen when His hands guide the threads – miraculously, my greatest joy, when others tell me they see in my tapestry, His signature thread of gold.

 

So here I am again – after yesterday, wondering what my word for the year will be. Asking what will God use to guide me to reduce the tension created when I grip the threads, and let him weave what He will?

 

LaurieKenhillmontReviewing the year has me humbled that despite all my weakness, moody grief-overload, want-to-fix-everything, and the sometime disastrous results, God has shown me favor.

Among so many others – favor in you – your friendship, encouragement, book reviews,  and prayers; favor in many helpers – jobs, writing, technology, cutting the clutter, and on and on, and favor especially in God allowing a word or story experience of mine to draw another closer to Him.

Thus my word for 2017 and my fasting focus will be: favor

 

Psalm 90:17 And let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;

         And do confirm for us the work of our hands;

         Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

 

What is your word for the year and your tapestry story?

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My Messianic Christmas

1-StarblueThe star – the six-pointed star of David – is found in many places in my home. To me, that star, and the coming three events are forever intertwined.

Hanukkah –December 24 to January 1, 2017

Christmas – Sunday, December 25

Epiphany /Three Kings‘ Day – January 6

 

These are personal celebrations, as well as public. A little background:

 

Hanukkah is an annual renewing celebration to renew our faith in the ultimate triumph of peace over war. A festival of peace.

 

The original Hanukkah events took place during the 400 year period between writing the last book of the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament to me) and the book of Matthew – the first book in the New Testament. I point that out to emphasize that it happened long before our ancestors chose December 25 to celebrate the birth of Christ.

 

The Smallest Candle

The Smallest Candle

Happened? The Greek successors to Alexander, especially Antiochus IV, held to a belief that their way of life was superior (though it involved idolatry and exalted human wisdom). They set about to “civilize” the people of Judea by forcing them into the Greek mold. Only those who would renounce the old ways and accept their new (including the worship of Greek gods) could have a place in the Greek society. It was decreed that “whoever refuses should be put to death.” They defiled the Holy Temple, looting the utensils and offered a pig on the altar to honor the Greek god, Zeus. It is said that an elderly priest defied a soldier who ordered him to bow down to an idol and with his sons and other faithful Jews, formed a band of gorilla fighters. The story goes that from their mountain camp the 3,000 Jewish fighters, watched Antiochus’ general Lysias and 47,000 Syrian soldiers to engage them in battle.

 

Well! Maccabees band, with God at their side, overcame the Syrians at Emmaus. They purified the temple, dismantled the altar and built a new one. Only one vessel of sanctified oil was found – enough for one day. Miraculously, it burned for eight days! The festival of Hanukkah, memorializing this event is called the Festival of Lights. The historian Josephus explained that the right to serve God came to the people unexpectedly, light a sudden light.

 

IMG_5570Christmas – and Three Kings days are also about a sudden light in troubled times – Magi from the east studied and watched for a prophesied star – a sudden light that would identify the king of the Jews. Matthew 2:1,2

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

 

Yes, even the enemy, was made aware of the prophecy of the one who was to be born when the Magi asked him about the King of the Jews. Herod called together the chief priest and scribes of Jerusalem and asked them where the prophesied “King” was to be born. They pointed him to words of Micah from 800 years prior: “And you, O Bethlehem of Ephrata, least among the clans of Judah, from you one shall come forth to rule Israel for Me, one whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.”

 

Herod told the Magi to come back to him when they found the child. Of course we learn from Matthew 2: 16-18 that the Magi were warned by God not to tell Herod where Jesus was. The star they had followed, but had disappeared temporarily, reappeared when they headed for the prophesied town and led them to the house in Bethlehem where they saw the infant Y’shua (Jesus).

2151Rabbi Yaakov Bar Nachman in The Hanukkah Haggadah, says that the purpose of Hanukkah is to welcome the Messiah.

I put these together because Christmas (the birth of the Christ) fulfilled numerous prophecies –

Most notably: Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:1-2, Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1-10, Jeremiah 23:5

 

How appropriate then, that years later, at Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, Jesus/Y’shua spoke from the Temple courts and said:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

When I first read and learned that the feast of Purim extends the invitation to all who support Israel (Esther 9:27) the Jews established and made a custom for themselves, and for their descendants, and for all those who allied themselves with them, I was naturally excited to realize I too had been invited to celebrate God’s protecting hand over Israel.

 

Similarly, I see that connection in the passage from Luke 2: 9-11 commonly known as “the Christmas story.”

star_7758c“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Messiah the Lord!”

 

In these troubled times, I welcome that reminder and celebrate what I like to call a Messianic Christmas. It reminds me once again of how connected God’s people are – and how the festivals were created for His chosen people – the Jews, and His grafted people because the roots of my faith  – and my Messiah, Savior and Lord – are Jewish.

 

31 But these which have been recorded are here so that you may trust that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by this trust you may have life because of who he is.

jewishbible– John 20:31 – The Complete Jewish Bible

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Tis the Season… to Feel Overwhelmed!

Joy-betteChristmas is coming!  And “Santa” isn’t the only one making a list and checking it twice.

  • Christmas cards to sign, address and mail
  • Gifts to find or make within a very limited budget
  • Food to plan and prepare
  • Cleaning – (too late to organize and put away everything – may have to hide some)
  • Decorating

It was a great time to receive a copy of Overwhelmed – a book with unique perspectives and tips to conquer much of what is too much in our lives. When I find a good thing, I love to share it with my friends and family. Here is my take on the project (because it is more than just a book), and below – a special deal that runs through the month of December.

 

overwhelmedClutter – be it things, commitments, worries, projects, or goals constricts our life borders and hems us in, consuming and controlling us — making us feel overwhelmed. When I am feeling mentally or emotionally overwhelmed, decisions and commitments loom bigger than life because I want to (or feel obligated to) do them all. Kathy Lipp and Cheri Gregory convincingly empower people like me as the only ones who can free ourselves from all that would overwhelm and consume us.

 

 

Personalized keys/hacks/tips follow brief quizzes that help the reader identify areas of need. Every chapter in Overwhelmed produced a series of Yep, that’s me and Why didn’t I think of that moments. It’s a survival guide of sisters who have been there.

I greatly respect survivors, and am grateful to learn from their experience. Some early benefits (I’m two-thirds through the book) are clarity and control of my calendar, goals and to-do lists.

The difference is I can more clearly see where I need to say no, prioritize relational time, schedule realistic time for editing, and where I need to focus a little more attention to finish something so the open-ended chaos no longer overwhelms me.

I feel like I’ve changed my de-cluttering wardrobe from slippers to boots with spurs. Overwhelmed is my clutter rodeo – training me to identify and rope in what is important to keep and release the rest.

overwhelmedfreebiesI strongly recommend Overwhelmed and this great deal

Order Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Choas and Restore Your Sanity today and get digital downloads of 5 of Kathi’s most popular books!

  • What’s for Dinner
  • Me Project
  • Get Yourself Organized Project
  • Get Yourself Organized for Christmas
  • The Cure for the “Perfect” Life

and a Completely Customizable Planner!

 

Offer only through December 31, 2016!

 

Use this link for connection to your favorite online bookstore and fill out the form to get your free material

 I honestly believe you will be glad you did.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After Losing A Child – Christmas and New Traditions

Someone is listening.

1-5socks.xmasLots of planning is going on for upcoming events – some is fun to hear, and of course, other things are painful IF/when I focus on what I don’t have rather than what I did have – and do have.

How sad would it be, one friend asked, if we never had the joy of knowing the love and presence of the loved ones who are now with the Lord?

To love, and be loved.

I have known that, and do know that. I know I am loved thanks to many of you reading this – many who at just the right time send a note or a scripture.

In the midst of all my pondering, and tears, someone was listening. I was given a friend’s bookmark memento featuring their loved one’s photo, and brief obituary. I read a lot and use such bookmarks to pray for their family and the lives that person impacted. I was given encouragement to make my own with Laurie’s photo and local obituary on it. I called the place named on my friend’s bookmark and asked if I could have a few made, the response was, “I can do that.” I got a quote and a few days later a call that they were ready. When I picked them up I was told, “Of course there is no charge.”

 

lauriebookmarkOf course?

 

Of course – from someone who has experienced a similar loss.

I especially appreciated the verse at the end …”No one can take them out of My Father’s hand.” – Jesus – John 10:29

 

A bowl of soup joined two aching hearts a few days later, as I shared Laurie’s bookmark with another who had a double loss and was now feeling alone – and invisible. I didn’t mean to make her cry again – and she said she didn’t mean to make me cry either. But someone was listening, and the scriptures from our memorial cards gave us hope, and the stories we began sharing of their lives and exploits brought comfort and meaning to us.

 

We each determined to make someone else feel that someone was listening, by beginning or continuing new traditions in honor of our loved ones. One of hers is to pray for and support those who lost babies – whether infant or preborn. Mine is to pray for and provide gardening and farming supplies for families overseas and in the U.S. and to do a pay-it-forward meal as I am led, in memory of my Dad. In these ways we can do part of what we know was in the hearts of our loved ones, and realize in their stead the joy of sharing their passion.

I wonder why I am left, my friend said to me. Selfishly, I asked, “Have you been praying for me?”

“Why yes, of course,” she answered.

“And didn’t you just share about others you pray for and encourage as you can?”

“I see where you are going with this,” she responded with a chuckle. Her acceptance led to sharing other prayer list names and events, and some of God’s answers, as well as other things we asked for peace about, realizing we may never have answers to them while we are on earth. The knowledge of prayer was important to us and we want to let others know we take the time to bring their grief and their needs before God.

img710 1An email my daughter sent her dad in 2008 hangs near the computer. She expressed gratefulness that she was driving an older vehicle which had no radio because distractions were eliminated so she could “have time each day to pray for you! God answers prayer! (it never gets old!)”

Do you pray for those your loved one left behind? We know our other family members prayed each day for them…

 

Have you lost a loved one, or know someone who has? Have you a new tradition to remember their precious life and passion in a way that makes a difference in others’ lives? We would love to hear your ideas, as it may encourage others who are having what singer Mark Schulz calls “A Different Kind of Christmas.”

 

Go ahead. Plan it out – write it down, and share it.

 

IMG_5683I’m listening.

 

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27 Things

7299How does one celebrate that 27# are gone? By getting rid of 27 buckets of papers and 27 other things (clothing and household). That is why I accepted the challenge of 27 hangars.

 

You read that right – 27 hangars left in the closet and wear only those 27 things for 3 months.

 

Once the clothes are done, I will move to the shoes! Sweet Shari at 27 hangars was shocked at the number of my shoes. (And I didn’t even tell her those 50 pair exclude the summer sandals…shhh don’t tell!)

 

Not that things aren’t getting challenging – with events and approaching holidays, I am determined to follow as closely as I can. I am gaining ground (or is it losing it to get rid of all the papers I am going through? But I am seeing the possibility of getting through the elimination and organization process. I am hoping to finish the papers this week.

 

IMG_1712I found with the diet that what puts off cravings is really good food, so I’ve learned to eat more often and more intentionally. I’m still learning to keep myself hydrated by using a timer.

 

What’s keeping me motivated – 27 praises from Psalm 27:

 

Psalm 27 Good News Translation

A Prayer of Praise[a]

 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
I will never be afraid.

When evil people attack me and try to kill me,
they stumble and fall.
Even if a whole army surrounds me,
I will not be afraid;
even if enemies attack me,
I will still trust God.[b]

I have asked the Lord for one thing;
one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord’s house all my life,
to marvel there at his goodness,
and to ask for his guidance.
In times of trouble he will shelter me;
he will keep me safe in his Temple
and make me secure on a high rock.
So I will triumph over my enemies around me.
With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple;
I will sing, I will praise the Lord.

Hear me, Lord, when I call to you!
Be merciful and answer me!
When you said, “Come worship me,”
I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
    Don’t hide yourself from me!

Don’t be angry with me;
don’t turn your servant away.
You have been my help;
don’t leave me, don’t abandon me,
O God, my savior.
10 My father and mother may abandon me,
but the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and lead me along a safe path,
because I have many enemies.
12 Don’t abandon me to my enemies,
who attack me with lies and threats.

13 I know that I will live to see
the Lord’s goodness in this present life.
14 Trust in the Lord.
Have faith, do not despair.
Trust in the Lord.

27 Praises

  1. The Lord is MY light (personal light on my personal path)
  2. The Lord is MY salvation (part of His story is my story – redeemed)
  3. The Lord protects me from all danger (which includes all that overwhelms me and would divert me from the best path)
  4. I don’t ever need to be afraid (cannot trust and be afraid at the same time)
  5. When evil attacks me, it will stumble on its own
  6. Even if enemies attack me, I will still trust in God
  7. Through Christ I have authority to directly ask God for guidance
  8. The Lord promised He will shelter me in times of trouble
  9. will be made secure on a high rock so I can triumph (spiritual battles)
  10. I have the privilege to offer sacrifices in His temple
  11. Because I know Him, I will sing (in tune in heaven)
  12. Remembering what God has done for me I will praise the Lord
  13. God calls me to come worship
  14. His Spirit gives me confidence to say I will come, Lord (or as True Woman said it, YES LORD)
  15. I can review my stories of what God has done and shut up the lies that God would hide from me, be angry with me, or abandon me.
  16. Though I sadly have the story that my mother abandoned me in many ways, Jesus was all that she could not be for me – and more.
  17. I praise God for the excellent teaching of pastors and teachers, and leaders
  18. I praise the Holy Spirit for teaching me personally to apply what I learn
  19. I praise for future promises – that God will lead me safely
  20. I praise God that though I have spiritual enemies, I have far more spiritual encouragers and prayer partners
  21. I am thankful for the evidence of God moving in my life, and know that God will continue to be present in my life as He promised
  22. I praise God that He is trustworthy.
  23. I praise God that because of his past trustworthiness, my faith deepens
  24. I praise God that because He is trustworthy to keep His promises, I do not despair.
  25. I praise the Lord that my taste buds are changing and that it will continue.
  26. I praise for what I have been able to let go, and praise for more victory on the horizon
  27. I praise for improvement in areas of letting go – health having more flexibility, finances provided step by step, and more time to write that was previously taken up with managing all that was so consuming and overwhelming.

Do you have 27 things you could get rid of?

Do you have 27 things you can praise God for?shoestogo

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Honoring a Civilian-Veteran – Bob Olson

Apologies as I did not realize the first portion of Bob’s story loaded out of order.

I will load several pages a day.  Some might question my calling Bob a veteran, because he did not qualify for military service. He was determined, though, to serve his country, and found he could still help through a civilian position. He was totally committed and wept every time he shared his story of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I believe there were many like Bob, behind the scenes, without the official titles, just as there are in many areas of our lives.  And so I honor this example of example, experience, dedication, and loyalty.

 

olsonbobex5001 olsonpagetwoolsonbobexp3

 

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After Losing a Child – Get UP!

7226“It’s not going so well,” was the honest answer recently from a dad missing his little girl, gone too soon.

 

My heart breaks with him, and other parents, because I totally get it though I find it hard to be as vulnerable.

 

A few blogs ago, I mentioned that I was going to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) in memory of our daughter, Laurie, and bringing her Bible with me.

 

We are studying the gospel of John 5:5, and that is where I got the ‘Get up!’ title

 

getupIt seems harsh, but here is why it impacted me so much: I’ve been thinking about this phrase for months, since Laurie said it to me in a dream during that time when I struggled to get out of bed and face a new day. I’d gone back to sleep and dreamed she got up close in my face, like she did since childhood when she wanted to make a specific point. In her no nonsense way she said, “Mother, GET UP!” and I woke up laughing.

 

But I wasn’t laughing tonight.

 

Jesus was saying, “Get up!” to an invalid in the alcoves of the pool of Bethesda, near the gates in Jerusalem. One of hundreds of blind, crippled or paralyzed people waiting to be the first person in the water when an angel stirred the waters, he wanted to be healed.

 

This man, an invalid, had been there for years! Imagine watching others get healed before his eyes… Each time was he more depressed, more hopeful because it happened, or both? This went on for years. Then Jesus came.

 

And Jesus asks the man the most peculiar question – “Do you want to be well?”

 

wheelchairdreamWhat would today’s people say? Joni Earickson Tada said it herself…“Duh!” “Of course I wanted to get healed.” (And then she went on to talk of infirmities deeper than physical and of a  healing deeper than the physical).

I came to know the Lord in 1964.  But how long has it been that I acted upon Jesus questions and commands?  How long have I kept some infirmities that I’d really not wanted to be healed from if it meant giving up a dependency, a comfort, or whatever kept me in that category of not being whole or fully realized? How long have I used the excuse that I am what I am?

Did the man realize Jesus knew how long he had been there? Did he think about his response before he chose not to directly answer Jesus’ question?

He said, “Sir – when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool.”

And “By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

 

Were those just facts, were they excuses, or were they proof that he daily did what he could to get where someone could lift him in the pool? Or, was he asking Jesus to get him to the place of healing?

 

IMG_1413Jesus hears more than just the words we say. Jesus hears the heart, and amazingly, Jesus said,

Get up

Take your bedroll

And start walking.

 

Then I remember how it feels when I sit on my leg or foot for perhaps an hour. The limb grows limp and numb and it is very hard to get up, let alone to stand on it or to walk.

 

I wonder if this man had ever stood in his life.

 

Could it be that Jesus, was speaking into this man’s soul, commanding it to get up, and the invalid couldn’t do anything but, because Jesus, the creator and sustainer of all creation, commanded it to be so.

 

Or, was Jesus’ command made to empower, strengthen and encourage the man to ‘get up’ as my daughter said to me?

 

sadbywaterIf I were that man, I would be as amazed as the onlookers when my body rose up (after 38 years!) and then bent over and picked up the bedroll without falling back down, and started walking!

 

 

Every morning I hear in my soul…

 

Get up! if you believe it, activate it.

then start walking….

 

Whichever of my disabilities – be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or some combination,

IMG_2596Jesus still asks me, “Do you want to get well?

 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains that to ‘get well’ meant being made whole.

He paraphrases, “Arise, and walk. God’s command, Turn and live; The proof of spiritual cure, is our rising and walking.

 Walk: embark (aboard a vessel), get into, reach (a pool). So I am commanded to begin the journey…

 

… even if it means carrying that thorn within me

 

…even if it means being willing to Get Up each morning, choosing to let go of hiding my brokenness, and revealing evidence of being comfortable in habits I’ve allowed to live in my heavily scarred temple

 2033

…even if it means to let others see me visibly limping

 

 

 

 

 

Because – if others can see Christ despite my ability to do nothing to change my sadness or my weakness… If others can tell that something …no…some-ONE enables and empowers me to not only get up, and to get out of the bed of my despair, but to face each new day and walk

 

hospital_bedTruly such an outcome would be miraculous.

 

 

 

 

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A Lemonade Eulogy – Looking for the Gold

1-pitcherlemonadmintI saw a beautiful thing recently. A friend whose family lives at a distance experienced the passing of an abusive and difficult family member. Similar to my story of being guardian for my volatile and challenging parent, no other relative would take on the task of eulogizing her family member.

 

Also similarly, we have both been redeemed from the circumstances of our past. We had long ago shared, agonized and prayed over those circumstances and leaned into the Lord to accept a new legacy of our choice. She chose on that day, long ago, not to accept the hurtful worldly legacy, but instead to break the chain and give honor wherever she could find it. I was still surprised and touched to hear her honor her remaining family members with select memories that brought to mind

 

Philippians. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

 

Have you had a situation like that? Were you able to find something that was true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, or that had any excellence, or any (little) thing worthy of praise?

 

1-marlenelemonadeWhat happened when my friend filled her mind with those things listed in Philippians 4:8, and only allowed those things to dwell there – even in the dark of night when those ‘other’ memories come to taunt us that our past is also our future? Her lemons became lemonade – her future covered her past.

 

My sisters always find the gold in life circumstances and brought hope many times as I grew up and while being guardian to my mom.  Marvel came to see Mom in 2010 and led Mom to the Lord!  Talk about turning bitter to sweet 🙂

My Aunt Angie helped me to make lemonade with my mother’s obituary too, looking for gold and finding bits to remember and rejoice in. Below is a part of Mom’s lemonade-eulogy – and thanks to my friend I’ve thought of more since then. If you have lemons in your life (and who doesn’t) I hope this gives you some ideas to journal, to find some gold for which you also can give thanks, and make some life-lemonade.

 

mommarvangie-1Freda Eva (Cudnohufsky) Christian – February 15, 2012

Mom loved to tell stories of life including tales of her 15 siblings, rationing and delivering baskets of food through the depression, learning to bake for her family (of 16) at 9 years of age, and carrying her lunch in a Karo syrup pail to the one-room school in Pound, WI. Mom enjoyed preserving food, making herbal decoctions, being part of the Hermansville IXL history, and sending her young husband to work on the Soo Locks with raisin filled cookies, poppyseed and roly-poly (walnut-raisin) breads. She was limited to an 8th grade education, and her life goal for her children to graduate high school was exceeded by all five. Freda was also proud to earn certificates in community classes for ceramics, computers, nursing and music. She played gospel music by ear on the organ and keyboard and was thrilled to receive birthday cards from Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea.

 

ErinColgroveFreda’s moments of pride including singing and tap dancing for the Senior Abidon Follies, being a Tupperware and Avon representative, helping her husband Clarence operate a grocery store in their First Street Home in Hermansville and later Christian Appliance Center in Norway and Hermansville, and a postyard near Hermansville.

 

If like my friend, you have had years of separation, or as my experience in the last span of time we had together, much bitterness was made sweet, I know we both experienced refreshment, and I believe you can too.

 

Take another look with us, would you, at Philippians 4:8 and go on a gold hunt as you write in the name of one, two, or three of the most difficult personalities in your life.

 

mommarvelfav005Lemonade, you will find, whether on a hot summer day, or in eulogies of the days of our lives, can bring deep refreshment and be an example to those who follow in our steps.

Found any gold lately?

 

 

 

 

 

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Finish it!

1-laurieangieFinish it!

 

Clean your plate! There are children overseas who are starving and would appreciate that food.

 

 

Finish it! (conscience speaking) you paid good money for that.

 

7214Do it again – you missed some – you didn’t finish the job!

 

(I left the worst for last and now I just want to be done with it so I hurried)

 

I started that building/cleaning/sorting/writing project /diet… (fill in the blank) days – weeks – months – years ago – I need to

 

Finish it!

 

IMG_1918_2Come on – you can do it – finish the race – a few more steps! (I didn’t think I could finish, but with the coach spurring me on, I did it!)

 

Have any of those Finish It challenges been part of your life? (mine too)

 

The gospel of Luke talks about finishing what we begin

 

Luke 14:29-30 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

and in the book of Acts, Luke sets an example and encourages us further:

Acts 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

 

Paul, in First Corinthians, gets even more personal and specific with us:

2Cor. 8:11 But now finish doing it also; that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability

 

Three Steps to Finishing – lessons  from the above verses:

  1. Identify your course and calling which you had a desire to start with the intention of completing it.
  2. Identify what has gotten in the way in your life that you need to clear out so you can continue on the path to fulfill that course and calling.
  3. Return to your first love – recall the inspiration of your calling and recommit yourself to that course by outlining the steps you need to take to – Finish it!

yieldIf you have a challenge that needs prayer to completion, let me know (comment, personal message or email) I’d be honored to pray for you and with you, and to help you track your path to fulfillment whether it is your calling, your course, or your closet!

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Necessary Abundance

2037I got a note recently from a prisoner.  He was day-dreaming about food he hadn’t had in a long time – chocolate covered peanuts, soda, and other treats – I could practically see him salivating, he wrote so descriptively.

 

 

Following that came a second note saying, scratch that first note – those things were not necessary things.  He had his Bible and warm clothes.

His note made me think of Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the command of His lips;

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

                 That verse from Job made me review my responses to cravings: How often does that happen to me?  Do I consider God’s words more necessary than my food?  And of course, it was natural to wonder – what do I consider necessary?

The interesting thing was that God spoke to me two days prior (thanks to the example of friend Shonda) and I sent funds to the prison for him to purchase extra goodies – “unnecessary” things.

7289God had already provided for him the answer to his longings and cravings – before he had them!  And God does the same for us.

2Pet. 1:3 says –  His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

All that we need has been provided and is ready – even before we know what we need, or  realize it is okay to ask.

Matt. 6:8 “…your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.”

Eph. 3:20  Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us

Isn’t it awesome that God considers all things pertaining to life – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, as necessary – and has provided them as a necessary abundance!

Jesus said “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

I’d love to hear what God has provided for you recently!

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