Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It's here!! The first official Blizzard of the season. I am so excited that I keep going to our big picture window where are Christmas tree sits all lit up and just stare with amazement at the blowing drifting snow. It is truly a beautiful sight. The outside Christmas lights glowing under the snow are beautiful. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning to see the drifts of pure white snow draped across our front lawn and driveway (my husband and son will probably not be as excited as I am since they will be the ones outside clearing it all away). It is quite magical looking when not a car or person has driven or walked through it. It is a picture postcard scene. The fury of the wind makes the most wonderful amazing drifts of snow, with swirls and peaks. Our backyard resembles meringue on top of a banana cream pie. Oh the glory of nature!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

snow and an engagement

We are on the verge of a major winter storm here in Iowa. Well, that's what the weather people are predicting. I have to be honest and let you all know that I love snow! I don't say it out loud very often because believe it or not there are a lot of people in Iowa who get a little grumpy when it snows!! I on the other hand do not. Today while I was driving to work I was thanking God for the little bit of snow we got overnight. I feel so blessed to live in a place that has 4 distinctive seasons. Spring where everything is new. There is a new birth when spring appears. Flowers breaking through the soil. Robins returning to nest and the new leaves on the trees are a beautiful light green. Summer is when all the flowers burst with color. The sun is warm and the days are longer. Time spent outside sitting on the deck and listening to the birds sing and the smell of freshly mowed grass. Fall with it's vibrant reds, golds, browns and orange colors. Pumpkins and Indian corn. The leaves falling and a faint whisper in the wind of goodbye, see you in the spring from the geese flying overhead. All of this leads into winter. Winter where the air becomes brisk with cold. Snow falls and the days become shorter. Blankets are brought out and draped across the couches and chairs just waiting for the time when someone will snuggle down in with a cup of hot cocoa or tea. Winter also means the glorious season of Advent and the celebration of Jesus birth. Sledding, snowboarding and walks on a cold winter night while the stars shine brighter than ever. Big pots of soup and freshly baked cookies. Four wonderful seasons all with their own special qualities. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else!!

I am so excited to let you all know that our daughter Kayla became engaged on Saturday evening to her wonderful boyfriend of 2 1/2 years. He is the son of one of my dear friends and we just love him to death. He is one of the nicest young men and stands a towering 6 1/2 feet while our beautiful daughter is a petite 5 feet. We were so happy when he came over last Tuesday evening to ask our blessing and to show us the ring he had picked out. It is beautiful. On Friday Kayla left with Jerod and his family for a week long cruise to celebrate his grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. On Saturday evening after a day of nerves and Kayla asking him repeatedly if something was wrong, he popped the question. She called on Sunday morning to let us know and her voice was filled with excitement and shock. We are so excited for this new journey that they will be planning.

God has truly blessed us this year and I know that there is even more blessings awaiting us for 2010.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful for so much. God has truly blessed me this year. I am thankful for God in my life. For the Holy Spirit working within me. For my husband Dave. My children Ashley, Kayla & Andrew. For my parents, my in-laws, my sister & brother and all the extended family. For Jerod who truly loves my daughter and respects her. For my friends Angie, Jean, Sandy, Barb, Trudy & Valerie. For all those who have prayed for me or my family. For all the women that have attended my women's retreats. For the sun that comes up every morning and the moon that glows at night. For my dog Libby, my cat Phoebe and my tiny turtle Myrtle. My heart, mind and soul that make me who I am. For the ability to see, hear, taste & feel. For my home & gardens. For my parents lovely lake home in Minnesota and for Great Uncle Herman for leaving my husband and his brothers the cabin in Spearfish South Dakota.

My list could go on and on. Tomorrow will be here before I know it. Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, eating egg bake & cinnamon rolls. Taking the homemade pies I baked tonight to my in-laws home and having turkey, mash potatoes and so many other goodies!! Being with loved ones and missing my parents who are out of town at my brothers home.

May all of you have a blessed Happy Thanksgiving!!!!


Sunday, November 15, 2009


This past week has been a week of changes for our family. Changes that have taken a lot of thought, prayer and faith, lot's of faith!!

Our son who is 16 was diagnosed with ADHD in the 8th grade. It has been a challenging time for all of us. I had suspected something since 3rd grade but was always told by the teachers that he just needed to sit and behave. I was told time and time again that he was the class clown. My husband and I just thought that the teachers were right, he was a clown and he was "all boy". He is the baby of our family. With 2 older sisters who thought everything he did as a little boy was funny. And I have to admit that he is a comedian, it runs in the family, my husbands and mine.

But something changed 5 years ago. What our family endured with our oldest daughter, had a bigger affect on our son than we knew. In 8th grade he started to become very angry. In fact violent at times. Especially towards his dad. It was at this time we contacted a psychologist and at the first visit she suggested that we have him tested for ADHD. It was as if a light finally went on and someone was seeing what we had suspected. It was a relief or so I thought. He was tested and put on medication. Medication we thought that would help and solve part of the problems he was having. Medication only made things worse. Trying to get on the right medication and the right dose has been a nightmare. It has made him feel different, in fact sometimes he hasn't felt good while taking it. This past summer he decided to not take it and we felt that he was old enough to make that decision. And it seemed that he really only needed it for school to help him focus. When school started this year he again started taking the medicine. For the first few weeks he did well, his grades were good, but then everything started to go downhill. He's a smart kid so we just didn't understand why is was so difficult for him. Highschool is tough, but a student who has ADHD and anger problems it can be a nightmare. We realized that he was suffering from depression. I started doing some research on his medication and realized that depression is one of the side effects from it. We had him stop taking it and are now seeking out alternative and natural treatments. Fish oil is one of them. People who suffer from ADD/ADHD have significant lower levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil or flaxseed oil is given to them and it has shown positive results. We are also making sure that his diet provides him with the right foods. We are hopeful that this will help. I have read many comments from parents who have tried this and are saying that they have seen great results.

This year he also became a target for some of the teachers because of his behavior problems. He started getting into trouble and sometimes he actually didn't do anything, they just assumed it was him when something went wrong or they would pick out small little things that he would get in trouble for, that other students were not called out on and he would become angry. Now I'm not saying that he is an angel, he instigated a few things with the teachers. But since he started Kindergarten I have been one of those parents that is in constant communication with teachers and administrators. I have fought hard for my son to get the best education. Last year my husband and I tried to get him to be allowed to have a few extra minutes to take exams or a little more time for homework. Unfortunately each time we spoke to a teacher we were told no. Even after explaining the situation to them and everything that we had been through it was like talking to a brick wall. So we went to the administrators and asked for him to be filed under a plan that would allow him the extra time and help. We were told that it was a lot of paper work for them and they didn't feel it was needed. At conferences I was always asked, "Is there something going on in your home?", or "can you tell me what I can do to make sure he does his work?". "Are you kidding me? I have told you but you don't listen." That's what I wanted to say, but then I would repeat everything I had already told them and they would shake their heads and have this look as if they understood me, but with their eyes a little too glassy. I was always made to feel that it was my fault. I wasn't a good enough parent.

Well this past week after an incident at school and my son telling me that two of his teachers singled him out in class and told him he was worthless and would never amount to anything, we made the decision to pull him out of the school and homeschool him. He is a junior, so it was a tough decision to make. We talked with him and gave him a few options of what we could do and after a lot of thought and prayer he decided to be homeschooled. When his dad and I agreed and I had spoken to the person who is the director for the homeschooling in our city and I told him it was okay, he started jumping up and down and had a smile on his face that went from ear to ear. I hadn't seen him smile like that in a long time. He said he finally felt as if a weight had been lifted off of him. He can't believe how wonderful it is to have that pressure gone.

He has a hard road ahead of him, but one that he is happy to be on. This will help him to achieve the self-discipline and responsibility that he needs in his life. It will also give him a chance to feel proud of himself, one thing that has been lacking in his life, even though his dad and I constantly tell him how much we love him and how much we want him to have a good life.

We also visited a Marine recruiter this past week. He has always talked about going into the military and he wants to be a Marine. The Marines do not allow anyone to join who is on ADHD medication, so that was another reason to try alternative treatments. The recruiter asked me what I thought about him joining and I said that it scared me. As a parent you are always trying to protect your child from the dangers of the world and here he wants to put himself right smack dab in the middle of the most dangers parts of the world. I also said that if he becomes a Marine, I would be the proudest Marine mom there ever was. I told him that I had a lot of faith. Faith that he would be taken care of and protected. Faith that either he would come home to us or home to his Father, either way I know he would be okay.

Changes. Big and small. That's life. The journey will be rocky at times, but with God beside us, it will be worth it. The smile on my son's face is proof enough.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Fun

Our family is a little crazy when it comes to Halloween. We hand out candy and carve pumpkins like most people in our neighborhood and when our kids were little they would dress up in homemade costumes that I made for them. Now we dress up our dog. I know it is crazy but it is one of the funniest things to see. Each year when the Halloween costumes come out in the store, my daughter and I start to discuss what our dog Libby will be for Halloween. Over the last few years she has been a bumble bee, purple monkey, princess, dinosaur, Princess Leia from Star Wars and this year a mail man. The mailman is very funny because she doesn't particularly care for mailmen. I know it may seem silly but it brings a lot of laughter to our home. When we put the costumes on her she gives us a look of "oh please, not again".

I wonder what she will be next year? We'll just have to wait and see!!



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quiet Time

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had an opportunity to really sit down and blog for a while and I've missed it. Thankfully I have some vacation time left that I need to use up so I am taking a few days off this month and in November and in December. Today and tomorrow are two of my days off and I am enjoying every minute. I've been reading the book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. I found out that she is going to be here in January for a Women's Conference and I wanted to read her books before she comes and also before it gets to crazy around here with holiday activities and work. I've had the book and another one of hers for some time now but haven't read them. I decided now would be a perfect time. I love the book and I can't wait to hear her speak!!!

So today I read a few chapters of Joanna's book and also spent some much needed time in reading God's word, prayer and meditation with God. It was just what I needed and tomorrow I am looking forward to some quality time again with God. I'm not to good about making quiet time with God everyday. I make excuses and when it comes right down to it I am a little lazy. There's always something I feel is more entertaining or some type of work that needs to be done. But what I have found out is that God can be the most entertaining being on the face of the earth. When I spend time in his word I am drawn in to the most dramatic, inspiring, unforgettable, awesome world. And this world is mine for the taking. Yes, it is history but it is also what is happening here, right now. It gives us the answers to have a better life. A deeper, richer and more glorious life than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams.

Last night I preached at a small church for their Wednesday night service. I spoke on Psalm 23. I love that psalm and today I thought a lot about it after I heard that my sister-in-law's father had a stroke this morning in Florida. I spent much time in prayer, praying for him and the entire family. He is a vibrant, lovable Irishman and a retired New York police officer. His family means everything to him and I know they are going through much worry and uncertainty. Psalm 23 is such a comfort at a time like this. God as our Shepherd leading us and tending to us. Giving us a place to find rest and comfort. Restoring our souls. Leading us to refreshing living water. When we find ourselves in a time of uncertainty, pain, sorrow and anxiety, God gives us everything we need, if we only reach out and take hold of his hand. He will lead us out of our despair and worry. What a Shepherd he is. How majestic is our God.

Thanks be to God.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Going Home

A few weeks ago I received a call from a member of the church that I grew up in, inviting me to preach there this weekend. In fact my parents are still members. For reasons I will not go into and because I truly believe that God was directing us on to something new, we left that church about 8 years ago and joined the church my husband had grown up in. My family church still means a lot to me. They are the people who helped give me my roots and foundation in Christianity. They have watched me grow from a painfully shy child into a woman of faith. So when I received the invitation to "Go Home" and fill in at the pulpit, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I was baptized, confirmed, married and baptized all 3 of my children in that church. The members there are like family and when I arrived I was met with hugs and best wishes. And when the service was over they complimented me and told me how much they enjoyed my sermon and how happy they were that I had come back.
It was an emotional experience. Last night as Dave and I were getting ready for bed, he asked me if I was nervous. I told him I wasn't nervous, I was so excited I didn't think I was going to be able to sleep.
Standing at that pulpit today, ready to begin my sermon, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with the feeling that my former pastor, Reverend Mike was right there with me. I had to quickly pull it together and continue on. Reverend Mike had been our pastor for 27 years. He was a wonderful pastor and taught me so much. It is because of him that I am on this journey to becoming a pastor myself. In confirmation he made us learn. There was no way that he was going to let any of us be confirmed unless we truly knew what it meant. Today I thank him for that. Because of him I have a deep connection with God and what it means to be a Christian. He passed away a few years ago, but today I felt him there. Standing right beside me and giving me that support that I knew he would have given me if he would have been sitting in one of those wooden pews.
There are others who guided me and loved me who now are with our Lord. Arlene, Ruth, Grandma and Grandpa and so many more, that I know were watching me from heaven and cheering me on. I felt their presence and support throughout the entire service.
As I write this I am overcome with emotion and the tears are falling. Tears of joy and sadness.
There is something to be said about "going home". When I walked in to the church it still smelled the same. The people haven't changed much, other than a few more gray hairs and the kids who I babysat in the nursery are now parents themselves. It felt comfortable, like when you put on that favorite sweatshirt for the first time in the fall. It's a cozy warm familiar feeling that makes you want to stay for awhile.
Before I left I was invited to come back on December 27th to once again fill in at the pulpit. I can't wait to "go home" again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Preparing, Planning and Praise

It has been so long since I have written on this post. I spent most of the time away from here, preparing for my first One Day Women's Retreat. For the past few years my church has held a weekend Women's Retreat in either March or April at our Methodist Camp in Okoboji Iowa. It goes from Friday evening thru Sunday noon. It is a wonderful weekend filled with fellowship, rest, scripture, teaching, food and renewal. For the past 2 years I have been privileged to be part of the team that plans and leads the retreat. Since our last retreat in April I have felt God calling me to put on a few one day retreats throughout the year. So in August after God kept nudging me I picked up the calendar and filled in the days that I would lead the retreats. Last Saturday was the first. I'm doing this all on my own without a team to help. At least that's how the first one went. It was a great time. Although I had wished that many women would come, God blessed me with 7 wonderful women. 5 had been on the retreats before and 2 hadn't attended any. One of those two was my oldest daughter Ashley. It was a blessed day to have her there and sharing in it with me. She has come such a long way and I am so proud of her. She was welcomed by all the women (these are women who have been praying for her and our family and mean so much to me) and even felt comfortable enough to share her thoughts and feelings throughout the day. At one point as she was sharing, I looked at her and realized that she is an adult. A young woman about to turn 24! It brought tears to my eyes and my heart felt full. At that moment I thanked God once again for this journey that we have been on and for delivering us out of the storm that pounded down on us for such a long time.

The theme of the retreat was "Seeking Growth". We went over the 5 holy habits that we need to help us grow spiritually: Scripture, prayer, self-control, silence/solitude & service. It was a day of self-reflection, journaling, scripture surfing, song and fellowship. I felt God's presence the entire day, as I heard women share there thoughts and feelings. One quote that was read was from Freya Stark, "There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do." How true that is. If I am living my life differently from what I truly believe in, I will be living an unbalanced life. If I strive to keep up with everyone else while losing my true self, how can I be the person God wants me to be? If I give in to the demands of others, while jeopardizing my integrity, how can I look myself in the mirror and be happy? Everyday we need to be re-evaluating who we are, who God wants us to be and where God wants us to go.

We are all called to be servants of God. Whether it be in how we behave towards others or helping out in our churches, communities and world. We need to remember that as we live our lives, people are watching us. Do we want them to see Jesus when they see us? or do we want them to see someone who is in it just for themselves?

"Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your heart." - Matthew 6:4-6


Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

I'm sitting here watching "Remembering 9/11" on the History Channel. The same pain, sadness and despair floods over me once again. The video accounts from various people in Manhattan, from being right below the Towers, a block east of the towers and as far as New Jersey bring it all back again. It's the firefighters that bring me to tears. Watching them running towards the burning buildings and wondering as I watch those faces, did any of them make it out?

The sadness of that day will remain with me forever, as it should with all of us. We should never forget. Because if we do, then all of those who died in the planes, who were in the buildings trying to get out and help others to get out and all those rescue workers who perished, will have died in vain. Those who caused this to happen will then have won.

Through the tragedy we have learned that we are a resilient country. We are a country who in a time of hopelessness turned to prayer. We pulled together and prayed for those we never met. We sent messages of love wrapped in care packages and quilts made by people from all over this country.

9/11 is not just a day of tragic loss but a day that we as Americans may look back on with hope and strength knowing that we faced evil in the face and we did not let it break us.

May God bless the families, friends and co-workers whose lives were taken so suddenly and horrifically from them. May God bless all of us as we continue to heal from the tragedy of that day.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Taking a Time Out!

I enjoy watching Bible teacher Beth Moore on James and Betty Robinson's show, "Life Today" on Wednesday's. The past few weeks her theme of her message has been, "Refuge in the Storm". I just recently saw session number 4, where Beth was speaking about having a hiding place. A "Time Out". A "Hiding Place" so that we may have time away from all of the chaos and trouble that surrounds our lives. Even time away from our loved ones.

This has really been tugging at my mind the last few days. I know that I need a place to hide sometimes. When I have been pulled in so many directions or I have tried to be there for so many people that I forget to take time for myself. I work in a church and am currently answering the call to ministry, but there are days I feel like I have not connected with God. I get so busy that I'm not even sure that I have felt God's presence in my life that day.

God gave us a day of rest. Even Jesus went to the garden to be alone with his Father. Why do we find it so hard to have a "Time Out". We tend to feel that if we don't get the work done, no one will do it. Or they won't do it the "right" way. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it really crucial that every bit of our work gets done? Will our lives fall a part if the house doesn't get cleaned, the laundry waits one more day? When a project is due at work, why do we rush to get it done before it is even due? Are we afraid that people are going to frown at us? That our family will get mad at us? That we won't "look good" to everyone?

We get so wrapped up in the little things that we forget the One who created us, gave us life. We go through our days lifting prayers for others, asking God to help us but we don't give God the quality time that we need to help us be able to help others. Beth said, "How can I give a drink of water, when I need a drink of living water?" "How can I be a refuge for someone else, when I am in need of refuge?"

That is so true. How can I give someone the time and energy to help them, if I am in need of energy myself? How do you know when you need a "time out"? Beth says, "If you don't enjoy what you are doing anymore, you need a time out".

In the September/October "final" issue of Today's Christian Woman, there is an article by Sandra Byrd titled, "eat, pray, grow". Sandra writes about how God used something unusual to get her attention about her soul: food.

She talks about how she found out she had high blood pressure and high cholesterol at the age of 40 and decided to change her life style. While she was cutting up veggies one day she heard the Holy Spirit murmur, "It takes time and commitment to be healthy, doesn't it?" She knew he wasn't talking about her body. He was talking about her soul. She goes on to say that it is easier to ignore the spiritual issues, God often uses physical symptoms to help take a closer look at what's happening inside.

Developing a pattern of taking on too much and in order to comfort her overly busy self, she ate the wrong things. She finally understood that her overfed but malnourished body was an outward reflection of an overfed but malnourished soul. While she had many activities that looked good on the outside and garnered praise, they ate up time she might have spent deepening her relationship with God. She relegated her prayer life to rushed pleading in the midst of trouble; her relationship with God felt empty and silent, stagnant and struggling. Her body displayed on the outside what was happening on the inside. In the process of healing one, could she heal both?

She goes on to give you valuable information that she learned through going through this process. It is a great article that I suggest you read.

I had a great conversation today with a dear friend on this very subject. She was telling me that her heart just isn't in to going to the Wednesday morning Bible study at our church but she feels guilty if she doesn't go. I told her that if she was feeling that way she shouldn't go. She does her own Bible study every morning, she leads a Bible study at an assisted living home once a week and she meets once a month for a Christian Women's Bible study. I think a lot of us do this. We join every Bible study possible thinking that it will lead us closer to God, but it actually takes us away from those quiet one on one moments that we need with God.

Just like we need to nourish our bodies with good wholesome food and fit in exercise each day, we also need to give our souls a "time out" to be alone with God. Not doing a Bible study, but just one on one, no frills, time with God.

So the next time you are feeling the loss of joy in what you are doing or you are overwhelmed with life, give yourself a "time out". For a child they say that when you give them time out, they are to sit in time out for as many minutes as they are old. So, if you are 30, take 30 minutes, 40, take 40 minutes, 50, take 50 minutes. Take the time to sit in the presence of God and enjoy!!!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Healed By God's Grace

Yesterday ranks right up there within the top 10 days of my life. The day may have been rainy and dreary but the sun was shining down on our family. Our daughter Ashley who has been through so much the last 5 years, moved back to our home town. What started out 5 years ago with excitement of sending our oldest off to college, took a dramatic turn by Christmas of that year. Due to the influence of the wrong people, drugs and alcohol and the work of a very dark force in her life, she was driven away from her family and friends and ran away from our home. Over the course of the past 5 years our family was broken, ripped apart and I truly believed in the beginning of it all that we would never recover. But God did a miraculous thing one day in April of 2006. While I was attending a women's retreat at a church camp, I took a walk down to the lake and told God I was ready to listen to him. I have always prayed, but I have a tendency to be the one doing all the talking and not giving God a chance to get a word in. But that day I opened up my heart and soul to hear him. And he spoke to me. He told me that my daughter would be okay. He told me to trust in him and to be patient. And one funny thing he told me was to write. To write and write and write and that people would read it and hear it. I've written a little. Devotions and sermons, but never knew exactly what God meant. I do today. You see it is all coming very clear to me. When God spoke to me I truly believed that everything would be okay within a few days, maybe even a few weeks or a couple of months. I thought I was supposed to start writing right away, but each time I tried I went blank. I didn't know what to write. You see, I wasn't healed yet. My family wasn't healed and my daughter was far from being healed. But today we are healed.

2 1/2 years after she ran away, and after numerous attempts to have her come back home, God spoke to me again. He told me I needed to let the past go and to reach out to her and tell her and show her that I loved her. I kept waiting for her to come to me, but I needed to go to her. She wasn't strong enough to do it, so I needed to. It was the best advice I have ever gotten. Boy is God wise! That was the first day of the start of the healing process in our family. Over the last 2 1/2 years we have steadily worked to gain back the trust and love of one another. And yesterday it all came together.

She is ready to start a new journey in her life. She has been drug free for over 2 years. She is staying with her grandparents and is surrounded by love and support from her family. She is scared but filled with the excitement of where this journey will take her. Finding a job and saving up money to go back to school is a goal that I know she will achieve. I have told her many times that only by the grace of God did she survive the last 5 years and that God has a plan for her and that she just needs to listen and ask God to guide and direct her. She is a beautiful young woman with a heart and soul filled with love. I am so proud of her! She has been through so much and is stronger and wiser.

God has given our family the strength and endurance to fight the fight. We have persevered through the darkest of days. We have looked evil in the face and won the battle. We didn't back down. Our prayers never stopped. We grew with the knowledge that God would protect us and provide for us and he did.

I lift up my praise and thanksgiving to my God. He is the almighty, wonderful, majestic, healer, comforter, protector of our lives.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" - Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations"- Psalm 33:11 (NIV)


Friday, August 28, 2009

Football and God

Tonight is the official kick-off of the football season for the high school my husband and my kids have attended. I have to say that it brings a little excitement to our lives. I grew up with a Dad who coached football, basketball and track. I was literally raised on the field, court and track. Football is in my blood. And it's not just the game but the fans, cheerleaders, band, watching the players and coaches and concession stands. Our home is only a block or so from our city stadium so even when our team isn't playing we can hear the announcers and bands from the other games. This is our 22nd Fall to live in our house and last night was the first football game of the season for the stadium. My husband was going out to mow when he turned around at the front screen door and said to me "listen, do you hear that? The band is practicing". After dinner my husband and son set off for the hill overlooking the stadium (it has been named "cheap scape hill" for as long as I can remember) to watch part of that game. There was definitely a twinkle in my husbands eyes when he left and when he returned.

We are a football family. We love the Penn State Nittany Lions and Joe Pa. I love the Dallas Cowboys and my husband and son love the New England Patriots. It can get a little crazy here on game day!!

It never fails that when we turn the calendar over to the month of July, sometime within those first 2 weeks my husband will make the comment, "the first football game is right around the corner". It is so dang cute!! You can feel the excitement and anticipation slowly increase over the next month or so. Then on the first night of the season it is like Christmas morning.

I was thinking today that I wish I could have that excitement in my life all the time when it comes to God. I get complacent at times. I want that burning feeling of the power of God in my life. Knowing that every morning when I awake God is there waiting for me. And don't get me wrong I do get that feeling sometimes, I just want to have it all the time. It takes effort on my part. God is there every morning and throughout the day, just waiting for "me" to say, "Hey God, what do you want to do today?" or "Hey God, how do you want to use me today cuz I'm ready and waiting". I want that! I need that!

If I can get excited about football, then I can get excited about God. I feel it in church during worship and even when I hear a great speaker like Beth Moore or Joyce Meyers. I need to get that feeling all the time. Carry it with me all day long.

There is a song at Christmas time that says, "Why can't everyday be like Christmas?". Well why can't everyday be for God?". Why can't we everyday be ready and willing to do whatever it takes to be in the presence of God? Listening, watching and waiting to see what God wants us to do. Wouldn't that be an exciting way to spend our days? The anticipation of what God was going to call you to do?

So tomorrow when I wake up, I'm not going to wait for God, I'm going to ask God right away, "Hey God here I am, what do you need me to do today?"


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Does God See Us?

My son's school now has a software program that enables the parents to view their children's daily grades, attendance, assignments and missed assignments. It is a great tool for both the teachers and parents, but I am sure for some students, my son included, it isn't very appreciated. While I was looking over my son's information, it got me to thinking about something.

What if God had a software program where you could just click on a computer and it could tell us how we were doing? Maybe it could keep track of the times that we were not friendly to someone, didn't take the time to listen to someone, it could tell us when we gossiped, but at the same time could tell us when we were friendly, how we took the time to help someone, the times when we forgave someone. What would that be like if God kept track for us and then we could see it right there on the screen? Would we really want to see it? Would I be like my son and not always want to know how I have been?

I would hope that there were more times that I was nice and helpful and forgiving, compared to when I was not. I also know that we are not always aware of our actions, words or thoughts, we get so busy in our daily lives that we aren't even aware of how we treat others. We make excuses for our behavior. "I'm tired so it's okay to not be patient", "I've got a lot of work to do so that's why I don't have the time to listen".

Before the new software, kids were able to make excuses about not handing in homework, "the teacher didn't give us an assignment", "I didn't hear the assignment", "I didn't know we had a test". With the new software it is much harder to make those excuses. The information is printed clearly on the screen.

But God doesn't have a software program. It's up to us to monitor our actions, think before we speak, to be forgiving, compassionate, loving and kind. To take the time each day to make a difference in the lives of the people we meet and come in contact with. And maybe, by our actions, we can help others to see who God is.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Great Day To Shout!!

Have you ever had a day that you just want to "Shout to the Lord!"? That is exactly the kind of day that I have had. Everything just seems to have fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to get over confident or fluff my feathers, because I know that tomorrow I could get sopping wet from a torrential rain, but today was a great day!!

Having meaningful conversations with my kids and friends, collaborating on a project at work, laughter & lunch with friends and being invited to preach at my families home church, made this day a day to "Shout to the Lord!" in thanksgiving and praise.

Thanksgiving for all the opportunities that He has opened the door for me, God loving friends, and a wonderful family.

Praise that He is the Almighty, Wonderful, Loving, Redeemer!

"Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods." - Psalm 95:1-3 (NLT)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Love Never Ends

Yesterday a dear man from my church passed away. He was one of my volunteers who would help assemble the newsletter each month. He and his wife had just celebrated their 60th wedding aniversary. 60 years of being together, raising children, watching grandchildren and adoring their great-grandchildren. 60 years of holding hands, secrets shared, smiles, sharing worries & joys, working together to build a life together and a family.

I think of his wife today and wonder how she will go on? How does one cope when suddenly the person who you have shared 60 years with is no longer with you? Taken so suddenly you were unable to say goodbye. How do you deal with the overwhelming loss and memories that will flood your mind and soul? The moments that will come when all of the arranging is done, the funeral is over and family return home to their everyday lives, how do you live during those moments of eating breakfast, deciding what your plan is for the day, needing to share a thought or a worry and that person is not there with you? When a memory comes back to you and you turn to that chair that they sat in and it is empty, what do you say?

I am saddened for her. But I am also reminded that love never fails. Love will continue on. The love that they shared will go on and they will be reunited one day. I thank God for that. God gives us the ability to love and to share that love with someone else. Love will help his wife to go on. Love will fill her days and comfort her nights. And God will be right there with her. Giving her strength, comfort and peace.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

God's Rainbow!

Today I saw the glimpse of a rainbow in my life. The storm that has been pounding down on my family for the last 5 years is finally coming to an end, and I know that God has been right there with me the entire time. It is a battle that has been hard fought. I have watched my daughter being hunted down and torn apart by evil of an extrodinary strength. Through it all God has heard our prayers. At times we cried out in pain, worry, anger, fear and confusion. I can now look back and see that I am not the same person I was 5 years ago, none of us are. My relationship with God is stronger and closer. He has given me strength and perseverance that I never thought I could have. God is so great! My love for God and my faith in God are so much stronger. God has rescued my daughter out of the grips of evil and she is coming home. Home to a new start, a new chance of a great life. When I look back I can thank God for the storm that has crashed around us. I have learned patience in God. Patience in waiting and listening for God's word. I know that while my daughter was fighting the evil around her God was protecting her and comforting her. I want to shout it for everyone to hear. GOD IS GREAT. ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME. GOD IS GREAT!!!

In 2006 when God spoke to my heart while I sat by the lake, he told me that my daughter would be fine. He told me to be patient. He asked me to trust him. I did. I will trust in God the rest of my life. I will trust in God when the next storm comes. God will see me through. God is great!!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A New Day!!

A journey starts with one step and this is a new journey and a new step. I'm not sure why I decided to start a blog. Maybe it is to be able to write down my thoughts, tell my story or possibly help someone who has gone through the same parental challenges that I have faced. What ever the reason I am happy to be taking this step.
I have felt God nudging me to do more but I am finding it hard to decipher exactly what that is. So I am trying new things. Seeking out what God is telling me. I love discovering new things everyday. I find myself growing and changing along the way. What a great day!!