Sunday, June 14, 2015

From chicken coops to castles...

It's funny the things I think about now, as I look back to our growing up years. I remember lots of it, but some happened even before I was born.

There is royalty in my blood! I wrote about it here. This is my castle in the Black Forest area of Germany. :)

It was not the kind of royalty that really means anything though. I would be a princess today if the tradition in my dad's family had continued. It didn't, I'm not. Now it is a castle for tourists. It still bears my dad's family name, although the spelling changed generations ago. My mother was born in Norway, she married dad, a preacher from America, and left a prosperous family in Norway where her dad was the mayor of Tromso and a successful business man, to become a preacher's wife.

That's the royal part of my family genes, but there is more...

Before I was born, my mom and brother often traveled with dad when he was preaching in other states. On one of those trips, the church where dad preached  'housed' the preacher and his family in what they could afford... it was a former chicken coop behind the main house. 

My mother remembers taking a broom to the dirt 'floor' and sweeping it out, and my brother happily played among the chickens who still gathered there. It's been a great story for our family all these years. 

Now, in retrospect, I can see the grace of my parents, the way my mom handled each new "adventure" is such an example to me. I can't imagine spending a night in a chicken coop, and it certainly would not be without grumbling and complaining.

Even though they never had much money, God provided things for our family that many others never got to experience. Taking the Queen Mary to Norway to visit my mother's family, spending summers traveling all around the USA as dad preached, entertaining in our home so many real heroes of the faith, from Corrie Ten Boom to Bill and Vonette Bright, and so many more. Names I now know to be the leaders of their day in the world of Christianity. They were my heroes of the faith. 

I had a rich childhood, one that I treasure, one that has helped to shape who I am.

From chicken coops to castles... what a journey in the faith my parents had. What they left for me was their example, in all of it. They had grace in the chicken coop and grace in their castle experiences, and balance to understand that all of it was part of life. I have drawn on their well of wisdom a thousand times in my own life.

I am reminded that The King of Kings had no place to lay his head. He didn't even own a home. His birth was in a stable. His death was on the cross. And yet... his life was lived with love and grace, and the examples and lessons he has given us are the very things that guide us as we move through life. 

Just as my parents knew, I also know... He is our King, and we are all a part of His family... we are all royalty.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Then and now...

I googled my childhood home yesterday, the one we moved to when I was 4 years old, the one my parents paid less than $12,000 for.

It last sold for just under ONE MILLION dollars.

My first thoughts were of my mother, as I looked at the realtors pictures of what the inside looks like now, and saw a huge granite and stainless steel gourmet kitchen. I thought of her and wondered what she would say if she could see it today. It made me sad in a way, sad that she didn't have the latest in high tech beauty all around her, she sure deserved it. 

Right on the heels of those thoughts were... so what? 

My mother was as happy as a lark in that kitchen. She cooked and baked for her family and so many others, and there was real joy in that room. There was lots of laughing, singing, some squabbling among the kids, and always delicious scents and the promise of good food coming. It was a room filled with love. I only hope that the ones who live there now are as happy.

All 5 of us shared one small bathroom. The bathrooms they have created look like spas. We had a huge backyard. There are now french doors leading to multiple decks with hot tub and all the landscaping surrounding it. It's a showplace!

My dad and brother took such good care of our backyard. We had flowers everywhere, and blooming fruit trees year around. We buried at least 2 guinea pigs named Squeaky 1 and Squeaky 2 in that yard. We hid the soft red 'spanking stick' from my dad, back there by the squeakey's.  He found it and dug it right back up!

I'm left with all the memories we made in that home, and a few walls that I still recognize. But oh my goodness... that small home has filled my heart for all of these years since. 


270 South Parkwood may be a California dream bungalow, but never did it shine better than when OUR family lived there.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Drinking fountains and sharing faith...


Listening to Greg Laurie in the car as I was running errands this week, I had to laugh at his description of how, during his high school years, as a brand new christian, he wanted to tell everyone in any way he could, about Jesus, and how his life was changed.

He stood by the drinking fountain in his high school and every time a kid came by and took a drink, Greg said... "If you drink that water, you will thirst again"...

He said each kid looked at him like he was crazy, and quickly went on their way.

Greg said... "It worked for Jesus, but it didn't work for me."

He began to learn about the Holy Spirit preparing each heart to hear about Jesus, and he began to pray, and approach things in a new way, as he moved forward.

I remember as a kid thinking I HAVE to share about Jesus and get people saved... one day in grade school, I was in the restroom and "Joyce" was also there. I thought... I will tell her and make sure she 'gets it'. After much coaxing from me, she prayed, but I don't know to this day if she 'got it', or was just anxious to get out of there and away from me!

I've also done the opposite, said nothing when I should have spoken in a situation. Of the 2, that extreme makes me feel the worst.

No wonder Jesus instructed us to seek Him first, to ask Him for openings and guidance and the right words for each situation. 

We will never be wise enough to know a persons heart. 

But Jesus does. 

When I think about how fast this life is going by, and that unless someone knows Jesus personally, they are lost... it makes me bolder to share the good news. I am not a drinking fountain stalker, but I do want to be ready for each situation that God places me in, and my desire to share the hope that the world is seeking is much more on the front burner of my heart than ever before.

We don't need the world, but the world needs what we have.


Even as I write this, I am thinking... wouldn't it be wonderful to see Joyce in heaven one day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This was a big one!...


Sunday was Mother's Day. Our plan was to go to East Texas, have lunch and spend the afternoon with our son Tommy and his family. The day began with storms, more were expected, so we decided to stay home.

Sunday night, with less than  a one minute warning, a level 3 tornado hit the small town of Van, Texas. It struck down BEHIND the area of the new building our son had recently built and occupied for their business, about a half block from them. It went on to destroy about one third of that small town. You have probably seen the footage on the news. One of their employees lost his home.

The first time I was in Van was when Tommy and Dedra were married in the beautiful Baptist church where right now they are helping to care for the people of Van who lost their homes. 

Tommy and Dedra live in Lindale, east of Van about 15 minutes. They are fine, all of Dedra's family is fine, many of them live in Van, and we are so thankful. 

It is such a vivid reminder of how quickly life can change, as it has for those who lost lives, homes, and all that they owned.

There are already many heart warming stories being told of the way people have gathered to pitch in and help this community. The schools have been seriously damaged, and not one person living in Van is not connected to someone who has been touched by this storm. They told us on the news last night not to bring any more supplies right now, they have been flooding into Van from everywhere.

We will continue to pray for all who have been touched by this, both in Van and all around our country. I will also continue to thank God that he heard our prayers and Tommy's business was spared.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rodney's bush...

This rose bush belongs to my friend Rhonda's mother. We all call it 'Rodney's bush'.

Her son (Rhonda's younger brother) died some years ago. On Mother's Day each year, this bush blooms with at least one pink rose, usually before anything else is blooming.

Last year Rhonda's dad died, and this year on Mother's Day every bush in the garden was green with leaves, but Rodney's bush was loaded with these pink roses.

As Rhonda says... "they are in cahoots up there!"

Isn't it just like God to send this mom pink roses right under her window, on Mother's Day.

There is no scripture that says this is so, but knowing the heart of God... why not? It's one of those special heartwarming things that He does for us, knowing that we need something extra to see that He is with us, even in the roses He sends our way. In the rose, He reminds us that He understands and loves us.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

What I have learned about carrots...


Here is what I know about carrots...

I remember visiting farms as we were growing up. They always had carrots growing in the ground. It was fun for me, as a kid, to walk up and down those rows and see the green sprouts above the ground and know that a carrot was coming. I planted some seeds of my own, but as the tiny sprigs of green appeared, I gently pulled them up to see if there was a carrot on the end... long before the carrot had a chance to become one.

There are many carrots being dangled in front of us in this day and age, most of those carrots turn out to be nothing but a handful of weeds, or at the most, a HINT of a carrot.

A carrot is a good thing. It is healthy, and good for us, an important part of the vegetable food group. However... I am certain that they are referring to a fully grown carrot, not one that was pulled before it was fully grown.

Carrots and life??

Many times I have interrupted or hurried a process, (pulled the carrot too soon) that God was doing in my life, by becoming impatient before his lesson was complete.

There have also been a few times that I grabbed the carrot dangling in front of me. It was so tempting. Example: the face cream that promised instant results, wrinkles GONE within minutes. There are probably many more, but you get the point.

While I am thinking about carrots, I have to say that for all the years of our marriage, I have cooked and roasted carrots, with meatloaf, roast beef, etc. I always serve a nice portion on my husbands plate. It has never changed, when the meal is over, the carrots have been pushed to the edge of his plate, completely intact. He doesn't say anything and neither do I. 

One more random thought... my husband loves fresh carrots. Sometimes I forget to stick the fresh ones on his plate, so I am trying to do more of that. He always eats them all.

I am 'growing into carrots'... both on my plate and in my life. Like all other things, carrots are best used in the way God meant them to be.

See... it is possible to take one word, any word, and when you think about it for awhile, there is always more to it than just the carrot.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

He put my window sticker on crooked!...

He did... 

The state inspection sticker and the sticker for our community gate, were applied at an angle yesterday. 

It all began with a small piece of gravel on the freeway which hit the windshield and made a tiny hole. That hole began to grow, until there was a crack all the way across. Somehow, the cost of the windshield replacement was a little less harsh since the whole window was cracked now, and not just a tiny hole. I kind of felt like I got my money's worth.

When the job was finished, I got in the car to run errands, and I knew... immediately... that it would never be okay. I could have raised my eyes a little higher and not noticed, but no... the angle was there, it was never going to change, not until the next inspection sticker was due, and it could be replaced.

I could hardly wait to get home... those 2 stickers got carefully peeled back one more time, and now... they are straight and all is well.

It was a little bit like seeing a small area of my life that is 'off'... the more I think on it, the more I know it has to go. Funny how these little life things can remind us of other things...

I am so much happier when I go ahead and DO the things that I know need adjusting. 

God didn't have anything to do with the rock that hit my window, but he has everything to do with my awareness of my own crooked stickers, and with the knowledge that all of them can be straightened. 

That's what he does.
                           ----------------
(Above photo isn't my car, but the stickers look like mine did.)


Uh oh...

I seem to have successfully eliminated portions of all of my blogs in recent history!

Sorry... I hit a wrong button, and now none of them make sense.

I think I will try again another time.

me

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Selfie...

This is what a selfie looks like with my dinosaur camera! 

I forgot to smile, and the whole thing makes me want to laugh. I still have my old fold up cell phone and my kids think I'm crazy to not update. I'm going to, but just haven't made the leap into learning the new i phone technology. :)

I took this picture for 2 reasons... neither of them worked. 

I wanted to show my sister my hair and the longer layers, which we had discussed a few minutes earlier on the phone...  it doesn't even show, and I wanted to show Debbie at Heart Choices my 'Younique" eyelashes I bought through her, and they don't show either!!

I love longer layers, and I love my new eyelashes, but what I got from this seflie isn't a good reflection of either one. 

What is my point?

Probably what we THINK we look like when we are trying to make an impression, may NOT be what the rest of the world sees when they look at us!

This picture was made by standing in front of our dining room mirror and snapping my camera kind of blindly. My camera doesn't do selfies. I thought I had a pleasant look on my face, instead I look kind of grim and my eyes look closed when actually I was just trying to aim my camera.

There is no real sermon in this blog, unless it would be to make sure you are smiling when you take a selfie, or... when you are trying to make a good impression!

I think both my sister and Debbie are forgiving, but the rest of the world would probably prefer a cheerful smile!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thoughts on trophy's...

I sat and watched the Oscar's on Sunday night. I am not a huge movie buff, but I like the dresses and it's fun to see who is wearing what, even to see how 'old' they are looking.  

This is a crowd that is new to me for the most part. I didn't even know who many of them were. I DID know Julie Andrews and it was such fun to see her, she looks great after all these years.

There were some really good moments. I was shocked to see Lady Gaga singing songs from The Sound of Music. She did an amazing job, she has a gifted voice, I never knew that. I also was moved to tears by John Legend's Glory performance. It was beautiful. 

When it was all over... I said to myself... "where is God in this?"...

God wasn't visible at all... political and social statements were made without apology, but I don't think I heard God mentioned one time. I know that there are Christians in Hollywood, but this whole night did not reflect that. 

It made me sad. It was such a reflection of how many in this life are 'winning' trophys and awards that will be gone so soon. 

Eternity seems like an afterthought.

I remember years ago reading Catherine Marshall's book "Beyond Ourselves". The first words of the book said...

"The search for God begins at the point of need."

I also was reminded that the lost of this world, in Hollywood and everywhere else, are exactly the ones that Jesus gave his life for... 

I was one of them... until I knew who Jesus was, and accepted him as my saviour... I was as lost as anyone.

Tullian Tchividjian said it so well, in talking about the cross...

"Jesus came and did all of that for bad people, because bad people are all there is."

There is a whole world out there who doesn't know Jesus yet. I can slide into complacency way too easily. The world around is demanding. Life can distract us and dim the real purpose and goal...

I want those who don't know that God is real, to find him, to know the peace of an eternity that is coming, and to find the true purpose and meaning in this life.

So I am convicted and challenged in my own walk, to be alive and aware of opportunities all around me, and to share that hope... 

The clock of life is ticking...