Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Christmas is a 'refresher course' in what we believe with our whole hearts, how it all began, and a celebration of just how big THE GIFT really is. And when it ends, and we face the new year, what thoughts, prayers and experiences do we bring to it?
On the eve of a brand new year, I am renewed in my desire to live more fully in the ways that bring joy to my Heavenly Father. It is fresh in my mind and heart that He came as a baby, to live and walk on this earth, to minister, and finally to die... for me.I want this Januay 1, as we begin 2011, to be different, deeper... I don't want meaningless resolutions, I want more...
more of obedience...
more of prayer...
more of His word...
more of listening to His voice...
more discipline in areas that need fine tuning...
more of knowing Him better...
more of following Him more closely...
I know that if I seek Him for the "more"... I will BE more of what He wants me to be...
Let's begin this NEW YEAR, 2011 with a renewed commitment to pray, and ask God for 'more'... more of what He wants for us... for ourselves, our marriages, our families, our friends, and for those who don't yet know HIM, and for each other.
Do you feel that way too?...
Saturday, December 18, 2010
MAY THIS CHRISTMAS BE JOYFUL FOR EACH ONE OF YOU, AS WE CELEBRATE THE GIFT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING......
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (MATT.1:21 NKJV)
Monday, December 13, 2010
The love of the Father, provided the way...
Human baby, brand new and crying
Heaven and all mankind were sighing...
Star of Christmas aglow with light
Mankind forever changed that night...
His birth, life and death, God's sovereign plan
Created from His love... to redeem man...
May we as His children, born again by HIS love
Be filled with HIS light, as our eyes look above...
Christmas... the reason that joy lives within
The babe in the manger...now reigns as our King!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I am reminded of how my dad used to say that' the whole world sings about Jesus during Christmas!'...
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Her baking and cooking, especially during Christmas, have always been some of our favorite traditions...
The top 3 on our list every Christmas season were... potatiskorv, heart shaped waffles, (in her old Norwegian cast iron waffle maker), and riisengrut... (and #4 would be about 25 varieties of her homemade Norwegian cookies)...
Potatiskorv was a sausage my mom made with pork, veal, potatoes and onions, all hand ground in her meat grinder, and stuffed into sausage casings and cooked. Oh how I would love some right now!!
Riisengrut was what we always had on New Years Eve. It is white rice cooked in milk, like a thick and creamy rice pudding. We each had a big bowl with a big lump of butter melting on top and cinammon and sugar. It's delicious!
In one of the bowls, my mom put an almond and buried it in the rice. Then she switched the bowls all around, with her eyes closed, so she had no idea which bowl held the almond. Traditionally, the almond was to bring special things in the coming year to the person whose bowl it was in...
As we began to eat, each one of us held our breath till the winner declared they had the almond in their bowl. The winner got a big gift wrapped box of something special. To this day, I can't remember what the gift was... it was all about trying to be sure we had the almond in our bowl!
We carried that tradition on with our 3 kids all through the years. Our gift was a coffee can filled with pennies that had been saved through the year. Our youngest son won that almond so many times, that we finally all said... just give the can of pennies to Tommy, before we even ate... (all 3 of them will be laughing and nodding in agreement if they read this!)
A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Our kids always gave to each other, never anything expensive, but always a gift for each brother and sister.
First I hinted... but as December grew into December 20 and 21... I began to nag... I reminded her that there would be gifts for her from her brothers and she had nothing for them!
She just put me off, and Christmas Eve arrived...
At the dinner table, as we were finishing our meal, she stood and passed one of these papers, all hand printed and personalized... to each of us, grandparents included. She said... 'this year I have no extra money, so this is my gift for my family'...
As we opened it and read the words, she turned on her 'boom box' and began to sing a solo to the music of Amy Grant's 'Heirlooms'...
By the time she was one verse into it, tears were running down my face, and I have them again right now as I remember, and share this memory of the gift I'll never forget...
I was trying to press the issue and get her to go and buy something... anything, for her family. She knew she had no money, and she was WAY ahead of her mother, as she gave this beautiful gift from her heart...
Up in the attic,Down on my knees.
Lifetimes of boxes,Timeless to me.
Letters and photographs,Yellowed with years,
Some bringing laughter,Some bringing tears.
Time never changes,The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me,
All that I come from, And all that I live for,
And all that I'm going to be.
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me.
Wisemen and shepherds, Down on their knees,
Bringing their treasures To lay at his feet.
Who was this wonder,Baby yet king?
Living and dying; He gave life to me.
Time never changes,The memory, the moment
His love first pierced through me,
Telling all that I came from, And all that I live for,
And all that I'm going to be.
My precious savior Is more than an heirloom to me.
My precious jesus Is more than an heirloom to me.
(Amy Grant, "Heirlooms")
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Years ago my mother went to visit a friend at Christmas. She was a widow and former minster's wife who grew up near us and our families were close. She now lived in a retirement condo. When my mother got there she rang the bell and greeted her with a hug and a big platter of homemade cookies...
Our friend had her dining room table set with her best Christmas china, silver, crystal and serving pieces... and beautiful Christmas decorations everywhere. Everything sparkled and the Christmas music was playing in the background
My mother said, "Oh, I didn't know you were having a party. I'll just drop these cookies and run". Her friend quietly said..."Oh no, no one is coming, the family is all scattered and far away and it's just me now, but I always set the table for our family dinner like I did in the old days, it makes me feel like they are still all around me and I can remember how it was when they were all here...
My mom left with tears in her eyes that day....
A gentle reminder to me and to each of us that there are many lonely hearts out there who need to be remembered this Christmas. Lots of families are hurting this year, for many reasons. Emotions intensify during special holidays, and maybe most of all during Christmas.... it takes so little to reach out and give a smile or a word of encouragement, maybe some Christmas cookies, or sharing a favorite recipe.
There is always room in our lives to help someone when the need is genuine, and... as with all gifts from our hearts...
WE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE BLESSED!!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This sits about 5 minutes from where I live. Every time I go there for 10 grain bread... THIS is what I am faced with!!
I always look... every time!
But very seldom do I buy what's in that case, not never, just very seldom! If I bought something every time I was tempted, I would be huge! I love that stuff, particularly the little key lime tarts. Sweets are a serious temptation for me...
This case in all of it's eye catching dazzle, reminds me a little bit of the lure of sin. I don't mean murder or stealing or those 'big ones', I mean the subtle sins that pull us in... sins of the thoughts, or the tongue, or even wrong desires... Sin can sometimes look so appealing, it can draw us in if we aren't on guard, and the consequences are much worse than a pound on the hips! I usually don't stand around and study everything in that case, I just get the bread and get gone!
It's funny... the 10 grain bread is just stacked up in loaves in plain clear plastic bags on the counter... but the little beauties in the glass case are displayed in doilies, perfect rows, and little fluted cups... it pulls my eyes toward it every time I go in there.
It isn't the 10 grain bread that tempts me...This is not a perfect illustration... with sin, we are told NOT to yield, whatever the lure might be, God has made that plain in His Word. He has also provided the strength for us NOT to sin!
With pastries... maybe once in awhile...
I was there this week, gave a quick up and down glance at the curved glass case, and quickly turned away...
"So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life." (James 4:7 The Message)
Monday, November 15, 2010
Oh boy! This is one chapter I know none of the 3 of us will forget...
When dad preached in little churches during our summer travels, often the church didn't really have enough extra money in the budget to pay the evangelist they had invited to preach... my dad.
Dad never worried about that. He knew if he had been called to go and preach, that God would provide.
I remember many services when we, the preachers family, would be seated in the front, and the church pastor would announce the 'love offering'. He often went on at length, about this 'dear family' who had traveled so far, and needed the offering to provide their needs... so the people were told to be sure to DIG DEEP for this family... us!...
Knowing my dad, he was probably bowing his head and praying during those times, and my mother was no doubt feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable, while the 3 of us just squirmed!
Nickels, dimes and quarters went into that plate, and the end result was always the same... God provided our needs! ( I would have chosen a different method, I'm sure...)
But I've also never forgotten... the love and kindness of those church people, the faithfulness of my mom and dad, or the sometimes unusual but humorous variety of ways that God always provided for us!
"And my God will liberally supply ([fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil.4:19 Amplified)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Double click on You Tube to enlarge...
This may be a 'random act of culture' for some, but for me... it's a celebration of the King of Kings, right smack in the middle of Macy's!
Isn't it interesting that the whole world sings about The King of Kings at Christmas, even if they may not know Him yet.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths."
I love the way the Amplified Bible 'amplifies'...
If I am leaning, trusting and confident in God with my whole heart and mind, and NOT NOT NOT relying on my own understanding (or lack of it), and if I know and acknowledge Him... HE will direct, lead and make clear to me...what??
Everything! Everything I need, everything I need to know... ALL of it!
It's like my dad used to say about the word 'all'... all he could ever find 'all' to mean was ALL...
All... everything. That's not a hope, that's a promise!! BIG difference. Our hopes are only certain if we are trusting God, otherwise it's a human hope based on our limitations... hollow.
God's promises contain all, everything that we need, they are meant to be lived and fulfilled in my life and yours. We are HIS children, the promises were given to us, and backed by all the power of the designer, creator and fulfiller of life itself... God almighty!
What on earth are we waiting for??
God's promises to us cover every situation that life can ever throw our way. His grace is ready to forgive anything and everything we have ever done wrong. When I stop and think about this... I am the most blessed person I have ever known... and so are you!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
"Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest:
Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your private account for your use.
However, this prize has rules, just as any game has certain rules.
The first set of rules would be:
Everything that you didn't spend during each day
would be taken away from you.
You can not simply transfer money into some other account.
You can only spend it.
Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.
The second set of rules:The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say, it’s over, the game is over!
It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.
What would you personally do?
ACTUALLY This GAME is REALITY!
Each of us is in possession of such a bank. We just can't seem to see it.
The BANK is TIME!
Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
What we haven't lived up to that day is forever lost.
Yesterday is forever gone.
Each morning the account is refilled, but GOD can dissolve your account at any time....WITHOUT WARNING.
SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?
Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.
... time races by so much quicker than you think. Start spending. Your life is a deposit from GOD!"
" So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Ps.90:12 NKJV)
Monday, November 1, 2010
So, of course when I came across that today, it started my brain to churn... which category do I fall into??...
I don't mind being called a religious nut if it's for valid reasons. I know that some non-believers would label me a nut... that's okay, I DO want my life to be different, there are times when it will look odd... I have been saved by the grace of God, and that should sound and look different than the world. We have found what they are still searching for!
I know the fruits of the spirit, I've memorized them like you have, I've known them for years... I also am intentionally seeking God for more of those fruits to spring from my heart into action in my life. Those fruits are what He has said we are to be filled with.
But... I don't want to be the kind of 'religious nut' that talks the language and fails to live up to what I say... and I know I've been there too, as recently as yesterday (and today is still young)!
This will probably ruffle some feathers, but...
It's one of the reasons why I don't want Christian bumper stickers all over my car!
I know full well that I have honked my horn in impatience, or scurried through a more than pale yellow street light, etc. etc.... and I don't want someone to see a Christian symbol or saying on my car and think... 'look at her, another religious nut'... wears all those stickers and she's worse than the rest'... for some of you, that would never be a problem, for me... yes, it can be.
I also know that for people to label us that way can be a cop out on their part, an excuse to point the finger at another Christian to prove we are wrong and they are okay. But we are called to be "more", our fruit should identify us! That SHOULD make us look different. It's a responsibility that I want to live up to, and so often I'm sure I don't...
I grew up in California, where everyone was labeled as being 'from the land of fruits and nuts'... but I have lived in Texas for 45 years, and I can assure you that fruits and nuts live here too!
I think I'm a nut with some spiritual fruit, and desiring more...
Maybe by the time It's my turn to go to heaven, I will have grown enough in my faith and my walk and my witness that I will have stickers all over my car...
The bottom line on this one for me is... grow in my own faith and allow Him to walk this life more fully through me, that His fruits will be evident and growing in my life day by day, and.... no bumper stickers! ... well...maybe a small fish...
Saturday, October 30, 2010
A few days ago an antique dealer friend gave my hubby a booklet containing the prayers of Peter Marshall which opened our U.S. Senate during 1947-1949.
I started looking through them and was so taken by the words and the heart as he prayed. It almost seems like another time and place... Listen...
Monday, January 27, 1947:
"Oh Lord our God, before whom all our pretenses fall away, who knowest our secret thoughts and our hidden fears, bless us this day with Thy Spirit and help us to discharge our duties faithfully and well. Ever sensitive to the hurting of our own feelings, may we be sensitive also to our grieving of Thy Holy Spirit when we give ourselves to the lesser loyalties and spend our time and our energies in that which is less than the highest and the best.
We pray for the President of the United States, the members of the Cabinet, the representatives of the people, the judges of the land, and all those in authority, that it may please Thee so to rule their hearts that they may rightly use the trust committed to them for the good of all people.
Raise up among us, we pray Thee, fearless men who know that only in the doing of Thy will can we find our peace. So make it plain to us this day, and give us the courage to do it. All this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen"
Oh how I pray that this kind of prayer would be what our leaders would voice...
Be sure to vote on Tuesday if you haven't already... and I pray that God will continue to have mercy on this country that we all love! Never have we needed Him more!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This one was to see how far we could stretch the budget to cover the cost of eating each day as we traveled. I remember one summer...
The 3 of us were each given a $5 dollar bill for each day we were on the road. That $5 was to cover whatever we ordered in a restaurant for the whole day!
Here's what typically happened...
In the morning, (this was PRE- McDonald's in every town)... we stopped and WENT INSIDE to a restaurant. Each one of us carefully and frugally studied the menu. Our parents explained to the patient waitress that each child was on a budget for the day!
Usually, I ordered oatmeal, it filled me up the best and was one of the cheapest things I could find. Now... years later, I would love to see some of those waitresses and thank them. We didn't notice it at the time, but later our parents told us that those sweet ladies filled our bowls extra full, and many times sent 'extra' things to our table to help out 3 kids who were learning about frugality. I think as kids we even asked the opinion of the waitress on what would be our best deal...
I learned pretty quickly that if I splurged at breakfast, it made the day really long! I knew I still had to cover lunch and dinner, and since in those days I was more impulsive, that happened more than once or twice, but I grew a little wiser as we traveled on, the best days were when we got to supper and I still had a choice on the menu because I'd scrimped all day. It made me feel smart and rich!
The truth is that this was not a game. We only had so much to spend, so being creative was a necessity!
You know... we did just fine...
I'm sure God stretched that $5, just as I have learned since then, that He can still stretch and expand $5 or $500. He saw those 3 kids and their parents, definitely on a tight budget, and trying their best... He did the loaves & fishes thing for our family many, many times!
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil.4:19 NKJV)
Monday, October 25, 2010
"What on earth has happened to you?"
Of course, the reason for their comment is because we are now the grandparents of their children! If you are a grandparent, this blog needs no explanation! In case you aren't, let me try to explain...
When you are raising your own children:
... you know that YOU are the one responsible for them to 'get it right'
... you also know that you are way underqualified for the job, so you are on 'high alert' for behavior that is not what you think it should be, and quick to jump in and correct or 'straighten out' that behavior, in case that child misses the lesson to be learned and they develop a more serious problem because you didn't correct it in the first place! :)
One of the great joys of being a grandparent is the knowledge that the buck no longer stops with you!
So now... instead of trying to make everything that crosses their path or yours a 'teaching moment'... you have the freedom to enjoy the fact that they said or did something funny and you can smile or even laugh out loud about it, rather than jump on the bandwagon and immediately correct something that wasn't serious to begin with...
You can also let them inhale spagetti noodles while the tomato sauce flies all over the table without telling them that they weren't being raised in a barn!
Our kids, as parents of their own kids, are making our hearts proud...
From our vantage point... things do look a little different. Majoring on small issues has lost it's intensity. I don't mean let them get by with anything... but you know what I mean...
What has become really important to me is to affirm each child as the opportunities come up, and to not preach, but ask God and let Him direct me to 'a word fitly spoken'... and He does!
We are praying that each of our 6 will really KNOW that Jesus is their best friend, the friend who is always there and will never be anything but faithful. They have all accepted Him and are being lead daily by their own parents along the path of instruction.
As recently as this weekend, the doorbell rings, about 6 times... and little faces and hands were plastered to the glass, peeking through to be sure we were home. That will forever be one of my favorite sights as we both make a bee-line for the door!
So... it's true... we really aren't the parents they were raised with, but neither will our kids be when it's their turn!!
"But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children..." (Ps.103:17) KJV
Saturday, October 23, 2010
"Jesus paid it all
all to Him I owe
sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow"...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
My mother tried to break up the monotony of the miles... sometimes we sang, sometimes we played games, and often the 3 of us got tired of sitting so close to each other, so we did our share of griping and complaining. After all, this was a CAR, not an SUV! ... with No A.C...
One of the games we played was to see who could score the most points by being the first to see:
a white horse...
a volkswagon bug...
and the most points always went to whoever could spot a red haired lady!
I'm not sure how many of them we ever spotted, especially in the middle of Wyoming or Nevada, where the miles stretched for days...
My dad loved cheese, and he especially loved limburger cheese! I don't even know if they still make it... probably not, why would they keep making anything that smelled that bad!
He would take that cheese out of a cooler and eat it with some fruit, usually an over ripe banana, the kind with LOTS of black spots. (He assured us that those spots just brought out the full flavor and goodness!) ...
ALWAYS, the windows were rolled down to try to keep a little breeze going, and when that limberger smell flew out of the front window into the back seat, all 3 of us shouted & GROANED!!
Dad just smiled and enjoyed every bite! And on we drove...
"So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you..."1 Cor.10:13 (MSG)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
So, here we go...
1. If you could travel anywhere with no thought to cost, where would you choose to go?
I'd go straight back to Norway! I was blessed to go there this past summer, and I fell in love with my mother's home land!
2. What song would you choose for someone to sing at your funeral?
I may change my mind later (if I have time to think it through :)... ) but right now it would be Selah on tape, singing No More Tears. Click on the title and listen to it and you'll probably see why I love it!
3. If you could spend a day with anyone, (dead or alive) who would you choose?
I would choose my mom and dad! If you choose one, the other would be there too. They are both in heaven, and I know we won't be married in heaven, but...
4. What do you want people to remember you by?
Someone who reached out to others and encouraged them, someone who had joy and laughter, and was quick to share the reason for that, the hope that I have because I know Jesus.
5. Are you an early morning person or a night owl?
Early morning! I am loaded with energy and ready to go... later in the day I wind down a little bit. I also love the night time and have to be careful that I don't get going on something and get a second wind, then I can't sleep!
6. What is your favorite meal to prepare?
Either spaghetti with meat sauce or tacos full of fresh everything, especially guacamole!
7. What would a perfect day be like for you?
This one is harder... there are lots of things that would be special, but really... I've never thought about that very much, I know it would include being with my family and our 6 grandkids... I kind of like things like they are...
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Clouds play among the peaks
While she plays on her laptop.
Rugged ranges roll across the landscape like waves
While the nine of hearts is slid across the screen.
Creation lies below us silently Its testimony bold but hushed
Glorious and enduring, vast and unconquered.
It need not boast
It is accustomed to being ignored.
Meanwhile technology captivates.
Yet another variation of solitaire
Provides sufficient entertainment for the mind
Grown accustomed to screen-sized views.
How small we are
Smaller than a single tree stretching across the forest floor below
But our world has made us smaller still
Pacified by so little while truly satisfied by nothing.
The deck shuffles again for another hand
While the ranges give way to the awaiting plains
Farms quilt the window
While more cards checker the screen.
Be not proud—o my heart—for seeing what others miss.
Be neither naïve to think I’ve never done the same:
Placated by some flashes on a screen
While the beauty of creation
Or the presence of person
Or the whisper of the Spirit Goes unnoticed.
But wait! She looks up She glances out
She shakes her head
In silent appreciation. She sees!
The laptop is closed The game disappears.
She continues to stare at the tapestry below.
“Pretty cool, isn’t it?” I say.
“Yes. It is,” she replies with true admiration.
The nine of hearts has died
But a human heart has come alive
At least for the moment.
Technology will beckon once again
Its voice ubiquitous Its popularity ever rising.
But for the moment We both just watch and admire.
Something greater than entertainment is taking place: Worship."
(Written by Pastor John Stumbo,Salem, Oregon, Oct. 2010)