Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

All through the house...


This is a peek  into what is going on in our home these days, probably much like your own. Most of all, it's a collage... and my first attempt took longer than I needed to be spending. :)

Enjoy these days of December... they are the best of the year! The music of Christmas is playing all through the house...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Young at heart...

I heard that old song on the car radio this week.

Do you know some people who are young at heart... no matter how old they are?

My mom and dad were young at heart. Dad had just played 9 holes of golf and had the tickets on his desk to fly to Norway the next week to preach, when God called Him home, at age 91. He always thought he would live to be at least 100.

My mother was young at heart always, when she was young and when she was old. Life always held new possibilities and she made everything so much fun. Her face lit up when she thought of the next adventure for all of us. 

My mother in law was another one. When she was in her 80's, she took a picture of a 20 something tall skinny blond model with long flowing hair to her stylist and said she wanted her hairdo as close to that as possible (with her barely 5 foot height and very short completely gray hair!) And... she wasn't kidding.

I want to be that kind of person... the kind who views all of life with a cheerful and 'young' heart.

Life can deal us some serious blows, and satan would love our joy to be robbed by it. I want the kind of heart that says 'I have everything I need, I will get through this, I choose to trust God and I choose joy."

I think those choices keep us 'young at heart', no matter what our age...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!...


To each one of you and your families...

I'll see you sometime in December.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dad and Billy Graham, once more...

Is it just me, or does everyone who grew up during the Billy Graham crusades want to cry when "Just as I am" begins to play and people start to get up out of their seats and move to the front of the stadium?

This is a re-post, but it was on my mind after watching Billy Graham the other night on TV... so many years, and so many memories later, and now he is close to the very heaven he has preached about his whole life... his life and ministry are woven into my own life, and probably yours...
                                    --------

I've mentioned a lot of big names on these blogs, and I'm not typically a 'name dropper'. However, I realize that for me... the circle of my parents friends during my growing up years, was full of those names.

They were our 'normal'... the people I grew up with, they influenced my life and my thinking... I think it's as an adult that I have come to appreciate and respect the names and faces of my childhood. As I have learned more about what it means to walk with God, I so deeply appreciate the lives that were my example, then... and now...

From my very youngest childhood days, Billy Graham was part of our family's life. (This is dad with Billy) We used to travel to Winona Lake, Indiana during the summer, where years earlier, my dad was part of the ministry when he and Billy Graham were young men, and they all teamed together during those Youth for Christ summer conferences.

It was during one of these conferences, when Billy asked these men to pray for him specifically as God seemed to be leading him into a ministry of evangelism. He wanted to be certain it was God's will. My dad was one of those he asked to pray with him, and later, called on him to fly to Los Angeles during his first crusade... God was beginning to do some great and exciting things through Billy's ministry.

My dad's ministry was prayer and revival, always his top 2... my mom used to say golf was #3 and she was #4 :)...

All through the years, Billy and dad were in close touch. Dad was part of many of his crusades, leading the prayer teams that preceded a crusade. Even though dad had his own ministry, there was always a heart connection between he and his friend... Billy. Dad loved Billy Graham.

Our families were very similar as we grew up. The 'dads' were evangelists, and traveled all over the world, while the 'moms' stayed home and raised all of us. It's no wonder I love the writings of Ruth Graham...

This was one of the letters Billy sent to my dad through the years. It's especially meaningful to me, as he said... "the thing that I love about you Armin, is that you have remained absolutely true to the gospel"... and that is exactly the way I feel about my dad. His passion for God never dimmed, and his focus and obedience stayed strong and steady through his whole life. He ran his race well...

It challenges us, as his children... it's what my prayer for my own life has shaped into. But it has taken me a whole lot longer! Sometimes when I learn something new about the Lord, or obey when it's difficult, or trust Him when it's not what I feel like doing... I can picture a smile on Jesus' face, and right over his shoulder... my mom and dad are smiling too!
                                           
                                                                     ------------------

I know that when Billy Graham goes to heaven, after he has met Jesus face to face... my dad will be among those in the front of the crowd to welcome him.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday morning fun...

I'm aiming for a glitter free Christmas! 

I know it's only November 1, but I'm thinking ahead.

I was in Hobby Lobby this week, (50% off of everything Christmas) with a stem of red ornaments in my hand. I turned around and stuck it back in the bin. It glittered like crazy, and of course, so did my hand when I got rid of it.

Every year, I am still vacuuming tiny shiny bits of glitter clear into August, that tiny shiny stuff hides, and then appears again later...

I love the sheen and shine of glitter, but it is such a mess. If there is anything glittery within 10 feet of me, it finds me. I can't tell you how many times I've looked into a mirror doing my makeup and there it is... a red or green dot of glitter on my face, stuck there like glue.

You know I always look for a lesson in things, here's my 2 cents about glitter.

All that glitters is definitely not gold...

Lots of things that are shiny and catch our eye may be better off left where we found them, before they 'attach' themselves to us... :)


Monday, October 28, 2013

Do miracles still happen?...

I am a miracle. 

So are you.


From the first time God thought us into being.

But the ones I'm thinking of today are specific... times when I know God did miracles in my life.

... When I was 12, I got Spinal Meningitis. The doctors did not think I would live. My dad was preaching in Japan at the time. They prayed around the clock, he and other ministers and missionaries. My mother was on her knees by my side, with our friends and church, also in prayer for my healing.

Here I am!

... God allowed my hubby and I to see His power right in front of our eyes as we were able to see a life transformed, a sinner saved by grace. It changed us forever.

... As I drove down the highway in the rain, one of the wheels fell off of my suburban. My car rolled and the wheel raced across the highway and hit a pick up truck. The driver of the pickup was fine, and I landed upright, still strapped in, not a bruise or scratch!

... Another time as I was driving to do a big antique show in central Texas, an 18 wheeler ahead of me on a small country road stopped, and began to back up. He never saw me. I was sitting on my horn and he didn't hear it. I backed up as fast as I could, his truck crumbled the front end of my car like an accordion, and he finally realized he had hit something. I was fine, he was fine, and the car was towed and totally redone, as I loaded all the antiques into a rental car and proceeded to my show!

Probably the biggest miracle of all is how He has changed me... my heart, my desires, who I am. These are the best miracles of all.

Not to mention that there are probably 1000's of other miracles that I don't even know about... those provisions and protections He has provided all through my life.

Do miracles still happen? You better believe it! Think about your own lives, and all the times God has done things beyond our ability or even knowledge, He was at work the whole time. 

Take heart, if you are in the middle of needing a miracle... 

"Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever."


Friday, October 18, 2013

Whining & complaining...

I recently looked up the word complain to see how often it was used in the Bible.

I was shocked! 

There are lots of us out there, and we've been there since back in the beginning.

So what about that word??

I don't generally think of myself as a complainer or whiner, but lately... there have been more than a few times when that's exactly what I've been. 

You know how God points things out to us when we are misbehaving? Yes... so do I, and that's what He did recently.

There are times in life when things get upside down or cross ways, and they begin to pile up. There is a lot of that in our lives, and usually I take it in stride and just keep on truckin'. When I don't... I begin to whine or complain. I hate the sound of my own voice when I whine, don't you?

I don't want to think of the Israelites and smile when I read about how they whined, but sometimes I do. Misery does love company.

But God does not like whining.

My parents didn't like it either. We grew up in a home that had a sign on the wall... 'DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT MURMURING OR COMPLAINING". We heard it so much that dad finally would say... 

"DO ALL THINGS"... and we knew exactly what he meant!

So this morning, I have chosen to focus instead, on... 
  
"When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!" (Prov.15:14,15)   


"And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure." 
(I Cor.13:10-)

 "Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."
(I Thess.5:15-)

"Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns."
(Phil.2:14-16)

Much much better. I can already tell the difference. :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Perspective...

A man asked God...

How long is a million years to you?

God answered: A minute.

The man said: How much is a million dollars to you?

God said: A penny.

Well then, said the man: Will you give me a penny?

God said: In a minute.
                         
                            ****************    

Our perspective is tiny, and so limited. When we say God sees the whole big picture, I don't even have a clue what that really means, except that He's a lot bigger and more infinite than I am able to understand.

He is God.

Creator, designer, master planner... He always was and He always will be. Eternal God.


How could we think that we can out guess or even understand His ways? 

And yet... I sure try, over and over again. Each time I do it my way, I am running ahead of what he has in mind... assuming I know what I'm doing.

God is so forgiving.  I think sometimes he must have a small rather sad smile and just shake his head, when he watches some of our antics, like a loving father who sees his toddler doing something that is not the best for him. On the other hand... he is so just and fair, and he knows our hearts, and that we want more of him.

There isn't a stack of million dollar bills high enough to equal what we have as his children.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Get thee behind me!...

Get thee behind me, satan!

I've said those words hundreds of times, I'll bet you have too.

The problem is... often after I've said the words, I don't really get the job done, so instead of getting him behind me, he has lingered, and the pounds have gotten 'behind me'.

I am a work in progress. I am struggling to get a long overdo pattern of the behind me... OFF of me! One more thing my mother was right about. The older you get, the harder it is.

But... I am determined! 

Changing bad habits that have gone on way too long is not easy, but it is not impossible either.

I am dancing, twisting, and using the tension rope pulleys and a stationary bicycle. I remember when those things used to be fun!

It helps to know that many of you are in the same boat, and working to get out! Debbie, you are an encouragement, always, and it makes me smile to know you are in Arizona while I am in Texas, doing the same thing. I see others of you writing the same things...so many of us, we could be a club... 

bloggers bottoms be-gone... or... 
farewell fellow former fluffies... or maybe
sisters seriously slimming & trimming...

It will not happen accidentally. It's an intentional, determined one day at a time journey. I'm moving forward, a day at a time, and I'm encouraged. 

If you knew how many cute things are hanging in my closet waiting to wear, you would be ashamed for me! 

I AM GOING TO WEAR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!!

That's it for this Wednesday... onward and forward!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Big little words...

Sometimes the deeper I feel about something, the more words I use to explain what I'm thinking...

Not God.

His word is loaded with tiny words, pivotal words that have huge meanings.

Take the little word IF...

There are many scriptures where that little word IF is the condition on which the promise hinges.

"IF my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, THEN will they hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and heal their land."

The promises are gigantic, but the realization of those promises are based on the IF...

Another one is WHEN...

"You shall seek me and you shall find me WHEN you search for me with your whole heart."

Again, the promise is huge, life changing, but the condition is based on the WHEN.


What are those loaded little words... really?

...They are God's instructions to us. 
...They are words that require our obedience.

I have been guilty of reading, claiming, and even declaring those promises, without always DOING what He has instructed. You already know where this is going...

IF we fail to do it God's way, per His instructions, even though His words may be small, we miss the full blessings and the answers that He has promised. 

My parents used to always say "Little is much when God is in it".

God is in those little words, He gave them to us for very good reasons. God says what He means with crystal clarity, in very few words. 

We can never claim that He is too complicated and hard to understand. 

Aren't you glad for that? I sure am.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Life Chain...


Our son Joe's birthday is coming up this month. It was fitting, since he is working with the Texas Right to Life and the Life Chain in October, to show this short video which their good friend Melissa has put together. It's a labor lf love.

It's very clear, and a voice for all of those babies who have no voice.

It's short, so turn your volume up and listen for a minute. You will be touched.

Happy Birthday Joe... keep pursuing the desires of your heart, God has placed them there.


Love, 

Mom & Dad

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Holliston's...

Every Sunday morning on our way to Sunday School, we drove past the Holliston's house, and every single time, my mother spoke out loud with a short prayer that God would save that family.

He did.

She also prayed for our neighbors, Nettie & Daniel, and Miss Conn. She shared her faith with them many times, and they called on her when they needed prayer or answers.

Those prayers were not long, just to the point, and to The One she knew would answer.

I know that my prayers today are much like hers. I don't pray all around the mulberry bush, but to the point. When someone is on my heart, I lift them up right then. There are times when long and detailed prayers and time alone with God are what I must have, but many times it's what is on my heart as I go about the day.

I've never questioned why I pray that way, but I can look back and know that it's because my mother taught me by how she lived and prayed.

She kept a prayer journal. I often wish I had done that. I wrote about her prayer journal and seeing my own name in it here. I also saw her tears, and the worn thin pages where she had gone back and prayed again, over and over. I'm sure I added some tears of my own the day I read it.

I know that the Holliston family are checked off in that journal, and many many others, including some special prayers that had my name on them.

Do you pray that way, and are there many names of family, friends and neighbors that you lift up as you think of them? 

God hears every prayer.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The paint cans...

I always knew I was in for it, but I could never seem to stop myself!

My dad's paint cans sat in our garage when we were kids. There was something about them that called my name. They were filled with the paint colors that decorated our home, and they were sealed up tight... until I came along.

My favorite thing to do was take one of those paint store sticks, and begin to mix some of the colors... it made such interesting designs and new color combinations. To make it all much worse, when I ran off to play, I left the lids off and the paint brushes I had done my art work with, sitting beside the cans, so the paint got hard and dry on the brushes, and the paint in the cans was now a rainbow of colors, and drying quickly.

Later... my dad came into the garage, after I was long gone, and he knew I had done it again. He was not happy... times 10!

From my much older and hopefully wiser viewpoint, I have to wonder what I was thinking. That, of course, is the problem... I wasn't.

Years later, we all laughed at those 'paint' stories. I grew up and started my own shelves of paint cans in the garage, neat as a pin with the lids shut tight!

The moral of the story...

Don't get into your dad's paint cans without cleaning up your brushes and sealing the lids.

or...

Don't take the lid off of what is calling your name when you know good and well that trouble is sure to follow. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Slipping through my fingers...

I love the music from Mama Mia.

One of the songs is in my mind this week as our grandkids begin another school year.


...Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile...


This is our 3 kids, on THEIR first day of school, way back when...












And now it's THEIR kids, on their first day of school...


                                                 
                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                           


















See what I mean?? The days, the years are slipping through my fingers...

I'm so glad to be a part of every one of them, including the 2 whose first day of school is still in the future...














We are so blessed!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sarah... and Sonja...

Even in the times when my faith seems too small for the needs of life... He is holding me and growing me.

When I think of Sarah and Abraham, and how in their old age they conceived not only a child, but the child who would lead to future generations of children, I am so encouraged.

The lesson:

If He did it for Abraham and Sarah, He will do it for me.

I heard David Jeremiah on this subject a few weeks ago, it was spot on.

Sarah laughed at the promise of God that she would have a child... until she did. All the while, God had chosen Sarah to perform His miracle. He built her faith as she went through life, years later, she delivered Isaac.

I  see myself in this story. 

When I would doubt and almost laugh at the future, as Sarah did, based on where she was, and on where I am... God says NO... I am still at work, and I have many promises yet to be fulfilled through your life.

Did Sarah deserve it? 

Do I deserve it? 

Did it ever depend on either Sarah or Sonja? 

NO...

It's so amazing when God gives us a view into His heart.

God understands me when He sees that I desire more faith, deeper faith, and He sends a reminder to my heart of someone He carefully chose so long ago, Sarah. 

As He chose Sarah, He has also chosen Sonja... and you.

Do you ever get encouraged by the fact that God chose (and chooses) ordinary WAY less than perfect people to fulfill His plans? I sure do. If they were all saints that never had a doubt or made a mistake, it would never make God as real to me as it does when their stories are just like mine. 

It always goes back to who God is, not who I am, 

He continues to do His thing in me... in spite of me.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dad's typewriter...

This is the kind of typewriter my dad used all through his life. It was the kind that didn't accidentally print, you had to push hard all the way down on each key to print the letter.  I can just see him there, in his office (the room my brother shared with him as his bedroom... dad's desk and bookshelves lined 2 walls, my brother's bed and stuff took up the other half.

We tried to 'modernize' dad when electric typewriters came along. He resisted. When computers began to be a normal part of life, he still persisted with that old Smith and Corona.

When I review all he accomplished with that old machine, it is pretty amazing. He did years of ministry on that typewriter. Every speaking engagement was done by snail mail, back and forth, to pastors, conferences, etc. He wrote his books and articles on that same old machine, day after day, for a lifetime, none of it with a secretary or a computer, just hunt and poke.

And the best part... Dad liked it! That typewriter was his friend, just like his books were. He didn't need a secretary, just his faithful typewriter.

I often find it difficult to sit down, and with full use of computer and software, put together more than a simple blog. 

The ones that came before us were a hardy stock, they would say the same of their own parents. From horse and buggy to jet airplanes, from old typewriters to Apple, IPads and all the rest...

I wonder what life will look like 50 years from now or 100. One thing will never change...

"Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday today and forever."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cups of blessings...

My mother has been in heaven for more than 10 years, but her teacups continue to minister...

Here is the background on those cups. All through the years as we were growing up, my father traveled around the world preaching. In each country where he preached, he would buy a beautiful china teacup and bring it home to my mother. There were a LOT of teacups!

My mother used them constantly. They entertained all the time. She was known among the ministers and their wives for being a wonderful hostess, and they always knew they would get a good cup of her Norwegian coffee. The coffee was served in those cups all through her life. The teacups sat there on the coffee table as those ministers and their wives joined in laughter, prayer and fellowship. 

Just for the sake of interest, many of those who were in our home were leaders in the Christian world that we have listened to, heard about, read their books or books about them. I call them my heroes of faith...

Those were sacred cups!

When my mom and dad both went to be with Jesus, I grieved so deeply and missed them so terribly. That first Christmas, I went into the garage and dug out some of her teacups. I made my sugared pecans, filled the cup with a bag of them, and wrote a note to each recipient about the journey of that teacup and why I had selected them for a special blessing. 

I gave them away that Christmas, to my wonderful friend at the local bank, my sweet friend at the post office, one of my first friends when we moved to Dallas, and many others. It helped my healing process. It also continued the journey of those teacups... spiritual teacups is the way I think of them, with a ministry all their own, that has continued long after the initial gift of my dad to my mom.

I hope and pray that my hospitality will continue to bless others as my mother's did during her life. Each of us have different gifts, but even a simple teacup is a blessing when it is used to share His love.

The blessing that goes on and on...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gracie & Snuggly...

 I recently watched Gracie, my 1-1/2 year old granddaughter, and her puppy in a tug of war. The little cloth doll was the object that day, and both of them were trying to win. Every time snuggly got the doll, Gracie crawled with determination right over to snuggly and started pulling it out of her mouth. We sat and chuckled watching this.

Gracie didn't even care about the doll... until snuggly had it. 

Do we ever do that?  Get 'territorial' about things. It doesn't matter, unless it starts mattering to someone else, and then we quickly feel like jumping in to claim our rights.

Example:

Knowing you have done something well and then watching as someone else get the praise.

It's happened to me, and probably to you. The temptation is to want people to know that YOU did it. Of course, we are too 'humble' to say it out loud... but do you ever think it??

There have been times when a genuine effort and desire to unselfishly do something for someone has gone without notice, when hearing a simple thank you would have felt good.

My mom used to say..."God keeps the records."  He is watching when no one else is, He doesn't miss any of it, good or bad.

I don't grab for the doll anymore, but I feel like hiding my smile when I see Gracie do it. I recognize that behaviour, that little bit of Eve... even in this adorable little cowgirl.  


Thursday, July 25, 2013

little foxes...

Have you noticed how one particular weak area in your life keeps rearing it's head? All through life, there are 1 or 2 things that keep showing up, to pull us down, and they are the same old things...

They are the 'little foxes'.

Through the years, those little foxes have appeared in my life, the same little foxes. Not the major sins... I know God has already dealt with those and my life is different because of it. It's a strong testimony I live with every day.

But...

Those little ones, the ones that 'spoil the vines'...they persist, and slowly I realize 'it's that fox again'!

What are some of the little foxes?

Quick and unfair judgment of another.
Critical spirit.
Talking too carelessly about someone.
Resentment.
Not speaking when we should speak.
. Speaking too much when we shouldn't.
Overeating
. Negative spirit.
. Worry instead of trusting.

And there are many others.

Why does God say that those little foxes spoil the vines? After all, they are small... not big and glaring.

He says it because He knows that eventually if we don't cut off the path of the little fox, they grow into bigger foxes, and even in their small state, they nip away at the condition of our hearts, and they damage our attitudes and our peace.

We can't compartmentalize sin... 'If we do all of this right, one or two little areas aren't going to make so much difference.'

Oh yes they are!

God is holy. He lives in my heart, and His greatest desire is for me to walk in holiness with Him. 

He doesn't want those little foxes to gain any entrance into our lives, and if they do, we are to deal with them immediately.

I want my vine to be healthy and strong, it's a daily thing, dealing with the little fox as he appears... not waiting until he begins to spoil the vines.

Once more, it's a deliberate choice on my part.

Foxes... GET AWAY FROM MY VINE! :)