Friday, December 30, 2011

A Time to Look Back

Recently I came upon an old clock that was gorgeous. The price was right, (free) so I picked it up and took it home. I was so sure it would work properly that I was bowled over when it ran for about 60 seconds and then died. I have found an old clock maker who will look at it to see if it can be fixed. When I went to the man's shop I saw lots of fascinating old clocks. The insides were so intricate. I was amazed that there were lots of things inside to make the clock work properly.

Our lives are like that old clock. The guts of the clock have to all work together before it can keep time accurately. It can sure look pretty on the outside but not fulfill it's purpose (keeping time) because the inside is broken.

Do we look good on the outside yet find our inner workings are broken? This is the perfect time of year to take stock of our "innards". What things need to be changed inside ourselves for the coming year? What goals did we make last year that worked? What needs some more fine tuning?

God is our clockmaker. This is what the Psalmist says about us;
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalms 139:14-16 (ESV)

This weekend we say goodbye to the old year and start fresh with a new one. Let's do a check of our "innards" and find out how we can fulfill our purpose better in 2012.

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When God is Silent

I know, I know, this is not your typical blog post 3 days before Christmas. I was reading a blog that is a favorite of mine today and the writer asked for prayer requests. There were 73 comments asking for prayer. Some of them were gut wrenching. It was then I realized it was time to write a post about real life and real struggles.

I have always tried to be honest here and I have no intention of changing that. For those of you who are struggling this holiday season this post is for you.

Here is the question I have mulling around now for the past 6 weeks. What do you do when God is silent? What happens when it appears that God is simply not listening? Are we "allowed" to question when our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling?

It is so easy to answer very differently when everything is going well. If the biggest challenge you have is an annoying in-law then this post is probably not for you. But what if you are facing life and death issues, then what?

It is easy to look at Job and his life and know that in the end God restores his health, his wealth and even more children are given to him. That assumes you can replace children which you can't. Is it enough to just not curse God? How can you and I not just live but thrive in deep pain? How do we go on when it seems the petitions we offer bounce off the wall?

How do you watch your spouse suffer hour after hour, day after day and month after month and not be challenged by it? How does someone who has been a faithful servant of the LORD praise HIM when all he can hear is the pain?

Have we not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will NEVER and I mean NEVER turn our backs on God? We will always remain faithful but can't see the lesson we are to learn? How many more days, weeks, months and years are we to endure such anguish?

God of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the King of King and LORD of LORDS, I can't hear you Papa. I can't hear anymore. Please Father, restore us and make us whole once again. Until then, I will be still and know that you are God.

Your faithful servant,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For Those Who Serve

I caught a commercial today that deeply touched me while watching the news on Fox. There is a group that minister to families that have been devastated by the war.

I will never forget the Thanksgiving and Christmas that Rich was in Saudi Arabia. It was during the first Gulf War. I learned a lot that Christmas.

I am reminded of all the families that are facing their first Christmas alone. Whether it be because their spouse is over in Afghanistan fighting in the war or their spouse died this year, there will be an empty chair at the table.

My heart goes out to all the families that are struggling with that empty chair this holiday season. I encourage you to reach out to a family this year who will be faced with the loneliness. God is pleased when reach out to others. Let His name be glorified this season.

Till next time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gratituesday December 20th

Happy Gratituesday to each of you. This morning I got up and went to the local Y. I love to swim laps. There is something magical that happens when I get into a pool. It seems that all of the burdens I carry just float away. When I am under the water it feels that I am encircled with total peace and weightlessness.

I am trying to get back into the habit of swimming each morning. This morning though the pool had been without a heater for the last 48 hours. The lifeguard gave me the information as my first toe goes in. Mercy was it COLD! She told me not to worry that eventually my body would adjust. Boy is she a fibber! It wasn't till my 40th lap that I was "used" to it. The cold forced me to swim really fast which was wonderful for my brain.

I am so thankful that I have a place to go and do something that will help me a better wife, mother and grandmother. Thank you Father for the gift of the Y.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift of Time

In my own little world Christmas is just not on my radar this year. I wouldn't be the least bit disappointed if the day just flew by unnoticed. I am only one person though in the house I live and I doubt my idea would get any traction among the other ten!

The tree is up and the lights twinkle. The grandchildren are so excited. I imagine by Christmas eve they will be beside themselves. They are excited over possible gifts coming their way. With a little toddler in the house this Christmas there is not one present under the tree. I suppose they will all magically appear on Christmas morning.

I was reminded though this past Sunday that the best gift I can give is time. Time to my husband who is a special gift from God. Time to all of my children who each in their own way have a very special place in my heart. Lastly, time for my grandchildren to make memories with their Grammy.

Time is a precious gift. We never know how much time we have to give so I don't want to waste a moment. What gifts are you giving this year? Will it be something that will be used in a moment and then gone? Or worse, will the gift end up being sold for a nickle at the next garage sale? The gift of time is eternal.

What are you giving to those you love this Christmas? May it stand the test of time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Discipline of Solitude

I have a journal that I started in January 2006. Like most years I start a journal and then tuck it into a drawer and forget about it.

A couple of weeks ago I needed a journal to write some thoughts down and came across a quote I had copied while reading Celebration of Disciplines by Richard Foster several years ago. I wish I had written this quote because it goes to the core of the journey I have been on the past few years.

So here it is, read it slowly and meditate on the the message.

The Discipline of Solitude
"Whether alone or among people, we always carry with us a portable sanctuary of the heart. Inward solitude has outward manifestations. There is the freedom to be alone, not in order to be away from people but in order to hear the divine whisper better."

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Wrap Up

It's time to officially close out my series on the Plain Community. It definitely was a watershed event for me. The visit happened at the perfect season of my life. I seriously doubt at the ripe old age of 20 or 30 it would have had the same affect on me!

I count it a huge blessing to have been welcomed into the plain community. The people were gracious to answer question after question that I had. I wanted to fully experience the lifestyle they chose so they allowed me to roll up my sleeves and experience first hand a new way of doing things.

I learned that it is entirely possible to live in the 21st century simply. To wake up every morning to the crow of a rooster and actually hear the birds chirping brought a smile to my face. To cook healthy and delicious meals using simple tools opened up endless possibilities for me. I thought I would go crazy without contemporary Christian music playing all day and I was wrong. To sing the old hymns was a simple act of worship. Finally, to not be dashing from one appointment to the next was balm for my soul.

I am blessed beyond measure to have experienced the plain community. It is a very important principle in my life to continue to learn and grow towards my Father. I never want to tire of stretching myself and visiting the community helped me stretch! I still have a story or two inside of me that at some point I will share. I hope that this series has opened your eyes like it did mine!

My prayer is that you and I cling to the Savior, the one and only who is the giver of all good things. May His name be praised. Till next time.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gratituesday December 13

Good morning and happy Gratituesday! No matter what gets thrown at us on a daily basis I desperately want to have an attitude of gratitude. Never in a million years would I have ever guessed that our life would be this way. When Rich went into the military the plan was for him to serve our country for 20 years and then retire so that we could serve a tiny congregation somewhere who could not afford to pay a minister full time. We would live on his military retirement and whatever the congregation could afford to pay.

God continues to provide for us what we need. This morning I went online to our bank account and sure enough there was a deposit and for that I am truly blessed. Rich continues to provide for us even in our circumstances. God is so faithful my sweet friend. He provides what we need every time. For that I am truly grateful.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Treadling the Afternoon Away

I will never forget when our daughter was only a year old. We were a very young military family without two nickles to rub together. My challenge was to be able to clothe our daughter. We didn't have money to go buy new clothes so I figured I better learn how to sew her clothes. Here was my theory, I figured our daughter could not possibly complain about a seam not being fitted perfectly at only a year old! I figured I would have conquered the sewing machine well before she was old enough to complain. So, I taught myself to sew. Our daughter now has 5 children of her own and I get to sew for them.

I was eager to learn how the ladies in Caneyville sewed clothes for their families without using electricity. Each of the ladies has a treadle with a machine sitting on top. If you can see in this picture there is a rubber loop the goes from the machine down to a wheel. The wheel is attached to a metal rocker plate that your feet go on. It was challenging at first to get the machine to go more than a couple of stitches while putting my feet on the rocker plate. It made me think of trying to rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time! It takes coordination for sure.

While I was trying my hand at treadling I was reminded of Dorcas in Acts 9. She was a disciple of Jesus and lived in Joppa. She was known for her good works and acts of charity. Her friends were standing around her body after washing it and showed Peter the clothes she had made for the poor. Here was a woman who loved God and sewed for those in need. I think of all the women today who makes quilts for preemie babies, knit and crochet blankets and hats and gloves for the needy. Each of these women are being "Dorcas". Very cool.

Tomorrow I am finishing up this series and getting back to the book of Daniel.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our Epitaphs

I was thinking about tombstones the other day. When you walk through a cemetery you will find all
kinds of interesting epitaphs to read. People who lose loved ones want to share the most important thing
about their loved ones so they have it put on the tombstone.
The reason I was thinking about tombstones in the first place was a birthday party Rich and I attended
recently. The party was for a woman who had turned 60 put on by her one daughter. This gal told the
audience she wanted her mother to have the flowers she so loved now and not at her funeral. I thought
that was a pretty interesting thought. We spent the next couple of hours honoring this woman’s life. I
was struck by the servant's heart she has displayed. I felt in one sense I had been to her funeral.
At funerals we talk about the person’s life and what was important to them. We share the impact that
individual had on their family and friends. It got me to really thinking about our legacy. Did you know
you can write your epitaph right now? Strange thought, isn’t it? How you live your life is what people
will remember you by.
So, what does your epitaph say? If you don’t think you like what it would say, how about changing that
today? Today is always the right time to change what we would like to be better at!
Start writing that epitaph today!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gratituesday December 6th

We are officially in one of my favorite seasons. I love the sight and smell of the holidays. The twinkling lights both inside the home and on the front lawns are dazzling. I enjoy driving through neighborhoods and admiring all the artistic lawns lit up.

I like the food that surrounds the holidays. My friend Cathy makes the best white hot chocolate in the world. I make baklava only once a year and this is it!

I like reconnecting with old friends who sit down and write letters telling what is happening in their lives. I love seeing pictures of our friends children. It's a great excuse to get together with those we love.

I am so thankful that we are here in December. What are you thankful for?
God Bless,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, December 5, 2011

Till the Storm Passes By

You are a precious friend for coming here time after time reading my thoughts about God's word. You might have noticed I did not write on Friday like planned. I ended up taking my husband to the emergency room first thing in the morning and we came home late Saturday afternoon.

Hubby had hoped to teach his Bible class this morning. His body had other ideas. His muscles froze in the doorway and he could not move. I ran and got Michael and our daughter to help me get him moved. It was such an emotional time for everyone. For my husband there is weariness from this trial. He has now been disabled and suffering for 2 years and 9 months. With the exception of an hour here and an hour there he has not had relief in all this time. Debilitating pain wears you down like nothing else. There comes a point where the pain is so screaming at you that you can't hear anything else.

This trial we are going through has changed each of us. There are days when I am certain God is going to heal him in a blink of an eye. This nightmare will be just a distant memory. There are days when I lose hope and think that for whatever reason God is going to allow him to continue to suffer for many more months and years. What do you do when all seems helpless?

For me, all I know to do is walk by faith because I sure can't walk by sight! Faith that in the next life I will understand God's plan. I chose not to ask why. It is like Solomon said, "a chasing after the wind" and we know how well that works out!

For the past week I have been singing an old gospel hymn called, "Till the Storm Passes By" listen to the words for a minute.

In the dark of the midnight, have I oft hid my face,
while the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place.
Mid the crash of the thunder, precious Lord, hear my cry;
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, till the clouds roll forever from the sky. Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of the hand. Keep me safe til the storm passes by.

I will continue to sing till the storm passes by. If you are in a terrible storm right now sweet one, won't you join me in the boat while we sing, till the storm passes by?

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Simple Lifestyle Part 1

Good morning to each of you. As I sit down to write this particular post the sun isn't even up yet. Today I write with fear and trembling. Who am I to express the desires of the heart for a group of people? What if I misrepresent their views? What if somehow I make my reader feel that they are less of a Christian then those in the Plain Community? Never would I want to offend but encourage. So with that said, join me in understanding a radically different way of living.

There are some things that would be universal if you happened upon a Plain Community. The first would be their love and deep devotion to God. God is number 1. They live to please the Master in all they do.

They believe fiercely that they are not to be conformed to the world as Paul stated in Romans 12. They believe that God has called them to be holy which truly means to be called out.

With those two rock solid foundations they have had to decide how to live these principles out. The first that stands out to me is their belief about "stuff". You know what I am talking about, right? The stuff we spend lots of money to store in commercial storage units. Or, the boxes and boxes of stuff that we stash in closets, under the bed or in the garage. That's the stuff I am talking about.

In order to live a simple and quiet life as found in 1 Timothy 2:2 they resist the urge to have "stuff". My favorite fluffy little purple gal Flylady says that stuff clutters the brain. When our brains are cluttered with stuff, it fills up areas that only God can fill. Profound! We brought nothing into the world and we will leave this world with nothing but our souls.

The Plain Community believes that they are only travelers in this world for a brief moment in time. This is not their home, they are just passing through. Travelers pack light when they know they are only going for a little while. If you take that philosophy then traveling light makes sense. Jesus traveled really light. He had no transportation except the feet God gave him. He had no home, no bed and no pillow at night. He was just passing through. When you travel light you can move with speed because there is nothing to hinder you. They keep this principle before their minds on a daily basis.

Money is another area where they live out the above beliefs. The love of money is the root of all evil. It is so easy to love money. In fact, Jesus said it would be very hard for a rich man to go to heaven because his "stuff" weighs him down. The desire for more and more is in the very fabric of our lives here in America. You only have to travel to most of the other 4/5 of the world to see that we live in great excess by the rest of the worlds standard of living. They buy only what they really need.

Their homes are a perfect example of this concept. They could build fancier houses but they chose not to in order to keep the expense down. They could buy washers and driers and microwaves and t.v.s buy they chose not to because it takes electricity to run all that. The expense of electricity goes beyond just the monthly price. The cost of a home goes way up when you put in electricity. They can build a home cheaply since they don't put in all the wiring etc. that comes with using electricity. They don't believe the washers and dries etc. are sinful just that they add another layer of complexity in living simply.

They believe in hard work. Hard work builds character especially in children. When you train a child to have a good work ethic they develop into hard working adults. All this hard work makes the lifestyle slower. No one is dashing to and fro. They have work to do and they do it. No rushing out of the house each morning, running through the McDonald's drive thru for breakfast before going to work or school. Speaking of which, I will stop here so I don't have to dash before heading out for ladies Bible class.

Please feel free to leave a comment or a question and I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Till tomorrow, may your day be one that brings glory and honor to God.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".