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Name: Linda

Location: Texas


I am a wife, mom and grandma. I am doing what I've wanted to do all my life. I am a Christian and I love the Lord.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt - Comfy


This is my granddaughter H getting comfy in the boat after a day on the lake.
I'm enjoying being part of the hunt even though I don't seem to know how to get all my button-picture stuff in the right places!! Sorry it looks so silly.
To join the Hunt go to tnchick and get the code.
Have a "comfy" saturday.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 11:32 AM
  7 comments



Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Soul Searching
I have been doing some soul searching for a few weeks now. I have been trying and failing to get this blogging into some sort of balance in my life. Unfortunately, what began with good motives turned into something else. I don’t mean to sound “super spiritual”, but I truly did begin blogging because I thought it was something the Lord put on my heart to do. I had never even thought about doing it, when suddenly I was introduced to it and felt that little nudge.

I began because I thought it would be a way to use my love of the written word to minister in some way. That’s how I began. However, it very quickly turned into something much different. I never lost the desire to somehow have my writing be used by God, but I found myself getting caught in the same trap I have fallen into so many times before. I want so much to be liked and approved - to be one of the “girls” – I tumbled back into what I commonly refer to in my own mind as my “High School mentality”. In High School I wanted so much to part of the popular crowd, and eventually I was. It meant a lot to me – certainly too much. I have a difficult time breaking free of that.

When I found myself worried about how many comments I had; worried about not hurting anyone else’s feeling by not returning comments; trying desperately to make my blog look better; neglecting the important things I need to do in order to spend more time on the computer; I knew I had fallen into the pit again. I’ve known I need to get things in balance. I even wrote a post about it way at the beginning. But I haven’t done what I need to do – make the changes.

I find that if I need to be hit over the head with something, the Lord will oblige me. Could it be coincidence that there have been several posts lately about this very thing? I don’t think so. I need to get my act together – now.

As others have said so much better than I, I don’t want anyone to feel they must comment or read my post if I read or comment on theirs. I will do as much as I can as far as reading and commenting once I’ve done the things the Lord would have me do first. This is going to be hard for me. I can’t tell you how much meeting all of the wonderful women in this blogging community has meant to me. I know that’s why I got carried away. This is so much more than I ever imagined. I love reading the beautiful, heartfelt posts. I appreciate every comment I get. It is all so special to me. I don’t want to lose touch with anyone. You have all come to mean so much to me.

I deleted the site meter and the links. I do have bloglines, so I won’t be out of touch. I will write as often and read as many posts and comment as much as I can. I need to put this in writing and make a commitment to the Lord – to give this back to Him and let Him do with it what He pleases.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments and words of encouragement. I love this. I ‘m not going to quit; I’m just going to do it right.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 5:06 PM
  6 comments



Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Using The Right Gear
I made it to the top of the hill without stopping!!!! Several months ago, my husband bought us both new bikes (Well new to us – they were a great deal at a couple of different Pawn Shops. It is amazing to me the great deals my husband manages to find at Pawn Shops, but I digress.) We did some riding until the weather got too hot. Then we began again on our camping trip.

For the past week or so we’ve been riding the three miles in our neighborhood that we usually walk. It is a great walk because it has several decent sized hills. The first time we took the ride, I couldn’t make it up the steepest of the hills – had to get off and push (humiliating). I couldn’t make it the next couple of times either. My husband told me which gears he was using and asked which ones I used for going up the hill. (I forgot to mention that these are very fancy bikes with a zillion different gears - nothing like the bike of my childhood that had no gears and pedal brakes). I told him which ones I was using. I told him I put it in the easiest gear to try to get up that steep “mountain”. He just looked at me. It turns out I was using the HARDEST gear. I thought the higher the number, the easier the gear. WRONG! It is just the opposite.

So today I shifted down to the easiest gear when I came to that hill – and I made it all the way to the top without stopping. When he heard me whoop, my husband congratulated me. Then he said, “That would make a good post for your blog.” As a little aside, you can see how much blogging has affected my life. I’ve even gotten my husband, who has no interest in writing whatsoever, involved. To continue….He said, “You were making things so much harder by trying to do all the work yourself when you had all the help you needed available to you. Once you used the help provided for you, you made it up the hill. That’s just like us as Christians. God has given us all we need, and yet we struggle to do things on our own. We worry and work and fret and try to figure it all out, try to be the best we can, when all along if we would just use the things He has provided for us – His word, prayer, the Holy Spirit – we could make it to the top of the hill.”

My husband didn’t want me to give him credit for this, but how could I not? I thought it was a great insight. I know it is absolutely true. I struggle with things the Lord is just waiting for me to put in His hands. He has given me all I need in and through His Son, but if I continue to try to live in my own strength, I will not make it when I am faced with a steep hill to climb.

There you have it - wisdom from God to Steve to me to you.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:18 PM
  8 comments



Monday, September 25, 2006
Christian Mediocrity
I love Bible Study. I find it helps me to be more disciplined in studying the Word. I learn so much as I work through the teaching and answer the questions. Every bit of it ministers to me in some way, but sometimes there will be one simple statement that hits me right between the eyes. I am brought up short, and I know that God has spoken a word into my heart.

While I was working on my study yesterday, I came to this sentence from Beth Moore’s “Daniel” workbook: “For some, the flow of the world can be easier to resist than the flow of Christian mediocrity”. Oh my……it hit me right where I live.

I don’t have a hard time resisting the obvious traps Satan uses. I can easily go against the flow of today’s society. After all, what does it cost me? I have a hard time numbering the unbelievers among my acquaintance, let alone friends. I don’t go out into the workplace. All of my social activities involve the church and Christian friends. I lead a very insulated life.

I’m afraid it is a life of Christian mediocrity. I don’t step outside of my comfort zone very often, if at all. I need a Bible Study in order to spend disciplined time in the Word. Finding time for prayer is so difficult – after all the day is so full of things that must be done. Am I doing just enough to be a part of the Christian Community without standing out as too “radical” – too “different”? Do I have a passion for lost souls? Do I pray with compassion for those who are suffering for their faith? Am I willing to give up my comfortable life for a life of real sacrifice?

I’m just sort of “thinking out loud” here. What would it mean to be more that a mediocre Christian? Lately my prayer has been to see more of God’s glory and power in our every day lives. Could it be that God wants more of me first? And what would that mean? What would I have to give up? Would I have to go to the jungles and preach to the natives? (Don’t laugh. When I was a child, I used to think that if I truly surrendered my life to the Lord I would find myself on the next flight to deepest, darkest Africa!). What would be the cost, and what is the cost if I continue in mediocrity?

Dear Lord,
I don’t want to be “luke warm”. I know what you said about the church in Revelation that was. Please work in my life to make me a radical Christian. Knowing my own personality, that seems like an impossible thing. I am so conservative by nature. I want you to put a burning passion in my heart to simply be all that You created me to be. I give you my heart. I give You my life. Fill me and enable me to truly do these things Father. Whatever that “looks like” in my life; I want it.

In the precious, holy name of Jesus,
Amen


Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 4:24 PM
  4 comments



Sunday, September 24, 2006
Beary Word Meme

Good Sunday Morning.

Pamela at Just the Two of Us tagged me for this Beary Word Meme:

"Heart" - this is the place where the "truth" is hidden - "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." I so want to have a pure heart.

"Trail" - my husband and I had such fun walking this beautiful trail at a state part in Colorado this past July.

"Grandparent" - It is an absolute joy to be a grandparent. All the fun and none of the hard work.

"Bear "- About a year ago I was going through a difficult time, and my sweet Mom gave me a little stuffed bear wearing a little tee-shirt that said "I love hugs". She had gotten it at church, and it came with the following message attached:
This little bear has spent time in the midst of our congregation. It has heard the Scriptures read, sermons preached, prayers prayed and songs of praise sung. It knows both the joys and the heartaches of our people, and has been surrounded by the love so freely shared by our community of faith. It come to offer you comfort and peace, with all the blessings of worship and love.
I (a nearly sixty year old grandma) slept with that little bear for days. He is a sweet reminder of God's love and the love of His people.

Thanks for tagging me Pamela. It was such fun.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:07 PM
  6 comments



Friday, September 22, 2006
Pellumb
This is a picture of our third “son”. His name is Pellumb. He lives in Albania. He is eleven years old. He came into our lives about a year ago, and we fell in love with him the minute we saw his sweet face.

He lives in a tiny mountainous village with his father, mother and older brother. He attends school and helps his mother with the housework. They live in two rooms. He writes the sweetest letters, illustrated in color by his own hand. We get so excited when we see that one of his little epistles has come.

He tells us about his life there and never fails to thank us for supporting him. My husband prays daily for him. Pellumb never complains or asks for help, but it is so evident that they live in extreme poverty. Every time we made out the check for our monthly pledge, my husband would say that he wished he could do more.

One morning I called the offices of World Vision and asked if that would be possible. Of course it would. There is a limit and very strict guidelines for the way the money is given and spent, but it was something we could easily do. My husband immediately said he wanted to give as much as we were allowed to give (he of the sweet, generous spirit). World Vision was thrilled (every penny we were giving would go to Pellumb and his family) and promised to let us know as soon as everything was taken care of. They also said they would send pictures of the purchases.

In today’s mail we received this picture and a letter from Pellumb. They were able to buy clothing for every member of the family, a buffet and a table. It is amazing how far that money went. We are so delighted. It definitely is better to give than to receive. The morning we made the call to World Vision and got the information about sending the gift, we both just looked at each other with tears in our eyes. We are not wealthy by American standards, but in comparison to Pellumb’s family, we are rich indeed. We have been so blessed by God – never wanting for anything and having so much more than we need. It was an amazing gift to us to be able to share something of that with someone who had so little.

Just a little while ago my husband said, “I wonder how long you have to wait before you can do that again?” Not long I hope.

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. I am having a few misgivings about this post. I didn't write it to show what "wonderful" people my husband and I are, but rather to say that God's word is true and He blesses us far more than we can ever bless anyone else. I don't want any glory for us. All glory belongs to Him. He is so loving, so good, so faithful, and His word never fails. Selfishness is one of my great failings, and He is teaching me the great good that comes from being obedient to His word. I don't know if I'm saying this correctly. I just want you to know we are just the same as anyone else - trying and failing and trying again to be all God would have us be.
 
  posted at 3:05 PM
  8 comments



Thursday, September 21, 2006
A Giving Heart
In our Bible Study yesterday we talked about King Nebuchadnezzar’s great failure to show mercy to the poor and oppressed in his kingdom. He was so full of pride at what he considered to be his own power and greatness, and so content and satisfied with his own luxurious lifestyle, he failed to see the great need around him.

The parallel to our world today was obvious. I have to admit to feeling a twinge of guilt for not being as concerned about others as I ought to be. It isn’t until a huge need arises on the scale of a tsunamis or hurricane that I become involved or even aware. My main thought throughout that part of the discussion, however, was my husband. He is the most selfless, giving person I know – bar none.

Whenever there is a need, he is the first to reach into his pocket to give. I on the other hand am always thinking, “Can we really afford to do that?”, because he gives sacrificially. The money doesn’t come out of our budget. He has what he calls his “stash” – money he has earned doing little extra jobs or selling car parts at Swap Meets – and he gives that money. He just amazes me with his generosity. I know he blesses everyone he touches with his humble way of giving.

I have seen God honor that in his life. There was a time when everything fell apart at once for us. My husband was laid off from work (in a very underhanded kind of way – but that’s another story) and at the same time began to lose his eyesight from complications with type 1 diabetes (he has since lost the vision completely in his right eye and has fairly decent vision in the left). We had no income and were trying to get his Veterans Disability and Social Security straightened out. What a nightmare!! We were really in a very difficult situation.

But God…..we would go to church on Sunday and someone would put an envelope containing money in my husband’s hand with the gentle comment, “The Lord told me to give this to you.” Our Home Ministry group took up a collection for us. During that time, we had more money than we had had from his weekly salary. It was miraculous.

It was a little difficult for my generous “Giver” to be on the receiving end of so much generosity, but he learned that he needed to allow others to be blessed as they blessed us. Thankfully everything worked out with his disability, and during the time we were without income we never were in want of a single thing.

God is good. He is faithful, and He honors our faithfulness as well. I have seen it over and over again. We cannot out-give Him. The blessings are not always material, but they are always just exactly what we need. I am so honored to share my life with someone who models daily faithfulness in suffering, sacrificial giving and a heart that is easily touched by the needs of others. He is a wonderful example to me of Christ-like love, and I am so thankful for him.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:26 PM
  6 comments



Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Living Water
We have had good rain this month. Before we moved to Texas I never knew what it was to actually pray for rain, but I have prayed desperately for it on more than one occasion.

This past August was the hottest one on record, and we had no rain. I tried my best to keep the lawn green and the flowers alive, but it just wasn’t working. I had never seen things look so bad. The grass crackled underfoot when we walked across it, and there were serious brown patches all over. We were on water restrictions, so watering was limited. I was even being very careful about how much water I used in the house. We have a well, and one of the subdivisions close to us had their large well run dry. I certainly didn’t want that to happen. And so we prayed for rain.

God is so good. He hears and answers prayer. One day the wind began to pick up, the sky grew dark, lightning flashed, thunder rolled and actual water fell from the sky! When you have been so long without rain, it is like a miracle when it finally begins to fall. If I were more “free-spirited” I would have run outside and danced around in it (instead I decided not to get my hair soaking wet because it gets so kinky and then I have to set it and well – you know).

When I woke up the next morning and looked out the window, the change was miraculous. Where there had been brown, dry grass there was green healthy looking grass. The flowers had perked up and were looking so much better. The drops of water on the leaves of the trees reflected the sunlight like glittering diamonds. The whole world looked fresh and clean.

There was the added benefit of lightning. Our local radio gardening guru informed us a long time ago that there is something in the lightning (I don’t understand all this scientific stuff) that causes the grass and the leaves to grow even better and greener. Whatever the reason, it all looked reborn.

The Lord “spoke” a little word to my heart about all this. There are times in my life, whether from neglect or busyness or indifference, or perhaps even unconfessed sin, when my soul becomes as parched and dry as my lawn was. I become desperate for a “drink” of water to quench my thirsty soul. Jesus is that Living Water. When I come to Him in prayer; when I spend time reading His word; He begins to pour that Living Water into my soul, and I am refreshed. I think there are times when it requires more than a gentle shower; when it requires a little thunder and lightning. He will do what is necessary to bring new life and growth.

Where there was once a barren, dry “desert”, the spirit flourishes. I am filled to overflowing with His presence – with peace and joy and love and grace, and it spills out onto everything and everyone around me. I am fresh and clean.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 7:05 PM
  3 comments



Monday, September 18, 2006
Taking The Bait
We went fishing while we were on our camping trip last week. I love to fish which is surprising since I don’t have a great deal of patience. Standing at the water’s edge or sitting in a boat with a line dangling in the water just waiting doesn’t seem like something I would want to do, but I like it. There is something very peaceful and calming about it. I used to go with my Dad when I was a little girl. He was extremely patient – not just waiting for the fish to bite but baiting my hook and getting it out of the trees after my feeble attempts at casting. It was fun even when we didn’t catch anything.

The place we were camping last week is right on the Frio River.
The water is so clear we could see the fish swimming around as we got everything ready to go. We couldn’t wait to get our lines in the water. Once in, we didn’t have to wait long. Those little dabbers (spell-check said it should be spelled this way – I'm not so sure) were bobbing up and down immediately. It was so exciting until we actually pulled the fish out of the water. They were too tiny to even consider keeping.

I know there were big (really BIG) fish in that river. I saw them myself. In fact, I dropped my line with a big, fat, juicy worm dangling on the end of it right in front of the face of a HUGE one – and he just swam away!! Totally frustrating!! We tried over and over again to get that fish, and he just wasn’t biting.

I was thinking about that today. I thought about how Satan tries to bait me. He dangles something in front of me and waits for me to swallow the hook. I could react like the little fish and immediately bite. Hopefully I’ve gotten a little wiser over the years and don’t too that as often anymore.

Howevwe,there was one other “character” in this little fishing story. Our friend thought he had a big one which turned out to be a snapping turtle. He wasn’t badly hooked, so he took him off and released him far downstream. About a half hour later, my son reeled in the same turtle. He had apparently not learned his lesson.
This time I took him far, far away so he wouldn't get caught again, but my son said that long before I got back to our fishing spot the turtle had already returned.

I am afraid that this is much more like me. I can avoid the obvious pitfalls, but there are some things the enemy knows I will fall for every time. Like that little turtle, I see the bait and somewhere in my mind I know I shouldn’t bite. But either it looks like something that really won’t do much harm, or I seem helpless to keep from swallowing that hook. There are times I am in a familiar situation, and I know if I react in a certain way it will only make things worse. It isn’t anything new. I know what will happen, but I “bite” anyway and I end up in a mess. The enemy doesn’t have to go shopping for something new and improved to dangle in front of me. He just uses the bait I’ve swallowed so many times before.

It would be so much wiser to be like that big fish. He saw that delectable, harmless looking worm, but he knew there was a “hook”. He chose to turn his back on what looked to be good and swam away. Or perhaps he had taken the bait way back when he was just a little fish and had learned a valuable lesson. I imagine that’s the way he grew to be a big, wise fish.

Lord, may I be so filled with your word and with your Spirit that I can resist the “bait” the enemy dangles so invitingly in front of me. Help me to grow in wisdom and discernment so that I learn from past mistakes and don’t repeat them.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 3:04 PM
  5 comments



Saturday, September 16, 2006
The Dancer
Dancing with Aunt Suzie


I love to dance. I have so many pictures of myself as a little girl twirling around. My parents even have home movies of my “dance moves”. My mother naturally assumed I would love ballet lessons, and I know in my heart I would have. I was so painfully shy, though, that I just cried and wanted to go home (my reaction to kindergarten as well – my Mom saved my crumpled little handkerchief to prove it). I did, however, continue to dance – in the living room, in my bedroom, in the backyard.

When I got to junior high, my best friend Christine introduced me to rock and roll, and I was off and running. My Dad allowed me to go to the school dances (a very brave move for a deacon in the Baptist Church – defying the powers that be), and I had a ball. I continued to leap and pirouette around the house to the music I loved – the scores from West Side Story and My Fair Lady and Camelot and South Pacific.

As the years rolled by, the occasions for dancing became less and less frequent, until the only dancing I did was in aerobics class. Every once in a while I’d dance around the house with the kids – until they sort of outgrew Mom’s silliness.

Imagine my delight when we began to attend a church where –of all the amazing things – dance was part of worship. I couldn’t believe my eyes!! How I wished I were twenty years younger. We even had a ballet troupe come and perform a beautiful ballet based on a story from the Bible. I was just entranced.

I am so glad the church is taking back the Arts – bringing them back to the place where they began. When done to bring honor and glory to the Lord, they take on a special grace and beauty. This past Christmas a group of young girls danced to some of the songs the choir sang. It was magic. They were so graceful – so beautiful. In my heart I was right there with them. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

Lord, I am so glad that the things that make my heart sing delight Your heart as well. Thank You for music and the written word and acting and dancing. Thank You for gracing our lives with beauty.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 1:26 PM
  6 comments



Friday, September 15, 2006
Home
We are home! We had a great time, but it is so good to be here in our own little house. Home has always meant comfort and peace and security to me. It sort of settles in the minute we turn into the driveway.

God answered all of prayers – for safety, good weather, and a warm time of fellowship and laughter. We are so thankful. Whether we were riding, biking, swimming, fishing, hiking or sitting around the camp fire, He was there with us. I am so thankful, too, for family and friends and sweet little granddaughters. You have blessed me abundantly Lord, and I love You and thank You with all my heart.

We drove through torrential rain to get to the Park – the kind of rain that comes down so hard you can barely see the road in front of you. However, there was a patch of blue sky right as we were nearing the Park. We had just enough time to check in and unload the “tons” of stuff we had packed in our vehicles before the rain came. It rained for about an hour, and then it was blue skies and sunshine for the rest of our stay.

I brought my Bible Study and books thinking I would be quiet while the rest of them did the more strenuous things, but I just didn’t want to miss out on anything and ended up doing very little sitting. These poor old legs are absolutely worn out – but it was fun. I told my son that if at his age anyone had told me I would be hiking up the side of a huge hill (seemed more like an actual mountain to me, but we don’t have those here in Texas) at nearly sixty years of age I would have laughed out loud. Somehow sixty doesn’t seem as old to me now as it did in my thirties. It was such fun.

The best part was getting to spend all that time with the kids and grandkids. My little three year old granddaughter is so precious I could just squeeze her to pieces. It is a delight to just listen to her talk and watch her play. She kept up with the rest of us in everything we did – her little legs walking as fast as they could go up the side of that “mountain”. Her big sister is equally precious and had big plans for every minute of the day. We’d drag in from a two hour hike, and she would be getting ready to go swimming.

It was a good time and I am so blessed. I love watching my grownup “little boy” with his girls. My daughter-in-law is a joy. We laugh and talk and share. She is an answer to a mother’s prayer for her son.

Thank You Lord – for riches beyond measure, for joy in abundance, for my precious family.

I missed all of you. I am glad to be home.

Blessings,
Linda

My daughter-in-law is the official photographer and took lots and lots of pictures. She promised to send me some. When she does, I'll post a few.
 
  posted at 3:41 PM
  10 comments



Sunday, September 10, 2006
GONE CAMPING!!

We are going camping this week with the kids, grandkids and some family friends. I'll be back this weekend. I sure will miss all of you!

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 9:31 PM
  3 comments



Bowing Down to the Golden Statue and My September 11th Memory
I know I’ve mentioned the Beth Moore study our Women’s Bible Study is doing. It is on Daniel. I love studying the Bible. I am constantly amazed at how it speaks to me in such clear terms. It is miraculous the way in which a story that took place hundreds of years ago has such relevance to my life today – right this minute.

This week we studied the Golden Statue that Nebuchadnezzar had built in honor of himself. When it was finished he summoned all the VIPs in the kingdom to come and bow down and worship at its feet. I had never thought about the fact that it was the important people he wanted to approve him with their worship. It mattered to him that those people who were in high positions give him his due.

That concept just pierced my heart as I applied it to my own life. Do I want the people I consider to be “important” to recognize me. Do I want to be part of the “in crowd” – to know and be known? Do I get my sense of value from what others say about me? Am I doing things to receive recognition and affirmation rather than to glorify God?

I have to be honest and say that I am guilty of that. As hard as I try to be pure in my motivation for doing things (such as writing), I know there is a big part of me that wants the glory for myself. Far too often I find myself with that “high school mentality” of wanting to part of the “Popular Group”. I want to be known by the people who are highly thought of. I have even been guilty of name-dropping to impress others.

That is a hard confession to make. Pride has a way of masquerading as different things (even humility) and taking up residence in my heart. As I was doing the lesson I kept thinking about how it even affects blogging. I began because I wanted to write again and felt the Lord had led me to this wonderful group. Now I find myself wanting to be well thought of and checking my comments and comparing what I receive to what others receive; to make sure my blog has all the ‘bells and whistles” everyone else’s has; to write well.. It is the same old trap.

So I humbly ask forgiveness. In my heart of hearts I want more than anything else to be all God wants me to be, to love Him with all my heart, and to passionately seek after Him. I want whatever abilities He has given me to be used for His glory. I am so sorry I have let “self” get in the way once again.

Steptember 11th Memory

I wrote my post for today and then saw that Shannon was giving us opportunity to share our memory of September 11th. (I hope I link this correctly – it’s my first try).

On the morning of September 11th we boarded a plane to fly to Pennsylvania to visit family. Our layover was in Chicago. When we landed we were not allowed to pull up to the gate. There was a lot of confusion, and no one seemed to know what was going on. After a short time passed, the events that had just taken place in New York and Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. were becoming known to the flight crew. One of the stewardesses ran to the plane galley in tears. People in the plane began calling home to find out what was going on. I was able to reach my daughter-in-law and assure her that we were fine and to find out some of the details of what had happened.

We were stranded in O’Hare airport for three days (those days were an adventure in themselves) and finally were able to rent a car to drive the rest of the way to Pa. When we arrived, we learned that one of the passengers on flight 93 was related to someone we knew. He was the son-in-law of a friend of mine in New York – Todd Beamer. I hadn’t seen her in years – we just send Christmas cards back and forth – but it suddenly made a terrible tragedy personal and real and heartbreaking. Her daughter Lisa and my son Scott were in the same Sunday School Class when they were very young. We had visited back and forth and were just getting to know one another when we moved to upstate New York. They are a very special family.

It was a time of deep tragedy, but it was also a time of seeing the grace of God evident in the lives of people like Lisa Beamer. We cannot understand things like this. All we can do is believe that God is who He says He is, that He is good, and He is in control.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:36 PM
  8 comments



Saturday, September 09, 2006
Stephanie

This is my precious granddaughter Stephanie. Today is her fifteenth birthday. I feel so many things when I look at this picture. Her Papa obviously adores her, and you can see even then that the feeling is mutual. She was our first grandchild (there are six others now). What a precious gift she is. I cannot put into words all the feelings that overwhelm your heart when you watch your child hold his firstborn in his arms. We are so blessed. I love this picture of my husband with her because he is such a great Papa. When he plays with his grandchildren it's hard to tell who is the adult. He just gets right in there with them and becomes one of them. It is a joy to watch.

She is getting so grown up. They live a few hours from us now, so we don't get to see her as often as we'd like. Every time I see her I am startled at how she has changed. But not on the inside. She is still the sweetest, most caring, loving child. She has always loved to help, and I believe she could have run the household by the time she was seven or eight. She is a true animal lover. Her hamster, Herman, lived longer than any hamster has a right to live!! She took such good care of him. We share so many of the same interests; it's such fun to teach her some of the things I love doing. Have I mentioned she's the sweetest, brightest, prettiest granddaughter ever?

God is good. What a blessing to see our own children grown and settled and doing well - but add to that the priceless gift of grandchildren..... I am blessed beyond anything I could ask or think!

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 1:59 PM
  5 comments



Thursday, September 07, 2006
SHEP
Shep and my sister Marilyn.
Shep


He was just a little German Shepherd mix puppy, when my Dad brought him home in his jacket pocket. I will never forget him. He lived with us for fifteen years and carved out a place in our hearts that has never been filled. There will never be another dog quite like Shep.

He was strong – a fierce fighter – and he was gentle and loveable. He wasn’t afraid of anything, except thunder storms. When lightning began to crackle across the sky and we could hear the distant roll of thunder, he made a beeline for the basement. He wanted to be in the only place he considered safe. I remember walking down the basement stairs and sitting next to him to ride out the storm.

He was a true adventurer. We had just moved from the city to the country and were living in a small sub-division. We had the corner lot, and out little house was bordered on one side by a dirt lane. Beyond that was a large farm, and at the end of the lane the woods. How he loved to explore the woods. He became quite a hunter and proudly brought home his "kill". My poor mother was horrified every time she found a dead woodchuck on the front lawn.

We never kept him tied up; he was free to go wherever he chose. I don’t think he would have survived being confined. One day he took off on one of his adventures and didn’t come home. We didn’t worry too much. He was so independent; we just knew he had to be all right. However, he didn’t turn up the next day or the next. My Dad looked all over for him, but he was nowhere to be found. By the time more than a week had passed we were becoming resigned to the fact that he wasn’t coming home.

The next day he sauntered into the yard just as casual as you please. We were so happy to see him. He looked fine and seemed to be thinking “What’s all the fuss about?” Over the years he would periodically disappear for a week or so. I don’t remember how we finally discovered his secret, but it seems Shep was leading a double life.

He had found a home where there was an attractive female dog and simply hung around for a while. The family became attached to him and named him Lucky. He didn’t stay long (just long enough to become a Papa it seems), and then he came back home to us. In his typical independent fashion, he visited them every so often, but he always returned to us.

He liked to follow us to school. We did not like him to follow us to school. He would get into fights and generally worry us to death. He usually waited until we were too far from home to walk him all the way back before he started to follow us. One of us would turn around, and there he was just as happy as could be. We’d stop; he’d stop and sit and look at us with those big brown eyes. We’d say, “Shep, go home!”, and he would continue to sit and look at us with those big brown eyes. In exasperation we would continue the walk to school, and he would happily walk along behind us.

He always managed to find his way back home from school, except for the day he somehow managed to get himself locked into the school yard. I don’t remember how we got him out of that particular pickle. I think the school custodian knew him by then.

Several years later my parents bought a house closer to town. Shep was already about ten years old by then. We were all excited and happy about the move to a bigger house, all except Shep that is. He was used to the woods and the freedom they afforded. He just didn’t like the idea of living on a residential street.

We had only been in the house a few days when my parents got a call from the people who had bought our old house. Shep was there. He had simply gone back home, walking the few miles he had never traveled before. My Dad had to tie him up in the backyard. Shep was never very happy there. He finally adjusted, but I know some of that wonderful spirit dimmed.

He was nearing fifteen the year I went away to college. He had gotten so arthritic my Dad had to carry him up and down the stairs. One day I got the news that Shep was gone. He had simply walked away. My Dad looked everywhere for him, but we never saw him again. It seemed very much in character. He had gone away to die.

We’ve had several dogs since then. They have all been cute, and we’ve loved them. But there has never been another Shep. When we’re all together for family times we talk about him like he was one of the family. After a good steak dinner my Dad will still sometimes say, “If Shep were here, he would love these steak bones.” He was a once-in-a-lifetime dog.

I do hope dogs go to heaven.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 7:39 PM
  8 comments



Some Things I've Learned
I have reached a certain age where I think perhaps I have learned a few of life’s lessons. One would think, at my age, I would have learned more of life’s lessons by now, but I am an admittedly slow learner. I also tend to learn things the hard way. I keep trying to avoid that and just learn without having to hit all the bumps in the road. I’m just not very good at it. I have, however, finally achieved a measure of wisdom I can share.

Things I Have Learned:
(Certainly not original, but as I said I’m a bit of a slow learner)

1. If you fail to wear the retainer the orthodontist had specially made for you because you just don’t think it’s very sexy to wear a retainer once you’re married, you will end up wearing braces again when you are in your fifties (not very attractive).

2. There really is no such thing as a right to happiness. I bought into that idea when I was younger, and all it got me was a lot of heartache. You cannot live a totally selfish life and expect to be happy. The Lord has promised me joy, but He never promised I would always be happy.

3. Words are powerful. When I lash out in anger, it hurts. When I talk about someone close to me to others, they are left with all those negative thoughts long after I have gotten over my problem. When I “share” information about someone else, it is always hurtful to someone. When I use words in a positive way, they bless, encourage and edify.

4. God’s grace truly is amazing. I have agonized over the mistakes I made as a Mom – lost sleep thinking about them. When I asked my children to forgive me for my failures, they don’t even remember them. They tell me what a great Mom I was. That’s God’s grace in their lives.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are some things that really aren’t important. I don’t want to be so concerned with the external “stuff” I don’t take care of what counts for eternity.

6. Every day is a precious gift. I have learned to stop looking ahead to things I want to do “some day” and treasure each day.

7. The ability to listen is a precious gift. I tend to want to be able to solve someone else’s problems with a timely “word of wisdom”. I think a hurting heart is much more in need of a listening heart.

8 Solomon was right, “there is nothing new under the sun”. Human nature simply does not change.

9. Being a “people pleaser” is not a good thing. I have to learn this lesson over and over again. I so want to be liked ; it sometimes renders me incapable of doing what needs to be done or confronting things that need to be dealt with.

10. Honesty really is the best policy. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is not to lie – ever? I thought I was an honest person until I began to truly listen to my own words. I tend to “shade the truth” when I don’t want to appear to be in the wrong. I tend to “exaggerate” just to make the story sound a little better. It is never the right thing to do (of course I don’t mean that I would ever want to hurt someone with my honesty – that isn’t right either).

These are a few of the things I’ve learned. Nothing very profound, but they are all things that in one way or another have helped me grow a bit. The one overriding thing I know is that there needs to be in my life much more of Jesus and much less of me. Then I will be the me He created me to be and I will be rich indeed.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 2:30 PM
  5 comments



Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Wearing Glasses
I hate wearing glasses. I never, ever thought I would need to. I’m the kid who always found the tiny thing everyone else was vainly searching for. Four leaf clovers were easy for this clear-eyed little girl to spot. Everyone said I had sharp eyes.

And so I did – until about ten years ago. Now I know everyone tells you that as you age your eyesight begins to fail. I watched as everyone started wearing those reading glasses you can buy just about anywhere, and laughed at the jokes about arms not being long enough to read any more without glasses. Ha Ha!! It’s true; these sorts of things happen to all of us as we age, but not ME. I don’t know how I got the idea that all these aging things happened to everyone else. After all, I still feel like the same me I’ve always been. A close look in the mirror tells me otherwise, but my heart refuses to believe these ugly rumors (and images).

Alas, the day came when my arm was no longer long enough. I gave in and bought the silly reading glasses. I am now on my third increase in strength – so much for everybody aging except me. I find them to be tremendously annoying. I have a half dozen pairs scattered everywhere from the bathroom (yes- I do read quite a bit in the bathroom) to the glove box in the car. The most frustrating thing is I can never find a pair when I need them. I thought of getting one of those chains to wear around my neck with the glasses attached but discarded that idea. So I tend to walk from room to room looking for my glasses – and yes I have found them on top of my head after searching all over the house for them.

I have noticed something about my vision since needing said assistance. When I don’t have the glasses on, I tend to miss a lot of things. For instance, I can think I’ve done a very thorough job of washing off the kitchen counter only to come back later with my glasses on and find all sorts of things I missed. Stains and crumbs adorn the counter that I thought was spotless.

The Lord spoke one of those little words to my heart as I thought about that. I can look at my heart with human eyes and it can look just fine. Yup, no problem here – everything is spotless. However, when I examine my heart with the “spiritual glasses” the Holy Spirit provides I begin to see the things I either overlooked or just didn’t see. It is easy to think all is well and then suddenly see through the lense of God’s word something that needs to be confessed.

Give me eyes to see, Lord, those things that You call sin in my life, and an obedient heart to repent and change. Thank You for Your word and for the Holy Spirt.

Blessings
Linda
 
  posted at 7:32 PM
  6 comments



Monday, September 04, 2006
God's Word
God’s word is living and powerful. I know that, and yet whenever I have one of those special moments where the word speaks so clearly to me, I am amazed.

This morning I was feeling very discouraged about so many things – mainly my own besetting sins – those things that for some reason I keep repeating over and over again. There are times I find it difficult to ask for forgiveness. It is the same old thing. Surely the Lord is tired of hearing it. Surely it’s time for victory over these things.

I was also feeling afraid about some of the circumstances we find ourselves in right now. I thought I had given it all over to the Lord, but there is was again. I felt like I was slipping back into the pit.

I was praying and confessing and feeling so miserable. I asked the Lord to please speak to me through His word. I opened to the Psalm I am on for today, and these are the verses that pierced my heart:

“If I should say, “my foot has slipped,” Thy lovingkindness, O lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.”
Psalm 94: 18,19

How I needed to know that He loves me – even when I slip, whether through sin or fear. To know, He understands when I have anxious thoughts and is there to offer consolation.
Oh how His word touches my heart. What a gracious, loving Father we have. When I cry out to Him, He not only bends down to listen, He answers with perfect wisdom and love.

A short time ago God gave me a mental image of Himself as the Good Shepherd and me as the little lamb. I believe it was so that I would get a picture of perfect trust. I imagined Him leading me in the right way and carrying me when the times were difficult. I saw the perfect provision in still waters and green grass. I pictured lying down to rest in perfect peace because He was standing guard. Today He lifted me up out of the pit and cradled me in His arms.

Thank You Father, for Your love, for Your word and for grace.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 1:03 PM
  9 comments



Saturday, September 02, 2006
Service?
Is it just us or have any of you noticed how nearly impossible it is to get good service these days? It seems no matter where we go it’s the same thing. I’ve gone into Home Depot and actually seen the salesman hide from me after I asked him to find whatever it was my husband sent me there for. Trying to take care of things by phone is just as bad. How I hate those ridiculous menus. By the time they run down the list, I can’t remember the first options they gave me – so it’s back to square one.

We are fortunate that my husband is a handy person. I hear horror tales from people about repair men. The one thing he can’t work on is the car (he can actually build hot rods from scratch, but these new cars with all their computers are a whole different thing). Not too long ago he took the car in for its regular maintenance checkup and nearly got taken for ninety one dollars. They wanted to replace a filter, which he decided to do himself. The filter cost less than twenty dollars, and he accomplished this major automotive feat in under five minutes. He said it took him longer to get the stuff out of the glove box than to do the actual work.

A few years ago my husband had an experience in a major hardware store (which probably should remain nameless) that typified this whole “lack of service” thing perfectly. He went in to buy a piece for the fireplace he and my son were building.
He couldn’t find the piece on the shelf and went to find a salesman. After much walking up and down aisles he found one (a salesman that is). He asked if they had the piece he was looking for and cooperatively followed the salesman all the way back to the place he had been looking.

Salesman: “Hmmm….if we had them, they would be right here. Let’s go check the computer.”

More walking and following to the front of the store.

Salesman: “The computer shows we have two.”

Husband: “Well there aren’t any there. Could they be somewhere else?”

Salesman: “No. If we had them, that’s where they’d be.”

Husband: “We really do need that part. Could you order one for me?”

Salesman: “Oh no sir; I'm sorry; I can’t order any more until we sell the two we show on the computer."


Husband: silence……

We have laughed over that story so many times. I think it’s probably the only way to stay sane. You just can’t seem to get good service these days.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:38 PM
  5 comments



Friday, September 01, 2006
Just Rambling
I don’t know what to write today. My brain is in neutral. It is a beautiful day, and the temperature isn’t in the triple digits anymore (high nineties feels cool compared to that for some reason). I don’t have to leave the house, which is always nice (well I did walk to the bank a little while ago, but that doesn’t count). There is nothing pressing that needs to be done. I love these kinds of days.

I always think that I will have much leisure time to do some of those things I keep promising myself I’ll get done – I have let the pictures that need to be put into an album pile up again; I have a letter to write; I should call the elderly woman who is a shut-in; I could look for some new recipes (I am thoroughly sick of cooking the same old meals but am not a very creative cook); I have my quilt to work on (I haven’t done anything with it in weeks).

Most likely none of those things will get done (except the phone call – I must do that). I tend to get side-tracked so easily. My computer seemed unusually slow, so I decided to do some maintenance. My Mom just had a little out-patient surgery to remove some skin cancer, so I visited with her awhile this morning (My parents live in a little attached apartment in the back of our house). It is now nearly lunch time – the morning is gone.

I sometimes wish for a few more hours in my day – preferably in the morning when I’m still semi-lively. However, I would probably fritter them away as well. I marvel at those people who are Type A and always accomplishing so much in any given twenty-four hour period. I do have days like that, but they are certainly not the norm for me. After a couple of days on the go, I feel like I need to have a day like today or I’ll fall apart.

So….it’s a lazy day, and I’m just going to go with the flow. I don’t seem to be flowing much of anywhere right now, but that’s okay. Tomorrow promises to be a busy one. I’m storing up energy.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:02 PM
  6 comments