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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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Thursday, May 31, 2007
Thankful Thursday

"O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting."
I Chronicles 16:34

I am thankful that the Lord who created the heavens and the earth loves each one of us with a love that never fails or changes. He sees us; He hears us; He calls each one of us by name.

I am thankful for the love of family. For parents whose unconditional love sustains; for children whose lavish love blesses; for grandchildren whose love comes like a precious gift.

I am thankful for the love of friends. It is a love that accepts and encourages and supports.

I am thankful that love is not dependant on the feelings of a particular moment. Sometimes we must choose to love. Sometimes others must choose to love us in spite of our "unloveliness". It is that love which draws us and causes us to love in return. It is the love that Jesus models.

I am thankful that love is not limited or stagnant. The more we love, the more love grows. The more we choose to love in moments when it doesn't seem possible, the deeper love grows.

I am thankful that while we were yet sinners Christ loved us enough to die for us. He didn't wait until we were worthy to be loved. He loved us right where we were. I am so very thankful for love.

To read more "Thankful Thursday" posts visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

  posted at 2:58 PM

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
In Other Words

has chosen a quote from Max Lucado for today's "In Other Words":

"Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven so don't expect it to be."

I always feel a sense of excitement when I know the Lord has something He wants to impress on my heart. I have been thinking a great deal about heaven these past few months. It started because of the circumstances our family finds itself in. I found myself clinging to the hope of a future in heaven where there is no more suffering or pain. Then as I began to know more women through blogging, I felt overwhelmed at times with the sorrow and sickness and brokenness and suffering that seems to be so prevelant. It hurt my heart to think of so much suffering, and I turned my eyes toward heaven.

I understand that this is all part of life. We cry out to the Lord because we want healing and deliverance from the suffering. Sometimes there are miracles. Often we must walk through the tough times as God uses them to accomplish the work He desires to do deep inside of us. We long for answers to our "whys". More often than not, there are no answers. And so I look heavenward.

I was so encouraged by an article the Lord placed in my hands. It is just like Him to continue to show me the things He wants me to understand. It is written by Sam Storms and was in our "Decision" magazine. He is talking about heaven:

"When we get to heaven there will be nothing that is abrasive, irritating, agitating or hurtful. Nothing weak, sick, broken or foolish. Nothing deformed, degenerate, depraved or disgusting. Nothing polluted, pathetic, poor or putrid. Nothing dark, dismal, dismaying or degrading. Nothing blameworthy, blemished, blasphemous or blighted. Nothing grotesque or grievous, hideous or insidious. Nothing illicity or illegal, lascivious or lustful. Nothing marred or mutilated, misaligned or misinformed, soiled or spoiled, vile or vicious (Rev. 21:4,8,27).

Wherever we turn our eyes in heaven we will behold only glory and grandeur and beauty and brightness and purity and perfection and utter, unending majesty. Why? Because we will be looking at God (Rev. 22:4). Although now we see through a "mirror dimly,' God will one day unveil Himself in breathtaking beauty and clarity for us to behold (I Cor. 13:12).

In this life it's often hard to be happy when you hurt. In heaven, with new and glorified bodies, there will be no pain, fatigue, discomfort, chronic aches or itches. No bodily obstacles will diminish our ability to see and feel and hear and touch and taste and smell the glories of paradise. On earth, physical pleasure often competes with spiritual happiness, but in heaven they are one! The physical, emotional and intellectual pleasures of heaven will infinitely exceed the most ecstatic of physical pleasures on earth.

There will be no sinful lusts to pull us down, no wicked impulses against which we must fight, no dullness of heart to hold us back, no lethargy of soul to slow us down, no lack of energy to love or absense of passion to pursue what is holy. All of our senses will be heightened and their capacity to see, touch, feel, hear and smell will no longer be hindered by disease or distraction.

Even when the present is pleasant, what we see and sense and savor in this life is an ephemeral shadow compared with the substance of God Himself. Earthly joys are fragmented beams, but God is the sun. Earthly refreshment is at best a sipping from intermittent springs - but God is the ocean."

How I long to see His face and to be in that wonderful place. He has placed us here for a very small period of time. We must not expect heaven. We can know that heaven awaits, and there will be a time when all the suffering and sorrow is a thing of the past. I want to live so that when I do see Him I will not be ashamed of the way I lived this life. I relinquish my "rights" to have heaven on earth that I may allow Him to work in my life according to His perfect plan for me. I know that sometimes that involves things I just don't want to face. For now, He has given us all we need to live victoriously here so that one day we may stand before Him and hear Him say "Well done."

  posted at 4:33 PM

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In Flanders Field

In Flanders field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~~By Major John McCrae, May 1915.~~

We visited this cemetery in Normandy, France with my parents on the 55th anniversary celebration of D-Day. My Dad is a D-Day survivor. He landed on Omaha Beach with the 29th Division. The day we visited this cemetery was a very moving day. I watched my Dad walk to the crosses of the men he had served with and place a rose beneath each cross. My husband, a Viet Nam veteran walked with him.

A couple of years later we all were at the Viet Nam Wall in Washington D.C. My husband found the names of those he had served with. I found the name of a classmate - Mike. He was a handsome, out-going, sweet guy. He never lived to see his 21st birthday.

Now young men and women visit the graves of loved ones lost much more recently. The heartbreak is still the same. This is a very special holiday. It is a time for us to recognize, with grateful hearts, those who gave their lives that we might live in this great country with all the freedoms it affords. I see the eyes of my father and my husband well up with tears when they talk about the young men who lost their lives. They paid a great price, and we owe them a huge debt.

  posted at 12:32 PM

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Thankful Thursday

As I was thinking about my post for today the Lord brought to mind the people I am thankful for. Not the ones I ordinarily think about - the ones who are "famous" and whose names we all know. I am thankful for them and the way the Lord uses them to bless so many people. However, I was thinking of the people who faithfully do the daily tasks God has given them to do - serving in the home, and the community, and the church without great recognition or acclaim.

1. I am thankful for my family. My parents who nurtured me and provided for me and
love me unconditionally; who faithfully modeled Christ in our home. I know they
they pray for me daily and that means so much to me.
For my husband, whose love has grown deeper and richer over these forty years of
marriage. His faith in the face of difficult circumstances just overwhelms and
encourages me. His giving heart blesses me. He is my dearest friend.

2. I am thankful for those who serve in our church - the Bible Study leaders, the
children's church workers, the sunday school teachers, those who volunteer to do
all the jobs necessary to keep the church running smoothly. For those who
have a passion for missions and pay their own way to go to faraway places to
bring the message of salvation to those who have never heard. Right this minute
Cyndi is on one of those mission trips. She and her family have made huge
sacrifices to answer the call God has put on their hearts.

3. I am thankful for those who are serving in the military right now. They and
and their families are making a huge sacrifice to preserve for us the freedoms we
enjoy. I know what it is like to say goodby to the other half of yourself and
send him off to war; to pray every minute of the day for their safe return. We
owe them a debt of gratitude that cannot be measured.

4. We celebrated Law Enforcement Week in our church last weekend. There were repre-
sentatives from the various police forces and fire departments across our city.
They risk their lives every day to keep us safe and protected. Imagine what our
lives would be like without them.

5. I am thankful for each one of you. We live our lives and share with each other
a small part of them nearly every day. We come to know one another. We rejoice
together over special occassions and answers to prayer. We encourage each other
when we are facing difficult times. We pray for each other. And we respond
with love and generosity when there is a dire financial need. We enrich one
another's lives by sharing what God is doing in our own lives. We are fast be-
coming "sisters of the heart".

Thank you Iris for hosting Thankful Thursday. It lifts my spirit to read all those heartfelt lists filled with thanks to a God who loves us with an everlasting love.

  posted at 10:43 AM

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The Fawn

When we built our house on this beautiful two acre piece of Texas earth, the area all around us was very rural. Our road leading to our house was just a little dirt lane. There were only three houses along the three mile stretch of road and three large ranches. We had neighbors on one side of us, and our neighbors across the street were cows. They made wonderful neighbors – the humans and the cows – very quiet and peaceable. The cows would just give us a curious stare as we walked or drove by and the neighbors a friendly wave. The biggest excitement was when the cows found a break in the fence and wandered into the road. A call to the owner and they were safely behind barbed wire again.

We also had a lot of deer “neighbors” – cute but with an annoying habit of thinking everything I planted was a culinary offering just for them. One year I planted about two dozen impatiens plants under the cluster of large oak trees on the front lawn. I dug out under the trees, and my husband and son made a nice little rock wall all around the area. I had visions of beautiful pink and white flowers growing in great profusion under the shade of the lovely old oaks. Imagine my distress upon waking up the next morning to the sight of little green stems sticking up out of the new garden I had created. Obviously impatiens are not deer resistant plants.

In recent years the deer population has suffered the dubious benefits of urban development. Their home has been steadily diminished by a housing development, a shopping center and a huge box store. There is so little land left for them, I honestly am amazed they are still around. Every now and then we spot one or two when we are walking or riding our bikes. Sadly we have seen several that have been hit by cars. It just isn’t like it used to be – and the deer and I are not happy about it.

Yesterday on our bike ride my husband spotted a tiny fawn lying in the grass on the side of the road. It looked as though it couldn’t be more than a few hours old. It just lay there and lifted its little head to look at us with his huge deer eyes. We debated about trying to touch it or pick it up and decided that if the Mama was anywhere around that wouldn’t be a good idea. So we pedaled home as fast as we could.

As soon as we got home I called the Sheriff (as a little aside – this makes the third time I’ve called about a deer in need of help, and they have always responded. I could just imagine the dispatcher rolling her eyes and saying, “It’s the deer woman again.”). She was very kind and gave me the number of our game warden. When I reached him he said we should just leave it right there and the mother would very likely come back for it.

I wasn’t totally satisfied with that answer so I called the wildlife and rehabilitation center. The sweet girl there told me the same thing. She said that the mother deer could be gone for up to ten hours foraging for food and still come back for the baby. She also agreed with the game warden that we should absolutely not touch it or it might cause the mother to reject the poor little guy.

We decided to do as they had said, but I worried about something happening to that baby while his mama was off doing who knows what! I just kept praying about it off and on.

God is so good and patient and kind. I know He heard my prayer and that He watched over that fawn. When we went back later to check, he was gone. No sign of any “foul play” – just simply not there. We’re sure that Mom came back and took him home.

Thank You Lord for hearing and answering all my prayers. I love You so very much.

  posted at 1:00 PM

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Celebrating Me - Woman to Woman

Today Morning Glory and Lei are hosting another Woman to Woman post entitled “Celebrating Me”. We are to write about our individual strengths. I think some of us are having a bit of a difficult time with this one. I don’t know what it is about us, but we seem to be able to talk freely and openly about our weaknesses and failings and are very hesitant to talk about the strengths we have. I really should just speak for myself – I find it very difficult to talk about my strengths because I am my own worst critic. I so often don’t live up to my own expectations.

However, enough of that negative “stuff”. This is meant to be a positive post, so here goes…. For me it is easier to think about any strengths I may have in the light of my walk with the Lord. I may possess certain abilities, but unless I channel them through Him they can often become a distortion of what they ought to be. I believe the enemy would like to take our gifts and use them in his way thus taking what God meant for good and making something far different of them.

I’ve taken that test that tells you what your gifts are a couple of times now and it always says exhortation and mercy are my dominant ones. I think that’s right. My dear friend M. chastised me once when I said I didn’t have any gifts. She said I was a great “encourager” and that I had a lot of wisdom. Then the Lord just took that and began to whisper that into my spirit over and over again through different people and circumstances.

So…encouragement is one of my strengths. I think it is because I have a very optimistic outlook. I tend to see the glass more than half full most of the time. If I ever do get a bit down or discouraged it just doesn’t last very long. In fact, in my more dramatic teen years I would try to be appropriately (I thought) depressed over things, and I just couldn’t carry it off. My spirit always seems to want to soar. It makes it easy to encourage the people around me. I can easily see the good in others or in difficult circumstances. I seem to be very sensitive to the feelings of anyone I’m around.

I think that brings me to my other strength – mercy. I pick up on the feelings of others and feel compassion for them. I have great sympathy for those who are struggling and always long to make things better. I have to be careful because I can sometimes feel compassion where it isn’t appropriate. I find that I don’t judge others harshly but rather I can understand how they managed to get in the mess they’re in.

I’m a creative sort of person. I love knitting, crocheting, tatting, and embroidery – needlework of any kind. I have always enjoyed learning new crafts. I like to write. I love to dream big dreams, but I am also learning to be content with who I am.

I have come to understand that I don’t have to do something “huge” to be of value. Rather I just need to let the Lord use the strengths He has given me – in His way and in His time. I may never write the next great American novel, but perhaps I can write a comment on someone’s blog that will encourage and uplift. I will never be famous, but if I show mercy and tenderness to the people in my life I will have left a lasting legacy.

  posted at 12:43 PM

Monday, May 21, 2007
Feeling Rich (and Blessed)

Last thursday my Dad called to ask if we would take them into the city to meet a friend who was attending a convention there. My parents haven't done enough driving into the city to be familiar with the intricacies of its one way streets and confusing construction detours (why is it they are never finished with these street projects?) so they needed some help. My husband quickly agreed.

So friday afternoon found us wending our way into the city. With only one misstep we arrived at their friend's hotel. He met us in the lobby and it was so sweet to see how delighted he was to see my parents. They used to be neighbors in Pennsylvania and attended the same church. They hadn't seen each other since my parents moved here three years ago.

It was such a beautiful day we decided to eat lunch on the River walk. It was just a short walk from the hotel so we made our way around the corner and down the steps to the River walk. We found a nice restaurant and sat at one of the outdoor tables.

Usually by this time of year it is almost too hot to sit outdoors at noon, but we have been having real spring weather this year. There was a pleasant breeze, the sun was shining, there was warm conversation and good food - and I felt like a queen.

There really is no big point to this post except to say how the seemingly little things in life can make one feel so rich. I don't know what it is about eating outdoors that makes me feel that way - but it does. I sit there and just think how blessed I am. Sharing that time with loved ones just makes it even "richer".

It was a lovely afternoon.

  posted at 1:43 PM

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Thankful Thursday

It is time for us to share the things we are thankful for. I am truly thankful for Iris. She hosts Thankful Thursday every week and blesses me on this day and every time I read her blog.

We have just come back from our morning bike ride. It is a beautiufl day. Everything is so lush because of all the good rain we've had, and I began thinking about how thankful I am for my sight:

I am thankful I can see the sweet little cardinal sitting on the telephone wire singing his little heart out. The brilliant red of his feathers against the blue sky made a beautiful picture.

The wild flowers are so abundant this year. I am so grateful I can see the tiny little yellow flowers growing so close to the ground and the gorgeous roses blooming on my antique rose bush. The variety of shapes and sizes and colors is just amazing.

I am thankful I can see the faces of those I love more than my own life. My handsome husband, my aging parents, my adult children in whose faces I can still see the sweet little children that have grown up far too quickly, my grandchildren whose sweet precious faces are engraved on my heart, and my dear friends whose faces speak of love and acceptance and time spent growing closer.

I am thankful that I can see the printed word. How I love books. How I love The Book - the way it speaks to my heart with words of life and hope.

I am especially thankful for "spiritual eyes" - eyes that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, let me see the things of God. If I look through those eyes, I see truth clearly; I look with compassion on those I might otherwise turn away from; I see less of self and more of Him. Lord please give me eyes to see.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe..."
Ephesians 1:18-19

One of the songs we are singing this weekend is "Thank You Lord"

I come before You today
And there's just one thing that I want to say,
Thank You, Lord. Thank You Lord.
For all You've given to me,
For all the blessings that I cannot see,
Thank You Lord. Thank You Lord.
With a grateful heart, with a song of praise,
With an outstretched arm,
I will bless Your Name.

For all You've done in my life,
You took my darkness and gave me Your light;
Thank You Lord. Thank You Lord.
You took my sin and my shame,
You took my sickness and healed all my pain,
Thank You Lord. Thank You Lord.
by Paul Baloche and Don Moen

  posted at 10:38 AM

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
A Meme!
I’ve been tagged by two of my sweet friends, Iris and Linds, to do the Seven Weird Things Meme. I did the Six Weird Things Meme a long time ago, and I’ve been searching my little brain for seven more things worth writing (or reading) about. I’m not sure these are it, but here goes:

1. I wear a retainer at night. When I was a teenager I had braces and was given a retainer to wear at night once my teeth were all lined up correctly. I wore it faithfully until I got married. Somehow it just didn’t seem very “romantic”. As a result – my teeth ever so sneakily returned to their crooked state. So….I got braces again about ten years ago. I am much wiser now and wear my retainer every night except Wednesday and Saturday. I have established those as my “nights off”. I know….weird.

2. I have a little notebook in which I record all the books I’ve read and the date I finished reading them. This has a two-fold purpose. First – I like to count up how many books I’ve read in a year. Second (and more important) it keeps me from buying books I have already read. Sounds silly I know, however I have on a few occasions bought a book I thought would be a wonderful read only to discover when I got it home that I already had it (and had read it !!). Hence the notebook.

3. I am an extremely shy person. I sometimes forget that about myself because I am, more often than not, in my “comfort zone”. It is rare that I am in new situations with new people. When I am, I am suddenly that shy little girl who dreaded being left alone to make conversation with people. I dread being the center of attention and hate those “tell everyone about yourself” things we do at the beginning of every new Bible Study.

4. I interrupt people. It’s something I’m working on. In spite of my innate shyness, when I am with the people I’m comfortable with – I tend to run off at the mouth. I’m so busy thinking about what I want to say I don’t listen as I should and tend to jump in before the other person is finished talking. My poor husband isn’t as quick on the draw as I am, and I find myself finishing his sentences and jumping in before he has finished his thought (or even started his thought). I could kick myself when I think back over the conversation – and I feel terrible. I vow I will not do it again – and then of course I do. I’m really working on this one. I pray before hand and ask the Lord to help me be a good listener.

5. I used to bite my fingernails – right down to the quick – as my Mom would say. I finally stopped when my boyfriend (who is now my husband) said it looked ugly. That was all it took. I haven’t bitten my nails since!

6. When I find a movie I love, I watch it over and over and over again. For example, I can pretty much recite the whole dialogue to “Pride and Prejudice”. I know exactly what you are thinking, “I am all astonishment!”

7. I love being with family and friends, but there is a little part of me that is rather reclusive. I could really be perfectly happy stuck in a little house in the middle of hundreds of acres. As long as I got to visit every once in a while, I would be quite content.

There are certain rules attached to this meme concerning tagging others, but I think just about everyone has already done this. If you haven’t been tagged, consider it done!! Let me know if you do it.

  posted at 11:47 AM

Monday, May 14, 2007
His Eye Is On the Sparrow
I love the way the Lord uses simple things to teach me profound lessons. I walk every day (okay - nearly every day) with my husband. However, this particular day I was walking alone. When I'm alone, I use the time to have a talk with the Lord. Mostly it's me talking. I'm learning to listen, but it isn't an easy discipline for me.

This particular morning I was feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances we were dealing with. More to the point, I was terribly afraid. It felt as though I was buried alive under the weight of something I was powerless to do anything about. I was struggling with the "whys" - "Why Lord? You could have changed this. I prayed so hard. I believed You would answer my prayer. What is going to happen now? I can't bear to even think about what the future holds. It's so frightening Lord. Where are You?"

There are a couple of little hills on my walk, and as I came to the crest of the second hill I saw a dead sparrow lying in the road. He didn't have a mark on him - just looked like he was sleeping. I stopped to make sure he really was dead (I don't know what I would have done if he was just injured. I'm not good in emergency situations. We've had to rescue a couple of hummingbirds - but that's another story.) He was, and I moved him over into the grass.

As I continued to walk it was as if the Lord said, "Linda, I saw that sparrow fall. I know the poor little thing is dead. I know." He knew - and if He knew that, He knew all about my situation. If in this vast universe, He saw a sparrow fall, He certainly sees me.

I am so thankful. I can put my trust in Him and know that He never misses a thing. He is concerned about everything that comes into my life.

I don't believe that anything can come into my life that does not first pass through God's hands. Sometimes, as with Job, it can be something very difficult, but I believe if I simply trust Him, He will work everything out for my good. It may not be in the way I planned, but it will be for my good.

This is another post I wrote last summer. I was just looking back at some of my earliest posts and thought I would republish a few. Truthfully it's been a busy time, and I haven't had a chance to write something new. So here's my "rerun".

  posted at 2:16 PM

Saturday, May 12, 2007
Happy Mothers' Day

I wrote this post last August when I first started blogging. I thought I would post it again for Mothers' Day.

My Mom is celebrating her 83rd birthday this Sunday, and I’ve been thinking about how precious she is to me.

Thirteen Things I Love About My Mom

1. She loves me unconditionally. There isn’t anything I can’t tell her. She is my best girlfriend.

2. At 83 she is still learning. She loves to read and remembers more of what she reads than I do.

3. She is so creative. She writes beautifully, draws, sews – but what she does best is make some of the most beautiful quilts you have ever seen. I wept when I opened the box and saw the one she made for us that is now on our bed. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and every stitch is a testimony of her loving nature.

4. She still sends birthday cards to everyone in our extended family and still writes letters by hand (although she can e-mail too).

5. She can tell a great joke – without forgetting the punch line (not like some of us who will remain nameless).

6. She is a terrific cook. Since she and my Dad have come to live in the apartment my wonderful husband made them off the back of our house, my cholesterol count isn’t doing very well. It is delightful to be sitting watching television and hear the little knock on our door knowing that a fresh-from-the-oven dessert is on the way!

7. She is so patient. She is teaching me to quilt – and anyone else in the family who is interested (including little seven year old great-granddaughters.)

8. She hugs and kisses everyone (I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that she is Italian.). Not one of our friends comes to visit that doesn’t get a hug and a kiss on the cheek on the way out the door.

9. She is very wise. She truly is the one I still go to for advice. I see the way she has graciously lived her life, and I know she walks the talk.

10. She has the gift of hospitality. Their home has been open to everyone from missionary families to foreign exchange students. And she has kept in touch with every one of them!

11. So many other women think of her as “mom”. I must admit I get just a tiny bit jealous when I see how close she is to so many younger women.

12. She loves to travel and is always ready for an adventure.

13. She loves the Lord. I am so blessed to have her for my Mom. I can’t imagine my life without her. I am a grandmother myself, but it is such a comfort to still be someone’s “honey”. Thank You Lord – for my mom.


  posted at 11:07 AM

Friday, May 11, 2007
It's a Beautiful Day

It is a beautiful day!! We have had uncharacteristically muggy, rainy weather for us here in South Central Texas. While we are very thankful for the rain (we have just come out of a very long drought) we sure do miss our sunshine. It rained again the other night, but yesterday and today are just "diamonds". Blue sky, sunshine and gentle breezes - I love it!!

My husband got our bikes out of his shop, put air in the tires and we started bike riding again a few days ago. I have to confess that although we walk all the time it just isn't the same. There are muscles in my legs that obviously don't come into play while walking because these muscles just "cry out in pain" when I first start riding again. I managed to ride a fair distance the first day, but I felt like my legs were made of rubber when I got off my bike. I'm doing better now.

This morning we set off, and it was just gorgeous. There is something about a day like this that just lifts the spirit. Nothing has changed - but the sun is out and things just don't look as bad as they did when the skies were dark and the rain was lashing the house.

I have a "zillion" things to do today so I'd better get moving. Just one other thought. I don't know if it's just me, but I have noticed that the older I get the clumsier I get. I have broken more things in the last few years than in my entire childhood. Glasses seem to just jump out of my grasp and break into pieces on the tile floor. I'm forever tripping over things.

So what happened when I went to the gas station down the street to get gas for my husband's mower should come as no surprise. He was working on the blades of the riding mower, so I went to get the gas for him. I've done it lots of time. No big deal; no special skill required. Just put the gas in the little container. I was trying to be careful not to have it overflow. I looked up at the swiftly escalating numbers (I wanted to stop at the appropriate number of gallons) and as I did so I moved my hand and proceeded to get gas all over the container and my foot. My word!! What a mess. I had to wash down the container with the windshield cleaner thingy so I could put it back in the trunk without making a total mess. I decided the gas on the pavement would evaporate (not having a hose at my disposal). I wiped off my foot and headed home.

Honestly, I don't think it's safe to send me on these sorts of errands any more. My shoe is sitting out on the porch (I will probably never get the gasoline smell out of it)- and I still can't get the smell of gas off my hands no matter how many times I wash them. I'm beginning to think my life resembles an "I Love Lucy" episode. I do make myself laugh - and I'm sure I provide great entertainment for anyone who happens to be watching.

Okay - I really have to get going. Hopefully I won't do any more damage as I dust and vacuum. All the good stuff is packed away - so it should be all right.

  posted at 12:48 PM

Thursday, May 10, 2007
Thankful Thursday

"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I
will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name...He
shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him
and show him My salvation" (Ps. 91:14-16 AMP)

Thank You for giving me this verse this morning Lord. It was just what I needed. It blesses my heart and lifts my spirit when You speak so clearly - meeting my need with Your living word. I realize anew the truth that You bend down and listen to the cry of my heart. You are an amazing God.

I am thankful for my Mom. I am so blessed to still have her in my life and living close enough to see any time I like. She has loved me with an unconditional love. She is still "home" to me. When I walk into her warm, welcoming home I feel like a little girl again. She has modeled "motherhood" at its best for me - always. Thank You Lord for such a blessing.

Thank You for answered prayer Father. It is hard to put into words what it means to cry out to you with a heartfelt prayer and know that You have heard and answered. How can it be that the God of the universe, the Creator, the Holy, Righteous God hears my voice, as countless other voices are raised to Him in prayer, as if I were His only child? It is miraculous, and it is true. Thank You Lord.

I am thankful for praise music. There are some mornings I wake up with a song going through my head, and it stays with me all day. I know it is from the Lord, because somehow it "fits" with whatever is going on that particular day. It is amazing what praise can do for a heart that is feeling sad or down. As we articulate Who God is, it lifts the spirit. We are reminded that He is all-sufficient and there is nothing He cannot do; that He loves us with a perfect love; that He holds us close to His heart. Putting those thoughts to music is a wonderful gift.

I am thankful for the hope I have in Jesus. No matter what circumstances I face, I know what the future holds for me. He is preparing a place for me where I will live forever. There will be no more suffering, no more separations, no more fear or worry. I know that heaven is more wonderful than I can even imagine, and I get to live there forever!

I am thankful for grace. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I could ever do to deserve all that Jesus has done for me. When I think of the times I have failed over and over again, and the love and forgiveness He has lavished on me I am thankful beyond words.

At Sting My Heart - a very special place in this little community of bloggers - you will find more thankful posts.

I have a little P.S. to add here. I just visited Amy's blog and she has a prayer request. I know she would appreciate out prayers and perhaps a word of encouragement. She has been through so much.

  posted at 11:14 AM

Monday, May 07, 2007

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places.”
Psalm 18:33

I am using the book “Hinds’ Feet On High Places” by Hannah Hurnard with a devotional by Darien Cooper in my quiet time. Her introduction to the allegory includes this summary:

“The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with
grief, and pain, and ultimately, of finding them transformed into something
incomparably precious; of learning through constant glad surrender to know the
Lord of Love Himself in a new way and to experience unbroken union with Him-
these are the lessons of the allegory in this book. The High Places and the hinds’
feet do not refer to heavenly places after death, but are meant to be the glorious
experience of God’s children here and now – if they will follow the path He
chooses for them.”

I read this book not too long ago, but I am finding that taking one page at a time and reading the corresponding devotional is making it far more meaningful. How I long to reach the High Places and how far I have to go.

In my reading the other day, Much-Afraid hasn’t started on her journey yet. She is having a conversation with Shepherd telling Him of her desire to go with Him to the High Places – and He asks her this question:

“No one is allowed to dwell in the Kingdom of Love, unless they have the flower
of Love already blooming in their hearts. Has Love been planted in your heart,

Here is Much-Afraid’s answer:

“I think that what is growing there is a great longing to experience the joy of
natural, human love and to learn to love supremely one person who will love
me in return….I see the longing to be loved and admired growing in my heart,
Shepherd, but I don’t think I see the kind of Love that You are talking about,
at least, nothing like the love which I see in You.”

Much-Afraid confesses to the Shepherd that she is afraid, because she understands that loving gives another the power to hurt you in a way nothing else can. The Shepherd acknowledges that that is true,” but Love does not think that very significant.”

Mrs. Cooper says in the devotional section, “We were designed to receive and return God’s love, but often gets replaced with self-love or with a craving for others’ love.”

I have thought about this for a couple of days now. I know that my tendency to want everyone to think well of me places me squarely in the center of what she is talking about. I tend to become so concerned about the approval of others I forget to even seek the Lords’. He and I are working on this one. It is rather deep-seeded in my heart.

The other thing I have thought long and hard about is Much-Afraid’s fear. I see that in myself also. With complete honesty I have to confess that there is a fear in my heart that if I completely abandon myself to God, He will take me to the place I fear the most. Sounds so foolish – I know. Yet there it is. If I loosen the death grip I have on what I think is control of my life and allow myself to fall into His arms – what will happen to me? Will He allow those circumstances I see looming on the horizon to overtake me? I want miraculous deliverance. That is what I pray for, but what is His plan. I know He has promised to work all things together for my good, but what about the journey I must take to get there.

I have struggled with this one all my life. It is one of those issues I think I have settled only to discover it hasn’t really been pulled up by the roots and has once again sprouted in the depths of my heart. My prayer is that I will love Him so much that I will trust Him no matter what is looming on the horizon of my life – or the lives of those I love dearest; that I will walk by faith and not by sight; that I will place my hand in His like a trusting child and go wherever He leads me. Father, I believe; help my unbelief.

  posted at 2:17 PM

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I didn't get to do my Thankful Thursday post this week, so I thought I would do it today:

I am so thankful for answered prayer. Heather is safely out of surgery and doing so well. Thank You Father. You hear and answer prayer.

I am thankful for my oldest son. He turned thirty-eight this week. He is an amazing young man - a devoted husband and father. I look at him and thank God for the blessing he has always been to us.

I am thankful for a sweet daughter who, knowing she would be gone on a trip the sunday of Mother's Day, gave me a gift ahead of time. She is a beautiful young woman inside and out. She is a joy.

I am thankful for my younger son who calls all the time just to say "hi". He works a full-time job, pastors a church, is a husband and father and still takes the time to check on Mom and Dad.
Thank You Lord for taking our feeble attempts at parenting and filling their lives with Your love and grace. We are so blessed.

I am thankful for my salvation. When we sang on the steps of City Hall for the National Day of Prayer, there were the usual people holding signs protesting. One said the rather "unoriginal" SEPARATION of CHURCH and STATE. It was the one that said "Prayer Always Fails" that hurt my heart. As I looked at that young man I wondered what in his life had caused him to feel that way. Had he been hurt in some terrible way and then blamed God? I prayed that the songs that were sung and the prayers that were prayed would somehow touch his heart. How sad not to know that God loves us and that prayer never fails.

Have a blessed Sunday.
  posted at 1:27 PM

Friday, May 04, 2007
The Dung Beetle

I’m sure you have noticed that I have a penchant for finding things in nature and then finding an analogy between that and my Christian walk. The Lord just speaks to my heart through the things I observe (and I seem to possess a rather vivid imagination).

However, I may be taking this analogy thing a bit far with this one. I can’t help myself. I have observed these little guys for years, and I am so impressed with their dedication to their work and their absolute determination to persevere. I speak of the Dung Beetle.

I see them so often when we are walking. In deference to those of us with more sensitive natures I won’t go into their purpose in life in great detail except to say that their sole objective is to rid the world of – well , you know – dung.

It is a rare day when I don’t see these little guys (and gals too I suppose) making their way laboriously across the road pushing a ball of (sorry) dung. Their round burden is usually at least twice as big as they are and usually much larger than that. Nothing seems to deter them from their goal of getting that “thing” to a place where they can bury it in the soil (which, by the way, is quite beneficial to the soil). They will stop for a moment if our steps bring us to close to them, but as soon as they determine there is no real threat they continue rolling along. It is just amazing. The burden seems so ridiculously large, and yet they continue on their way without as much as a sigh. The Lord has equipped them with the strength and stamina and heart to get the job done.

I look at those little beetles with absolute admiration. I can’t help but compare my attitude to theirs. When I am weighted down with a heavy burden, I have often been known to whine and complain. Why me? Why must I struggle with this? Please just take it away Lord.

If I listen carefully, I will hear the Lord whisper to my heart words of help and encouragement. He reminds me that He is with me – always – and that He has given me everything I need with which to keep going in the face of what seems like impossible odds. As I persevere, He comes along side and with His strong right hand helps me along. He just asks me to be faithful – to keep going just like that faithful little beetle.

  posted at 3:29 PM

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Lightening Up a Bit
Our Bible Study is over until the fall, there is no work to be done on choir folders this afternoon, and so I have a bit of time to write today. I thought I would just lighten up a bit and just chat about “things.”

Tomorrow our choir is singing in front of City Hall at noon for the National Day of Prayer celebration. My husband and I sang last year, and it was inspirational. There are Pastors from many of the area churches who pray. One, for example, prayed for our country and our leaders, another for marriages, another about abortion and one Pastor prayed for the peace of Israel.

It was a hot day but a small crowd began to form nonetheless. Some stopped and listened, others just walked by after pausing for a brief time. The one thing that surprised me – which really shouldn’t have – was the people walking back and forth with signs protesting us being there. One of the signs said “Separation of Church and State”. They were all along that line – in general accusing us of trying to force our religious views on everyone else. The really surprising thing was that these were older adults for the most part. Our Music Minister said we should just pray for them. I did, and I felt inspired to sing with greater feeling. I wanted so badly for the words of the songs to impact them. I pray that they did.

This year our Music Minister has already received a threatening phone call. It was from an activist who has moved here from California. He threatened to sue if we sing in front of City Hall again this year. Our fearless leader replied, “Be sure you spell my name right.” We have the right to be there, and be there we will. The newspaper has already gotten wind of all this and called our Music Minister for an interview. He said he guarded his words very carefully so he wouldn’t be taken out of context.

My parents had some friends visiting from Virginia last week. One of the things this couple wanted to do was visit a small town about an hour north of us known for its unique shops. My Dad never asked us for directions, so we figured either he remembered how to get there (we’ve taken them a few times) or the friends had it all mapped out. Wrong. They didn’t have directions, but my Dad said “Not to worry. I’m sure I’ll be able to find it.” Now if this couple had ever ridden in a car with my Dad when he uttered those fateful words “I think I know a shortcut.” they would have run as fast as their little feet could carry them to the nearest computer and clicked on Map quest. My Mom has just given up trying to convince him to get directions first.

Three hours later they were riding through the big city an hour SOUTH of us. Resigned to their fate they stopped at a nearby Olive Garden and had lunch. They never did get to the little town. I know who I get my sense of direction from. I can get lost driving around the block!!

We had such a nice visit with our daughter on Sunday afternoon. She has recently started a new job and is so excited about her career as an editor. She left her full-time job and took a part-time job so that she can concentrate on getting her own free-lance editing business started. She is doing so well. It is such fun to talk with her about all that is going on. She’s writing for a local college – newsletters. She was recently hired to write articles for a wedding magazine. She is doing medical editing and all sorts of new and exciting things. I love it because it is writing – and I love writing. I am so proud of her. She is getting a great reputation as an editor and writer. It is an absolute joy.

She brought me my Mother’s Day gift because she is going to be out of town that weekend - a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. Perfect! I’ve already used it. I got Earlene Fowler’s newest mystery “Tumbling Blocks” (each of her book titles is the name of a quilt block). This is the 13th book in the series. She is a Christian writer, but her books are marketed in the mainstream. I can’t wait to read it.

Time to practice a bit of piano. We do have choir practice tonight, so I need to fix an early dinner.

Remember to pray for Heather. Her surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I think it’s wonderful that tomorrow is also the National Day of Prayer. As we pray for our nation we will remember to pray for Mark and Heather and their family.

  posted at 1:33 PM

Tuesday, May 01, 2007
In Other Words

"By perserverance the snail reached the ark."
Charles Spurgeon

Iris has picked a quote this week that has had me pondering snails for days. I tried to imagine Mr. and Mrs. Snail slowing making their way to the huge ark. No doubt they encountered many obstacles. After all - in addition to being rather low to the ground, they also had to carry their little houses on their backs. They were carrying a rather heavy burden, and there was no time to spare. Of course, they had never experienced rain before, but those dark clouds must have been rather foreboding. I imagine Mr. Snail trying to hurry his little helpmate along. I'm sure he would have carried the load for her if he could, but that just wasn't possible. She had to make this journey without his help.

However, there was One who no doubt watched this tiny pair make their way slowly to the safety of the ark. He knew it was a difficult journey and that their burdens were heavy. His eyes never left them. Although they were unaware of His work, He was making a way for them. When they thought they couldn't crawl any further, He was there to give them strength. When the burden seemed to be unbearable, He helped to lighten the load. He was with them as they made their way forward - cheering them on. His heart filled with love as they made their way up the gangplank, blessed by their perserverance in the face of what seemed like and impossible journey.

So it is with us. Sometimes the journey gets so difficult and the burden far too heavy, but He is calling us to press on - to persevere. He has something wonderful waiting for us, and He never asks us to "go it alone". He is there with us every step of the way - carrying us when we can't go on, giving grace to bear the burden when it seems the weight of it will crush us.

Thank You Father for Your unfathomable love. A love that wraps it's arms around us and will never let us go. Give us grace and strength for the journey Lord that we may finish well.

For more writing on this quote go to Iris' blog - Sting My Heart.

  posted at 10:36 AM