This Too Shall Pass

Trials and tribulations seem to clump together. Rather like a large boulder in the middle of a merrily chirping stream. The water still rushes past, swirling around that stone for a few moments before gurgling merrily along. This is the same with life. Our lives are that water, and the tests the boulder. Life will continue on at some point. We may be a little bruised and battered, but we go on.

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Please pray for our grandchildren if the thought passes through your mind. They have all been struggling with colds, although I don’t think any have had the flu. This past week, two of the sisters spent the night at the hospital due to RSV. They came home today. Now the youngest, just a little over a week old is at the hospital, and she will be there overnight for observation.

It is scary watching your child struggling with sickness. Even more so when it involves a hospital visit, or surgery. I have been there more times than I want to think about. It makes you want to snatch them away, to protect them, and take on all that they have to endure. After all, you are stronger, able to understand all that is happening. Their little bodies and minds aren’t able to take it all in. I hurt for those families that have had children diagnosed with cancer, and diseases that their little bodies have had to fight off. It takes a parent to the limits of where no parent ever wants to go.

I don’t fully understand why these kind of trials and tribulations are allowed in our lives. I really don’t want to face them. I want to be swept down that stream, gurgling merrily along as the blue sky smiles down at me.

That little stream rushes to the ocean, and is stronger in the end. So are we. And this too shall pass.

Jeremiah 29:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

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Those Precious Memories

When in doubt, I go to Jim Reeves and his melodious voice.

Our memories mean more and more to us as we grow older. I see this every day. It amazes me what the mind can recall. I pray your memories are indeed precious and beautiful this Sunday morning. Have a wonderful week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMGtWkJgdIM

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I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

This life we live is uncertain, filled with obstacles, lost expectations of our youth, and a lot of ‘just getting by’. Life is a journey that each of us has been given, and it is also a gift. Along with the struggles, and the not-so-good days, there is hope, and there is joy.

I’ve always loved the words to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n3iLXHzX9k

It was written by Ira F. Stanphill in 1950, during a very difficult time in his own life. From what I could find, his wife left him to pursue a career of her own, at the zenith of his. If any of you know of different facts, or more, please share. I always enjoy learning more about a person. Mr. Stanphill wrote this song out of the pain, betrayal and loss he was experiencing at that time, and you can feel it.

So many items in this life are unknowns. We don’t know what the day will hold, we don’t know if any of us will be here tomorrow. But we do have today, and we can rejoice and take comfort in that. Make your Sunday… today, a good one.

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Peace to You

It is the second of January, 2018!

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So of course I’m going to write the obligatory post about my New Year resolutions. They wouldn’t be New Year resolutions unless they included health topics. You know the ones…diet, exercise, getting more sleep, etc.  This photo makes me think of health, and being refreshed. Can’t you just smell those oranges?

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A few years ago I was going to the gym faithfully. Every, single, day, except Sunday. I went around eleven in the morning when it wasn’t so crowded, after my morning chores were accomplished. The first of January saw an influx of new gym memberships, or at least people using them. Around March, the excitement would start to die down a bit. Just human behavior.

My list:

  • Continue the oil pulling I began back in the summer. For those of you that don’t know what this is…you put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for twenty minutes, before you eat anything in the morning. I experimented with this for about two weeks in July. I noticed whiter teeth and less plaque and tartar build-up. My mouth stayed more fresh all day, even when I did eat. This was my personal observation. Not a dentist’s recommendation or sell. I started with this once again this morning. It’s a bit disgusting at first, just getting that oily feel ignored, but after a couple days, no big deal.
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  • Stick with the Candida Diet I began the first of October. I managed very well through our anniversary, a trip to Branson, birthdays, and Thanksgiving. I even did fairly well around the Christmas festivities. New Year’s Eve…not so much. I’m feeling it now! It is very strict…no flour or sugar allowed, even fruit. But I’ve been totally amazed how much better I’ve felt. No more sore joints, and sleeping well. Sugars do cause inflammation in the body, so I’m sure this was part of the problem with my joint pain. Again, these are my own observations that I’m sharing with you, not a medical diagnosis.
  • Of course more exercise! I would love to be walking here:dunes-2191641_1920But my view will be more like this one, here in Kansas:tilted-2139864_1920
  • Start my newsletter! I’ve been wanting to tackle this for awhile now…just need the time to do it. I don’t want to start and then not follow through.
  • Finish up home projects, or at least get them more under control. I’ve been working on our kitchen, but we do need a furnace upgrade, dining room makeover, and another bathroom installed where the furnace is now. Each year I have a mental list of projects. I try not to share them with my family. It causes people to run!
  • Last, and certainly most important…keep my priorities straight. My relationship with God, my husband, my children, grandchildren, extended family, friends and co-workers. And yes, in that order. Some areas will over-lap of course, but there is a sense of order in our lives. I think that list also keeps everything else in-sync.

I wish each of you a Blessed 2018. I pray health, financial security, and great relationships for you. And when each of those areas comes under testing, and is stretched to its limit this year…because they will…I pray God’s peace for you, and the strength He gives to bear the difficult times in our lives.

Philippians 4:4-11 – King James Version

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. The house has been draped in garland and ribbons, the tree twinkling, aglow with Christmas memories.

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The baking is done, lovely aromas of sugar and spices, a confectioner’s dream. The green and red dye has worn off from tiny fingers, the tongue will be tinged for days…until no crumb remains.

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If you are privileged, you’ve seen carolers, and listened to their sweet voices, and maybe not so sweet, lifted with joy in song. You’ve enjoyed a Christmas program or two, and delighted in your children or grandchildren, niece or nephew.

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The music has played, and set the tone, and all that remains is the opening of gifts, and a day filled with family, friends and laughter. The absolute best part about the festivities. That meal is also pretty special!

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Tomorrow, let us recall the reason for it all. That babe in a manger, so very small. You may not be surrounded by family and friends, your house a delight of colors and smells. You…alone physically or emotionally… have the most special of days, the time spent with a Man, that died for you…the same. He now sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB3Fo6yG2n0

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I wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for reading, for being part of my life.

 

That Christmas Feeling

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I love this time of year! The aromas wafting through the house…cinnamon sticks and pine. Well, normally our house smells of those items, but today it smells of burnt toast thanks to our youngest. I’ll have to light some more candles tomorrow. At one time, I had a can of pine scent to spray through the house since we had a fake tree, but those kind of smells lead to a whopping headache for me these days!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:

Snow drifting lazily outside your frosted window,
The fire crackling merrily,
The orange and yellow flickers mesmerizing with their glow.
The fresh-cut tree being dragged through the house,
Just “one more inch” to help it clear the ceiling.
The winter crispness emanating from those needles,
The pine scent filling the air.
Then commence the decorating,
Lights weaved over the prickly branches.
The “oohs” and “aahs” of each ornament plucked from the box,
A kaleidoscope of memories besieging your heart.
The stockings are hung, the nativity displayed,
The routine of the festivities replayed.

A candlelit house, smelling of pine and baked goods,
A hint of cinnamon and spice.
The gentle pause in the daily routine,
A soft snuggle by the twinkling lights.
These are my memories,
This is what the Christmas season looks like for me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGBie5pT9nw

Christmas is the time of year that we set aside to remember that our Lord and Savior came to earth as a baby. The decorations, the lights, baking and presents are traditions handed down from many countries for many generations. They are what they are…pleasant traditions that I look forward to sharing each year. For me, they don’t take away the importance of that tiny baby, humbled, but still a King. They add to the feeling of home and family…my memories. And I cherish them.

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I pray your Christmas season is one filled with joy, and many happy memories…

This Is My Father’s World…

I love music…in almost any form. I have a tremendous appreciation for those that play musical instruments, and those that have been gifted with voices to sing. (There are those of us that sing anyway!) 😉

I have written before about the few years that our children and I had a family group of mostly blue grass and gospel. This was because of our children’s musical talents. I was just along for the fun ride. Our son learned guitar, our daughter played the mandolin and just about anything else you tossed at her for a few seconds. Our son could handle that aspect pretty well too. I watched them with amazement. Our second oldest wrote a couple songs that we used in our concerts. Well, we used one of them. The one that was happy and uplifting!

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When our son and daughter went away to Cornerstone Bible Institute in South Dakota, our little group was no more. Children grow up and want to have their own lives for some reason…and that makes me a bit sad. But, I have wonderful memories, and they still share their lives with us. I am very thankful for that!

If I am remembering correctly, I’ve shared a little about our son, and why it is even more special that he has the musical talents that he does. In his mid-to-late teens, he was diagnosed with cholesteatomas in both ears. Since he did not have chronic ear infections while growing up, the doctors said they were congenital. Since he had other difficulties at birth, this was not a surprise to us. Nathan had surgery on one ear just before he left for Cornerstone Bible Institute. Because of repeated surgeries on both ears…several on each ear, he missed his last semester of school. He is now at Cornerstone completing that year.

We were told the cholesteatomas were very bad, and each surgery came with lab work to  assure they were not cancerous. A couple times, the growth had come very close to crossing into the brain. We were told he could completely lose his hearing.

Nathan is now at Cornerstone, finishing what he began several years ago. He did not lose his hearing, but he does have implants behind each ear that help him hear. And he still plays the guitar and harmonizes beautifully. God has gifted him with these talents. He is also our electrician and carpenter when he is home…so he is greatly missed in many ways.

It was an honor for Nathan to be asked to do the video (that I will share the link to) with Luke E. Boy. https://www.facebook.com/LukeEBoyArt/

Luke is another very gifted young man that Nathan met through Cornerstone. Luke and his siblings have also attended the Bible Institute. He builds tiny houses, makes his own instruments, composes his own songs, does his own photography…and the list goes on and on. I do apologize to Luke if I missed anything! You can check out his Facebook page above. Please like it and check out his links. He has some interesting things on there.

Now here is the video of Nathan and Luke…two very talented young men. We hope to be hearing more from them in the music area! Traveling mercies to Luke as he travels across the United States once again, and shares all that he is doing with his beautiful photography, art and music. And to God be the Glory!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/NKhwc69UH9w

 

I Will Fight, if You Tie Me Down!

At one time, (unless you are under the age of thirteen and reading this,) we have all been a teenager, or have raised teenagers. Maybe I should rephrase that and say that we have lived in the same house with a teenager. Basically, by the time your sweet, adorable child enters the teen years, it’s a done deal. As a parent, you kind of wait it out until they enter their twenties, and hope and pray that they will turn back into a human.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are some great attributes about your child reaching the age of thirteen. Generally, they can take care of themselves. They should be able to shower, feed themselves, and clean up their messes. At least these actions are within their physical capabilities. As to whether or not they do them, that’s another post.

Think back to when you were a teenager. I know it may be a bit foggy for some. My years there are disappearing into the mist. Or, if you are privileged enough to have at least one or more residing in your home at this time, think about this question. Do they like restrictions put on them? Did you like it as a very young adult?

Now, concentrate on this question before you read the rest of this post.

Did those restrictions keep you on the straight and narrow? 

For some, the answer will be ‘yes’. Your parents, your teachers, the law, etc. had a set of rules that you were to follow and obey. And you did. Some did it with a happy heart, others rolled their eyes and groaned, and a few dragged their feet, doing only what they had to so as not to be in trouble.

Then, there were those that had the same rules and they followed none of them. They balked at the constraints, lied, manipulated, and basically did anything they could to rebel at the rules placed on them and their domain. We all knew a person or two like that…we may have been that person.

If I may use that last person as an example…if additional rules or laws were placed on them, did they obey better? Did they submit more? In my experience, not usually. And if they did, it was not a true repentance, (changing of the heart). It was an outward showing to get the person or people imposing the rules and laws off their backs.

In this life, people are human. We all have areas that we naturally gravitate to when we express our rebellion. Some outright break the law and commit terrible acts against others, while some steal a cookie and set the lid back on the jar as quietly as possible. Both are wrong. But establishing and implementing more rules and laws, does not make a person more law-abiding. It is what is in their heart.

A parent’s home is where a child learns right from wrong. This is the parent’s responsibility. A parent is to teach a child to respect others, and to listen and obey. Each family has a set of rules that they believe is best for their family. In most circumstances, if a child is loved, cared for and taught respect for others, that carries over into their school life, their social network, and they way they interact in the work environment. I also firmly believe that there are cases when this has been carried out successfully in a family, and that child has rebelled. They have made a decision to live their life separate from the rules, laws and obligations that they have been taught. Placing more rules an laws on that individual probably will not change them. It is a heart/soul flaw that the person is not willing to change.

The mass shootings and deaths over the past few weeks have been horrendous. We all gasp and wonder how an individual can be so cruel and evil. What kind of a home environment did they have? Were they abused as a child? The lists of ‘reasons why’ go on and on. We are human, and we want answers. And we want it to stop. As a parent, when your child is doing wrong, you scramble to correct it. As a world, we are wanting the same.

But establishing and implementing more rules and laws will not solve the problem.

Just as it did not for that rebellious teenager. The rebellious, lawless person will still find a way. They will fight if you tie them down.

 

All Hallow’s Eve

It’s October 31st, the last day of the month. For me, even as a child, I greeted this day in the hope that it would pass quickly, and the anticipation for what I think of as the holiday season. It always seemed as though the end of October signaled the beginning of winter, and a slower way of every day life.

Halloween has never been a favorite day of mine. When I was young, our family did dress up in costumes and our father walked us around the neighborhood to only those people we knew. Even in the early 1970’s. We always carved a pumpkin or two, setting it outside our door. Our maternal grandparents came over, bringing donuts and apple cider. That was never a good mix for me! You would think I would have learned after several years to go with one or the other. But not me. I had to go to bed with a tummy ache every year.

Fast forward to our teenage years. We were living in a little town called Crown Point in upstate New York. Our house was huge. A gorgeous home built by the town banker in the late 1880’s from what we were told. His name was A.J. Wyman, and he began a banking business in April, 1881 in Crown Point.  My mother loved older homes, and she has always done a fantastic job of making them look beautiful. Well, of course this was a great place to have a Halloween party for all our friends. This included a scary trip through the barn, and probably the attic of the house. This same attic was filled with bats every summer. I’m not saying a couple, I mean thick with bats. I’m pretty much terrified of them today. October 31st in upstate New York wasn’t great for bat activity. They were either gone or sleeping by that time. But none-the-less, the attic was a scary place to be with the lights off! I remember the night being fun…hands through spaghetti and that kind of stuff. Nothing like what you see today. We had refreshments, probably played games. I remember having a good turn-out. Those were the years of big celebrations for birthdays, etc. I had a couple sleep-overs in that house, inviting all the girls in my class. It was a very small school, our class of 50 being the largest at the time. Here is a picture of the house, the photo my parents used for our Christmas cards that year. It was taken on Thanksgiving Day! Yes, we had a lot of snow that winter.

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Our family didn’t talk about it with most people at the time, but that house had some strange things going on. I won’t go into all the details, but when my sister toured the house many years later as an adult, she asked the owners if they had noticed anything, and they had. The house was being used as a bed and breakfast at the time. So of course he didn’t want to advertise too much! I will tell you this little bit because it was very strange, and it involved the family pets. So it wasn’t just us humans noticing odd things! Every day, around four in the afternoon, if I recall, my brother’s bedroom would smell of fish. I don’t mean like fish cooking. It was if you were at the wharf. The cats in our house would go in and sleep on his bed, enjoying the aroma. After all, fish is a cat’s best friend. Then about an hour later, the smell would be gone…no trances remaining.

As I said earlier, Halloween was never my favorite day. It could go by with no notice from me. When I was younger, it was fun to dress up and get candy, but as I grew older, probably around my 30’s, I really began to be uncomfortable with it. I have never believed in ‘ghosts’. I do believe there are fallen angels and demons. I won’t go into a theological discussion here on whether they are the same thing or different, but only that they are real and not a good thing. My personal belief is that given an opportunity in your life as a Believer, they can and will play around. As a non-Believer, you are on extremely dangerous ground. I believe this is the ‘ghost’ activity that is spoken of, and I do believe it is very real. And that is why I am uncomfortable with dabbling in things that are borderline evil or just plain evil. In a verse that I have shared here before:

Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I believe that as a Christian, your life should be filled with what that verse says. I think this can be applied to our speech, our actions, the books we read, the music we listen to and the shows we watch. All things should be honoring to God. As a Believer, if you are attracted to ‘stuff’ that is not good, you should be knowing why. Why is your soul seeking those books, movies and activities that are not uplifting? I know that in my own life, those times come when I am not in fellowship with God, the times that I am not continually seeking Him. An analogy I would use is this: You fill your car with gasoline. If it is full and rich in what your vehicle needs, it runs well. If you purchase watered-down gasoline, or add something you shouldn’t, your car will chug down the road, get poor gas mileage, etc. It is the same in our Christian walk.

Personally, I will be glad when today is over. November 1st begins a long month of many birthdays in our family. It’s the month I really start thinking about fall decorating, baking and celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the month when my life begins to take a slower pace, relishing of the days when the cold, winter wind blows and we are snuggled up inside. I wish the same for you.