Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jehovah Samma ~ El Shaddai



If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray…

In the next few days we will change the history of our nation. This is what happens each time we have a major election.

The internet has been filled with negative and positive comments. We have been warned and told that the outcome of this election could change the course of history. Economics, jobs, Supreme Court justices, stock market, every headline in the paper the last few weeks has not been uplifting.

I looked up some of the names and the meanings of God:
El Shaddai ~ This is the picture of God taking care of the needs of His children like a mother cares for her child.

Jehovah Samma ~ The meaning of this name of God is a promise that He will not abandon Jerusalem.

Our Father cares for us. He desires to hear from us. He waits. He will not abandon us. He desires to take care of our needs. He is also a jealous God (Qanna) who wants no other god before us.

Now is the time to place our trust and adoration solely on Him. Now is the time to come to Him and humbly ask that He not abandon our country. Now is the time when believers around the world need to pray and call out the Him who places kings on thrones and ask Him to fill the positions with His chosen.

Now is the time, Father, help us to humble ourselves before your throne. Give us the wisdom we need to make wise choices. With all of the devastating news that we hear and all of the predictions that have been made, how we praise you that you are in control. We thank you that we love you. Jehovah Samma, do not abandon our country. Help us to continue to stand with Israel. Take care of our needs, El Shaddai. In your precious name. AMEN

Monday, October 27, 2008

Relationships...

Any kind of relationship can be complicated. Friendships are compromised because there was a betrayal or a situation that resulted in a tear in the fabric of the relationship. Families are notorious for having complicated relationships. As a child, our family had its share of familial problems.
This past week Steve and I were at a graveside service. We knew that there were some issues between the father and son. The pastor asked if there was anyone who wanted to share some thoughts about their wife and mother. The husband, who had been married for 58+ years began speaking. He had only spoken for a few minutes when the son walked away from the service got in his truck and left. My heart hurt and I began thinking of some of the relationships that God has blessed me with.

Our daughters married and with that event, changed the make-up of our family. I am thrilled with their choices. God has given them the man that He chose, not the one that I would have chosen and because of that, the men that He has given them are the perfect match for them.

Relationships changed. Jane got a brother...and as you can see, they do get a long well. Jon understood Jane's love language and didn't take long to endear himself to her. Change was also seen when Andy entered our family. Jon went from being the only and favorite SIL to being my favorite Jon while Andy moved into my favorite Andy.


Jon's parents joined our "family" first. I can honestly say that this addition to our family has been an amazing gift from God. In the past 7 years they have grown to be dear friends who happen to pray for the same grandchildren that we pray for.. .




I think of the family that I "entered" and there were times when they showed me so much grace. I have grown to love each of them and look forward to our time together. I couldn't imagine my "family" without picturing them



Back to the graveside service... I had to wonder what could have happened to this family that caused the son and the father to be at such odds. When did it start? Did something happen when the son was younger? Was this a recent split?

I watch my grandson (and granddaughter) and their parents. I pray for the relationships that are developing there. I watch as they are engulfed in the extended family. I listen as others show their love for them. I pray that there isn't unresolved issues that will stunt or fragment the relationship at any time.



God has given us precious sisters, brothers, friends, parents...He has given us relationships that will challenge us and cause us to evaluate the path that He has laid out before us. God desires us to stimulate one another to grow closer to Him. When we are growing closer to Him, we can't help but love the ones He has placed in our path.

Relationships are not easy...it takes a great amount of give and take. It takes His hand on us. The family is one of the blessings that He has given us. Cherish each one of them...





























Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BEFORE GOD....





Before God created man and woman in the garden...







Before He created the butterflies, bees, and insects...yes, even the mosquito...


Before He created the waves, the ocean, the sea life, the power of the storm, the power of the crashing waves... and the calm seas...










Before He created this awesome world that He gave us as a play ground....









Even before He created slugs...although I question why...yes, even before there were slugs...






Before He gave the littlest girls the desire to be a mommy and care for those who are littler than they are...









Before He created clothes so that little boys would have to wear them in addition to a hat...













Before He created trees that kept their leaves and shed their bark in the fall...












Before God painted the world just to give us the sweet candy for our eyes. Before everything that you can imagine, see, touch, smell, and that is familiar to you....



God existed...
This fact alone can cause me to praise Him for the wonderful things that He has given me...


What an amazing God we serve...

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the Father's arms....

Another story from my Omaha trip...

On one of the first days that I was there, we went to eat at Costco...hot dogs and pizza...mmmm... Everything was great until Mazie slipped off the bench and her tooth went through her bottom lip. She looked terrible and it hurt. It took many napkins, ice, and pressurebefore we could control the blood and assess the damage. She cried and wanted her daddy. She wanted him to make it all better. Even when she was eating ice cream, she kept her eye on Jon and wasn't happy when he was out of her sight.

When we got home, it was her daddy that she wanted. He was studying but she didn't care, she wanted to be in his arms. He was reading from his book, not a story about princesses orvegitales...nothing really matteree; it was her daddy's voice that she wanted to hear.

It's easy to see where this is going. When we are hurt we want to be held. We want to be able to feel loved and secure. We need to be near Jesus. Our spirit longs to have this intimate relationship with Him. It's not only when we are hurting that we long to have a relationship with God.
When Jon and Betsy would come home each day after their training, Mazie would run to Jon sqealing with delight knowing that he would lift her up and give her a hug or lift her high up to the ceiling. Nothing was better than to be lifted up. I watched Jon's face light up when his little girl would come screaming at him. It was so obvious that he was just as excited as Mazie was.




Jesus wants us to come to him whether we are hurt or just excited to meet with Him at the end or beginning of the day. Mazie didn't need to stay in her daddy's arms, she just knew that for her 2 years old brain...He was, is and always will be there for her. Jesus is and will be there for you too. Call on Him...he is waiting for your call.












Monday, October 13, 2008

Now Job...He had problems....


Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount
Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
~Psalm 125:1-2



That verse started me thinking of the news that has filled the media lately. God is surrounding us. That brought me to Job and I wondered if I could learn a lesson from Job. So this isn't an indepth study. It is only my thoughts that began in my devotions this morning.
Job's family was close. He worried about his children. He saw behaviors that concerned him and he prayed for them and offered sacrifices. He was wealthy. He had a lot of blessings. He had a lot of possessions, but he also knew that it was not the blessings of the tangible that caused him to worship the One True God. He had a protective "hedge around him and his household and everything he has." I wonder if we looked, if we would see a hedge around us.


But the hedge was to be ripped out. Servans came and told Job that theSabeans attacked and killed his oxen and donkeys; another announced that the sheep had been destroyed by fire from the sky; his camels and those servants the Chaldeans took care of them. But then a blow that would have devistated me...his children and their servants had been destroyed by wind. A tornado? It just says "a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house."


What would your response have been? There were 2 groups of people who would have had to deal with my wrath and blame: The Sabeans and the Chaldeans! It would have been easy to seek revenge. What did he do? He fell to the ground in worship. "Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

And God's evaluation of Job? There is no one like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you [Satan] incited me against him without reason. I know you have all heard this story but it stood out to me. What is my life's responses like? Do I blame? Do I hold grudges? What is my reaction to crisis situations? Then, what are the reactions of those who are losing so much on Wall Street? Those who are losing their homes? What would my reaction be? What would God say about me? Would I receive this high compliment from Him? Blameless? Upright? A woman who fears God and shuns evil? And what of my integrity?

The next test is one that spoke to me personally. Job-covered in boils, sitting in the position of mourning (in the ashes) and his helpmate comes to encourage him? She is the picture of the Proverbs 31 woman. No, she says, "curse God and die." Well, that certainly wouldn't make it in the Proverbs 31 list of what a woman should do. Encourage...do I always encourage my husband? Empathize with him...do I?


Job replied "You are talking foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God , and not trouble?"


What a testimony for me. Job had lost more than I have...I would have been angry and questioning why (I am not saying to question God is not right. If we have the questions, he knows, why not ask Him. We just have to be content not to get an answer now.) AND if I had someone to affirm my grievances (Job's wife) boy would I jump on that bandwagon and sought out the party who caused this grief...



But the most important lesson is...Those who trust in Yahweh are like Zion Mountain: Nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain you can always depend on. ~ Psalm 125:1-2 (Message) It is God who is in control and I praise Him. Let me be found to be blameless, upright and with my integrity before His throne.


No matter what I face, Father, keep my eyes fixed on You and help me to know that You are in control. In your name. AMEN

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We ran away!!! But we did come home...

Steve had Friday off so we decided to run east...to Leavenworth's Octoberfest. We had an amazing trip and wanted you to see some of the places we were able to see...



On the way to Leavenworth, we saw snow along the way and stopped at one of the ski resorts to enjoy the view and the snow...



In Leavenworth, we heard the "Queen of yodeling" straight from Munich, Germany. She was joined by 4 girls who danced and played the cow bells. Added to that the accordion and there was way too much fun for even us!
Frozen waterfalls were fabulous...



We decided to take the Circle tour and that meant we didn't take the same path back...we went to highway 20 and there were marked differences in the country. This is a picture of Lake Chelan. Much of the scenery was desert like with apple and pear orchards. We stopped at one of the roadside orchards and watched them making apple juice and pumpkin donuts. We did buy the apple that I am holding in my right hand. There was a whole bin of this variety of apples...I can't remember the name but apples on steroids sounds familiar.

Then the desert like country changed to mountains again with more snow...





One of the reasons we went because we wanted to see the fall color. We were not disappointed. The color was phonominal. The problem with pictures, you just can't see the beauty that is in real life...



Today we went to Boulevard park and walked along the ocean boardwalk. Then went to Whatcom Falls, a waterfalls in the middle of Bellingham.

Whatcom Falls never ceases to amaze me and the ceativity of the Father. This weekend as we were making our tour of the Cascade Circle, I realized that Crayola (even the largest box) doesn't have the colors that the Creator of the Univers has. He has more greens than you can imagine. He has created the vibrant golds and living reds and He has colored our world just for us.

Fall is a time when the evidence of our Father is everywhere. Open your eyes and see His world and know that He has painted it just for you.


video

Whatcom Falls...Let all creation praise your name...

videoThis is the video of the bell ringers from Munich. Remember, just push the stop arrow when you want it to stop.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do you remember cuddling with someone special?



When we were in Omaha the "Rock Star" came to visit! That would be Auntie Jane. Simon and his auntie have a special relationship.

It doesn't matter how long it has been since Simon has seen her, he gets excited.

There is one person in his life that he LOVES to cuddle with...the Rock Star!

And reading...he loves it when everyone reads to him...but notice how he is gripping her arm. Reading with Auntie Jane is the best.

His favorite spot is to cuddle up next to her, on the couch, the restaurant, the car, bed; you name it, Simon likes to be very close to her.

Sometimes when I am sad or lonely, or just want some time alone with my Heavenly Father, this is how I picture myself ~ content, clinging to Him, and focused on every word that comes out of His mouth. I want to hear His stories over and over. It always amazes me that His stories are new and fresh each time I read or hear them.

He loves it when we get excited to see Him. He is there to hold us when we are afraid or when we just need to have that little bit of security. He is there...He is always, always there.

Jane's response to Simon's glee is a deep seated joy. One that is read in her expression on her face, her response to her nephew running toward her and clinging to her, and the love that is so evident through her whole being. I believe that God responds to us too. He desires us to run to Him, to cling to Him, and to know of His amazing and eternal love. We have an amazing Savior.
I remembering cuddling with a favorite person when I was little too!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Ive entered a new stage in my life...


I can't believe it," she continued. "When you told me that you were signing up for a class at the Senior Center, I realized that this is another stage of life for me. My mom is old enough to go to the Senior Center."
Yes, that is how the conversation began with Betsy a few minutes ago.
Today, I did errands and thought nothing of it until I got that call I went to Walgreen's to find out about the $4.00 prescriptions and I went to the Senior Center in Ferndale to sign up for a weight lifting class so that I can use the center to lift weights. Now, I may have been the youngest person that I saw (the lady who wrote my receipt moved to Ferndale with her husband in the '40's.).
As I explained to Betsy, and I would guess I would hear from Jane next, for $25.00 a year, I can use the equipment any time I want. Now...I have a hard time justifying the $130+ /month when I can do the same thing here. NOW...in hindsight,
I SIGNED UP AT THE SENIOR CENTER TODAY...WAAAAAAAAAAAA. I guess I am "at that age" as Jane so delicately states it. I didn't mind the discounts but...this is taking me to a whole new level.
I included the picture of Simon and me climbing the monkey bars in Omaha...HA Can an old person do that?????? I ask you!!!!
Obviously...... I did.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hello! Hello! Oh, it's you!

Have you ever run to the phone to answer it, expecting one person and hearing another voice? I always hope that the person on the other end didn't hear my disappointment.
Recently, Simon called. Steve answered and Simon began talking. Steve has a hard time understanding Simon on the phone. When we talk to him, I usually "translate" as only a former SLP would do.
Example:
S: We have a dog at our house and her name is Penny and she is a golden retriever.
Me: Oh, Penny is the golden retriever that lives with you. Is she a nice dog?
Steve then can ask questions about Penny until the topic shifts.
It has worked beautifully until last week.
Simon started in on his conversation with Poppa and with the speaker on, I started my "translation." Simon stopped and said, "Nana, I called to talk to Poppa." He knew who he wanted to talk to AND he was not going to be sidetracked by my translation ways.
The Psalms are filled with the phrase, I called to the Lord and He answered me. I was thinking about Simon and his determination to speak to the one whom he called. He was not to be dissuaded from his conversation from Poppa. Wouldn't it be great if when we called to the Lord, we would have the same determination? We would not let the world's voices crowd out hearing the voice of Jesus.
God never shows disappointment when I call to him. He never says, I want to talk to Poppa. He never says, oh, could you wait a minute. Whenever I call, He is attentive to my voice. My prayer today is that I, and we, will be able to hear the voice of God and be attentive to His voice.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy 1st Anniversary Andy and Jane

Something other than the photographer caught several of the wedding party's eyes. October 6, 2007 was a perfect October day...far from typical in North Dakota. Andy and Jane were married. That was one year ago and in some regards it seems longer ago in other ways, I can still feel the warmth of that day and the joy that we felt.

In one year, they have seen so many changes:

~ Jane moved to Rochester

~ Andy worked with the Mayo Brothers and Jane started a new job in the Rochester schools and another with a private therapy company

~They went to Chicago to see the river turn green



~ Honed their skills at taking self portraits (in Chicago for this one, but I have a ton of self portraits I could have added!

~ Went to Washington, DC for the cherry festival and learned and enjoyed scooters to get around.
~ Said good bye to the Mayo Brothers. Obviously, Jane was closer to the Mayo's than she thought...


~ Came to Ferndale for the first Aafedt/Mueller (Linda's side) family reunion, Went to Seaside, OR . Did I mention that Jane broke her leg doing the electric slide at a wedding dance and used a wheel chair when she was out here?


Lots of adventures and lots of changes. Some of them were exciting, others were viewed as challenges.
When Andy and Jane found out they were moving to Fargo, Betsy (Jane's sister and best friend), Jon, Simon and Mazie (the moon and the sun set on Auntie Jane for Simon, Mazie ~ she is definitely an Uncle Andy fan!) moved to Omaha, NE. Changes aren't always easy and this won't be the first year for the moves that are in their future.
On Andy and Jane's wedding program, the verse that they chose was the one from Ruth:
"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. your people will be my people and your God my God..."
When Jane told her sister that she was engaged, she said that they went to Whatcom Falls (Bellingham, WA) and Andy took the leap. One year ago, they leaped together as One in Christ. God has plans for them. Plans that are perfect. Plans that involve change. Plans that will stretch them and complete them. He is the One who guides and directs them. This is the one year mark of years that He has planned for them.

Continue to lift this couple up as they seek to follow after Christ. God has and will continue to bless them.