Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We are free...freedom comes with a price....

Last week Steve took me on another "trip." We had several stops to make, but the first stop we made was Tahoma National Cemetery...

I was surprised at the emotion that I felt when we drove up to the gate.

I realized that we had so much to be thankful for. We are free. We have freedom of speech. We have opportunities. And we need to say thank you...

and we need to pray for those young men who right now are fighting to keep our freedoms.

Father, I thank you for those young men and women who are fighting for America's freedom in places that are so far from their homes. God place your hand of protection on them. Jesus, make your presence know to them. Father, you know what real freedom is and you understand sacrifice because you gave your son for each one of us. Help us to remember to keep them in our thoughts and prayers, in Your name, Amen

Monday, March 30, 2009

Please pray...it is still not over...

I wanted to up load this video but somehow I do not have the ability (or the patience) to try again.
This is a video of the Flood in the Red River Valley, specifically, Fargo, N.D.
As you look at it, pray for the people who are broken, tired, and are aware that the end is still not in sight. A blizzard is raging through this region now which brings snow and wind.
As this crisis is over and the news coverage stops, there will be a continued need to pray for the individuals that have lost so much. Those who have literally a ton of clean up to do.
The same volunteers who are sleep deprived will be the volunteers to haul the sand bags away from the river.
God is faithful. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
Praise Him for His faithfulness in providing support, love, and energy to continue for many of these people.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring...Celebrate Purim...

Our small group has been studying Charles Swindoll's Esther for the past while. We decided that it would be fun to celebrate Purim.

Flashback...I have to give complete credit to Pat Sauer to this. Years ago, I was leading a junior high Bible study and we were studying Esther. One evening, Pat brought hamantashen cookies for us to enjoy and explained what this was...Back to the present!

We had set the day for March 19 which was one day before Purim. For those who do not know about the Jewish holiday. Here it is in a nutshell...(I'm not good on nutshells)

King Xerxes of Persia banished his wife, Queen Vashti because she wouldn't come to his banquet wearing her crown. He needed a wife, enter Esther, Jewish girl of exceptional beauty and her uncle, who raised her. She entered the "beauty" contest of the century and won. She became queen. Haman was Xeres right hand man who hated Jews. Plot to wipe out the Jews was squelched by Mordecai and Esther. Haman was hung on a gallows that he was building for Mordecai....You know this is the most action packed story filled with twists and turns and humor, you should read the book of Esther for yourself...it's great.

Well, we celebrated. We came with traditional Purim menu: Challah bread, black bean burgers, Vegi filo dough casserole, orange/date beef roast, honey cake, hamantashen cookies, and a couple delicious salads. We read a children's play about the event, including the booing and stomping whenever Haman spoke or his name was said. We had a good time.

Additionally, the celebration includes a food basket to the needy. We brought bags of food for the Ferndale Food pantry. Researching and then sharing the traditions with one another. We learned, shared, ate, gave, and served...and that is what it's all about.

And the winner is....

A couple of weeks ago, Steve and I went to the home show in Lynden, WA and as we were leaving, we saw a basket that Comcast was giving away. I asked where the registration place was and off we went to register.

I have to take a break here...the last time we did this I thought that I was going to win or just register for...a little Crayola Bunny...sooooo cute. We registered and went home and got the call...we WON the Crayola Bunny. We went to the mall in our "new" 1984 Jetta. We walked into the card shop and guess what...our little bunny was 4' high and 4' wide. Yep, we put the kids in the back and then CB was stuffed into the back seat!!!!

We registered on Saturday...On Tuesday, last week, I got a call. I had won the gift!!! And what did I find????
A Wii
yep! we got a Wii. In addition they had the basket filled with all kinds of comcast stuff, another game called "Carnival" and a few free on-demand movies.
It was great. I went to pick it up on Friday. I had KIND OF remembered that I saw Wii but figured that it was a game. I asked the man when I picked it up, "Is that really a Wii?" When he said yes, I have to say, I did make a small, very small, scene. OKAY...I screamed and laughed.
PS...we went home and I was determined that we were going to hook this up. After several attempts...Steve said, "I'm okay if we wait until Jane comes over Easter." So, we have a wii (Betsy said, "I don't think it's that hard because Jon just hooked it up.") and we will wait until Jane comes...she is our little techie set up and she is SOOOOOOO patient with us. (especially as we get up there in age! :-) ) Stay tuned for pictures of us playing...after Easter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One Month to live...

In our small group, we are going through a video series called: One Month to Live.

The premise is what would you change if you found out you only had one month to live? What would you do differently? What would change in your life and why would you wait to change it?

Tonight we talked about Leave Boldly and we discussed what would our legacy be. They also have "activities" to do. Tonight it was writing your obituary which Steve and I would really rock at because we know the format. Name, age, died in a local hospital. She/He was involved in his/her church, in the following organizations, she/he loved to garden....blah, blah, blah...I told Steve I don't want to be known for my accomplishments or the organizations I was involved in. I want to be known for who I am. That got me thinking: who am I and what is the legacy that I would like to leave?

As a wife, I want to be known as an encourager to my husband. I want people to remember the love that I had for him. I want people to realize that we had fun together, we laughed together and we cried together. We experienced life together and we prayed for one another and with one another.

As a mother, I want to be known as a mom who prayed for and with my girls. I want them to remember how much love I have for them. I want them to know that I am so proud of them; that my heart hurts when they hurt and that I hurt when I can't be close to them when they need me. I want them to remember me as a mom who encourages them and doesn't mind if they call me in the middle of the night. I want them to remember silly things that we did and picnics that we took and taking the sled to see their grandparents down the street.

As a mother-in-law, I want my sons-in-law to know that they are both my favorite. I want them to know that I see the love that they have for my daughters in their eyes and with their actions. I want them to know that I am proud of them and that I really mean it when I tell them that I love them and that I pray for them. I want them to know that I really do see them as sons, men that I have prayed for long before they met and married my girls.

As a grandmother, I want my grandchildren to know me. I want to know them. I want to know what books they love, I want to know that they fell and hurt themselves or that someone hurt them and that I care about how they feel. I want to pray with them. I want to hold them. I want to make forts, build sandcastles, and laugh with them.

As a friend, I want my friends to know that I care for them. I pray for them and desire to pray with them. I want them to know that when they tell me things, it stays with me. I want them to know that I cherish their friendship.

But most of all, I want people to look at me and see Jesus Christ in my life. I want them to know that I love my Savior and trust Him for the daily events that enter into my life. I want people to see that I am a child of a King...a true princess of the Creator. I want to direct people to Him with my life and my words. I want people to see Him in everyday life...in the child's laugh, the tears of a broken soul, the colors in the rainbow, the majesty of the mountains, and the power of the ocean. I want others to see that I love to serve Him.

So, what is my legacy? Being intentional -- make sure that these things get said to the ones whom I love and to continue to live each day with the grace and peace of Jesus. Do I have one month to live? Not that I know of...but I want to live my life and express my faith daily....like...I only had one month to live.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grace and Peace

Tonight we had our monthly refuge service. I love those times of communion and worship. Tonight our pastor talked about the way that Paul begins most of his letters. Written to many cultures, many people, and yet they begin the same way...
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ...
Rushing over those words, he reminded us, causes us to pass by the basis for what our faith is based on.
Grace: God's riches at Christ's expense...
Easy to look at that and say, yep that is what it means. But do we really understand daily what that expense was? Christ, God's only son, submitted to death on the cross dying for each of us and our sins. His resurrection was nothing short of a miracle. With that resurrection, we received forgiveness. We received grace and forgiveness through nothing that we have done. His grace is why we are able to receive our forgiveness. It is only that forgiveness that we can even experience His peace.
As I am writing my current paper, I stand in awe of the great love that our God has for us to have set that plan in place for us. When we have placed our trust in Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we have the assurance of salvation and the promise of heaven and eternity with Him. Grace...His Grace is all sufficient and all encompassing. Once we experience that grace...we will experience His peace.
What a perfect reminder for us as we approach Easter. When we realize the depth of His grace we are drenched in His peace. There is nothing that can overwhelm us when we washed with His grace.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Two birds and two lifestyles...

There are 2 birds that I have become fascinated with since we have moved to Washington. It has been very difficult for me to catch a picture of the first one so this picture of the hummingbird is not one that I have taken...it's not that I haven't tried to catch pictures of this little bird...I just haven't been able to do it...maybe this summer but....

The 2 birds? The hummingbird and the eagle....
First---the hummingbird!
Have you ever watched a hummingbird? Their wings are going so fast that many times you can't see them and that keeps them stationary. They rarely "sit" down, they flit from one flower to another, and they seem to have an overwhelming "schedule."

Then there is the eagle...

I can recognize their flight! They expend little energy when they are flying. If there is turbulence, they continue to go higher and higher until they can fly above it. Their vision is phenomenal...they can see their prey as they are flying high and then they dive right to it. They seem so calm and unruffled.
A speaker said, the eagle doesn't need to figure out how to get across the stream or the raging river.

So many times, I feel like the hummingbird. I flit from one project to another and don't really LAND on one of them. I get exhausted from flapping my wings so fast, and then, even with all of that action, I feel like I just stay in one place.
I have felt like the eagle. That is when I am grounded in His Word. It is then that I can soar over the "turbulence" that comes into my life. I can set my eye on the "prize." I can look at situations with the eye of Christ and my focus is clear.
I would love to be recognized by my walk with Him. What a joy to hear: oh, she is a Christ-follower...I recognize her walk. I can see that she spends time with the
Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.
So here is the Question...
Hummingbird? Eagle?
"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
~ Isaiah 40:28-31

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Overwhelming Dinner and Sunset....

I started my Saturday with the DWIPS - a group of ladies that are trying to be dangerous for Christ. We meet two times a month and I am always amazed at God's design when He brought us together as a group.
Then, after bumming around the home show, we went out to dinner in Blaine at the Beach House. It is right beside the bay and as we sat we watched the sky's canvas...as the Creator painted another one of His masterpieces.

We watched throughout dinner. While we waited for the sunset, there was other entertainment. Although they are called flying rats by some, I have to say that I am fascinated by the sea gulls out here. It was low tide and so the clams were plentiful. The gulls grab what they can in their bills and then fly up and drop them to the ground. It's more amazing than that...they find cement, drift wood, or anything that would be a harder surface to break them open. It really was quite a show...
The sun's refection on the water...

As we ate dessert, the painting was almost complete. We walked along the shore (even though it was FREEZING). As we left the parking lot, I told Steve that I felt like I was going to cry, I felt overwhelmed. It was His creation, His love, His plan, His hand, and it was God's presence that completely overwhelmed me...what a joy to serve Him...
We left the restaurant and Steve said, quick take this picture, it shows the silver lining of the clouds...I wrote a little book last year and one of the lines was:
WOW! That's all I can say! WOW!
And the dinner at sunset...WOW!