gimpy

I love the finches, chickadees and sparrows that visit daily. My cat, Casanova, loves them too, but in a sinister way. Several weeks ago, Jessica, my friend that lives in the suite downstairs, brought me a freshly injured sparrow, Casanova's latest victim. I felt a powerful compunction to pray for him. I probably held him for 15 minutes. His leg was broken, he had a tooth puncture on his head, and one wing looked gnarly. My heart ached for him. I was reminded that I could offer my aching heart to the Lord for the salvation of souls. And I did. I was comforted knowing Jesus cared for that sweet sparrow. As I held him and prayed, he seem to regain some strength. He couldn’t get aloft, so I put him in the forsythia, hoping and praying he would survive. I felt like power had gone out from me, a... Read more →


god's purpose on the job

(I will now break all cardinal rules for the internet by talking about work. I have never done this before.) I' m having a hard time at work. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't environment. I strive to rise above the annoyances, abuse and negativity. Last week I failed utterly. Failure is tough when you take being an example seriously. I don't know how my work struggles will end. Sometimes I think I should get out while I still have sanity or while I can still get a good reference. On the other hand, when things are going well - which they are more than they aren't - I love my job, really love it. But it's a volatile environment governed by values I abhor. Last week was horrible. I felt antagonized and abused and a co-worker is driving me absolutely bonkers. I snapped. I said... Read more →


through the door

Revelation 3:20 To the church of Laodicea Jesus says, "I stand at the door and knock." When my babies were small they would stand in their crib facing the door when their sleep was over. Sometimes they jabbered, sometimes whimpered, sometimes called Ma-Ma. What they said and did varied. But that they faced the bedroom door waiting for me never did. They waited, they expected me, they knew I would come through that door. When I opened that door and walked though a playful, happy-to-see-me smile lit their faces. That smile always brought a smile to me too. Today I'm reminding myself that Jesus is knocking and waiting to be invited to join me. When he joins me His Spirit immediately washes over me. Like my babies when I entered their room, comfort, joy, and security are mine when He joins me. Read more →


spring is here

Spring is in the air. Flower shoots are sprouting up and nature’s early risers (I’m not talking about my kids) are singing in the tree outside my bedroom window when I wake up in the morning. I love everything about spring: warmer temperatures, longer days, green grass, even spring cleaning. I especially love flowers! The ones that can be bought from a florist are beautiful, but the ones that grow in my own yard, I have a particular fondness for. In early spring, I watch those flowerbeds with anticipation, just waiting for those first shoots that are like promises that say, “Yes, spring is coming.” They are little treasures to this girl who didn’t grow up in a land of such long winters. This year as I’ve looked for specks of green shooting from the cold, brown dirt, I’ve experienced just a tiny bit of conviction. “Are you looking for... Read more →


god's directives for troubled relationships

I have a relationship that is badly damaged. Words have been said and actions done that have hurt both of us enormously. I've wondered over and over what to do. I've asked God to bring peace to the troubled relationship, to bring healing. Until today, He hasn't. Not that today some thing tangible happened to change the situation. No, it is still the same. However I did get a directive. Since this is more than I've received thus far, I'm very excited. As usual, in my praying I asked the oft repeated, God please heal this relationship. My Scripture reading this morning was Luke 6. In verses 27-31, I read, "But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one... Read more →


eating habits and spiritual growth

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. - John Piper. Romans 12:2 "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." This is my prayer in my "lifestyle change" pursuit. I'm asking God to transform me into a new person by changing the way I think with respect to food and physical activity. I have an ongoing conviction, that generally speaking, I squash and repress trying desperately to ignore. Despite my grand efforts, it still pricks me. It's overeating and being overweight. Overeating and being overweight reveals a great deal about me. 1) I don't believe (or at least I don't live like I believe) that Jesus is enough. When I'm lonely, bored, depressed, or anxious, I don't go to God for comfort and peace. I go to food. 2) I'm not all that "green" after all. All my... Read more →


a torn curtain

Exodus 26:33 "When the inner curtain is in place, put the Ark of the Covenant behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place." Matthew 27:51 At the moment of Jesus's death, "The curtain in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." Hebrews 4:16 "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it." At Jesus' death, the curtain separating mortals from a Holy God was torn from top to bottom. In that moment, I was given complete, unobstructed access to God. Never again would a priest be needed to petition God on the behalf of his followers, and that includes me. So with that, I go to Him boldly because he is my gracious God. There I receive His mercy and... Read more →


my imprisonment, his mercy

John MacArthur teaches reading the same passage in the Bible for one month to allow it to really sink into the spirit. I've been reading the book of Romans for over a year. I know Romans is packed with good theology, yet most of it goes over my head. It seems the more I read it, the less I understand. I love verses that are clear and don't take so much thought to grasp: "Be kind," "Help the poor," and so forth. Clear directives are so much easier for me than the book of Romans. God promises to bless me as I read Romans and even though it seems so out of my reach, I know it is going into my spirit and making a difference. It's one of those spiritual laws that I cannot understand. God's word always yields an increase. Thankfully there are verses scattered through Romans that... Read more →


response to a pagan

I work with a lady who is "pagan." By pagan, she means that she worships nature, woods, and the like. I've been wondering how to share my own beliefs in a way that would make sense to her and be of some value. This morning I was reading Philippians 2:1 and it seemed as though the light came on and I knew to approach the subject by talking experientially. "Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic?" These are the questions from Philippians 2:1. The answer in my case is a resounding YES! Encouragement, comfort, fellowship and friendship with the Spirit, heart changes that have made me more tender and sympathetic; these are some of the fruits of belonging to Christ. These things have made an enormous difference in my life. I can... Read more →


philippians and thanksgiving holiday

Philippians 1:3 "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God." I recently returned from visiting my family in Arkansas. My heart is tender and warm thinking about my time with these special people. Michael and Lawana got the ball rolling getting me down there. When Michael learned that Stacie would be in Arkansas for the holidays, he phoned my dad and my mom to see if they'd join him in paying my way down. Each of them bought a ticket, allowing Rachael, Hannah and me to go. Not only did Michael and Lawana buy a ticket, they also carried most of the work and financial burden of the Thanksgiving meal. Michael made a turkey, ham, pork loin and a brisket. Lawana made vegetables, dressing, and desserts. On different days they took us out for supper. They treated us like royalty while we were there. Truly I... Read more →


happy canadian thanksgiving

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. - Jacques Maritain Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. People ask me often if my countries celebrate Thanksgiving the same way. Yes, they do, but it's a bigger deal in the US. In my ideal world, our family celebrates both. Admittedly though, it's unusual for Gordon to have both days off, making it near impossible to celebrate both. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and because of that, I do make a bit of effort to pull off two celebrations. One of our traditions, and one that I look forward to from year to year, is our prayer of thanks before we eat. We go around the table thanking God for the things that mean the most to us. It's simple, but very meaningful. Every Thanksgiving, I set aside some time to write out things I'm most thankful for. I could write for hours about... Read more →


the boll weevil

In 1915 the Mexican boll weevil invaded Alabama destroying 60% of the cotton crop of southeast Alabama. Farmers faced financial ruin and the community economy was at stake. Desperate for a crop that would withstand the boll weevil, farmers turned to peanuts and were rewarded with unexpected prosperity. The citizens recognized what at first appeared as tragedy, the destruction of their cotton crops, was instead the best thing possible for their economy. In gratitude they erected a monument to the boll weevil. In Enterprise, Alabama the monument still stands and its inscription reads: "In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity..." When I read the story of the boll weevil monument, I was reminded of two things. 1) All things are working together for my good, and 2) what is intended to harm me, God will use for good. (Romans 8:28... Read more →


comforting imaginings

(The last photo of Frodo, taken a week before his death, with Deborah's friend Jocelyn.) We had a tough weekend, mostly Hannah and me. Every time I sliced cheese I looked down at my feet expecting to see little Frodo waiting patiently for his treat, his tail swishing excitedly on the floor. He had such a gentlemanly way of waiting for his treats. When I walked through the back door, I was painfully jarred with reality when he wasn't there to greet me with his two-step forward, two-step-backward gig. He hadn't yet outgrown dribbling when excited. It was a source of annoyance to me. But yesterday I saw a dribble stain on the sofa throw and I smiled. I called Hannah to show her and we said in unison, "That's so sweet." My comfort is imagining Frodo in heaven. I've even been rationalizing my thoughts: The wolf and the lamb... Read more →


rachael

(My Rachael and me, 1995) "You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12 These are my "Rachael verses" and I've been thinking about them the past couple days as my sweet Rachael is at Outdoor School about three hours from here. I'm happy that she has this opportunity, but I miss her tremendously. Everywhere I look I see reminders of her and get a bit melancholy and sentimental. She is such a joy and I miss her. (7 years old; Rachael hated her softball days)After I lost custody of Stephanie and Christopher, I went into a mournful sadness that I thought I'd never pull out of. We were not planning a baby, but God saw... Read more →


mother teresa and tom fox

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~~ Mother Teresa Mother Theresa is my modern-day hero. I love a number of things Mother Teresa said. This particular quote I read today for the first time. It reminds me of how wonderful she was. The body of a peace-loving American activist was found in Iraq. Tom Fox died for what he believed was right. I admire that and want to be that committed. He wrote a paper before he went to Iraq saying: "But if Jesus and Gandhi are right, then I am asked to risk my life, and if I lose it, to be as... Read more →


pictures

I'm in my living room as I write this. It's peaceful and quiet, very welcoming. This room, along with the kitchen, is the hub of the house. Many a pleasant memory was made here. Laughter, hugs, tears, nursing babies, bedtime stories, reading, and many prayers. On the piano are pictures of the most important people in the world to me. Gordon and I share a frame and then the children stretch out in framed splendor. The pictures of the kids are not in any particular order, at least not to an onlooker. But there is an order to me. Presently, Hannah's picture is closest to mine. Hannah is getting an extra dose of prayers these days. She's closest to my heart at this time, so I moved her picture next to mine. Several weeks ago, Christopher had the #1 spot and leading up to her wedding, Stephanie did. The order... Read more →


the sea

"Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choice-less as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea." Anne Morrow Lindbergh I read that a few days ago and I've been thinking about it. Just as I can't tell the sea what sea shell to bring me, I can't tell the day what to give me. I can't dictate sunshine and a warm breeze. I can't demand only good things come in the mail. I can't legislate that only pleasant things come my way today. But I can be receptive and open to whatever washes up on my beach of life. I can even view whatever washes up as a gift. I can greet each day with the attitude of expectation. I want to become more open to the gifts from the sea of life. Read more →


2005's blessings

January!, the time of year where we look back and think, "Wow, where did all the time go?" It's a reflective time and, hopefully, a time where we can see the hand of God in some of the circumstances and events of the previous year. Yesterday during community prayer at church, a lady prayed something like "Our God in heaven who dances and laughs over the good things in our lives." I don't remember her exact words, but it was a beautiful picture in my mind. I like to imagine that God laughed and danced many times in 2005 because of good things in my family. My 2005 highlights are these: - Stephanie's wedding. Stephanie married a kind man who, along with her, is striving to be a follower of Jesus. John Mark comes from a good family and has watched his mom and dad interact lovingly all his life.... Read more →


i must tell jesus

In so many of our churches, the battle rages: hymns or choruses. I personally love both. Does that make me a well-balanced person? I grew up with hymns and personally appreciate the good theology many of them proclaim, although I went through years of hating them. I have come full circle and now commonly experience the need to sing hymns, or even think hymns, as a form of prayer and intercession. I play the piano sort of like I sew, minimally. If it can be played in the key of C, I can make a stab at it. When my heart is heavy, I often play this song over and over. God knows my heart and it seems playing this hymn over and over is a type of prayer. Sometimes I can't pray. At times like those, I often find myself at the piano playing "I Must Tell Jesus." I... Read more →


the light

I sit in silence The ticking of the clock is the only distraction The fir tree in the corner lights the darkness with delicate intrusion "He is your light," they say "He lights the way" "His light drives the darkness away." His light is His gift to me. My gift to Him? Receive His light. Let Him light my dark path. He is in my darkness. Only in darkness can I experience the the dawning of a new day. Only by dying can I be resurrected. Read more →


fingernails

In keeping with my latest theme of church and of writing thoughts down so as to figure out what I think, I will share another unclear thought. I have paper thin nails and usually cut them once a week to keep from tearing them and living with pain from a too short nail. For Stephanie's wedding, I pampered my nails with strengthener and grew them longer. For me, they were long. I got somewhat obsessed with them because the strengthener peels off so cool-like. I love to tear it off trying to get it all off in one peel. Very entertaining. During this time of digit pampering, I've become quite acquainted with my nails. I noted an interesting thing. Every single nail has an indention in it straight across, right in the middle. Because I'm easily amused with the simple things in life, I showed it to Gordon and we... Read more →


church according to little house on the prairie

William Faulkner said something to the effect that he couldn't know his own thoughts clearly until he had written them. I can identify with that thought. Therefore I shall try to work through some of my thoughts, in writing. My church is going through a difficult time. Our pastor (and good friend) resigned under less-than-ideal circumstances. Over the past couple years a number of wonderful people have left. What I use to consider a vibrant, alive church now seems dry, and even lonely.The spirit of love and concern for each other is very strong. I love these people. We are like a family. However, my own excitement for going to church is gone. When I was in Arkansas, I saw little churches dotting the countryside. They were simple, white, old church buildings. They reminded me of my grandmother's church when I was growing up. I was impressed by their simplicity... Read more →


thanks

(Our family in 2001. The little guy Stephanie is holding was our foster child, Markie Boy.) Psalm 50:23 "But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me." --Gordon, I'm thankful for Gordon, my husband. We don't always see eye to eye, and sometimes we fight, and sometimes I wish he'd not treat me like a child, ...... But I'm still thankful for him. He is a "family man" and since it's my family, I find that very attractive. He is intelligent, honest, hard-working, an excellent daddy, a good provider, committed and faithful. --My Children, I'm thankful for my children. I have 5. Stephanie and Christopher are my first litter and Rachael, Hannah, and Deborah are my second. Stephanie is 20. Her life turned me to God and I will never get over the impact she had on me. I didn't know it was possible to love so much and... Read more →


nature and the present

(My humble little garden, 2005. When I accepted that I'd probably never get a little farm, I adopted Bessie, my cow. As far as cows go, she's pretty low maintenance.) In 1875 John Muir asked "what is the human's part in the mountain's destiny?" I read that question last night and took a little bit of time to think about it. I remembered what Wordsworth said, "Let nature be your teacher," and Psalm 19, "The heavens tell of the glory of God." I suppose everyone could have a different answer for John Muir's question, but for me, the answer is simple. Nature can teach me about and point me to the glory of God. I very much desire to be a good student in God's classroom of nature. Annie Dillard wrote, "I have experienced the present purely through my senses." The "present" has much to offer. Right now, I'm at... Read more →