Thursday, December 20, 2007
Last night was KIDS Club -- our planned Christmas party celebrating Jesus' birth. Darci, the other adult leader and her children could not be there, but with only 6 children scheduled to come I thought "no problem". Well, it was a problem. When the first three arrived, they immediately bounced all around the room getting into everything that I had set out in preparation. Finally, I got them working on a some simple puzzles, but with three children and two puzzles plus being siblings, the competition began. Then two more came, throwing their coats on the table (which was fine), and they gravitated toward the others working on the puzzle. As I announced that activities for the evening, their volume intensified such that I could barely hear myself, so I'm sure the directives were lost.
We set off for the sacred sanctuary to look at the chrismons on the tree. One child saw the long isle and set off at racing speed. Another saw microphones and bounced from one to the next, pulling and twisting them to make them fit her 4 foot frame instead of the 6 foot frame of the minister. Another child found the lectern and raced to get her position of fame. Another saw the organ and bounded up to it while her duet partner found the piano keys to be great places to drop her fingers in imitation of lifting sounds to her audience.
Then someone saw the candle lighter / extinguisher -- picked it up asking what it was for as she aimed at those around her. When one person stated the purpose of the device, another child pleaded to light the candles. When I responded that it would be lovely, but I have no matches, someone loudly asked how they are lighted at church then?
All this was in the first 15 minutes -- I still had one hour to go.
We moved downstairs to the classroom, but the carpet we normally sit on for Bible time was still in the cleaning process from the last meeting when 9 chocolate cupcakes were squished into the fibers as they "ate" their cupcakes while "helping" to do something for someone else although the only thing available to do was eat the cupcake. So... we settled at the table used for crafts. One child started sliding his chair backwards ending up in the next room within the record time of 2 seconds flat. To which a competitor on the other side of the table also launched her chair into the next room. With than, one girl got up and started skating in circles, finally taking the challenge of the entire circle within all the rooms. That leaves 2 other children. One was loudly announcing words to Christmas carols that some guy made up. Which, of course, were not very appropriate for KIDS Club, let alone a child's thoughts anywhere. So that left one child, sitting quietly in her chair, cowering from the noise and activity that was exploding around her.
WHY DIDN'T THE TEACHER STOP THOSE KIDS???
The teacher was me. No matter what I tried, these kids were bouncing off the walls. The best 10 minutes was craft time when they had something specific to work on. Of course, that was after one student pulled the cap off the glitter glue and the contents floated down his hand like lava from a volcano.
So when they left, I wondered my purpose and how in the world God can use me for reaching kids with the Gospel. Next semester I have class on Wednesday nights, so the question arises do I stick with it on another night or do I let the whole thing go hoping someone else will step in and fill my shoes?
That's the scoop. Your prayers are appreciated and needed. Taking the Gospel to others is not easy, but is this something that another person will step up to the plate if I step down due to time constraints. (I have class Monday - Thursday nights this semester, so KIDS Club would need to be on Sunday nights for my schedule.)
How can we reach these children? How can God use me? What activities should I put my efforts, time and skills? I give my hands, feet, mouth, ears and heart to the Lord's work. My prayer is that He show me how to use them...
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." Prov. 22:6
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Give Thanks, for He is Good!
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us; and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him,a nd bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100
I share my prayer list of thanksgiving to God:
1. for being able to worship in freedom
2. for a God that loves us "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus..." Eph 2:4-6
3. for health, a warm place to call home, abundant food, and warm clothing
4. for family and friends
5. for a husband that loves me and cares for me
6. for my children -- they are the best one could ever ask for
7. for healing in Sue, Kara Grace, Carrie, and others who have needed His touch this past year
8. for the beautiful creation
9. for a job that I love
10. for God's grace
11. for the simpleness of life shown through a child
12. for computers that enable communication across miles
13. for open worship times and places
14. for prayers that are answered -- that peace that passes all understanding regardless of what is given as the answer
15. for brothers and sisters that offer encouragement at just the right time
16. for a house that we own
17. for reminders not to place our thoughts too much on those things of the earth
18. for glasses and contacts that I can see clearly
19. for a written Bible
20. and that I can read it
21. for God's amazing love that I can see over and over
22. for music and instruments to enjoy lifting song to God
23. for flour, sugar and other great stuff that can be put together for a delicious breakfast
24. and that I have a stove, oven and utensils to use
25. for cameras that help us capture something important or to share visuals easily when others are far away
26. for computers that enable us to share those pictures and words
27. for beautiful scenery
28. and a dependable car
29. that enables me to see what God has created
30. for many thoughts that are hard to put down on paper
31. for husband encouragement challenge and other studies that help me to grow or change in Christ
32. for warm blankets and hot cup of tea on a cold day
33. for safety when snow comes down and roads get icy
I give thanks to you, O Lord God, for blessings beyond my comprehension and ability to share. May you receive what I offer and find it pleasing and acceptable. Help me to be a light, even today - a day when we think of good things and tomorrow - when we might be tired from the activity of today. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name! Amen.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Well, she struck me with her question. I was so pleased that I had gotten through the month of June with correct answers / responses -- now I had to continue with this stuff!?!
The week was harder than the whole month of June. Maybe it was letting down my guard to what I ought to do -- so some pretty nasty thoughts / words popped into my head. And sometimes, those unacceptable thoughts were "pop" in, but take residence because I did not chase them out. After all... I wasn't sharing with others as part of the assignment...
Needless to say, God spoke loudly to my heart that the work was not finished -- and would never be finished. On a daily basis I must crucify the flesh to live for Him. And thinking others more important than myself is part of that daily battle.
So, back to the basics. What do I appreciate / value about my husband? He is Godly -- striving to live a life acceptable to the Lord. He prays at every meal -- offering thanksgiving for what Our Father has given us for nourishment. On a regular basis he undertakes tasks that must be done rather than my doing everything -- like washing dishes after each meal, cleaning the upstairs bath, washing towels and other laundry, taking out the trash and then putting it by the curbside on Monday night. He celebrates with me when I pass accounting exams as I work on my Certified Management Accountant title. He goes on walks and rides his bike with me...
The list could continue -- but now my heart is peaceful again as I put the focus on good, not bad; others more important; being a servant of Christ.
Praise God from whom all blessings flo. A big blessing is my husband.
Monday, June 25, 2007
List of ten things to continue:
1. Pray for my husband -- not with change as the focus, but thankgiving and God's hand leading me to meet his needs.
2. Daily consider things to say or do that show he is important to me.
3. Speak favorably about him to myself and others.
4. Daily offer thanks to him for something -- whether it be completion of a regular task or his doing something new. Recognizing him for being active in keeping our home a home.
5. Push negative thoughts out -- denying them residence within my brain.
6. Often, do something fun that is special for him. Maybe make cookies, fix something with b-b-q sauce, or wash the dinner dishes before dinner (wash pots, pans, measuring cups, etc. before dinner, so that not much is left for afterwards).
7. Don't take personally his behavior that is withdrawn or short. Often times there is something going on inside his head, but I need to allow him the space to work through it.
8. Allow him choices. When doing a project, often times I get it started and completed without involving him. This challenge helped me identify that he does want to be involved -- so ask what he might do with XXX or any thoughts on project Y.
9. Share with him my disappointments or dreams -- don't hold them inside figuring he will get that information by osmosis.
10. Stop and listen. Put the paper down. Turn toward him if I am cooking. Make eye contact. Keep my mouth shut to finish his sentences.
* Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
May God's Spirit be within me -- showing forth through me in my actions and words as guided by my thoughts on Him.
* Prov. 31 (Selections) An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels... She does him good and not evil all the days of her life...Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future... Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised...
My role as Marshall's wife and my response to being his wife go far beyond just him. At the heart of our relationship all is my love and fear of the Lord.
* Lev. 19:18 ...you shall love your neighbor as yourself...
How do I want to be treated? That is how I should act toward my husband.
* James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
Our relationship is under God's hand. If change takes place that is good -- it is through God's mercies, not my nagging or my efforts to be positive and to encourage. Instead, I must remember that all that we have came from Him -- all those things or behaviors that I count as important, are from our Creator, our Maker. Patting myself on the back and then getting frustrated when all does not continue to go as I want is not part of is best for me. Instead, that long slow process of growing and changing is like the potter with the wheel....
* Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I saw this one on Sarah's site and it spoke to my heart as appropriate for me as well. Sometimes I mutter under my breath -- and these words should not be said if I don't want him to hear it -- don't say it, don't think it, not even "quietly".
God of renewal, everywhere your Holy Spirit breathes new life into creation. As I undertake this day to bring glory to you by honoring my husband, I ask you to be present in my marriage. Guide me to know in which things I should ask forgiveness, in which things I should change, and in which things I should ask for the grace to let go. Show me new ways to respect my husband today and open my eyes to all that you have made him to be. I trust in your goodness and in the covenant my husband and I made with you and each other on our wedding day. Through Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
Friday, June 22, 2007
* Husband Encouragement Challenge unites several of us in our journey to a better relationship with our husband. Although June is coming to a close, so our official challenge ends, I suspect each of us will continue with the purpose of being a better mate. The information itself starts from writings of Nancy Leigh DeMoss found at Revive Our Hearts. A prayer now at the end of the challenge each day has indeed become my prayer: God of renewal, everywhere your Holy Spirit breathes new life into creation. As I undertake this day to bring glory to you by honoring my husband, I ask you to be present in my marriage. Guide me to know in which things I should ask forgiveness, in which things I should change, and in which things I should ask for the grace to let go. Show me new ways to respect my husband today and open my eyes to all that you have made him to be. I trust in your goodness and in the covenant my husband and I made with you and each other on our wedding day. Through Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.*
* An Identity theme has me thinking of what qualities do others see? I love the shared list of Who I am in Christ reminds me that each one of God's children is important in His sight. The root of many problems falls in our failure to accept that I am accepted, I am secure, and I am significant. Unto the Lord I left a prayer that is at the end of Identity Pt. 2 -- I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
And from the simple, I find others that touch my heart...
* It is through my son or daughter's blog that I find a link to an old friend, not old as in age, hahaha, but old as in almost 30 years I have know this guy and his wife, but I am amazed at the depth of his faith. His recent blog about the unknown touched me with the final statements, "I don't know how much time I have left, and I don't know "diddly squat" about what will happen to me and around me. What I do know is that I want every moment to count." What will I do TODAY that will make an impact -- perhaps for someone's eternity?
* Thankful Thursday with 70 people joining together in thanksgiving to God.
* Connection with others that share a role that I find difficult at times. Just knowing another preacher's wife , the struggle with issues and people within the church is not so overwhelming.
* Or the variety of blogs on myspace or blogspot connected through "friends".
I praise God that we have a common bond that gives us joy and strength. I praise God that through His mercies, we are unified in Christ!
Monday, June 18, 2007
I love the Father's Day pics, Sarah! Thanks for sharing the joy that you celebrated yesterday with Eli having a wonderful father!
This weekend I tried several things to encourage my husband.
1. Ask if he wants to play games on nights there is nothing acceptable on TV. He loves any type of game -- really gets into the challenge or competition. For me, the competition adds stress, so I try to avoid. In a compromise, I'll play the game, but someone can keep my score for me if they want -- I'll play for fun, but not for competition. This worked fine -- I found that playing was the important aspect for him, the "winner" was only a small piece of his experience. Also, if in doubt of who is winner since we weren't keeping score, we determined to flip a coin.
2. On Sunday I played the piano for worship since organist took the day off. This time I tried not to make a big deal about the hymns or my being nervous (I will give the music unto the Lord, but shake like a leaf in a thunderstorm). Rather than ask for hymns to be printed or copied for me, I used the accompanist edition and flipped pages to find the hymns as needed. I practiced at times he was not in the church or at home (which can be very tricky because the manse is right next to the church and he goes back and forth frequently during the day). Keying down my involvement seemed to help him stay focused on prepping the service.
3. For Father's Day I fixed Sauerbraten -- a dish that he comments about frequently. He loved it!
4. On Sunday after worship I was -- well, fiesty inside... I didn't feel like being very nice to anyone. Instead of being my usual pain-in-the-neck when I feel that way, I prayed frequently and stepped outside or downstairs as needed to give myself some breather space. It turned out, we had an enjoyable day and took a long walk in the evening topped off an ice cream at Dairy Sweet.
At times it is still hard to be positive, but I love the scriptures for today that remind me joy comes from being close to God. That joy then shows forth (then I think of the song, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...)
Friday, June 15, 2007
The challenge to look back and see where we were in our relationship as husband / wife and to look ahead. My husband is a minister, so one would think his spiritual life is perfect. However, in our time of encouragement, I have seen him become more comfortable in sharing his faith with me -- including it in his words as a daily part of his life. His training in seminary seemed to squelch that sharing -- it seemed his view is that a minister does not want to force his faith on others, but allow them to learn for themselves the relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a strength to me as he comments on his prayer topics or items of struggle with flesh / faith. If I know he is strong in his daily walk, it is much easier to accept that God is leading him and leading us a couple, through him.
Yesterday we were to reflect on integrity within our mate. It is difficult to list items or events that show or reflect that character that is righteous, so I take the challenge to comment directly to him (or about him) when his normal response reflects integrity. For example, the church is debating about adding a parking lot. At the congregational meeting on Sunday, my husband, as moderator, had to keep the meeting moving without interjecting his own feelings on the subject. Of course, he did a wonderful job and kept composure / peace in the midst. Not everyone could have known and followed Roberts' Rules, yet keep the atmosphere welcoming. That quality within him is something I just took for granted before this challenge.
One struggle that I have is related to timing. I want things to move faster than they do (sometimes) and to have answers quicker that they come. God is helping me to see that as a faith issue -- trusting in Him with my whole heart, soul, and mind (and love your neighbor as yourself). (Memory verse: Luke 10:27) The new verse for the week fits right with this thinking: Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5,6)
On a different note: Thanks, Sarah, for encouraging us all to make our relationship with hubby better!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It is good to give thanks to the lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High; to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night...I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands. (Ps. 92:1-4 selections)
Indeed, God has been good! I am thankful for many things, but here are just a few for today:
* Summer weather with sunshine and blue skies. I love getting outside in the morning and taking walk -- without bundling up in coat, hat, gloves, scarf.... And hearing the birds sing... And seeing the bunnies...
* For a house that is nice and enables me to have a computer, pictures, Bibles and other books, a sewing machine... Although my focus is not to be on things of this earth, I appreciate having "things" that help me enjoy my time here.
* God's hand moving in Marshall's and my thoughts. A year ago I did not want to stay in Iowa. A year ago, Marshall could not think of retirement and steps in preparation. Now, I am willing to stay here (and it seems evident that God's calling to Marshall is here), and Marshall is also saving $ and looking at houses to possibly buy so we have something when we must move out of the manse. Our thoughts run more parallel -- not in different directions.
* The Husband Encouragement Challenge revises my thinking of ways to improve my relationship with my husband. The simple tool of communication between us has us talking of things that previously I thought were off-limits and he has shared things more freely because I think I am getting better at listening.
* Two children who love the Lord and live daily for Him. That reality has been my prayer for 20 some years now -- and they both have wonderful comments or postings on their own blogs that help me in my walk with Jesus Christ. Sarah is also sharing her faith with her son -- so faith is being carried from one generation to another.
* For family and friends that help me see God working here on earth through and with us.
I praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Recently I had gone to a meeting that described people that get on your nerves as those who actually are doing something that we are guilty of. Yes, there are some people that drive me nuts with their talking -- never seeming to listen, but just talk on and on and on and on.... That workshop clued me that I have an issue with listening, but this exercise with hubby helped me to identify further an issue for me.
To be honest, this husband encouragement challenge has been good for us. I am seeing him as more of a regular person with needs and issues like I have -- rather than being a pot that is baked with no hope of change or being molded or softened. Also, I think we are both more positive -- little things in life are not causing us to draw into our little shells, but including the other person in what is taking place or what we are observing, feeling, or experiencing.
Started at http://inlightofthetruth.blogspot.com/
Thursday, June 7, 2007
May God bless you with discomfort...
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths ,and superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger...
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears...
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that
you may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don't think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you'll have all the strength necessary.
May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.
May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.
Source: "Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine," published by the Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
For example, when the kids were small, we wanted a place for them to play outside, but still be in a sheltered or confined space. So... He created and built a tree house. The door hinged to allow them playing outside in hot or cold temps. They could put the door up in summer to allow air to freely circulate -- or keep it down in the fall / winter when we need protection from the wind.
In the kitchen he will often follow recipe, but sometimes he changes it just a bit to adapt to preferred flavors or avoid allergy items. He takes a complicated recipe as a challenge -- not to be avoided, but to enjoy the making and eating.
For his job, creativity prompted his video taping the services -- including not only the text to our readings, but also the melody line. Some who watch the tape have commented on all the he includes -- thereby enabling them to enjoy and participate in the worship service when broadcast on TV (local channel).
Today I go home after visiting my daughter, her husband, and my wonderful grandchild. All that we have seen for encouraging our husband has been much on my mind, but have been putting it into place through e-mails and thoughts. This challenge encourages me to be more expressive -- typically I hold back thinking that the timing is wrong or that he needs his space. On Sunday I thought of Eve in the garden -- listening to the serpent's twisting of what she had been told. How often have I been listening to the wrong voice in making decisions within our relationship? Do I freely give through God's leading or do I make excuses for what is uncomfortable for me?
One of the memory verses on InLightofTheTruth is Psalm 86:11 -- Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name. I praise you, O Lord, my God, with all my heart. I will glorify Your name forever -- reminds me that a relationship is a continuing process. He can teach us daily to build a husband / wife relationship.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
The challenge for me comes with the negative thoughts when things don't go quite my way. Why can't it be done MY way? God has been showing me that these thoughts are selfish -- I am looking at myself way too much.
More later, but for now these are my thoughts in thankfulness for a challenge that will help my relationship with one that is very important to me.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Although I thought of summarizing the three points, his style allowed me to sit back and think of what is actually taking place with God as master and creator. I hope that you also take a peak at another aspect of God's work within the world -- even in a rural setting. Jim Eliff's The Rural Church Dilemma.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thess. 5:16-18)
Last week I tried to come up with a list and it was actually very hard. This week, my daughter (Sarah -- In Light of the Truth) encouraged me to put something down -- just keep it simple if I want.
Does God ask any more from us than to give back to Him our thanks and praise? With that, I come to Him with these items for which I am thankful:
* Sunshine, flowers, blossoms on trees and green grass.
* Summer vacation -- the semester is completed and I do not teach summer sessions this year.
* Extended family that gives places to go for vacation. =) (We leave tomorrow for Houston.)
* Studying economics is going smoother than I had imagined. (Studying for an accounting test -- economics is included, but this area is not easy for me.)
* Feet that enable me to walk, ears to hear, and hands for touching.
* Parents that I love.
* Eli -- my grandson who reminds me of the steps in learning development.
* Children that love and serve the Lord.
* Husband that loves me. (Today is our anniversary...)
* Brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage just by being there.
* I am thankful, Lord God, for your hand that moves. Thank you for being a God that knows His people and cares for us.
Visit Iris for more links on this Thankful Thursday.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Many have asked what will I do this summer -- am I teaching any courses? Will I do traveling, they ask.
After reading someone's blog today, I did get to thinking -- just what will I do this summer? Sure, I have plans to study for an accounting exam that I will be taking. And yes, I plan to travel to see family and friends. But what is the most important item to include this summer? Will it be cleaning the house? Or finishing scrapbooks and sorting pictures into albums? Taking lots of walks or going for bike rides?
The most important thing is for me to remember what is most important. What do I hope to do each day? Although I like to think that I daily read God's Word, I noticed that I am still working on the book of Jeremiah. If I read a chapter a day, those 52 chapters would have been finished last August -- yeah, August of 2006. So where do I put my priorities? Why do I make excuses? Why do I get distracted by reading the paper or a magazine rather than focusing on life to my Spiritual Soul?
What will summer bring? May the activities be things like:
1) Finishing the book of Jeremiah
2) Volunteering my hands, feet and voice to sharing Christ's love
3) Devoting myself to prayer
4) Reading God's Word daily
5) Praising Him
Even in the midst of cleaning or sorting pictures...
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The Lord is your keeper;