Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is That an Echo?

Since my Daughter, Son-in-law and the Grandladies moved out I have been hearing strange noises in the house. The quiet has been just slightly unnerving.

There are times after the babies go home and before Patrick arrives that I "hear" babies or the older Grandladies talking in the back bedroom. I know no one is there, but I look anyway. Could it be an echo of what used to be there? I hear allot of the house noises now too. The silence has magnified the whirs and clicks of the fridge and sometimes the buzz of a light bulb. I hear the neighbors working in their yards or leaving their homes in their cars. My breathing and other body noises are also hearable! In the cavern of our open spaces am I hearing echoes reverberating on and on? Even with all these new noises I still like the quiet!

I find that sometimes I need total silence to hear my thoughts and Gods' voice. When I turn off the noise of the world, God's whispers are clearly heard. When I shut my self away into a quiet place I find sorting through thoughts, prayer and even praise is easier and truthfully I feel more alive! I imagine that is what Jesus needed as well. He took time to get away from the crowds and find a spot where He could be alone with His Father. He now calls to us through the prodding of the Holy Spirit to come away with Him. He desires to love us through His word. He wants to have time with us alone!

Loving God, Lover of my soul, You created sound. You made the sounds ebb and flow like the sea. Even in music there is rest, times of silence so that our ears can hear the notes more clearly. You are an awesome God! Thank You for sound and the silence, too. I need to hear You and i need the love You bring.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Bit of Heaven

Babies are a lot of work. Grandbabies are a lot of fun! Today I worked hard most of the day, but taking care of my Grandman, Jacob, and my Grandlady, Abigail, became a fun grandparenting excursion that I don't think I will ever forget.

As the time drew near for mommy to pick up Jacob, and Daddy to pick up Abigail, I sat them next to one another on the floor in front of me. We love music so I put on Kenny Rogers and the Lettermen and began to sing and interact with each of them. They may be very young but they both love music and enjoy each others' company. Jacob rolled from side to side swinging his legs on top of Abi. She didn't mind. In fact she would smile and reach for Jake touching his hand gently or sometimes grabbing for it! It was playtime!

Jacob began to laugh at me. Maybe I was singing off key, or maybe my hair was just a bit messed up. I don't know, but it sure made him laugh! Maybe he was just having as much fun as I was! I picked him up and sat him on my lap singing to him. He leaned into me laying his head on my breast. We sat there loving each other till the song ended. It was a tender sweet moment between Grandma and Grandman.

When I put Jacob down I saw Abigail look at me as if she were saying, "It's my turn now!" so I picked her up and sat her on my knee singing to her. As if she had learned a lesson from her older cousin, she leaned in to lay her head on my breast giving me a gentle hug. Another sweet and tender moment, this time between Grandma and Grandlady.

Maybe these stories can only be understood through a Grandparents' experience, but I can tell you it is a bit of heaven here on earth to hold your child's child and sense their love. It must have been a bit like that for Jesus when He held the little children in His arms. The love of those children must have reminded Him of the dear sweet tender love that heaven breathes. Jesus brought heaven to us, and the love of the little children assured Him that heaven can also live within us.

Father in heaven, You are the life breath that we need. You are heaven in our hearts. I often close my eyes and imagine laying my head on Your breast like a little child who loves You and needs You so much. Too many times I try to act so grown up. I think I have everything in control. I know I don't when I let myself rest in Your arms. Thank You for being my Daddy. Thank You for breathing Your love into me every time I come to You as a lost and frightened child. Fill me with childlike wonder. Teach me to grow up into being Your child.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I like the word "Communion." It brings a picture to mind of bread and wine, but there is so much more. Communion is an intimate joining of two. There is a sense of sharing and exchange. To enjoy communion with someone, it is imperative that you come to an agreement and both draw close to one another.

Intimate moments enjoyed because of the faithful promises of two parties is communion.

When my husband and I exchange understanding words or touches, we enjoy a deep and close union that renews our love vows to one another. We become united, not always in agreement, but in committed love. Bowing over the bread and juice in worship of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, draws me deeper into His heart where my love and commitment to serve Him is strengthened. This is communion that satisfies and fills me with joy.

Communion is a beautifully blessed word, but even more so it is a beautiful expression of love and unity.

Dearest Lord Jesus, you commune with Your people in many ways. You open Your arms and Your heart to receive us. You invite us to breathe You into our very being. You draw us deeper into Your presence and change us. We need to be changed. Thank You for giving us more of You each time we receive communion. Thank You for giving us communion with spouses, parents, children, friends and siblings. We are blessed, bless us more!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Family Church

I love spending time with my family! Yesterday we gathered to celebrate two birthdays. Our daughter, Briget, and our son, Joseph were born seven years and a day apart. We had a fun day with lots of laughs, conversation, good food, and the babies were passed around to lots of loving arms! We finally took a long awaited photo with the entire family. The best word to describe the day is blessed.

I have thought for a long time, that our family is a mini church. We recognize that we each have different gifts and talents. Our function in the family is mostly determined by our gifts, but we also chip in whatever the need. We love, forgive, teach, and serve one another and those outside of our little family church.

Though we are close, our family does not claim exclusive rights with each other. We all go out into the world to make a difference in the lives of those in our little communities. We pray that friends and acquaintances see a difference in us because of Jesus.

Our little family church celebrates holidays, and milestones with prayer, communion, and fellowship. Jesus is our foundation and our center. He is praised and called on in prayer when someone is in need.

We have many stories we could tell about baptisms, The Big Give, weddings, and memorial services and others. We have fed the poor, and visited the prisoner. Needs that touch one heart are cared about by all. The family church grows strong roots and reaches outward as well.

It is right for Christian parents to bring their families to church. It is also right for the church to be formed in the family. The Kingdom of God is here. Our families submitted to Christ as the head become a church in our neighborhoods. We grow, and send forth the next generations into new neighborhoods.

Lord God, You are the Father of the Family of God. Jesus, You hold the church together and You blessed us with families to help us grow and flourish. Our families don't always live life in harmony. We hurt one another or forget to offer the same grace You have given us. Forgive us, and help us to turn our hearts back to the generations with which we share the name family. Thank You that when two or more gather in YOUR NAME You are there! As for our family, we will serve the Lord.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Best Me

I believe that the best God can give us is Himself. I also believe that to become the best of what I can be, means that I am to be part of Him.

God breathed His life into man. Life is a mysterious word, isn't it? We know some things about it, but we cannot capture it at its essence. Our bodies live, but our bodies are not life itself. Life continues long after the body dies. Life is in the blood according to God's word, but the blood itself is not life. God is life! He breathed Himself into our physical bodies, and He gives spiritual life to us by breathing the Holy Spirit into us.

This does not make us God or gods. We are simply vessels used for His glory.

The best me I can be is the me that is filled with the life of God. My tiny part in the Body of Christ is to be the best tiny part of God that He made me to be!

My good character qualities are the life of God seen through me. Gods' character is emmence and must certainly be seen through billions of beings who have His life breathed into them. Like the kalideoscope we are the tiny shards that allow His light to shine through us. We can be translucent or opaque by our choices. The best me is transparently revealing God to the world.

Breath of Heaven, You are also the light of the world! You are the life essence we cannot see but we can know. Our minds cannot comprehend Your thought or the emmence nature of Your holiness. Thank You for giving us, Your creation, a part of Your life to share with the world. Thank You for the breath that gives me eternal life. I want to be continually filled with every breath You take! Fill me and let Your glory be known!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Thoughts

Our church is going through the Youversion.2011 series by John Ortberg. This last Sunday Pastor John preached on Renewing Your Mind. He got me thinking. What did I think? Well, it has me thinking about my thoughts and the process of changing them into productive and not destructive thoughts.

Today I thought: "When new thoughts become everyday thoughts, but were never true thoughts, it is time to renew these thoughts to make them conform to the thoughts of Christ which are always true." The starting point is in knowing the true thoughts of Christ. Knowing His word helps me to know the truth and the lies that float through my head. I must stop, think, and capture every thought. Once captured, it must be diagnosed as either true or false. It is at that point that choice enters the picture. I can choose to take the thought and make it fit Christs' truth, or let it loose to take root and grow a tangled vine that leads me to wrong conclusions and to make bad decisions. It may take only seconds, but the consequences may last a lifetime.

It is my heartfelt desire to learn to take captive every thought for Christ. I have succeeded in some areas of my life , but in others I still struggle. We all have some thoughts that are easy to change and others that seem to be more difficult. The spiritual battle is in the mind. The battle rages and the enemy rears his ugly head in the places where we are weakest. God is our only hope to transform our thoughts. Without Him we can fight a good fight but the battle cannot be won without His intervention.

Last Sundays' sermon had me in tears. I cried because I know my struggles. I cried with joy, too, knowing that Jesus is doing a good work in me. I cried because of a statement John made: Every thought has the power to carry me into God's presence. What a beautiful thought!

God, You have a beautiful mind! Your thoughts are great and filled with all goodness and beauty! I am weak, and my thoughts wander far from You. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to use the mind You gave me to think careful thoughts that bring me closer to You. Help me not to be mindless in my thinking. Thank You for the new thoughts You give me every day. Thank You for making Yourself be known through those precious thoughts. I want to think on those things!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Teacher Appreciation

My husband is a teacher. He only began his teaching career recently. Though he has not been doing this long, he is one of the best teachers, not only because of students' scores, but because of his efforts.

Patrick works an average of 12 hours a day during the school year. He even works at home grading papers and planning. He is the tennis coach and may help with softball this spring. Like most teachers he has the students interests and best in the forefront of his mind. He looks for ways to motivate his middle school students to learn math. Not an easy task. He carries with him extra money to supply kids who forgot their lunch or do not have money to buy lunch. He is a disciplinarian, diplomat, manager, friend, as well as teacher. His reward is not monetary since his profession demands much but pays the minimum. He works hard and deserves his vacation, but needs to work his fireworks tents because we need the extra money.

These days, teachers are blamed if students don't learn. They are hard pressed to do more and more paperwork that takes them away from the task of teaching. Teachers don't love their job because of the pay, time away from family, or acknowledgment of their work. Good teachers love their job because God made them to teach. It is who they are and they love their students. Love motivates and sustains them when students rebel against their efforts.

Teachers should not be held responsible for all the problems in schools. Education demands a cooperative effort. Teacher, student, administrators and parents all have a vital part in helping a student succeed.

Jesus is our teacher. He should not be blamed for the lack of spiritual growth among His people. It takes a cooperative effort to help us grow closer to God and live an honorable life. We must cooperate with Jesus our teacher, the church which administrates and our fellow members in the Body of Christ. Learning to be like Christ takes time and the lessons are daily challenges. God sent a teacher and wants us to know that two are better than going at it alone. Three is even better!

Are we allowing others into our lives to help us grow? Do we have a teachable spirit? Are we blaming God for our rebellion to His teachings?

Rabbi Jesus, You are the one who offers us visual aids in creation and in Your life here on earth. You give us Your word and so many other tools with which we can learn about You and how to live rightly. Thank You for forgiving us in our rebellion to Your plan. Thank You for leading us gently and sometimes with extra discipline so that we can be more like You. Speak to us today Lord. We are ready to listen!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


As the time ends for a chapter in our life, I look back and wonder if we made the wrong decision. Was our charity and sticking to our word as wrong as others have said? I ponder all the years, and I have no regrets, though there were some very difficult times. The day is drawing near to when the commitment is over. It is time to move on.

Our daughter and grandladies have lived with us for 9 years. Now that they are moving I am rethinking my very stubborn stand to see our promise stand true to the end. We've experienced the frustrations and irritations of having them around, but we gave our word and we would see it through. We have also had the most wonderful times with our Grandladies as they have grown. Those treasured moments are far more valuable than our own pleasures.

The decision to give them a home has been criticized by most everyone we know. I feel very alone in believing this was the right thing to do. My prayers over the years never drew us away from the decision we made. Did I not hear God? Did I shut my ears to His direction? It is possible, but it will be a judgement made by the righteous judge, not by me or anyone else. But I still wonder. My heart was and is right and steadfast, I am not sure that others see that. I would have followed if my husband had been determined to send them away. I am so glad we worked through it together.

This weekend they will move as a family to a place where I pray they will be safe, find peace, and blessings abundant. I am happy for them even if a part of me is sad. I will miss my Grandladies. I hope they will remember that we have given them the treasure of our hearts. We have shown them the importance of living for Jesus. At least I hope that is what we did.

Father, You love like no other! You know my heart and my thoughts. You know if we did right or wrong in our decision. The time has come for the end and I am happy and sad all at once. Help me to set my eyes on You and Your plan just as I have these past years. Thank You for giving me what I have always wanted: being close to my children and grandchildren. You are so good and I know that even if our decision was wrong, You have promised that because we love You, You will make it all work out for our good. Thank You.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Change and Yellow Roses

Change seems to be the word to describe these next couple of weeks, months or maybe the year for our family. It begins this weekend when my daughter and her family will be moving from our home to their own place. It has been a long time, and it will be very new for all of us. The change will be a relief and difficult at the same time.

I want change for me too. I want a new place to call my own. I want it, not because I am dissatisfied with this house, but because without kids it is much too big for just the two of us. I imagine it will be like a huge cavern with the kids gone. I wonder if there will be echos. Will I wander about the empty rooms wondering why I have no one to blame for the messes?

Change. I do not find change easy. I hunt for smooth transitions and meaningful ways to celebrate the change. It helps to ease my heavy heart at letting go and embracing the new. With this change I think I want yellow roses. Why? I don't know. I watched a documentary Entitled Yellow Roses. It was about young girls finding their sense of identity and worth. I am not sure the yellow roses would be that for me, but maybe. One thing is sure, Yellow roses are my favorites! They cheer me up. Yes, I want yellow roses for myself and maybe to give to my Grandladies as they move to a new home. Maybe yellow roses will cheer them too!

Father, I know You are watching as we step into this new place. You know our hearts. You know our hesitancy to change. If there will be tears I know You will treasure them and weep with us. You will be our comforter, protector and friend. You will make all of this work out for our good. Thank You for being near while we change our lives into new places. We need You now and always!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sin is Sin

Sin is defined by God. Man, being sinful, cannot define sin accurately. God, being only good, is the only source we can turn to for what is bad in our world and our lives. He declares that what is not of Him is sin.

Every day I come face to face with the sin I commit, and the sin of others. This last weekend I found myself emotionally affected by the shootings in Arizona. I was physically and emotionally and spiritually affected by my sin. Both are devastating. Both are far from God and both are equally bad.

Growing up Catholic, I was taught about mortal and venial sins. The church taught that some sins were not as bad as others. If you die with a venial sin on your conscience, you still have hope to get to heaven. This is not so with a mortal sin. It is interesting that the protestant and other churches laugh at this doctrine. They claim that all sin is of equal destruction without Christ. I agree that sin is sin. The funny thing is that in talking to other non-Catholic church goers it is apparent that they too believe that some sin is worse than others.

A conversation last weekend confirmed this to me. We were discussing the proper way to handle our children who choose to fornicate, or follow a homosexual lifestyle. It seemed to be accepted that these children should be shunned. How else will they embrace Christ and His mercy for their sins? The question begs to be asked, what if the child had lied? What difference would that make? Should we shun the liar as well? What if the lie is not discovered? What if it was a one time sin as opposed to a lifestyle? Do we accept a little white lie and not the big cover up? Do we allow the sin in our lives but not in others? Do we allow the sin on our tv but not in real life?

The question of sin is not an easy one. God decides what is sin and what is not. It is only through His judgement on an action or thought that I can label it sin. God also decides how sin is to be removed and cleansed. He chose to pay the price but sets up parameters as to how the sinner will be redeemed. He chose to make only one avenue and that is through belief and trust in Jesus.

In my humble and sometimes faulty opinion, I believe that love is never wrong when it comes to sinners. Yes, sometimes it must be tough, but grace can always be offered in love. Those who choose not to accept grace will do the shunning. We do not need to push them away. It could be that our grace and love shown to those who are blinded by their sin, will draw them closer to Jesus so that His voice can be heard in their hearts and they will be set free. Besides, we are sinners too!

Much has been written about sin over the ages. My little offering will not solve the problems of sins labels or its removal. My purpose is to encourage all of us to let God be God.

Righteous and Holy God, You take away the sins of the world! Have mercy on us as we struggle to deal with the enormous hold sin has on our lives. Teach us to find the justice in weighing our silent sins as heavily as those who make their sin public. Thank You for Your Son Jesus who is Your sacrificial lamb. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I wish I was...... There are many times I make that statement. I wish I was thinner, prettier, more organized, less messy, etc. etc. When I wish for a change in me I feel guilty for not being better. I can change. I've proved it in the past. Some things, however, still elude my self-discipline and so I go on wishing and feeling guilty for not being as good as someone else.

One of the calendars I bought this year is filled with beautiful photos of nature and thought provoking quotes by Roy Lessin. I am not too familiar with Mr. Lessin or his work so I spent some time going through the calendar pages and reading his quotes. One caught my eye. "Just think, He compares you to no one else."

I have been thinking on this and came to the truth that God does not compare me to other people, but He does compare me to His Son. If Jesus had not paid the price for my sin and stood in my place, God would have to compare my life to His Sons' life and I would fail miserably. However, God makes it clear that He does not want me to be judged without His Sons' covering. He made the comparison ages ago. Jesus stood in front of me, and all those who trust Him, and told The Righteous Judge that we are hidden in Him. No comparison need to be made because of Jesus' grace.

The quotation does tell the truth when it claims that God does not compare us with each other. When I think of this I get a thrill of joy inside. It is a relief to think that I stand before God alone, not with those who out shine me in so many ways! Well, I stand with Jesus, who out shines us all but makes me shine too!

Jesus, Perfect Son of God, You outshine us all and no one compares to You! Thank You for giving me the freedom to be myself. Thank You for doing a good work in me that will bring the changes needed to be more like You. Thank You that You never give up even when I miss the mark completely. Lead me, Lord. Change my wicked ways and purify my thoughts. Help me to leave the comparisons behind so that I might be more like You!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I feel as if I am knee deep in calendars! I have purchased new calendars for different purposes. I have also been setting up a computerized calendar to remind me of important events. Making sure important appointments, and celebrations are listed on the right calendar and then making sure others will know what they need to know about my schedule is crazy right now! I hope once I get it organized things will go smoothly.

I bought one too many calendars this year. It happened on purpose because I like to have a pretty calendar in my bedroom. I had bought one from the Christian book store, but when I browsed another store I found a beautiful artistic one to replace it. I don't really want to get rid of the Christian bookstore calendar, filled with coupons as well as uplifting sayings, but I have no where to put it! So much for trying to simplify my life!

Our modern calendars can schedule us to the minute if we choose. In previous times the calendar revolved around the month and the yearly cycles. That seems very simple to me, but I do not live in a simple time.

God is not limited to a calendar. His time is always perfect. His day is like a 1000 years and His 1000 years is like a day. Even so, He is the one who gave us the phases of the moon and the chart of constellations in the sky. He is the author of our days, weeks, months and years. Could it be that He, being an eternal being without time constraints, has decreed that we, His creation, should live within these time boundaries until we finally go to live with Him in heaven?

I believe that children, though they fight against them, really want boundaries imposed on them. When they are fenced in they know they are safe from the dangers beyond. People know they are loved when they are not allowed to hurt themselves or others by their actions. Maybe our time constraints are Gods' fences to keep us within His safety. Isn't that what happened when He sent Adam and Eve out of the garden?

God did not want man to live forever with their sin. Removing the access to the Tree of Life and setting them outside into the world God let time, seasons and eventually calendars limit sins' expansion. Time limits are another expression of Gods' love.

Eternal Father, You are timeless! Thank You for taking time to save us from our sins. Thank You for entering into our time and being present with us. You are beyond time. You never count our days in impatience. You gently wait for the perfect time to reveal Yourself to us! I see Your hand in the passing of seasons, in the movement of time through my life. You are my timeless Timekeeper! Thank You!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year

What will the new year have in store for me? Looking into the future is difficult. I cannot see into the next hour let alone days, months, or years. I can plan my next step, but I can never be certain of what that step will be like or where it will take me. New Years Day I look into a fog-filled future and dream of what might be.

From the present I can make goals. What do I want to take into my new year? What do I want to leave behind when I turn around a find the year left behind in my past? What footprints and fingerprints will I leave as I go about my daily life?

I like watching some of the crime dramas on tv. From the scene of the crime they seem to be able to witness the past by the footprints and fingerprints left behind. I do not want my year to be a crime scene, but rather a blessing leaving behind invisible traces of my life.

Holy Lord God, You are the light that shines on the path of my every day! You set before me choices of life and death. I want to choose life, but so often I trip into a hole that would bring me to my knees in weeping. I need You to lift me up and set me back on the path where our footprints and fingerprints will be side by side. Thank You for letting me join You in the work You are doing here in my home, neighborhood and country. Let my steps be bold and sure, carefully chosen in following You!