What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

All I want for Christmas is .....

"And please, Santa, could you send me my two front teeth this year for Christmas?...and a tiny tears doll that drinks and wets and cries real tears..."
When I was two years old I climbed up on our upright piano and fell back down, hitting my two front teeth on the keyboard cover. They were pushed up into my gums, requiring emergency surgery at the dentist's office to pull them back out.  It is a trauma that I have never forgotten, even though I was only two at the time.  However,  the up side of that is that every year after that until I turned seven years old I would sing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, yes my two front teeth!"  Everyone just thought I was soooooo cute! (Isn't that right, Doris?)  As you can see above, I was quite the angelic little child...at least in this picture! Ha!

My early Christmas memories are very happy, as my parents always went overboard to make our celebrations special and memorable.  Our family always went to church as far back as I can remember, so of course we learned early on about the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of the little Baby Jesus who would grow up to be our Savior.  But we also enjoyed the traditional fun side of Christmas, writing our letters to Santa and listing the things we hoped he would bring us in his big pack of toys when he landed on our rooftop in his sleigh. After we each had hung our stockings on the fireplace mantel, we always left a nice plate full of cookies and a glass of milk, along with some carrots for the reindeer.  I love the fact that Santa always wrote a note back, thanking us for the cookies.    As a matter of fact, I happen to still have a copy of the last letter I wrote to Santa while still living at home with my parents. It was written when I was 18 years old and this is what it says,
"Dear Santa Claus,
Merry Christmas again!!! Gee~I don't know how to say this , but, you see, Santa, we have a mouse in the house.  Therefore~ I do not think it would be wise for me to leave some cookies in the usual place, as he would be able to get them. (The usual place was on the hearth of the fireplace, so Santa wouldn't have to go too far to find them when he came down the chimney.)  So, in order to keep the tradition going, you will find some cookies for you on the dining room table, and there is a glass of milk for you in the refrigerator.   Give my love to the reindeer and Mrs. Santa Claus.  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and the Happiest of all New Years!!  See ya next Christmas!!  Love Always, Pam"
At the bottom of the page was written in Santa's familiar handwriting, "Over..."  So I turned the page over, and what do I see?  A letter written right back to me from Santa! This is what he said:
"Hi Pam - and all you believers!"  By the looks of the "clean" cookie plate I think the "mouse in the house" managed to get up on the table via the table cloth.  Well, on this great day we wouldn't begrudge one of God's little creatures a crumb from our table, would we?  We can kill him later! (I think I heard him say, Ho! Ho! Ho! when he wrote that last phrase!)   I'll nose around in refrigerator and maybe I can find something else.  I'm glad you, Pam, are still interested in traditions.  So many young people want to do away with old foolish ideas these days and live in a "Mod, Mod World" (which was a common slang back then in the late 60's), but you have to have faith in something, and after all, Santa Claus has been around here a good many years and hasn't let you down yet.  He even wears a "beard". (Again, a reference to "style" of the late 60's...Santa was very hip with the times). 
Well until another year, May you enjoy this one coming up and to all your Great Family, Especially your DAD, (he's the greatest!)....Cheerio, PipPip and AWAY!"     Santa...


Hooray for Santa!  I got the Doctor kit I wanted!!! This was our first
Christmas in our "new house" in Tavares in 1957.  Daddy built this house,
and we moved in while the floors were still bare concrete (cold) and the only
heat we had was the fireplace...but we were sure happy! Can you tell?

(don't forget, you can click on the pictures to enlarge)

Yes, Our family had a lot of fun with Christmas...one of the other memories is how we had to wait before we could go out into the living room on Christmas morning to open our gifts....that was almost like torture to us kids.  My mother would make us be sure to make our beds, wash our faces and brush our teeth, and then we had to wait for Mom and Dad to get up and ready before we could go out.  Then we would all line up in the hallway, from the youngest (me!) to the oldest, and we would sing Jingle Bells as the curtain was pulled away from the door and we would scramble under the tree to find our little stack of presents. 

Although our family did not go overboard on the presents, everyone was always very pleased and excited with the surprises that were left for us under the tree.  It was indeed a magical time for us.


"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that
St. Nicholaus soon would be there..."

Although I am not crazy about the materialistic way that people celebrate Christmas today, the important thing is that we do celebrate Christmas!  If I could make a Christmas wish, it would be that people everywhere will stop and take the time sometime during this frantic season of shopping, partying, traveling, spending and overspending to sit down and focus on the whole purpose of this celebration...Celebrate the joy of this Good News..."Jesus Christ is born!" 

Read Luke 2:8-14......verse 10-14 says, "Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Hallelujah!  Our Messiah has come! Spread the Good News to everyone!!! And have a Merry merry Christmas...and the happiest of New Years!  And yes, let there be peace on earth...

So, what do YOU want for Christmas this year?


                                                                           

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emmanuel...God with us...

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us.'" Matthew 1:23

I can't believe how much time has gone by since I last sat down to write this blog...Oh wow...where DOES the time fly?  It's Christmas time, and we all have a multitude of things to do... I think I wrote about that the last time...the Christmas lists...somehow I can't seem to get many things crossed off of my list.  It just keeps changing and growing.

This past week we stepped into a new era in our lives...my mother in law came to live with us.  Whether it is permanent or temporary is yet to be determined.  But either way, we are first of all, blessed to still have her with us.  She is 87 years old and full of life.  However, the time has come for her to not be spending so much time alone in her own home as she has been doing for these past fifteen years since my father-in-law passed away. 

Along with this new passage comes the obvious adjustments...space...privacy...time...but one of my facebook friends told me today that her dear mother in law just passed away this week, at the same age.  So we count our blessings. 

As I sit here writing I have been listening to her chatting with her other daughter in law and her youngest grandchildren on the phone.  She sounds so happy about being here...she justs brags and brags on us.  That makes it worth it all...knowing that she is happy and safe and content. 

Whatever adjustments we have to make in this life, when it is for the betterment, protection, and care of another loved one or friend, it is worth whatever sacrifices we have to make.  Life is very short...we must savor every moment as if it could be our last....after all, it could be.

Yes, Christmas is a time for sharing, giving, laughing, and loving.  Our Christmas will indeed be all of that and more.  I am counting my blessings tonight.  This is just one portion of the full list. 

Thank you, Lord, for Your watchcare and protection over our family...and for being here with us...
Emmanuel, God with us! 



The Steiner Clan
L to R first row:  Pam and John Steiner
Back Row: Benton, Peggy, Nicholaus, Bill, Vivian (Nanny) and Shannon Steiner


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who Can Find a Virtuous Wife?

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."  Proverbs 31:10-12

Elizabeth Edwards, 1949-2010
Today Elizabeth Edwards passed from this life into eternity.  Although I did not know Elizabeth Edwards personally, how could I not know about her as her most private, personal life struggles were very much before the public eyes for almost the past decade?  I have not read either of her books, nor have I followed all of her story very closely.  But I admired her courage, her wisdom, and her strength of character in the midst of a very challenging, painful passage in her life.

I did not realize until tonight's newscast that the Edwards' had lost a precious son to a car accident back in 1996, when the boy was just sixteen years old.  Then, Elizabeth's continual battle with breast cancer, followed by the horrendous news that her Presidential-candidate husband had been having an extra-marital affair that actually went beyond just an "affair", but led to him fathering a  child with this "other woman"....all while he was still married to his wife of thirty-something years and the father of their four wonderful children. All this while Elizabeth was battling for her own life, fighting the ravages of breast cancer that today finally claimed her as another victim.

I do not know anything about Elizabeth's personal relationship with God...was she a believer in Jesus Christ as her personal Savior?  Even though she and her husband stood on the more liberal side of the political fence, I can't help but think that she had some very strong beliefs undergirding her throughout her ordeal.  It would be extremely difficult indeed to go through such tragedies without the comfort of a loving, compassionate Savior to carry her through.  But, as I said, I don't know where she stood in relation to Christ...maybe some of you may know.  I truly hope that she had made peace with God in her heart and soul, and that she is enjoying the welcoming embrace of her heavenly Father right now as we think of her...and that she is also hugging and holding onto her long-missed son, savoring the sweet fragrance of his spirit with her once again.

Again, I don't know where Elizabeth stood with God, but somehow I see her in the Proverb quoted above...
Proverbs 31:10 ~ "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."  
Yes, I can see that.
"The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So HE will have no lack of gain..." (verse 11)...
Yes, I can see that, too.  Her husband trusted her, but unfortunately he himself did not prove trustworthy.
"She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." (verse 12)...
Yes, I see that as well.  Even when he was selfishly pursuing his own foolish desires and dreams, she continued to stand by him and did not speak evil of him.  For the sake of their children, perhaps...or maybe because that's just the kind of woman Elizabeth Edwards was...a true classy lady...one who would not stoop to injure another just because he had injured her first.  She continued to do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Did her husband deserve such a wife as Elizabeth Edwards proved to be? No, decidedly not.  But I pray that her strength of character and demonstration of true love will long be remembered...by her children, her friends, and yes, even her husband.  I hope that in her death he will finally come to realize what a fool he has been, and that perhaps he will find redemption for his own soul.  For the sake of their children...and even the little "love-child" he had brought into this world...I pray he will become the kind of man God wants him to be. 

I pray that Elizabeth Edwards will truly rest in peace.  And may God be with her family who have been left behind, both now and for eternity.   Amen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas: The Season for Children of ALL Ages

Matthew 19:13-15  "Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' And He laid His hands on them and departed from there."

When you think about Christmas, what are the first things that come to your mind?  Let's make a list based on what I think I can hear you saying...
  1. Christmas Shopping
  2. Christmas Decorations
  3. Christmas Baking and Preparations for Entertaining
  4. Christmas Cards to be written and mailed
  5. Christmas Music
  6. Christmas Gifts for a very long list
  7. Christmas Present Wrapping
  8. Christmas Giving to others in need
  9. Christmas Programs at Church and School (although the school programs are now "Holiday Programs", not Christmas.
  10. Christmas lists..........
I am sure many of you are nodding your heads at this list and checking them off along with me. Perhaps you have added a few others, and maybe you have scratched a few off.  Some of you are probably already finished with your shopping, wrapping and decorating. Others of us put it off to the very last possible minute and then make a mad dash to get it done in time. Maybe a few are just skipping the whole ordeal this year altogether because it is just too much.

There is ONE huge omission to my list above...The very reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place...CHRIST HIMSELF!  Well, maybe He hasn't been left off of the list, as His name is the beginning part of each item on the list.  He IS Christmas personified.  Not the materialistic, mad rush of to-do lists part of Christmas...but the precious, priceless, magnificent, amazing, wonderful, majestic, powerful, beautiful, joyous reason for Christmas.  He is Emmanuel, God with us, God in the flesh, in the heartbeat and soul of a tiny, fragile infant, born to very human, trusting, loving, obedient parents in the humblest of circumstances.

And why did He come to us at all?   I can sum up the whole Bible and purpose for Christmas in just two verses:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17

It is as simple as that...God LOVED the world----YOU and ME included, SO MUCH...that He sent Jesus to earth to save us...and to give us everlasting life. What could be simpler than that?  All He asks of us is that we believe in Him.

So, at this Christmas season, my prayer is that we would all come as little children to Jesus, with child-like faith...and embrace the joy of Christmas in our hearts, our minds and our spirits...and share the love of Christ with everyone we meet...and to you and yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's Next, Lord?

Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you."

For those of you who have been following the progress of our son Matthew over the past six months or so, you know that we have been anxiously awaiting the results of his latest Pet Scan to determine whether or not he is finished with chemotherapy and if his cancer is finally under control.  Well...the good news is, the cancer is definitely in retreat...but not totally eradicated...he has one more scheduled chemo treatment this coming week, and then he will go back to the specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to determine the next step. 

Matthew was able to view his previous two Pet Scans alongside this latest one, and he was definitely able to see the progress that has been made.  He said that the original Pet Scan was extremely scary...it was full of bright red zones...active cancer cells that were glowing like red hot coals throughout his abdominal cavity.  The second scan done after about three months of chemotherapy showed marked improvement...much fewer "hot spots" than before.  And now, after six months of chemo, the most recent scan is more like a burned out campfire, with dying embers disentegrating into ashes.  However, the danger is, if a little wind bellowed up it could reignite those embers back into a raging inferno, so the fire pit must be fully extinguished before it can be abandoned.

The verse quoted above is very comforting...especially the part that states, "When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you."  Even though in this life we often find ourselves in the midst of the fire... and sometimes a raging inferno...we are reminded about Daniel's three companions who were thrown into the belly of the burning fiery furnace because they refused to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar's false god.  The fire was fired up seven times hotter than it was normally heated (Daniel 3:8-30), and they were cast into it bound in their clothing...and even though it was hot enough to totally destroy the men who threw them in there...these three young men were protected and sheltered in the midst of the furnace by the actual presence of the Son of God.  They were brought back out of the fire alive, without even the smell of smoke on their bodies...totally free from any evidence of any flame upon their bodies!

Am I being too literally optimistic to pray and expect that our Matthew will be brought through this fiery trial without a singed spot on his body? Is it even reasonable to expect that he can be completely healed of this rare and deadly disease that has already ravaged and destroyed so many precious children and adults before him?  You may think that I am getting my hopes up way too high and that I will only be hurt in the end.  Well, first of all let me say that I know my Lord and Savior...and I know what He is able to do... just as Shadrach, Meshach and AbedNego answered old King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 16-17 of Daniel Chapter 3 when Nebuchadnezzar had asked them "Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"  They replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But, if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

Yes, I do take God's Word at His Word.  This trial is not only about our son's battle for his physical life, which is precious enough...but it is also about the battle for the soul and spirit of a young man who has stood on the front line of spiritual warfare ever since he was conceived.  His life has been one test after another from day one...those of you who know Matthew know all the battles he has already been through and the victories that God has won on his behalf.  Satan has tried over and over again to quench out his young life and testimony, but GOD has defeated Satan every time.  So what if Matt doesn't survive this battle? Does that mean Satan won and God lost?  No, quite the contrary...whether Matt lives or dies, he belongs to Christ.  His life is secured in the hands of the Almighty...his spirit lives on eternally in victory...so no matter what ...just like those lads in the fiery furnace...our God whom we serve IS able to deliver Matthew from this fiery furnace...but even if He choses not to, his life will go on...and he will be completely healed.  It's a win-win.  He can't lose.

Yes, I pray for Matthew's complete physical healing here on this earth...nothing could make me happier than that.  But I also trust the One Who gave His life for our son...Jesus Christ...our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.  He will do that which will accomplish His plan in the very best way possible.  Of that I have no doubt or fear.

Photo by Michael Belk, "Journeys With The Messiah" Collection
And that is what gives me complete peace of mind and heart.  I pray that you have that same kind of peace in your heart as well.  If not...ask Jesus to be your deliverer...He will not fail you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I don't know about you, but I am truly glad that the elections are finally over and we are getting back to "normal"...whatever that is! No more obnoxious, negative commercials and seeing who can outdo the other with crass slurs against their opponents. Regardless of your political persuasion and position, I know you have to agree that this pre-election season was a bit of a strain on all of our nerves. Now my hope is that we can agree to pray for our leaders in government and that we can stand united against our common enemies and foes. There is so much more at stake today than worrying about which party has control and who can solve all our country's problems. We need to get on our knees and pray that God will protect and guide all our leaders and give them Godly wisdom so that our nation can continue to exist as One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL! (That's the end of my political speech for today. You may sit back down. :)

  
I woke up this morning thinking it felt like Christmas since we were getting up so "early" (end of daylight savings time for the winter) and it was so warm and toasty in my bed and so chilly in my house!!

  
I don't know about you, but I want to celebrate Thanksgiving before I get started on Christmas. In my humble opinion Thanksgiving gets overlooked by too much Christmas commercialism. The stores have already "decked the halls with boughs of holly" and are doing their best to lure us in to buy, buy, buy. I understand that they want to give a "boost" to the economy by giving more pre "black Friday" sales and giving a jumpstart to the Christmas shopping frenzy. And I am certainly in favor of lower prices so I can do my own Christmas shopping...BUT...can we first take some time to pause and be thankful?

Thankful for our health...our own, as well as the health of our family and friends. (Yes! Thank you Lord for Matthew's healing...I claim this by faith today)

  • Thankful for answered prayer on behalf of others.
  •  
  • Thankful for our jobs - especially if, like me, you were previously un-employed and God has heard your prayer and given you a job this past year.
  •  
  • Thankful for shelter and and clothes and food.
  •  
  • Thankful for family, friends, and good neighbors and co-workers
  • Thankful for a year without serious weather problems, i.e., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods...at least for us here in Florida. Others in other parts of the country or world may have had to suffer through some of these things, but are thankful to still be alive and have a place to call home.
  • Thankful for our country...even with all of its problems, it is still the best place to live in the whole world.
  • Thankful for our military...for the sacrifices they are making on our behalf...securing freedom not only for our nation, but for others around the world who would never have had a chance at freedom had it not been for our men and women in uniform giving up their lives for them.
  • Most of all, I am thankful for Jesus, my Lord and Savior, Who made the greatest sacrifice of all for all of humanity...He gave up His life so that we might have eternal life...forever and ever, to live with Him in heaven...there is no greater gift than this. And the best part of this gift is that it is FREE!

Romans 5: 1-8 says,

  
  • "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
  •  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
  •  Perseverance - Character
  •  Character - Hope
  • Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
  • For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Yes, I know that I have much for which to be thankful today. Why don't we all start preparing for Thanksgiving by listing these things and giving God the glory due His Name? This kind of holiday preparation doesn't cost a single cent...it only gives back to you the overwhelming sense of joy and thankfulness and peace. Joy in realizing just how much God has done for us...Thankfulness for the gifts we did not deserve, and peace of heart and mind and soul...knowing that just as God has provided and cared for us thus far, He will continue to do so in the future...both now and for eternity! Hallelujah! Praise His Name!!! Amen!

 
Now...are YOU ready for Thanksgiving? Actually, that even helps me to get really ready for Christmas...the true Christmas...but that is another whole story that we'll talk about a little later...after Thanksgiving...




Monday, October 25, 2010

Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
(ACTUALLY, THIS WAS WRITTEN BACK IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR... I HAVEN'T SEEN MY OWLS MUCH LATELY...BUT WE DID HEAR THEM THE OTHER NIGHT, SO WE KNOW THEY ARE STILL OUT THERE.  THINGS USUALLY START GETTING INTERESTING WITH THEM AGAIN IN THE WINTER...THAT'S THEIR MATING SEASON APPARENTLY! I'll keep you posted!..And as an update, they never did produce an offspring this past spring.  They kept going into the nest, but no baby owl ever appeared to our sight. Not sure what happened to it.  Last year they had twins, and two years before that they just had one baby.  So who knows? Maybe this hear will be the year for tripletts?  We'll have to wait and see!)
March, 2010...I had a most interesting encounter this morning with my owl friends.  I call them my friends because they have been making my back yard treetops their home for as long as we have lived here, and God only knows how long they were here before us.  Actually, this is their home...we invaded their privacy when our house was built in their woods, exposing their secret nesting tree to the human eyes of the world.  But thankfully, they have been very tolerant of our inquisitive prying into their world, and have actually appeared to enjoy showing off for us.  Case in point:

While it was still shadowy and misty in the early morning dawn, I stepped out onto my back patio and scanned the treetops for a possible sighting of "my" owls.  You see, it is just about time for their offspring to spring into view, so I have been watching for them every chance I can.  Much to my pleasure and surprise, I discovered the two parent owls huddling close together high on a branch to the west of my vantage point.  So I ventured out into the yard a bit closer and started talking to them...(hold your comments to yourself, please).  I said, "Good Morning Mr. and Mrs. Owl! I am so very glad to see you this morning." At this point they both turned their very large brown eyes right in my direction and looked me over very closely. Then I distinctly noticed that they turned away and looked at each other as if to say, "There she is again...that crazy lady who's always talking to us like she thinks we should understand what she's saying! How on earth did we get stuck with such a loony human neighbor?" Then they looked at me again and craned their fat feathery necks around in order to get a better look at me.  At this point I was getting a little nervous, as I know they were probably sizing me up to see if they could pick me up and carry me to their nest for breakfast.  So I thought I'd better talk a little faster and louder so they could hear me better...

This time I asked them, "So, where are your babies?  Do you have any new baby owls yet? Are they getting big enough to come out and play?"  Now, I kid you not...at this very moment the Mama Owl immediately flew off her perch, spreading her wide strong wings straight out, and flew very rapidly and directly to the nest tree, which is on the opposite side of the yard. She landed perfectly on the hollow tree and perched there at the opening of the nest and looked squarely at me again as if to say, "Here they are...the babies are right here safe within the nest!"  I immediately trotted over to that end of the yard so I could see her better, and bounced up and down clapping my hands with glee and saying, "Oh thank you Mrs. Owl! I am so excited! I can't wait to see your new babies! Thank you for letting me in on the secret! I promise not to tell a soul." (oh, well, I guess I lied.)  She gave me one last penetrating look, and all the while I noticed that she was regurgitating something in her beak, and then expertly dove head first down into that opening to feed her babies.  Of course, I fairly danced back to the house, waved good-bye to the Papa Owl who was still waiting on the other tree, and then I rushed off to hit the road for work.

So, what has all this got to do with us, or with our "waiting on the Lord"?  I don't know, except that I can see that for which I was earnestly waiting, the appearance of the baby owls, is about to happen...and the Mama Owl encouraged me this morning by her actions, as if to say, "Your waiting has not been in vain!"

In my real life, I had to wait quite a long time for an answer to prayer in the form of a job...and today the other ladies in the office and I were talking about how God's timing was perfect for each of us in the way that He answered our individual prayers. We each had our own stories about the frustrations of waiting, but yet marveled how God used that time of waiting to strengthen us and renew our minds and spirits so that we would be ready for the fruition of His divine plans.  I have been noticing that I am doing a lot of running back and forth in my new office due to the crazy maze of a floor plan we have to maneuver in order to get our daily work accomplished.  Even though I come home somewhat physically tired, at the same time I am exhilarated and renewed...because I know this is the Lord's plan for my life at this time.  I am so thankful that I "waited on the Lord"...and that He is giving me wings like the eagles (OWLS) to make it through each day.


"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength." Isaiah 40:29

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Collective Reasoning..."


Pretty Colonial Doll from my husband.  Tea Time from
my sister.
 Psalm 119:36-37: "Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way."






A Few of My "Favorite Things"

(Click on pictures to enlarge...then hit the back arrow to return to blog)





Japanese Cherry China from husband's Grandmother Martin

My "Margie Doll", given to me by my Aunt Margie for my
7th birthday, and "Valerie", given to me by my Dad for
Christmas several years ago.
I have inherited a fondness for going "shopping" at interesting looking antique shops and other stores full of old "treasures"...you know, stuff like old books, dishes, furniture, kitchen utensils from bygone days, etc., etc., etc.! I come from a family of "collectors", collecting anything from old trains, dolls, postcards, toys, and certain kinds of glassware to just plain "junque" (classy junk) that someone else may be collecting and willing to pay a price for. So I come by this tendency honestly. My personal preference is old fashioned books, preferably novels and historical fiction from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Anything later than that is subject to keen evaluation for suitability for my "old-fashioned" values. I also love dolls, teapots and tea-cups, both antique and new if interesting and unique enough.

"A Child's Tea Party"...special dolls from special friends
The love of dolls and  pretty things from my mother.

When we lived in New England the opportunities for searching through such treasure-troves were endless. Almost every small village and town had several antique shops and other such collectible markets to lure the tourists as well as the newly arrived local people. I've also noticed that central Florida, where I currently live, has it's fair share of such places as well. The problem is certainly not in having a place to investigate, but finding the time to spend on such a pleasure trip, and then having the spending money available with which to purchase something when I've found it! I have set for myself strict limitations on the price I will spend on any of my favorite passions, and with our limited budget it is not often that I can indulge. Sometimes the opportunity to spend an afternoon leisurely shopping with a friend or "sister" comes along but usually the funds are not available at the same time. Perhaps that is a blessing in disguise.
It seems as though lately either I am maturing in my pursuit of "worthless things", or my taste is just changing. Maybe the Lord is helping me to realize the true value of spending my time and energy on developing a closer relationship with Him and with His people rather than on living in my collections of the past. Not that there is anything really wrong with having such a hobby or collecting things one enjoys...unless those things begin to interfere with one's relationships...either time-wise or monetarily. I have been shopping with some people who were true collectors...and have even felt a bit covetous of the amount of money they were able to spend on something they just had to have to complete their collection. To them the "having" was worth almost any price! Little by little the Lord has opened my eyes to the worthlessness of such a pursuit. It seems as though the more one has, the more one wants! There is no end to the "collection"! And yet, what are all these things with which we fill our houses and barns when we are facing eternity? On the day we leave this world, whose will they be? Something for the remaining relatives to squabble over or set upon the auctioneer's block for sale!

Teapot with a bird on top, from my sister Doris.
Calumet Baking Powder vintage cookbook
Teacup and cookies...you must see this one!
Please don't misunderstand me. I still enjoy the reminders from the past that have been passed down from generation to generation and will pass them on to my children when the time comes. But more importantly, I want to pass down to my children a testimony of faithfulness to the Lord, a memory of a mother who truly loved the Lord and His people, and didn't just spend all of her time and money on "worthless things" that have to be dusted and protected from sticky little fingers.

Lord, thank you for this lesson today. It appears as though the older we get, the more attached we become to the things of the past. We're afraid to let go of them for fear we'll lose a part of our identity. Help me to be always identified with You, my Lord and Savior. Revive me in Your way, and help me to leave behind a heritage of faithfulness and a testimony of a mature relationship with You and Your people. And forgive me when I am tempted to covet what another has. I know that I have all I need in You. Amen.


The Hoosier Cupboard
from husband's grandmother Nanny Martin ~ Teapots and Teacups from
Friends and Loved Ones


"Baby Elva Cynthia", a precious gift from a precious friend.

By the way, everything pictured above were either gifts to me or items I have received through inheritance from family members.  As I scanned the pictures I realized that I had not purchased any of those items...and each item is very special because of the fact that they were gifts from dear friends and loved ones and all have significant sentimental value attached.  Nevertheless, when the day comes that God calls me home, I cannot take these precious gifts with me...but I will inherit eternal life...and as an extra bonus I will once again enjoy the company of those who have left these things behind for me to enjoy in the meantime! That's one of those "lasting treasures" that moth and dust cannot destroy!!! Hallelujah!! (See Matthew 6:19)
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
(Matthew 6:19-21)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Judge A Book (or a hairdresser) by it's cover...(Or it's hair)

Boy did I have a slap in the face humility lesson!  I went to my usual place to get a haircut, which was LONG overdue (pardon the pun).  My usual place is really exotic...Smart Style in the local Walmart...it used to be cheap...but not anymore.  They charge as much as the real salons where you have to have appointments and get preferential treatment...

Well anyway,  I go to Walmart because it is convenient and I don't have to worry about keeping an appointment.  I usually try to get the same person each time, but if she's not available I'll take whoever is ready and willing to get the job done.  So, I walk into the salon and sign in and ask for my favorite lady. I am told by the woman at the desk that she is off today.  So I say, Ok, I'll take whoever is ready...and she says, "Ok, Josh, you're up!" 

I look to see who "Josh" is, as I have never seen a man stylist in this place before.  Wouldn't you know that "Josh" is a young 30 something guy with the most punk looking haircut you can imagine?  I mean, he's got a spiked mohawk with hot pink hair tips standing straight up like a coxcomb!  My first thought is, "oh my gosh...he's going to cut MY hair?"  Oh no! I'm trying to think how I can get out of this without looking ungrateful, but it's too late.  "Josh" has already seen me coming in and he walks right up to me and shakes my hand and says, "Hi, I'm Josh! How would you like your hair cut today?"  The first words out of my mouth are, "Hi Josh, I'm Pam...I need a wash and cut, but not like YOURS!"  He laughed and said "That's the reaction I usually get!"  Then I relaxed and said, "Well, maybe we could start a new trend for 60 year old ladies! I'm sure my husband would just love it (not)...and so would my employers at the church where I work!"   Then he really surprised me, because obviously I'm thinking this guy knows nothing about church...I mean, he just doesn't fit the mold...at least not the mold I'm thinking about... 
Josh replies, "Oh, hey, I know what you mean. I teach Sunday School, and when the new parents drop off their kids they look at me and say, "Uh, where's the teacher? Is there anybody else in there?"  And he just smiles and says, "Yeah, my wife is here...she's the teacher...I'm just here for the entertainment!" 

So then I'm really flabberghasted...not only is he married, but he teaches Sunday School with his wife! And he's a parent too...has two kids...one aged 11 (just like my grandson!), and a little girl age 5!  So now I'm really mulling all this over in my head...(while he's cutting away at my hair...and I'm still wondering what I will end up looking like....  He continues to chat about his family and his home and where he went to school (at one the same places I worked...Lake Tech) and then I find out he actually worked in one of the same places where my younger son worked (a restaurant) before he decided he wanted to try something new like cutting hair!!

By the time he's done cutting my hair I had totally had my whole mind rearranged about pre-judging this young man...and I actually left there liking my haircut even better than ever before from all those old experienced women stylists!  Oh, and how DOES my hair look?  I'll never tell...you'll have to come see for yourself!!

The new me....
Lord, forgive me for prejudging and being such a narrow minded person.  And thank you for bringing Josh to my "hair rescue"...Not only did he do a great job on my hair (see above, oh sorry, I'm praying), but he also did a great job on my mind!  I do believe You sent him to me on purpose!  Thanks, Lord!  I needed that lesson!  Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Are You Running in the Wrong Direction?

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fvodpod.com%2Fwatch%2F117569-casting-crowns-does-anybody-hear-her&h=8de36

The above link will take you to a video of a Casting Crowns song entitled, "Does Anybody Hear Her?"...
I was struck by this song yesterday morning on my way to work...it was playing on my radio just as I was pulling up to my place of employment, which  happens to be a church with a most imposing and glorious steeple that towers over the city and looks down upon a whole community of lost and lonely people.  I thought to myself, "Wow, what a song to hear just as I crested the hill where I could see the top of that steeple spiraling up toward the heavens!"  Then I thought about all the lost and lonely people that I pass by every single day....even though it is a beautiful, historic, charming southern victorian section of the city, there are many, many hurting, homeless, lost people all around us.  I see one very thin woman carrying her large shopping bag full of her life's treasures, always wearing a long raincoat as she walks to and fro to where? From where? I don't know.  We have many needy people stopping in our church on a regular basis for assistance with their light bills, rent, (if they have a place to live), gas for their vehicle (if they are fortunate enought to have one) so they can get wherever they need to go, and many even asking for Greyhound Bus Tickets to get them back home to a safe haven (hopefully). 

Thankfully our Pastors are cognizant of the even greater needs many of these people have for words of hope and encouragement, exhortation, and perhaps even counsel on how to come to Christ...the Only answer for ALL their needs. That's the real need of their hearts... they need Jesus.  Oh yes, I know they need food, shelter, clothes, gas, and all the other necessities of life...I'm not so "heavenly minded" that I can't see their earthly needs.  But it is so important to give these people more than just things...they need hope for a way out of their deep despair...they need light for the darkness in their hearts and minds, they need power from on High to pull out of the deep pits into which many have fallen and feel hopelessly trapped.  They need to drink from the well of everlasting life...so they will never thirst again...like that woman at the well, who met Jesus there, and He said to her,
"If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." 
and when He offered her the gift of everlasting water, she said,
"Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw..." (See John 4:1-30)
When her eyes were opened to the truth, she realized that Jesus was the Messiah, and even though her sins were great and her problems were many, she believed, and went and brought many others to Him so that they too might drink of that living water.  I believe that woman's life was changed at that very moment...I have a feeling she found a new freedom in Christ that she had never known before...and she couldn't wait to share it with others. I would love to have followed that woman around after her encounter with Christ, to watch and see exactly how God was working in her and through her in ways she never had imagined possible before that meeting.

Have you been to the well of living water?  Have you drank from it's depth of compassion, strength, and power?  Have you shared that with anyone else?  Or are you still running in the wrong direction?

Lord, I pray for all the "lost and lonely people" around me right now...right in the shadow of our steeple.  Open my eyes, Lord, to see them as You see them.  I've already drank from that living water...help me to run and tell others the good news...The Messiah has come! He is here with us right now...living in us in a fountain that is overflowing with eternal life...with power to live both now and forever.  Thank you, Dear Jesus, for the hope that is in me.  Help me to spread the news. Amen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Recipe Thyme


My Sweet Mama, Circa 1938

Here is a favorite fall dessert recipe from my Mother, Dorothea T. Mursch, (1917-2006).  We loved this delicious warm cake served in bowls with the hot nutmeg sauce poured over, better known to us as "Cottage Pudding".  This is a great little treat for your family to try! 

Mom Mursch’s Cottage Pudding Recipe



Oven 350 degrees

Cream well ½ cup shortening and ¾ cup sugar; and 1 egg and ¼ teaspoon lemon extract; beat well.
Sift together 1 ¾ cups sifted all purpose flour, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.
Add to creamed mixture alternately with 2/3cup milk, beating after each addition. Bake in lightly greased and floured 9x9x2 inch baking pan at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm with Nutmeg Sauce.

Nutmeg Sauce:

½ cup sugar

1 Tbsp. Corn Starch

dash salt

About 1 tsp. Nutmeg.


Gradually add 1 cup boiling water, stirring into mixture. Add about 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until thickened.


Pour warm sauce over individual servings of cake above. Double this mixture for a larger cake. Delicious dessert for a cool evening!!



Let the kids help out!  They'll love licking the beaters!!

This is a great fall day snack after the kids come in from
playing in the leaves!!

Here's another of my Mother's Favorite Fall Recipes: 

GINGERBREAD
Oven 350 degrees
1/2 Cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup light molasses ( I use dark Grandma's Molasses)
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup boiling water.

Cream shortening and sugar til light.  Add egg and molasses; beat thoroughly. Sift together dry ingredients.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beating after each addition.  Bake in greased and lightly floured 8x8x2 inch pan at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or till done. Serve warm with whipped cream or icecream.

My mother always put a thin confectioner's sugar glaze over top of the warm gingerbread.  Mix a little milk in a cup of confectioner's sugar to a medium-thin consistency. Pour it over cake while cake is warm.

Enjoy these two family favorites!!
 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sing to the Lord...

"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 89:1

Today I chimed in on an interesting discussion on facebook about hymns vs. contemporary music, etc., which is a "debate" that has been going on for some time now.  It appears that the church is pretty divided on this issue...and then again, there are many who have compromised and split it down the middle...half hymns, half choruses...  They each have their place in our worship services...and the most important thing is this:  Just SING!!! If you look in the Bible you will find many many references to music, especially in the Psalms.  I will just share a few with you...and this expresses my feelings pretty much exactly:

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound." Psalm 92:1-3
"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods."  Psalm 95:1-3

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.  for the Lord is great and greatly to be praised...."  Psalm 96:1-4
"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things;  His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. " Psalm 98:1

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.  Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.  Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth.  With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples with equity."  Psalm 98:4-9
"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing."  Psalm 100:1-2

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100: 4-5
"I will sing of mercy and justice;  To You, O Lord, I will sing praises."  Psalm 101:1

Need I say more?  Oh....but there is one more verse I want to share with you...Did you know that God also sings to us?  Yes, He does...according to Zephaniah 3:17 ~
"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

To sum it all up: SING TO THE LORD...REJOICE IN THE LORD...SING NEW SONGS, SING OLD SONGS, JUST SING AND PRAISE THE LORD ON HIGH, FOR HE ALONE IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE! I LOVE HYMNS, I LOVE CHORUSES, I LOVE SINGING TO THE LORD ALL DAY LONG......JUST SING!!! DON'T FIGHT ABOUT WHAT SONGS ARE BEST...GOD JUST WANTS US TO SING AND FIGHT BACK THE DEMONS WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP THE MELODY OF PRAISE OUT OF OUR HEARTS AND MINDS. OH, SING TO THE LORD A NEW SONG! FOR HE HAS DONE MARVELOUS THINGS! HIS RIGHT HAND AND HIS HOLY ARM HAVE GAINED HIM THE VICTORY!!!!!! (PSALM 98:1) SO, PLEASE, PEOPLE OF GOD: SING!!!!!

"Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!!  
LET EVERYTHING THAT HAS BREATH PRAISE THE LORD!  Psalm 150: 1-6

And all the people said: "AMEN!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Keep On Praying!!!

I feel like it has been a long, long time since I last wrote you all.  It has been over a week, and I feel so estranged already....Writing a "daily blog" takes a lot of discipline...and especially when you've been traveling and staying too busy to take the time to write it all down!  So, here goes:
 
R to L: Mike and Lisa Wedge, Nicole and Matt Steiner


Last night we returned home from a whirlwind trip to Maine to visit our son Matthew and his family...and to celebrate our grandson Noah's 11th birthday.  We also visited our younger son Scott who happens to live in the same area.  So it was a busy, but happy time together with loved ones and even some old friends. 

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that our son Matt is battling a rare and aggressive cancer: Desmoplastic small round cell tumor...a disease that usually attacks children, but  for some reason it chose Matthew as a target at the age of 37.  Matt has been undergoing chemo for about 6 months now, and is soon coming to the end of this round of treatment.  At that time they will determine whether or not he needs further treatment or just what the next step should be to bring him to the desired goal of healing in his body. 

Of course, this has been a topic of much prayer among our many loved ones, friends, churches, and even total strangers across this land...and around the world.  I love the electronic medium of email and facebook, and even this blog, which has helped to spread the word to people who truly care and who actually take the time to pray for a young man whom many have never even met.  For this, I want to say a hearty "Thank you!" and God bless you all.  Please don't stop praying!  Your prayers are being answered. 

As I spent time with Matthew this past week, I marveled at his apparent strength, health, and overall good attitude in the midst of what could be a time of extreme devastation for some.   Matthew shared a story with me about another man he knew who was diagnosed with cancer about the same time as he was, and who, because of fear of the unknown and perhaps a feeling of desperation, took his own life, saying he did not want to be a burden to his family.  How sad for that family...the very thing this man wanted to avoid became exactly what happened...his unfortunate actions placed an even greater burden on his family who would gladly have tried to help him through that trial had he only given them a chance...and had he had the faith to believe that God would be there to help him.  I can't stand in judgement of that man for I do not know what motivated him from within, but I can only pray for his family, that God will comfort them as they deal with that great loss.

I know that we are not through with this ordeal yet, and we do not know what the future may hold.  But we are assured of one thing, that God is with our family in the good times and the bad...He does not forsake us or leave us comfortless.  He gives us the strength we need to get through difficult obstacles and serious health issues...one day at a time...one obstacle at a time.   That is the faith that sustains us, carries us, and keeps us moving forward.  The hope that only Christ can bring in the time of sorrow, uncertainty and fear is what gives us strength.  I am thankful that our Matthew has this hope and faith.  I'm not saying he has not felt any fear or anxiety over this illness and his situation...he has had plenty.  But I truly believe that it is the prayers of many, including you, who have given him courage and strength and the will to keep fighting.  That is why I say Thank you!  Please don't stop! Your prayers are being answered....don't ever think your prayers don't matter...they matter to ME, to Matthew, and to our whole family.  God bless you all, and thank you.

James 5:16  "....The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."   




Noah and his cousin Jeremy
 Noah and his cousin Jeremy...born one week apart and good buddies.


Our grandson Noah and his Grandpa Steiner...showing off a new t-shirt he was given for his birthday...Nike says, "There is no finish line", and the letters are made up of people running the race...  Actually, we are running a race...I Corinthians 9:24 says, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain....vs. 25 says, "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. "
Noah and his Grandpa Steiner


My Friends Nancy, Me, and Sharon
 This picture shows me with two of my long-time friends from New Hampshire. Nancy is my daughter-in-law's Mother, and a good friend. Nancy lost her sweet husband Dennis to a brain tumor a few years ago. He was a precious man, and we all miss him...especially Noah misses his "Pa-Pa".  Sharon is a breast cancer survivor, and she also lost her dear husband Walter a little over a year ago to a brain aneurism, which took him quite suddenly. They were also dear friends of ours. Sharon is the grandmother to Noah's cousin Jeremy, and so is Nancy. So we are all one big family.  We always get together to celebrate Noah's birthday each year when we travel to New England for this annual event!


"Uncle Scott" and Noah
This picture is my grandson Noah with his Uncle Scott, our youngest son.  They have a great time together playing Wii and goofing around, as you can see.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

He Knows My Name by Maranatha Singers

A New Decade of Life...What will it bring?

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones; and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ~
Yesterday I turned 60 years old. The picture above is of me when I was only about 10 months old, just getting my start in this big old world.  I look at this picture and I wonder, what was going on inside that little mind of mine?  Did I have any clue what my life would be like?  Did I even care? Probably not, as long as my immediate needs were being met...a dry diaper, good baby food and bottles, a nice warm bath and someone to hold me and rock me when I was sleepy or afraid.  That was all I really cared about at that time...and I really didn't worry about it at all.  Afterall, what could I do about it anyway?  I could cry, scream, throw a fit, but that was about it.  I was totally dependent on my Mama and Daddy to take care of my daily concerns, and apparently they carried through with their responsibilities quite well.  I prospered and grew up in health and happiness.  I was a very happy baby, child, youth, and young woman.  When my parents' time of responsibility for me came to an end, my loving new husband took over my care.  He helped to provide my daily necessities as we worked together to provide an income and home for our eventual family. Then the cycle began all over...it was my turn to take care of my little ones and provide their every need until they were able to make it on their own.

Now I am sixty years old, and although I am still thankfully enjoying my good health and "sound mind" (?)...I realize that the day is coming when I will probably become dependent again, only this time on my own children or others who are able to provide that care as needed. But even then, who will really be the One taking care of me?  Will it be my children, or the nursing home, or some other agency?  Or will it be the ONE Who has been taking care of me all along? The same One Who was there when:
"my inward parts were being formed in the covering of my mother's womb...the same One Who knew all about my frame  when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth..."
The same One Whose "eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed...and in His book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them!"  The same One that knows me today, Who searches my heart, and tries me, and knows my anxieties; He knows if "there is any wicked way in me", and He "leads me in the way everlasting."  (see Psalm 139)
Yes, I know that I can look forward with great confidence for my future as I know my Lord and Saviour is already there, guiding, protecting, saving, and loving me, just as He always has, and just as He always will...for He says He is the "Alpha and the Omega", the "Beginning and the End" (Revelation 1:8)...and again He says in Rev. 1:17-18 ~ "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore." 
Therefore, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow...because He lives, all fear is gone...because I know He holds the future...and life is worth the living, just because He lives!"                      (Bill Gaither...song: "Because He Lives")
Amen! And Praise the Lord!!! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have You Eaten Any Feet Lately?

Proverbs 31: 26: "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness."


Oh no! This one's going to be tough! Oh, how I wish I could live up to this proverb! I'm more apt to open my mouth and insert my foot, and I've more than enough times had to "bite" my tongue to keep from saying the unkind thing I was thinking! There's small comfort in knowing I'm probably not alone in this either...very small comfort.

James chapter three talks to us regarding the control of the tongue...and how the tongue
"is a fire, a world of iniquity...it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell." (from James 3:6) James also says in verse 8 that "no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." So with that to deal with, no wonder it's so hard for me to open my mouth with wisdom and have on my tongue the law of kindness!


Nevertheless, we must persevere! James tells us in chapter one, verses 5 and 6,
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."
Furthermore, on in chapter 3, verses 13-18, he gives additional teaching regarding the wisdom that is from above:
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. (vs.13)...The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (vs.17-18)

By this I see that if I have the "wisdom that is from above", I will have the law of kindness on my tongue. When I seek the wisdom that only God can give, He promises to give it to me. Therefore, when I open my mouth, it will be with wisdom. He will guard my tongue and exercise control over it when I yield it to Him.

Does this mean that I will never ever again say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Well, maybe...if I continually yield my tongue to Him, then He will continually have control over it...but when I don't spend daily time with Him in prayer and devotion, and study of His Word, how can I expect Him to be able to communicate good thoughts to me? How can I expect Him to keep control over that which I refuse to commit to Him? Also, if I don't put good thoughts into my mind...how can I expect good thoughts to come out? ("Input-Output; What goes in must come out"...a little song I heard our Children's Choir sing one day...makes sense to me!)

Okay, Lord, I get it...the way to open my mouth with wisdom and have the law of kindness on my tongue is to keep in closer communication with You, my Creator. You designed me, and You gave me this tongue so that I could communicate with love and kindness. Help me, Lord, to yield this tongue to you so that you can fill it with good words...words of love, kindness, and encouragement...rather than words of bitterness, condemnation, and anger. Thank you, Lord, for being always available and ready to give us wisdom...if we'll just ask. Forgive me, Lord, when I forget or get too busy to ask. I pray that the next time I open my mouth to speak to someone you've brought into my path, you will give me the wisdom to share words of kindness. Amen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back to the Beginning...a Repeat worth Repeating...and an Update.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."


Someone once gave me a plaque to put on my wall that said, "When God closes a door, He always opens a window." I kept it on my wall for many years, although it was often moved from one wall to another as we saw one door closed on that particular home and place of employment, and a window opened in a new location. I finally got to the place where I hid that plaque, because it was beginning to feel like we had a perpetual door slamming shut and I got tired of rehanging that plaque on a different wall. However, the truth I need to focus on is the fact that I did have another wall on which to place it...because God had in fact opened another window. In reality, God has always opened another window whenever we heard that proverbial door slam shut on our hopes and dreams. He has never failed to open another window for us, albeit, perhaps not always a window that we had ever thought of before, or even that we would have considered had it not been for God's supernatural guidance and intervention on our behalf.

Lord, right now I am in one of those places between the slammed door and the open window...and I have no clue where or when that window will open. I know I can trust in You, since You have promised in Your word in Isaiah 43:18-19 that You will "do a new thing" (open a window?) and that You will "even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Here I am Lord, ready to travel that road or cross that river, whatever it takes to reach that open window. Thank You for Your message of hope and encouragement today. I can hardly wait to see what window You are going to open next! Amen.

This was my original blog, written way back in February of this year...a bold new step for me....Little did I know on that day just what kind of windows were about to open in my life...at that time I was unemployed and had been for quite a few months.  However, within three weeks of the date of this writing, I was miraculously employed in a position that was better than I could ever have imagined!  God was already working on my behalf even as I sat here at my computer at home wondering what could possibly ever open for me. 

Also, within a week after writing this, I attended a writer's conference, which further encouraged me in my writing pursuits, and now 113 blog entries later, I am enjoying the camaraderie of other bloggers and new writers as we share ideas, prayer requests, and dreams with you and each other.

A not so encouraging event some four or five weeks later, when my 37 year-old son, Matthew, was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer. This has changed the whole focus not only of my writing, but also of our whole attitude towards life and the preciousness of it for all people.  I am thankful to be able to report that Matt is doing better than expected with his chemotherapy, and Lord willing, we are praying for a full recovery within the year. The key to this joyful possibility was early detection, and a lot of prayers going up on his behalf.  Nothing is final yet on his prognosis, but we are very optimistic and full of thankfulness to our God.

It is such a blessing to sit here today at my computer and look back over how God has intervened on our behalf in so many ways over these past months.  And not only that, I am further encouraged by other little signs I see developing on the horizon for other possible outlets for ministry in our future.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do next!!! I hope you'll continue to come along with me on this journey!  Thank you for being here thus far!!