Friday, December 7, 2012

Tangled

A tangled mess, that's what they were, the string of Christmas lights I took out of the attic. I guess I thought I could just get the lights and string them perfectly on the tree in five minutes and it would be beautiful and perfect. Instead I was trying to untangle the string for over ten minutes - and not joyfully at all. Then it struck me how our lives are just like these lights: tangled. While we would like them to be beautiful and perfect, simple, and organized, they are complicated, involved, complex, confused, messy, and mixed-up; and we are frustrated more than joyful. The Christmas music was playing in the background. I should have been singing along, remembering the reason I was decorating; but I wasn't! Then the words of a song I had been listening to in the car called "No Room", came to me.  It talks about how when Jesus was ready to be born, his parents could not find a motel room anywhere - there was "No Room".  The chorus goes like this: 

No room, no room 
Sorry but life's too full to let you in 
No space, no place for the Savior Jesus 
No room. 

 Are our lives so tangled that we have no room for Jesus?  We can get so busy, or so stressed, or preoccupied, that all of a sudden our string of lights is tangled and there is "No Room" for Jesus.  We might be getting our shopping done, our baking completed, or our house decorated, but   our days leave "No Room" for the reason we are celebrating.

Let's open the "inn" of our heart and let Him in. I want to be like shepherds, who hurried off to find Him and when they had seen Him, spread the word. Their lives were not tangled, and they were joyful and singing and praising God. They made room in their lives for a Savior. May we do the same.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Unstoppable

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

The subtitle of this book is "The Incredible Power of Faith in Action".  Incredible it is as Nick shares his own life experiences and the incredible people he has met traveling all over the world.  I was so inspired by the many stories of those hopeless, unlikely, or against all odds giving themselves to be used in powerful ways.

Nick's faith is contagious and encouraging.  His willingness to be real and raw about his failures and successes helps us trust and love him more.  He is never boasting but gives all the credit the Lord.  You come away thinking "if he can do it, so can I".  Having no legs or no arms, he has been through alot for a 29 year old.  The topics he addresses such as bullying, failure, depression, and surrender remind us how much we need to live God's way not our own. 

I absolutely love the stories of the people he has met in his travels.  It is so good to read about the Power of God in others and how if we surrender our lives, God does the most amazing, incredible, powerful things!  I had never heard of many of the people and the ministries they started and now I wrote them down so I can read and learn more about them and pray for them.

Nick said he prayed that the words of this book would open our hearts and minds in a fresh and dynamic way so we will puts our faith into action and then inspire others to do the same.  With God 1st, we can and will all be unstoppable.

I received this book from Waterbrook Press for review purposes.  Thank you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Double blessings

Double blessings ....

Introducing Job & Liesl - grandchildren #12 & #13!

These pictures speak for themselves.

Need I say more.







Thursday, September 27, 2012

God's Amazing, Yet Strange Ways


The Fourth Fisherman, by Joe Kissack

I’ve been reading in 1 Chronicles how David inquired of the Lord and then did exactly as the Lord told him, even when the instructions were strange and weird.  You could say the same thing about Joe Kissack’s story and journey in his book “The Fourth Fisherman”.  Kissack tells his story of finding life in Christ and interweaves his own story with his drive to find three Mexican fisherman who were lost a sea for nine months.  This is an intriguing story to say the least and will capture your interest.
 
Kissack is not the best writer in my book but gives us a book easy to read and tells an honest story.  With his own story and those of the fisherman, I think there is a lot unsaid.  He is telling his own story in a limited way exposing only some of the pain from an abusive father, the need to noticed and be loved by him.  A classic story of great success and drive where the world gives Kissack everything, but it doesn’t satisfy him.  His own story could have easily been one book, the fisherman another; yet I love how God weaves its together.  When God wants to connect His people, there is nothing that can keep those people apart regardless of where they live. 

 God knew the truth had to told about these fisherman; and used Kissack to tell it.  Kissack gives everything to tell it.  He chooses to follow the Lord and not the world; unlike the rich ruler in the gospels.  We meet Kissack’s wife through his eyes; but I’d love a book by her; a rare woman who stayed with her husband, committed through thick and thin.

For those who wrote a bad review I quote my favorite lines from the book:  “Deep down inside the tough exteriors that are worn like armor, each man has a heart that is tender, that knows the truth.  For many, the fisherman’s experience is beyond any realm of understanding, and because it doesn’t fit into a compartment we can fathom, we question what is true. When you haven’t experienced the miraculous, it’s hard to get your arms around it. We are pretty wired to the ordinary. That’s sad, because it leads us to dismiss the remarkable, the triumphant, the extraordinary, the supernatural. Those are compartments many of us don’t have.  As a result, we deprive ourselves of these dimensions to life.”
 
I received a copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quotes & A Song

Just sharing some of my favorite quotes  of the week and a favorite worship song.

Abstain from all thinking about other people’s faults, unless your duties as a teacher or parent make it necessary to think about them.  Whenever the thoughts come unnecessarily into one’s mind, why not simply shove them away? And think of one’s own faults instead? For there, with God’s help, one can do something. Of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much. That is the practical end of which to begin. And really, we’d better. The job has to be tackled some day: and every day we put it off will make it harder to begin.   (C.S. Lewis)

God’s love for an educated but spiritually deprived generation is a powerful force against the carnal comforts of prosperity and secularism – powerful enough to transform the identity of a nation and continent.  (Alina Sayre)

God calls us to lay down our lives for the people behind the issues we support.  Heroism is an extraordinary feat of the flesh, and campaigns are occasionally won that way.  But not people. Holiness is the only power that not only defeats darkness but changes our lives, including the lives of those behind the issue we oppose.  Fighting and winning campaign may bring one personal glory, but fighting for souls in prayer and winning them to Christ brings glory to God.  (Joni Erickson Tada)

A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness.  (Oswald Chambers)

We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain.  (Paul, Galations 2:5)

 

Monday, September 3, 2012

22 Little Feet


22    little feet:

Ø  Ran excitedly all over the farm this summer  & scurried to the attic to find the toys.  Organization seized, extreme creativy and spontaneousness took over.
 
22 little feet:

Ø  Trampled the grass at our farm, destroying sonar lights, & dislodging rocks, running in and out of the screen door until there was no longer a screen

22 little feet:

Ø  With enthusiasm pedaled the John Deere tricycle begrudgingly giving their siblings a turn, ignoring the little old red tricycle that squeaks and is harder to pedal

22 little feet:

Ø  Jumped into the swimming pool, some cautious other thinking they were an Olympian, and others learning to swim or conquer fears

22 little feet:

Ø  Covered many acres searching for clues and treasurers on the annual clue hunt, some joining for the first time; the old pros wanting longer clue and more difficult hiding places
 

 

22 little hands:

Ø  Hugged our necks bringing indescribable joy

Ø  Left fingerprints everywhere and held on to Grandpa Jerry as he gave them 4-wheeler rides - a tiny one year old finger pointing to the window to say (if he could talk) "please take me outside and give me another ride".

 
22 little hands:

Ø  Designed the house with racetracks, dollhouses, or Lego creations, leaving a maze to walk through carefully

Ø  Picked the fruits or veggies in season & ate pancakes at local cafe


22 little hands:

Ø  Folded their hands to pray at mealtime and bedtime and others times in between some with little voices whispering or shouting up prayers from little hearts.


11 little hearts:

Ø  Are attached to ours and we are rich beyond measure
 
 

 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Exalt You O God


I Exalt You, O God by Jerry Bridges

Worship, praise, and prayer.  Greatness, holiness, and wisdom.  Love, not as the world loves, love unfathomable.  I might say I know something about each one of the previous words; and I would also say I have a lot to learn about each one.    “I Exalt You, O God” by Jerry Bridges is a wonderful 31 day devotional that speaks of these things and shows me how to go deeper and wider.   It is one you could use every month for a year and still find a treasure hiding each day.  My favorite parts of the book were the many words of God the author quotes and challenges me to learn.  The prayers at the end of each day are written using scripture and can be a guide to use in your own prayer life.  The author’s love for the Lord is contagious.  This is a great book to have on your kindle to refer to time and time again.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Glorious

Glorious!

speak

"One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.  They will speak of the GLORIOUS splender of your majesty." Psalm 145:4-5


dance

"One day He's coming, O GLORIOUS day". 


SING

 "O worship the King, all GLORIOUS above, and gratefully sing  His power and His love."



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reorganizing

It's coming off.
The layer of disgust and sorrow, pain and sadness that is painted on me.
As I organize and reorganize my house and get rid of excess stuff,
It's the same on the inside ....
I'm getting rid of stuff I don't need.
It just sits around and collects dust.
It's in the way!
So good-bye, farewell, to stuff!

I will exalt my God the King, I read in Psalm 145.
Oh to learn and know and live this.
To actually praise His name.
Every day.
Every breath.
This kind of living would not collect stuff that breaks, or tires,
or wears out, or wears me down.

This is abundant living.
Full living,
when I really let go of all the stuff, shedding it
and remembering
Who is worthy of praise.

Oh the Glorious Splender of a life reoganized by the Blessed Organizer.
My rooms are fresh and more spacious and inviting.
My inside is void of disgust, sorrow, pain and sadness.
It is full of joy,
peace,
and a love so divine and abundant
words cannot describe it.

Great is the Lord and Most Worthy to be Praised!
His Greatness No One can fathom!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Scent Cherry Blossoms

This is a wonderful quick read that is just plain fun to read.  Hats off to Cindy Woodsmall for writing a book is relaxing to read and captures my interest.  It's summertime and life is so full and after reading "Fearless" by Eric S (also from Waterbrook Press), I needed something light and easy to read.  This book was the right fit.


The characters are likeable people with just the right amount of real life drama to keep this book refreshing and relaxing, and they are people of strong faith who want to live their daily lives so Christ will be honored even when life throws them many curve balls.  Realistic with romance, this book was enjoyable to read driving along the North Dakota prairie with my hubby driving -- no cherry blossoms in ND -- but the canola was yellow and beautiful! 

I received this ebook free from Waterbrook Press in return for my review.  Thank you WP!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fearless

"Fearless: The Undaunted Couage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown" by Eric Blehm showed me the importance of praying for all of our soldiers and their families and giving them support and encouragement.

This book was not what I expected.  It was much better and I did not want to put it down.  One of my favorite things about the book is how Adam's family wanted to be honest and real and tell his whole story.  Sharing Adam's failures and struggles can only serve to help others and show them that we can overcome the bondages of life and be free to pursue the things God made for us to do in this world.

Seeing Adam persevere through the challenges and never see anything as a set-back, but as things that could be and would be conquered was encouraging.  We need more Adam Brown's in this world -- men who don't give up, men who seek the Lord and then live out their faith.

I loved getting to know Adam's family and also his Navy Seal friends.  This book is written as an honest, real, and raw account of Adam's life.  You cannot just page through this book or you will find shocking descriptions and not understand them, you will find vulgar language (bleeped) and will not understand the context.  So either read the whole book or none at all.  This story is well worth reading and shows that one life following the Lord Jesus can be lived "fearless".

Thanks you Waterbrook Multnomah for providing Fearless  free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.  If this would not have provided I may never have read it and would have missed reading one of the best books of 2012.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Encouragement ...

I love reading books on marriage!  Especially the ones that drive me to a new and deeper place with the Lord.  When this happens, my husband is always blessed to find a new and refreshed wife waiting for him when he comes in the door.

The latest book I just finished is "Alone in Marrige" by Susie Larson.  It is so good that I couldn't help but put a few of my highlights from the book below. 

Underneath our anger is a certain mistrust of God.  Somewhere the way we stopped believing that God is a God of love and justice.  If we truly believed that our lives, our hopes, and our dreams were in God’s hands, we wouldn’t be quite so shocked when imperfect people hurt us or let us down.

Our ultimate goal is not our happiness or even getting our way; our goal is the high calling of becoming more like Christ.

Our spouses are married to women who need Jesus’ refining in our lies just as badly as they do.

Be real.

God never changes and He’s not going anywhere.

Whenever I took the time to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, I found clarity, peace, and even motivation to do something about my circumstances.

Refuse to allow your thoughts to control you.

Lead me on.  Amen

An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny; an obedient, God-willed life is spacious.  Proverbs 15:32

The way to grow through pain is going thru it, not around it.

To engage in self-pity is to make an idol out of our self-adsorbed viewpoint.  When we give more weight to our perspective of our spouse and our marriage than we do the promises of God, we make an idol out of what we think we know.  Making this mistake offends the heart of God and will keep us from posessing the best of what God has for us.

You are set apart by God to affect the world around you.  Ask for the mind of  Christ – ask for a perspecdtive that matches His.

Instead of clenched fists and low perspectives, bow low, open your hands and look up.

A woman wrapped up in the love of God will be a vessel used by Him no matter where life finds her.

What I’m actually called to do is to take this Sword and cut everything out of MY life that offends God.

To survive is to completely wrap ourselves around the Vine and hang on for dear life.  When we resolve that we will be Christ followers in everything, something rises up within us and declares that Jesus Is Lord of even our circumstances – He is Most High God – high above our perspective – and this is when our disappointment becomes direction.

Stand up and fight!  Get your land back!

He will turn your disappointment into a dance floor!

Run toward women friends who challenge your faith and tell you the truth.

The heavens are pregnant with promise. God wants to establish us as a people who know Him well enough to trust Him and wait for Him.  The problem is, we are so busy grabbling for ourselves, we never give God a chance to give us His best.

Lean, wait, listen, expect.

Ask for a renewed perspective and a fresh wind of faith to blow thru your home.

It’s all too easy to lose sight of who we are and what we are called to, but we must not. Even when we simply feel like wives who are overlooked, overworked, and in need of a good haircut, even then we are representatives of the Most High God.

Anyone can seem holy alone in a cabin up in the mountains away from anything that is living and brething. But to walk along with imperfect people who personally affect your life, and to love them when it is easier not to, is to follow in Christ’s footsteps.

There are limits to what our early eyes can see, but the horizons cannot contain the awesomeness of God! Lift up your heads. Look up! DARE NOT TO walk through this earth as a bruised beggar, when you are armed with heaven on your side!

At some point we have to settle the issue that God is good and He wants to bless our lives more than we can imagine.

Go on a frantic search for God and His promises.

We were made for love. And when we look too long at ourselves or our spouses, we despair, because instead of love, we find selfishness there.  But when we look to the Lord, we see something different. We see a Servant-King, one who depleted Himself that we might be filled.  He didn’t fight back. He didn’t grab for His rights, He laid Himself down for love.

Love will change us, heal others, and fix what’s broken. 

You are held, loved, guided, and protected!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Good Morning Little Bird (Part 2)

Every morning Jerry and I say "Good Morning, Little Bird" as this little bird greets us by trying to get into the house. 

He will do all of the things below as I try to grab my camera and take his picture.  It seems he is a bit camera shy.
  • tap on the glass door and make lots of noise
  • grab on to the screen door  and just look in
  • sit on the door handle and chirp
  • sit on the chair next to the window and look in
I'm still not sure if he is saying any of following things:
  • Let me in this is where I belong.
  • Wake up it's time to praise the Lord. (I like the music I hear inside)
  • I'm nosy, what are you up to today? 
  • Beware of the enemies around us!
  • I'm a cute little pest and I like bothering you!  (He even followed me to the living room and tapped on the front door!)
Anyway, our little bird needs a name.  All suggestions will be considered!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Little Bird Where is Your Home

There's a little bird that keeps trying to get into our house.  She sits on the edge of the door screen peering in and pecking for the glass siding door to open.  When the screen in closed completely, she tries to get in through the side window.    (She's hard to see in this picture -- she's right below the handle.)



  • What she is seeing as she looks in that looks for appealing? 
  • Doesn't she see the smudges on the window left from our 6 grandchildren or the dirt I have not washed off?
  • Where does she think she is going and what is she going to do once she gets there?
  • Doesn't she know how many dangers are in this house and that she could not survive?
Yet day after day she comes and tries to get in. 
She flies by the window, into the window, sits of edge of the screen, sits on the handle, flies back and walks around the chair near the door like she's figuring out a new plan on how to get in.

The birdfeeder is 4 feet from her.  Beautiful fruit trees abound in our yard.  Green grass with black dirt and slimy worms are abundant.  The sun shines its warm on the earth and the evergreens protect from the wind.  What home could be better for this little bird.  Peace, protection, deliverance are hers and she should be content.

Perhaps she is curious.  Perhaps she is rebellious. Perhaps she is crazy. 

What do you think?

Help me write the end of this story......



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Right and Wrong Kind of Company

Someone came to visit last weekend.  They had been hanging around for some time wanting to visit and they knew when the time was right to come in.

I could easily excuse his visit; saying I was overtired, or my neck and shoulders are full of pain, or I've been overly busy every weekend with events and people.  I could justify his visit and make it seem right; but the truth is I opened the door and let Selfishness in. 

Just like  a two year old having a temper tantrum to get his way, selfishness came in and took over.  I wanted my way.  I wanted control.  I wanted the script to read my way.  I, I, I.  It's all about me!   Selfishness looks through only one lens; mine.  Selfishness pulled up old mindsets.  They resurfaced like shells washed up on the ocean, ones I thought had been washed away; but they were there, and they brought along a friend.

Guilt is a best friend of selfishness.  He comes in and says "you are ugly' you are not worthy, and you have no value - but haha, you invited us in and we want to stay."  Guilt wants to hug me and bring his cousin Shame along to have a party.  Shame is dancing around, it's getting dark.  They want to keep the party going until Destruction comes.

"I DON'T WANT TO DANCE!"  I shout.

There is another visitor at my door.  His voice is tender but His knock is persistant.  I open the door and welcome Forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the opposite of my other guest.  Forgiveness gently instructs and takes my hand and leads me to the path of light.  He gives healing words to say to the ones me and selfishness have hurt.  He turns me on the path to healing.  He brings along his friend called Grace.

Grace holds me. Grace lets me cry.  Grace reminds me I am loved, I am worth it, I am valuable.  Grace calls my name.  The sound of Grace and the touch of Grace brings back Joy.  Without realizing it, I had let Joy take a vacation.  Joy came back.  Joy said, "let's dance".  We danced and Praise came along.   We danced some more and Freedom joined us.  This dance is going to go on and on. 

Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
Delighted, they dance all day long; they know
who you are, what you do—they can't keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
you've been so good to us! We're walking on air!
All we are and have we owe to God,
Holy God of Israel, our King!   [From Psalm 89]


Grace Has Called My Name  by Kathryn Scott

Peace as elusive as a shadow dancing on the wall
life swallowed by the pain of yesterday;
Left broken by the shame of things that I had done,
No freedom from the choices that I’d made;

But with one touch You made me clean;
You met me in my deepest need.

Grace has called my name,
when all that I had left were just filthy stains;
Grace has called my name;
when hope had all but faded far away,
Grace called my name.

Wounded by words that left their mark upon my soul,
dreams overturned by empty promises;
Well intentioned things I’d heard a million times before
just left my heart to grieve alone again;

But with one touch You set me free;
You met me in my deepest need.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Wildflowers .... beautiful & full

Looking for a refreshing and uplifting novel?  "Wildflowers from Winter" by Katie Ganshert is just that and more.  This is a book you will not want to put down!  Everyday I looked forward to my break time so I could rejoin the characters Bethany and Evan in their everyday simple yet complicated lives.  This is both passionate and powerful yet so true to heart.  I know people on the same roads that are trying to heal from their past, have shut off their hearts to a God who wants to love them deeply, and finally seeing the wildflowers bloom to bring beauty and joy to their worlds.  The characters develop throughout the book and it's real life and real questions and real responses. I did guess how it would end but in no way did I want to miss any chapters but I couldn't wait to be right there enjoying the new found freedom and faith with the characters I'd grown to love!  This book will have you smiling and close to tears.  


This is the debut novel from the author and I can't wait for the next book. 


I received this Advanced Reading Copy for free from Waterbrook Press.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Know You're A Redneck


You know you’re a red-neck when:



v You try to fly standby to Cancun during spring break!

v You don’t even know its spring break until you get to the Minneapolis airport and college kids are everywhere!

v You wind up in Louisville, KY and stay at the hotel the stewardess recommended which ends up being the most expensive one!

v You go to Mexico with no dollar bills for tips!

v You hear 5 different languages and can’t understand a thing!

v You think you are just getting a shuttle but you are being set up for a timeshare!

v You find out “wireless available” does not mean it’s free and in your room!



Top ten things about our trip to Mexico:

1.      There is no place you can go that God is not there.

2.     Hanging out with Danny & Christal.

3.     The ocean – gazing at it, swimming in it,  looking for shells, late night walks.

4.     The pool – relaxing and exercising.

5.     Guacamole at every meal – well, maybe not breakfast.

6.     Beautiful weather (we got tan).

7.     Starry nights – but not quite as nice as North Dakota.

8.     Not getting a king-size bed turned out great – we moved the two double beds together and made it one great big giant bed!

9.     We got to go to Tipp City, Ohio for 2 nights and loved it!

10. Now we really appreciate the USA!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NOT THIS TIME


Who did it?  Who are the good guys?  Who are the bad guys?  These are just some of the questions I was asking myself when reading “Not This Time” by Vicki Hinze.  Grabbed by the suspense in the first two pages of this book, I was ready for a great read.

The intrigue continues but it gets very complicated when so many characters are introduced it was hard to keep them straight, and there are so many different organizations involved it was hard to really understand what each one had to do with anything.  The plot is one which you cannot figure out and twists and turns.

The main characters seem to know each other well and yet they are always thinking things about the other and analyzing.  There are long phone conversations with each other and then you get to go insides their minds.  It was a little crazy. 

The so-called love story is subtle and yet evolves in a strange sort of way and leaves you writing your own story at the end.  Faith is brought in to a small degree but nothing radial, the characters are mostly trying to run life on their own.

Reading this you may think I didn’t enjoy the book at all, but I did.  Crime and deception are complicated and anyone passionate about this type of fiction would want to read this book.  This Is the first book I’ve read by Vicki Hinze and I would read her again.  Perhaps I would have understood this better if I had read books one and two of this Crossroads Crisis Center Series.

I received this book free from Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for this review.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Perfect Love


This book is filled with gold nuggets.  It is not a book you can read quickly, it is more a book to use as part of your devotions and prayer.  The chapters are quite long and it is not a book you feel drawn to because it's very serious and makes us think about how we view God and His love for us.  I don’t think most of us really want to neither think as deeply as the author nor stop long enough to let it sink in. 

 Ruth Meyers shares her life experiences intimately so you get to know her both personally and spiritually.  As she shares her weaknesses, you see yourself.  Then she shares God’s Word in ways that make it easy for us to praise Him and go deeper in our relationship with Him and to try to comprehend how great His love is for us.  The prayers at the end of each chapter are worth copying for your own prayer time.  I have so many highlights and notes – and I’m sad that I only have this e-book for 60 days but thankful to Waterbrook Multnomah for allowing me to review it.