Praying for Ryan


May 31
My heart aches for the LaSource family as 3 year old Ryan is still on a ventilator fighting for his life in a Leukemia battle. His father created these vinyl decals as a fund raiser.  I put ours on our kitchen window!

https://www.facebook.com/RyanLaSource/?fref=nf

As painful as these last months have been watching this child suffer it is obvious God is up to something huge.  The other day over 2,000 people poured out their support on Facebook. If you are able to go read some of the prayers you will be so proud to be part of the Body of Christ.

The faith this young couple testifies to is beyond belief.

The other day in Jesus Calling I read"My Presence enfolds you in radiant Love.  Nothing, including the brightest blessing and the darkest trails, can separate you from Me."

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Colossians 2:6-7

For my stroke followers an interesting discovery this week.  One day last week, I did a lot of potting of plants and got a bad headache.  I couldn't figure out why the task was so taxing.  Then  I realized it was sequencing. I was cleaning out old pots and trying to organize which plants would go in which pot.  Then Saturday and Monday I was working cleaning out the drawers and shelves in our garage.
Again, I was quickly exhausted and thought, "What is the deal?"  My husband looked at me and said, "Sequencing."
My left side facial drop has been shown itself again as well.We don't think I've had another stroke, we think it's like Toby Keith's song..."I'm Not as Good as I Once Was."

The Surrendered Summer


  
May 30
The "Fixer Upper" piece I shared this weekend ended with this scripture passage:

 Ephesians 3:14-21, which reads:
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth…
And I ask Him that, with both feet firmly planted on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine, or guess, or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around, but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

After meditating on this passage and reflecting on the article as a whole, I told the Lord I wanted to live A Surrendered Summer.

Will you pray that for me?  That each day this summer I will be intentional to be in the Lord's presence and living in His will.

Love it when the confirmation comes after thinking we've heard from the Lord.  In church yesterday morning our worship team sang a song that wasn't very familiar to me.  It's called Give Me Faith to Trust and the lyric that jumped out at me was...."All I am I surrender."

"Give Me Faith" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFHudYLt6l0
        
                                                        I need You To soften my heart and break me apart
I need You To open my eyes, to see that You're shaping my life

All I am, I surrender

Give me faith to trust what You say,
That You're good and Your love is great
I'm broken inside, I give You my life

I need You To soften my heart and break me apart
I need You To pierce through the dark and cleanse every part of me

All I am, I surrender

Give me faith to trust what You say,
That You're good and Your love is great
I'm broken inside, I give You my life

And I may be weak but Your Spirit's strong in me
My flesh may fail, but my God, You never will

I'm A Fixer Upper


May 28-29
My poor husband. Once again I've presented him with a "Fixer Upper List"!  Opening up Shiloh for the summer is a lot of work, but we know this place is a gift from God and it needs to be cared for.
Yesterday morning it was 74 degrees by 7:30AM. My goals for the day were to clean/weed the beach, get out the grands' beach toys and then head to the other side of the property and clean out the boat house and make a list of needed supplies for the summer.

On the beach was a large galvanized tub filled with rain water and two puffy salamanders who had obviously climbed over the side and couldn't get back out and drown.  Gross.  What a way to start.

I wonder if God says, "Gross" when he sees me getting puffed up with pride over something.  Glad he doesn't toss me to the woods like I did those slimy creatures. I wonder which one tempted the other to "come on in."

One of my favorite TV shows is called "Fixer Upper."  I came across a fabulous piece on Facebook about the Gaines.  It's your devotional for this weekend! As you read about their marriage, their parenting, their partnership be encouraged that they face all those things knowing they are not perfect, but a pair of "fixer uppers" committed and surrendered to the Lord.

http://qpolitical.com/days-after-the-fixer-upper-finale-chip-and-jo-post-shocking-news/

Flourish, Don't Be Overshadowed



May 27
Yard work always affords me the time to hear the Lord. The process of cleaning up our rose bushes, after weeks of rain,  held within an excellent life lesson. Snipping away the old blooms, from where they were overshadowing buds which had not yet had the opportunity to burst forth, caused me mind to contemplate how some individuals get  crowded out and never have the opportunity to bloom.

Being a teacher, by profession, my mind drifted to the classroom, but the lesson is applicable in every day life.  Be it family gatherings, book clubs, team sports, office settings, church, or any group gathering you have your early bloomers, the extraverts, who burst forth with gusto and are grand. While they play an integral part in group discussions and often bring much needed energy/exuberance, without balance and a bit of restraint they can overshadow and intimidate the late bloomers.  The personality make up of these people, also God's creation with great worth, have an equal purpose for His plan.  He made us ALL in his image.  Ha, He is complex! He is in all things!

"The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church:
every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance."
1 Corinthians 12:25-26

"So this is my prayer: 
that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well."
Philippians 1:9-11

Stroke Surviver Zone


These are wooden spoons I made for an egg and spoon race this past Easter.
Ends up it was rather frustrating for the under five years old age group,
but the parents were excited to take them home thinking they made for great disciplinary tools!

May 26

A lady was stopping by whom I'd only met once and during that encounter she didn't have a nice word to say about anyone. Anticipating her visit, I came up with the idea of typing up this sign and hanging it on a board at our front door where I like to leave thought provoking messages.  I didn't do it, but was tempted.

         You are entering a stroke survivor zone.

Be thankful you are alive and 
able to walk into this house.

That means

NO COMPLAINING

SPREAD LOVE

BE KIND AND ENCOURAGING 
TO ONE ANOTHER

While you are here,
tell someone else that you love them
and appreciate how God has made them.
Remember, Jesus could call you home tonight.

Go out on a HIGH NOTE!

"Finally, brother and sisters, rejoice!
Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11

Beaten Up



May 25
The torrential downpours we've had lately certainly gave our peonies a pounding.  They looked beaten up. That's the way I've felt concerning my prayer list lately.

For close to three years I've been praying for a little boy from Mississippi named Ryan LaSource.  Ryan is battling leukemia.  It's been grueling and he is really suffering through this battle at Duke right now. For the first time in a long time, nothing was posted yesterday and that concerns me.

https://www.facebook.com/RyanLaSource/?fref=nf

When I wrote on the word endure the other day, this sweet family was forefront in my thoughts as I've considered...How much more can they endure?  Now doctors are suspecting chemo has caused damage to his lungs and his breathing is very labored. I so want a happy ending to this story!

Just months ago we walked alongside close friends, who lost their daughter-in -law to cancer after a very similar battle.  Prolonged illness can cause you to become weary, but I remember a Beth Moore quote which said, "Weary means utterly spiritless."
It means we are facing battles in our own strength and with a worldly mindset, not God's.

Sunday, our pastor preached on prayer and gave me a much needed spiritual adjustment.
The message was based on Ephesians 6:18

"...praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. 
 To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. "

The key points were:
1) Pray consistant prayers. Build your life on this.        ....praying at all times
2) Pray all kinds of prayers.                                           ...all prayer and supplication
3) Pray focused prayers. The devil will distract you.     ...keep alert
4) Pray strategic prayers. Keep each other spurred on.  ...for all the saints

Pastor Stan also said, "Prayer is a consciousness of God and the process of praying is often better than the answer, because during the process we are in God's presence. Prayer activates the armor which protects us.  Allow the Holy Spirit to move you to pray and to guide you what to pray for. The true measure of prayer is are you sincere?  What is the condition of your heart when you pray?  Are you genuine?"

Honestly, I'm disappointed God would allow anyone, especially a little child, to suffer to long. As a mother/grandmother it pains me to watch what this family is enduring and now having to do it so far from home and alone in isolation due to germs.

While I've been consistent in my prayers for this child and fully expecting a miracle, somewhere in the pain and suffering I've forgotten who God is. I've become beaten up instead of prayed up.
So, now I surrender to the Holy Spirit and approach the throne of God with confidence in who He is and that His timing is perfect.  The truth is He is up to more than we can fathom in the lives of 1,000s surrounding this situation.  Jesus could be imminent in His return and this is one way God is calling the lost into His presence through prayer for this child.  Ryan's life could be instrumental in saving other's lives!

Laura Story reminds us in her moving song Blessings that this is not our home.  I really encourage you to take time to bask in the lyrics of this song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQan9L3yXjc

The Maker and the Mender



Here's our newest grand dog with a very happy face.

May 24
Don't you just love it when the Lord speaks to your heart.  Opening my eyes the other morning I was heavy hearted.  As I said, "Here I am Lord," he answered, "Hand me your heart." Immediately, I melted.  His next words were "I am the Maker and the Mender."

The Maker, the one who created each of us and knows every hair on our heads. 
The Mender, the one who has great kingdom purposes in all that we experience.

Later that morning I had an encounter with a gentleman concerning a replacement shipment for some tile which had arrived broken.  He said it could take five days, which was going to really delay the project, so I said, "It's not of eternal value, but I'm going to pray it arrives faster."  "Huh," he chuckled "If you want to pray for something, pray for my elbow. I have tendinitis."  So, right there on the spot I prayed and was able to say in the prayer how God had just reminded me He is the Maker and the Mender.

The tile arrived in two days!  Please pray with me that the gentleman's elbow is better too.

Think of just one person, whose heart needs to be mended right now.  Are they allowing God to be their Master and show them the way? If not pray fervently that they relinquish control.  That they hand Him their heart and follow His ways.

Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Psalm 95:6 

Eye Sight and Insight

Our granddaughter at a doctoral celebration party for our daughter!
May 23
Following the stroke there was an issue with my left eye.  Diligently, I worked on the prescribed exercises, but had waited until my regularly scheduled yearly appointment in May to see if the issue had resolved. Praise the Lord it has and my doctor said she was thrilled to see my eyes so healthy!

Good eye sight is such a gift, so is godly insight!  I prayed for a good verse on insight and opened up Biblegateway and there as the verse of the day was Romans 11:33.

Such a good reminder.
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"

I'm printing off these two passages from Psalm 119 to pray regularly.

"God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me-my whole life one long, obedient response.  Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!  Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot.  Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way.  Affirm your promises to me-promises made to all who fear you. Deflect the harsh words of my critics- but that your way is always good. See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways!" Psalm 119:33-40

"Let my cry come right into your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.  Give my request your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of your promise.  Let praise cascade off my lips after all, you've taught me the truth about life!  And let your promises ring from my tongue; every order you've given is right.  Put your hand out and steady me since I've chosen to live by your counsel.  I'm homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself!  Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul.  And should I wander off like a lost sheep-seek me!  I'll recognize the sound of your voice.
Psalm 119:169-176

First



May 21-22
May 12th,  our daughter and I had the honor of accompanying our daughter in law, as the guest of her mother, a US Congressman's wife, to the Congressional Club's luncheon honoring the First Lady. It was a lovely affair and Michelle Obama was most gracious in her comments.
In my younger years, I can remember thinking it would be fun to be a princess or the child of a president.  Interestingly enough, I never wanted to be queen or First Lady, for I guess deep down inside I knew the huge responsibility which came with that.  Your time is not your own.  You are in service.  Plush service yes, but still you have a whole world watching your every move.

While holding the position of Head of School at a small private school, my husband doesn't see himself as first or top dog. Lower school PE teacher is something that he has added to his plate, feeling this allows him the opportunity to get to know these children better.  One of the lessons he teaches them is Matthew 20:16.
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

When children run and push and shove to be first in line, he waits until they are positioned from the fiasco and then walks to the back of the line and has everyone turn around reversing the order.  The last person in line, becomes the first! I love it!

Another great Bible lesson on the effect of first comes in 1 John 4:19.

"We love because he first loved us." 

Who is God calling you to love this weekend?

Enduring

May 20
Whether it's the rainy weather, the lack of praise time and formal Bible study for a couple more weeks, the depth of heartache on my prayer list or other external influences, I found myself floating into a funk the other day.  I wanted to call a friend or my husband and unload, but I knew the proper protocol for holy living was to go to the Lord. Before I could get my thoughts verbalized He said,
"Endure!"
Going to a couple dictionaries, definitions such as:suffer patiently for a long time,  remain in existence, and deal with or accept something unpleasant surfaced.

Typing endure into Biblegateway unearthed seventy verses. Two quickly spoke to me personally, while numerous Psalms lifted my spirits.

In John's message to Ephesus in Revelation 2: 1-4 he says,
"The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lamp stands, says this: 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.'"

Whew, wee.  Shake it off girl.  In all we are called to endure our eyes still need to be on Jesus, our First Love!  My pickiness can be so petty, so trivial compared to the cause of Christ.

The second verse helped to hush me up as well.  1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; loves does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."


While my girlfriends would have consoled me and my man been willing to go to bat and try to change situations, my God got to the HEART of the matter, my sinful selfishness.  He gives the best attitude adjustments around!  Thank You, Jesus

The Forgiveness Factor


Love the mix of intensity, concentration and elation when this little one creates.

May 19
While she was visiting, she wanted to paint her toenails herself. I laid out a paper towel and told her it was important to keep her piggies on the towel.  I stepped out for a minute and when I came back I noticed a spot of nail polish on the tile floor. When I went to use the towel to get it up I uncovered a bigger mess.  She began to tear up, knowing she'd tried to cover up a mess. 
Cradling her in my arms, I explained accidents happen and we all make mistakes, but it's important to be honest and seek forgiveness and help if necessary to right the wrong.

Sarah Young had written on this topic in Jesus Calling on May 9th.

"Don't be so hard on yourself.  I can bring good even out of your mistakes.  Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret.  This is a wast of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me.  Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.
Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride.  Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses.  Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes.  Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do." 

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Micah 7:7

That same day a friend called and when I said, "How are you?" she replied, "Not good. I've been an awful person and am filled with guilt."  We've all been awful people and we will be awful again. Praise the Lord His forgiveness factor. Sometimes we are the last ones accept forgiveness from above.

Our Strength

Papa and his youngest grandson. Are they cute or what!
The oldest grandson. It was just by accident we were all so pinkie!

May 18
Recently we've been walking through a season of heart break and suffering with several people. It was so good to be in church Sunday are praise the Lord with hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ and be reminded by our pastor, in his sermon series on the Armor of God, that we have power to prevail through the battles of life.  I pulled up a file I had made full of verses which remind of that our strength is in the Lord. There are two individuals in particular who are literally in ICU units fighting for their lives and enduring much physical suffering. So, I'm taking time daily to pray these verses over them.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy, He will quiet you in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
Zephaniah 3:17

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything 
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds 
in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, 
and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 


“Be strong and courageous; 
do not be frightened or dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

“God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; 
the righteous run into it and are safe.”
Proverbs 18:10

“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

“…but they who wait for 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.” 
Isaiah 40:31

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, 
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, 
you may abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 

“And the God of all grace, 
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have suffered a little while, 
will himself restore you and make you 
strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5: 10

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

“Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
because they trust in you. 
Trust in the Lord forever, 
for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.”
Isaiah 26: 3-4

“So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

“The Lord is my strength and my song; 
he has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise him—
my father’s God, and I will exalt him!”
Exodus 15:2

“It is the Lord who goes before you. 
He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

“The eternal God is your refuge, 
and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Deuteronomy 33:27

“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!”
Psalm 20:1

“Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:5

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, 
and delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:4

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, 
a stronghold in times of trouble.”
Psalm 9:9-10

“Seek the LORD and his strength; 
seek his presence continually!”
1 Chronicles 16:11  

“You are my hiding place; 
you will protect me from trouble and 
surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalm 32:7-8



The Revenge of the Robin




May 17

Wasn't the word annoying  part of the definition of bird brain?
Not sure if you remember my post on the robin?  Well, this ole fellow took his revenge after I prayed him away from messing on our windows. The name of Jesus may have kept him away from the house windows, but he went and defecated on our cars.

This verse is not specific about revenge towards animals, but a reminder God will avenge!

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written,
'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."
Romans 12:19

We also had a bluebird, who began flying into our bedroom windows every morning. He wasn't making the mess the robin did, but the constant tap, tap, tap was quite annoying. I began writing this post yesterday morning and then headed out to do some window washing.  Working behind one of our fountains, which was not turned on and void of water, I glanced inside and there upside down was the bluebird.  He finally knocked himself out.  That ole robin must be a tougher bird!

Leaving room for God's wrath is excellent advice from the Lord.  Can you think back over life and recall examples?

Mothers Day



Thanks to this sweet family for hosting us over Mother's Day weekend.


May 16


Our daughter, who experienced three miscarriages and the heart break of infertility, had a precious post on Facebook over Mother's Day weekend. May we keep this in our hearts throughout the years and allow God to equip us to be sensitive and love others well.

"I love getting to celebrate Mother's Day with my littles but it always stirs my heart to think of the women who ache on this day. I've been one of them.
So Heres to you, women who long to be a mom.  My heart aches with you an I am praying alongside you that God would grant the desires of your heart.
Here's to you who have lost a child. Your child is not forgotten, nor is the love you have for them.
Here's to you missing your mom on this day. I pray that you would not feel alone and that God would fill the empty spot in your heart.
Here's to the women who help mother other children. Teachers, friends, babysitters, aunts.  You are so valued.
Praying that you would be filled with joy. That God would whisper to you of your beauty and purpose and value. And that you would feel oh so loved."

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6




Balance

Our backyard balance beam.


May 14-15                        Puppies need lots of direction...so do people.   
I was looking for scriptures on having a balanced life and Biblegateway referenced
Proverbs 11 (MSG)
There's a lot to nibble on! Maybe I'll slowly unpack this over the weekend.

"Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way"

God hates cheating in the marketplace; he loves it when business is aboveboard.

The stuck-upfall flat on their faces, but down-to-earth people stand firm.

The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.

A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst.

Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life.

Good character is the best insurance; crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.

When the wicked die, that's it-the story's over, end of hope.

A good person is saved from much trouble; a bad person runs straight into it.

The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction; the common sense of the godly preserves them.

When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people the town celebrates.

When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes; evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.

Mean-spirited slander is heartless; quiet discretion accompanies good sense.

A gadabout gossip can't be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won't violate a confidence.

Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.

Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you'll avoid rash bargains.

A woman of gentle grace gets respect, but men of rough violence grab for loot.

"A God-Shaped Life"

When you're kind to others, you help yourself; when you're cruel to others, you hurt yourself.

Bad work gets paid with a bad check; good work gets solid pay.

Take your stand with God's loyal community and live, or chase after phantoms of evil and die.

God can't stand deceivers, but oh how he relishes integrity.

Count on this:The wicked won't get off scot-free, and God's loyal people will triumph.

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful face on an empty head.

The desires of good people lead straight to the best, but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

The one who blesses other is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!  Blessings on all who play fair and square!

The one who seeks good finds delight; the student of evil becomes evil.

A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.

Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it's a stupid way to live.

A good life is a fruit-bearing tree; a violent life destroys souls.

If good people barely make it, what's in store for the bad! 



Joy Can Be Lost


Our son and his wife are jumping for joy at their daughter's trampoline birthday party.
I'm not jumping yet, with this back issue, but I've got my joy back!

May 12
As I shared yesterday I felt disconnected from God. He hadn't gone anywhere, I had.  He did the most amazing things Tuesday.  (Okay, He does amazing things everyday, I just fail to acknowledge them.)  
I decided to go for a pedicure, mostly because I wanted to sit in the massage chair and see if it would loosen up my back. I started to call a girlfriend to join me, but then just headed up on my own knowing I didn't need to unload my problems on her. 

The place was packed, but I got to sit in one of the chairs for 30 minutes before the pedicure which was perfect. I opened Jesus Calling  on my phone and there was God!!!!  I keep telling you, when we get alone with God and His Word he shows up!  Here's what Sarah Young had written:

"Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.  Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.  When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me.  Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependence on Me and increasing intimacy between us. Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed by the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom.  Thank Me for the difficulties in your life, since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance."

Can you believe that!!!!! Spot on.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raised the dead."  2 Corinthians 1:8-9

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:20

Closing my phone I noticed the shop door open and in walked my girlfriend!!!!  We had not talked in a week and NEVER discussed getting pedicures together.  It was as if God had rewarded me for coming to Him first.  It gets better.  Arriving home I noticed I had a message from an out of town friend on our answering machine saying she needed advice.
Calling her and asking how she was, she replied, "Not in a very good place."  She laid out before me a similar scenario that I had laid out for you yesterday on Boojoyful and she even said, "I've lost my joy!"  God made me regurgitate what I had just learned!!!!  We prayed together and concluded with the God given wisdom that our joy can not be in external circumstances or in the lives of others...our joy must be in the Lord!

Desires

No, he's not ours but as one of our sons said, "He's a looker!"

May 11
I was elated to have the opportunity to baby sit this sweet fellow last week. Oh, how I miss some good bulldog love.  While having another bulldog is a desire of mine, I know realistically a puppy is probably not the best item to add to our lives right now.  We get up in the middle of the night enough on our own and our backs are beyond the toting bulldogs around days.  It's a good kind of love though.

I fell into another tempting purchase last month. My husband shook his head as I entertained the idea, but let me go through with it knowing I had a couple special events coming up where I thought I needed to look stylish.  I bought a pair of shoes with a little heel.  Can't even remember the last time I wore heels and I am not smooth at all walking in them.  Now my back is out and they are probably money down the drain.

Do you ever feel your mind drifting away from the things of the Lord and onto worldly nonsense?  Trying to reel myself back into the Holy Spirit's guidance I did an evaluation of what drew me off course. Each of these things factored in.
Busyness keeping me from digging deeply in the Word.
Influence of others whose company you are keeping meaning more than time with God.
Physical pain, like the way my back is right now.

But emotional pain is what caused me to falter the most.  The prayer list that I'm praying over, but not entrusting to God, has been heavy on my heart, because I'm not leaving the issues I'm lifting up, up there with God. I'm holding onto them in my head and my heart and that's not healthy.  I want my joy back and my desires to match up with God's desires.

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Going to go put some praise on...stay tuned, the phone rang and tomorrow I will tell you two ways God has drawn me back! Amazing!

WAYS

How cute is this little one in her hot pink high tops!
I want a pair.
I remember in high school when our volleyball team all decided to get high tops!


May 13
In our hip culture the response to someone saying, "No way?" can simply be followed up with the word: "Way!"

Well, God's ways are not our ways. Time and again I've come to see that when I think I know what God is up to, I'm wrong!  I told my daughter the other day I sense the Lord posing the question to me,
"If the opportunity arose would you be willing to walk away from EVERYTHING in your home?"  My response was "I totally trust You Lord.  Absolutely."  My mind interpreted this question as the possibility of someone knocking on our door and saying, "I want to buy everything, house, furniture, linens, dishes, boats, life jackets, patio furniture, etc."
The following day I awakened in the middle of the night with a terrible pain in my right upper calf.  It wasn't a cramp, but a sharp pain.  Immediately, I thought "blood clot" and then it hit me. Being willing to walk away from everything could also mean being called to my heavenly home!

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8


The Best Part


It's a good think she was icing cupcakes just for herself,
as the knife landed in her mouth in-between each stroke of the icing process!

May 10
By 3AM, the Tylenol I had taken for some fierce sciatica pain had worn off and I was awake and pleading with God to heal my back pain.  The string of requests that followed were worldly, self-centered and not of eternal value.

Moments into my list I realized my requests were void of the best part of a prayer life...surrendering to God and listening for His will, for His plans, for His purposes for my life that will bring Him glory.

Makes me think of the song "Glory to God".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h64opCwLZCw

To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever.  Amen
Philippians 4:20

It's not about us!




Goals

We had the privilege of baby sitting this little fellow and he wanted to play goalie!


May 9
Goals are important to have in life.  Our nation is in such disarray. 2 Chronicles 7:14 holds within it's punctuation some good goals for us as Americans. It is prefaced with the stipulation of holding true for "God's people."

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Sunday we were worshiping at one of our son's churches and there were several baptisms.  Each individual had been interviewed and videoed before hand and their testimony was shared on the big screen. The first young man brought me to tears as he told his story.  As a child he'd prayed with his mother and grandmother, but he said he had no idea who he was praying to.  In college he went to church and it felt good, but he walked out each Sunday heading back into his worldly college fraternity lifestyle.  It was a comment by his fiancĂ© that set a new goal before his life.  She shared with him, "I've been praying for God to give me a holy husband."
Tears dripped from this young man's eyes as he said, "I knew that was not who I was." Plugging into a Bible based church he humbled himself before the Lord and others and prayed for God to transform him into the husband this woman whom he loved desired for him to be!  Now that's a great goal!

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
1 Thessalonians 4:7  

Turning Five

Happy 5th Birthday to our oldest granddaughter.

Thanks for sharing your last week as a four year old with us!
May 7-8
Girls just want to have fun!
We fished, painted, colored the patio in chalk drawings, sewed, weaved, glued, baked, shopped, read, memorized scripture, built sand castles, baby sat a bulldog puppy, made butterfly sprinkled pancakes and even napped together while listening to praise music!  I observed while she swam, did gymnastics, played hockey, rode her bike and learned 3 songs on the piano.  Now she is five and beautiful on the inside and out!

When discussing the approaching birthday she said, "Friday, I will be five and after that six, seven, eight, nine and ten!"  The days of life are fleeting.  May we be intentional to make each one count for the Kingdom in some way.

"Show me, Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is."
Psalm 39:4

Follow the Rules

"Please Follow the Rules"

May 6
A sign photobombed this picture of our girls.  It is in the Chattanooga Children's Museum and says, "PLEASE, FOLLOW THE RULES." It cracked me up when I downloaded the  photos and saw it!

Last week I completed a study on the amazing life of Moses. It's been so good, I'm going back and reading Charles Swindle's book The Man of Selfless Dedication-Moses.
Deuteronomy 32:51-52 has God speaking to Moses and Aaron (who has died).
"For both of you broke faith with Me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribath-Kadevsh in the Wilderness of Zin by failing to treat Me as  holy in their presence.  Although from a distance you will view the land that i am giving the Israelites, you will not go there."

Whew!  Moses and Aaron were some dedicated servants, but their rule breaking had some consequences.  While they didn't get to dwell in The Promised Land, we are told they were "gathered up to their people."  At 120 years old and all he'd been through with the Egyptians and the Israelites that probably sounded just fine to Moses!

Teamwork




May 5
We dusted away the pollen, cleaned the boat, dock, patio, outdoor chairs getting ready for a prom night photo shoot and it rained!!!  Fortunately, there was only a mist when the kids arrived and we scurried around the property (well the girls in high heels didn't scurry) taking pictures in the woods and even on the water.
My husband was in his usual servant mode as I tipped him off to our next move in the photo shoot and where I'd needed his help.  Several of the students mothers had come with their cameras as well. One lady looked at me and said, "You two been together a long time?"  I said, "Going on 38 years."  She said, "How long did it take you to get him trained like that?"

My husband said, "I hope you told her once you became a submissive wife, it happened."

"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord."
Ephesians 5:22

We both ended the evening, sore and exhausted from the spring cleaning prep work, but thankful to have a place God can use.  We have a scripture sign on the basketball court which says:

"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman."
Job 31:1 

My husband thought we should have placed that in the photos!

Passionate



Kennette Pyles


May 4
It's been many, many years since our children took swimming lessons, but I know the experience was nothing like what I watched in Nashville.  This instructor has made teaching children to swim her passion.  Her three year old drown years ago and she decided to do all she could to see that no other parents experience this.
The number one goal is to teach these children from infants up, to turn over and float in the water if they get into distress.
This particular grandchild is not one to warm  up to new activities quickly, but Kennette's whispers in his ear have won him over!  Watching her teach is truly a beautiful experience.  The graduation lesson requires the child get in the water fully clothed, I think even in a jacket, and show that they can turn over and float.  This grandson has loved the swimming lesson experience so much that now he is taking lessons to work on his strokes.
"Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters.  And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best.  Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance.  Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ.  The sullen servant who does shoddy work will her held responsible. 
Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.
Colossians 3:23-25

Enchanted



May 3
We had the privilege of attending our grandson's 5th birthday celebration on a steam engine ride in Chattanooga, TN.  This photo captures the enchanting trip.  He was filled with delight and mesmerized by all the details he learned about these trains. This particular car was restored from 1940.  Whether it was crossing a trestle, going through a tunnel or watching a steam engine switch tracks at a round house, he had a similar look on his face the whole time!

I think this is what we will look like when we see heaven!

Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was  no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look!  God's dwelling place is now month the people, and he will dwell with them.  Then will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
Revelation 21:1-3 

Simon Says


Simon Says "Kick!"

May 2
Our son in law had these three little fellows enthralled in a game of Simon Says.  What would life look like if we sincerely took to heart what God says.

Love one another. John 13:34

Look after widows and orphans in their distress. James 1:27

Train up a child in the way he should go.  Proverbs 22:6

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Forgive others. Mathew 6:15

Wait on the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Honor your mother and father. Exodus 20:12