Wednesday, September 16, 2020

brave

 


One day last week, the Preacher and I were in our office discussing the things that we needed to do before our Sunday's worship service. The Preacher became silent and I could tell he had something on his mind. He then said, "In order to keep church going through these crazy times, you have to be brave. I can forgo the restaurants--that's not worth the risk, but church, it's worth the risk."

Brave? I never thought of that word being associated with opening the church doors on a Sunday morning. 

The mainstream media had told us that if we went outside and touched another person or breathed the air, air that someone else has breathed, we could potentially die, people had panicked. We went from joking about hoarding toilet paper to actually hiding in our houses. The world, our world, shut down. So the church had to change the status quo as to how the Word was preached.

We continued our discussion for a while and then we went on to our daily duties. As the week went on the word 'brave' kept repeating in my mind. I began hearing Nicole Nordeman's song, "Brave", running through my head.
"The gate is wide, the road is paved in moderation  The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in  Welcome to the middle ground  You're safe and sound and until now it's where I've been.

'Cause it's been fear  That ties me down to everything  But it's been love, Your love  That cuts the strings

So long status quo, I think I just let go  You make me wanna be brave  The way it always was is no longer good enough  You make me wanna be brave" 

And then, as the Lord always does when He wants to teach me something, two articles came across my computer screen. 

Susie Hawkins from namb.net writes

"(1) Bravery is faith fearlessness, (2) Bravery demonstrates trust, (3) Bravery takes risks.   C.S. Lewis said, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point...a chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky". And as he points out, kingdom-minded lives require us to be brave in living out all biblical principles, even challenging conditions. In fact that is exactly where "true bravery" occurs. 

 Laura Stephens Reed, from laurastephensreed.com writes:

"Prior to the pandemic, a number of clergy were working under unrealistic expectations, whether those came from their congregations or from their own internal "shoulds". And then in March they had to change the ways they did nearly everything and fast. They became not just preachers but tech experts with all that entails: recording, editing, sound mixing, lighting, inviting people to and teaching them how to participate in and managing online meetings, exploring the most accessible social media platforms, and monitoring cyber security. They spend many hours trying to get all of this right because worship and Bible study and fellowship are so critical, not knowing that they'd have to continue all that they started beyond a few weeks, often without much help from others. The effects of all these difficulties are taking their toll. They have deepened pre-existing fault lines and created new ones. Clergy who already had some sense of discontent now have one foot out the door, and some who were happy are seriously questioning whether their current context is still a good fit. The result, I predict, is going to be a tidal wave of pastoral departures once churches re-gather, and maybe sooner depending on how long the pandemic rages on. Church folks, this time is hard for everyone, It's hard for you and it's hard for your pastor." 

 Yes it has been hard and tiring. There were some days when the Preacher and I were very tired from trying to keep it all going as if there was nothing wrong. 

But brave? Did we feel brave? No.

The Preacher has taken precautions due to some breathing issues but he loves the Word of God and loves his congregation. So he will continue to be brave for the Word and for you.



 

 


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

out of the stump

Five years ago we were searching for a new home. We came across a nice 2-story house and while walking through the house with the previous owner, she took us outside to show us her flower gardens and she turned to one of the trees in the yard. Actually it was just a stump. She explained that it had not flourished and had begun to die so her husband decided to cut out the dead limbs but left the last main stump of what was once a pretty tree.

After purchasing the home we thought about going ahead and cutting the tree stump completely down. But with the busyness of moving in and with everyday life and work we forgot about our plans of cutting it down.

So the stump sat there during the long, cold winter just waiting for the spring. And in the spring we began to notice that there was new life coming up out of that old stump. So we decided to leave it and see what might come of the once dead stump.


Now after these five years all that is left of the stump is a dried, dead log. You can see what is left in the above picture. But as you can see, there is a healthy tree surrounding that stump. New life came back from the dead.

Sometimes we may feel cut off and cut out. But you can't stop God. He is there waiting to make you new again.

You were made by Him in His image as His child. He has been waiting for you since the beginning of time to grow and to look up to Him. Just as the trees and the flowers reach up to the sun for its rays to give them life, so should we look up to the Son. 

You can begin again, anew, in His love. Let His love help you to have hope again. Be still and wait. If your heart is in a place where it feels like a long, cold winter just be still and know that He is there working for you to help you grow into who He always knew you could be.



 

Friday, July 3, 2020

my house


AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE

WE WILL 
         love
          serve
           honor
            magnify
             praise
              worship
               fear
                obey
                 follow
                   trust
                         THE LORD

 Joshua 24:15





Inspired by @christinecaine IG post
                 
                                            

Thursday, April 16, 2020

lies that i tell myself


The Preacher has begun looking at some ideas for new sermon series for the rest of the year. He needed something that would tie into Mother's Day and Father's Day.

I had purchased this book last year thinking that he might be able to use it for Mother's Day but he went in a different direction.

So this year when he and I were discussing his sermon plans, I reminded him of this book. He asked me to look over the chapter headings and let him know out of all of the chapters what were the topics that I thought women would want to know the truth about.

The book deals with the lies that we as women tell ourselves and the author then tells you what truths the Lord wants you to hear.

So I looked them over and this is what I saw:
"About God" the lie is that God doesn't love me.
"About Themselves" the lie is that I'm not worth anything and physical beauty matters more than inner beauty.
"About Sin" the lie is that my sin isn't really that bad.
"About Priorities" the lie is that I don't have time to do everything I'm supposed to do.
"About Marriage" the lie is that it is my job to change my mate.
"About Children" the lie is that I can't control/can control the way my children turn out and that I'm not a good mother.
"About Emotions" the lie is that if I feel something it must be true.
"About Circumstances" the lie is that I just can't take any more.

We need the truth told by the Lord so that we will not believe these lies anymore.

There are several more "lies" that we tell ourselves that are discussed in the book. These are just a few that I pointed out to him that he could possibly use for his series.

I would encourage you to pick up the book and read it. There might just be a lie that you have been telling yourself that the author has put in the book. 

There is also this book for men

The preacher will be discussing a few of the lies that men tell themselves when he starts this sermon series. 

Maybe you and your husband/boyfriend/fiance' might want to pick both of them up and read them together as a devotional. There are a few topics/lies that do overlap.

The funny thing is, is that the women's book just happens to have a few more pages than the men's book. I don't know but maybe that says something about us women.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.                                                                                                      Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) 
Before the new year began I saw a few Pinterest sites and Facebook posts asking what would you would choose to be your 'word' for 2020.

I thought about this and decided that my word for 2020 would be the same that it was in 2018 and 2019 -- FAITH.

When I was a little girl my mom and dad took us to church every Sunday. I learned all the Bible stories and all of Jesus' parables. The one that fascinated me is in the book of Matthew, chapter 17, verse 20, where Jesus tells his disciples that if they have the faith as small as a mustard seed, that they can move a mountain.

My mother had a necklace that had a clear round ball on the end of the chain, and inside of that ball was a tiny mustard seed. I remember just barely being tall enough to see above her dresser and playing with her jewelry. This necklace intrigued me. How did they get that little seed inside of that ball. I knew the story it represented but it didn't make any sense.

How can you move a mountain with a faith as small as that seed?  

In April of 2018 through January 2019, I became fully aware of how a figurative mountain can be moved with a faith the size of a seed.

My faith throughout that year wavered, I will admit it. But I held onto His promises and as of January 9, 2019, He showed us just how powerful faith in Him can be. 

I didn't want to ever lose that knowledge that a faith as small as a mustard seed can overcome. I also didn't want to ever forget just what the Lord did for our family throughout that year. So back in April of last year I went and had a tattoo with the word 'faith' placed on my arm. 

It is small and it is there just for me. I didn't get it to make a big show. I got it so that I am reminded of His power. And if anyone noticed it and asked why, I would be able to tell them of His power and His love.



Before going into a nursing home my mother asked if I wanted any of her jewelry and I was excited to see that she still had her mustard seed necklace. So now it is mine. 

Just a side note here, but if you are interested in a tattoo, I highly recommend Faith Tattoo in Golden, Colorado. And yes I feel like the Lord directed me to this tattoo shop because of the name.

Monday, October 14, 2019

only one person


At some point you're going to realize there's only one person
whose name alone can make your day better.
Only one person you look for when you enter a room.
One person that makes you the best you.

And when you realize that, your life will never be the same again.

(author unknown)


Happy Anniversary to my one and only!

 

Friday, September 20, 2019

crochet


When I was young, my mother taught me how to sew, embroider and crochet. I tried my best to enjoy sewing. I remember making a purse out of old jeans and I had to make a skirt for Home Economics class, which I hated every minute of sewing that skirt. I just couldn't get the hang of it. I enjoyed embroidery and crocheting more than sewing. I enjoyed most of all learning the things that made my mother happy and it felt good to be with her.

But over the years those skills faded and I didn't follow my mother's desire to make blankets and baby clothes and sweaters, scarfs and hats.

Several weeks ago I began to feel the urge to start crocheting again but I didn't know if I could do it. I didn't know where to begin. But then I remembered that a friend of mine crochets baby clothes and sells them at craft shows. So I asked this friend if she would help me renew my skills and desire. She gave me some advice, some instructions and told me that I could find tutorials YouTube. I got excited and started to believe that I could crochet again. 

Unfortunately my mother is not able to crochet anymore. But with the memory of my mother's instructions, the help of a friend and the help of YouTube tutorials, I am excited to learn anew this old hobby.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

are you a geographer or an explorer?

"I am a geographer," said the old gentleman. "What is a geographer?" asked the little prince. "A geographer is a scholar who knows the location of all the seas, rivers, towns, mountains, and deserts."
Idaho Springs, CO
He cast a look around him at the planet of the geographer. It was the most magnificent and stately planet that he had ever seen.

view from Mt. Evans
"Your planet is very beautiful," he said. "Has it any oceans?" "I couldn't tell you," said the geographer. "Has it any mountains?" I couldn't tell you," said the geographer. "And towns, and rivers, and deserts?" "I couldn't tell you that, either." "But you are a geographer!" "Exactly," the geographer said. "But I am not an explorer."

dirt road that goes up to old mines

remnants of an old mining camp



Echo Lake

views while driving to the summit

Mt. Evans Scenic By-Way -- Mt. Evans Scenic Byway increases in elevation to an impressive 7,000 feet in just 28 miles. Mt. Evans Byway is the highest paved highway in North America, reaching an altitude of 14,264 feet.

Crest House Ruins at the Summit
 Here is a picture of the Crest House when it was in operation. The Crest House was a restaurant, gift shop and observation point, built in 1939-1941. It was a popular tourist destination until it was destroyed in December, 1979 by a propane gas explosion.
1970 postcard of the Crest House


"It is not the geographer who goes out to count the towns, the rivers, the mountains, the seas, the oceans, and the deserts. The geographer is much to important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk. But he receives the explorers in his study. He asks them questions, and he notes down what they recall of their travels"  ~ The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint Exupery
Pictures taken while we were exploring the Idaho Springs, and Mt. Evans area.

Who are you? The geographer or the explorer?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

new memories in estes park, colorado


Last week the Preacher and I took a few days off and went to Estes Park, here in Colorado. We stayed at the Elk Meadow Lodge and RV Resort, which is becoming one of our favorite campgrounds. It isn't near the downtown area so you will have to drive to and from the shops and restaurants, but by it not being near any of the tourist areas, you are left in a relatively quiet area.

The views from the campground are breath-taking. The picture of the Preacher and of our camper show Long's Peak in the background.

When driving up the Big Thompson Canyon, Highway 34, on our way up to Estes Park, we always have memories that seem to coming flooding back. I first visited Estes Park when I was 14 or 15 years old. 


My family came to Colorado for a family vacation and I remember walking around the town visiting the shops. I took this picture of my ice cream cone because while sitting in front of the ice cream shop, I noticed they were advertising taffy. Taffy was one of my dad's favorite. He would always buy a box of taffy in various flavors.

The Preacher and I vacationed with the Preacher's mother a couple of times, and with our son. Those memories are the freshest, of course. We remember the Preacher's mother's favorite restaurants and her stories of when she and the Preacher's father came to Estes Park on their family vacations. We remember the hikes that we took with our son - Old Man Mountain, the Twin Sisters, Long's Peak, and so many more. 

I was laying in bed on the second day of our trip, again remembering all of the good times that we have had in and around this mountain town. I began wondering how many more memories are there to be made?


Later that day the Preacher and I decided to take a small hike up to the Birch rock cabin. It sits up on a knoll that overlooks the town. Albert Birch, City Editor for the Denver Post, built the cabin in the early 1900's, and then it burned down in December of 1907. The shell of the cabin and the fireplace still stand. A piece of history and a new memory!


This is the view from the rock cabin, overlooking Estes Park
On the day before we were to travel back home, the Preacher got up early to take our dog, Porter, out for a morning walk. He left and then came right back in and asked me why was the driver's door on the truck open. I, of course, had no clue. Upon further inspection we found out why. A bear had visited our campsite the night before and had opened the truck door and proceeded to climb in and walk around the front seats. Thankfully we did not have any food in the truck and the door had not shut back on him, because we were told later, that that is why the bears will tear up cars...they can't get out. 
The bear paw print where he placed his paw on the door when opening it.



Bear snot, where he was smelling the back seat where our Porter dog sits
This definitely is a new memory!

We look forward to many more memories in one of our favorite mountain towns here in Colorado...Estes Park!



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

pay close attention to your dog


Your pet is a part of your family. They are there for you to love and in turn will give that love back. Just like you look after them, they too will be there for you when they sense the need.

This post is about our Porter boy, but before I talk about him, I need to give you some of the back story.

A few weeks ago the Preacher and I were having a very stressful week. He was preparing for a memorial service, a wedding and his Sunday message, all of course happening in one weekend. And on top of all of this the Preacher injured his eye, causing us to go to an ophthalmologist for an emergency visit.

During that same week he also was dealing with a person who was homeless and needed a place to stay. The Preacher found her housing for a couple of days, but she was not happy with the people she was staying with and would call the Preacher complaining about the help that he provided and wanted to argue with the Preacher every time he would give her a suggestion. Also, during this same time, we found out that another person the Preacher had counseled was very upset with the Preacher because he didn't like the counsel that was given to him. After some friends of ours, who also had tried to reach out to this person, contacted the police because he seemed to become obsessed with them, we found out that the police suggested we keep our doors locked and I and my friend were not to be at home or our offices by ourselves.

Needless to say my stress level was now heightened by all of the chaos that seemed to be surrounding us.

I took the advice and began keeping the office doors locked. But one day the Preacher had come into the office to discuss what the rest of our day was going to look like. The Preacher then left to go on a bike ride to try to take a break and clear his head. Little did I know that he didn't lock the office door when he left. Upon his departure, I turned my back to the door and began to go back to work and then I hear the door opening.

This was someone new. He was very dirty and his clothes were hanging very loosely on his small frame. His one eye was half way shut and his hair was very dusty. You could tell he had not had a bath in quite some time. I saw that he had a bicycle parked outside of the office and it seemed every thing he owned, mostly bicycle pieces parts, were hanging off of the bike. From what I saw in front of me I immediately knew that he was homeless.

I grabbed the door hoping that he understood that he was not to come into the office, but I also asked him how we could help him. He looked down and saw Porter. He began to mumble about knowing someone with a border collie and still in a low mumble told me how he had lived in Texas, New Mexico and Illinois. He also wanted to let me know that the Governor of Illinois had killed one of the Kennedy's. I could sense that this was not a good situation. 
If you have every met Porter, our Border Collie, you know that he is a very loving dog and you can see that he wants to be friends with everyone. He will jump up asking you to give him some rubs and anxious for you to play with him.

I immediately grabbed Porter, thinking that he would start to jump up on this man, and possibly run out the door. Porter immediately began to try to wiggle his way out of my hold, and as soon as he did he didn't do any of the things that I thought he would do. 
He came up to me and laid down at my feet. Actually he laid his head ON my feet and stayed there the entire time I was talking with this person. 

The Preacher came back and saw that I was very upset because this man was not talking coherently and I did not know what to do with him. When Porter saw the Preacher he took off out of the door to greet him. Porter then went over to the man, sniffed his leg, and immediately came back to me. 

Not once did Porter jump up or invite the man to play. Although he was not showing any signs of being aggressive, he was there to protect me. He understood that this person was not someone whom you should be around.

I didn't quite understand his behavior until the man was gone and I could think through the things that had been said and done.

I am glad that Porter was with me. He is just a cute, loving dog, but I now know that he is here to help me discern who I should and shouldn't trust. I know that he is there to save me if ever the unthinkable should happen.

Pay close attention when your dog changes his behavior around a certain person. You don't know when it just might save you.




Friday, June 7, 2019

reading


So many books and not enough time.

These books, whether they are self-help books, biographies, or fictional, will teach me something. I will close the back cover upon reading the last word and I will somehow be better for reading the words contained inside.

Some will teach me about the lives of real people, how they met and how they lived their lives. Some will teach me about history and how others lived in a different time and a different place. Some will teach me how I should be living my life, now and for the future.

Some I have started, read the first chapter and put it down in order to finish another book that was started days or weeks before.

This stack won't get any shorter because there will always be more books to add to the stack.  

Inside the pages of books is where I go to lose myself.
"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are."    ~ Mason Cooley


brave

  One day last week, the Preacher and I were in our office discussing the things that we needed to do before our Sunday's worship servic...