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Treasure and Ponder

It’s almost Christmas and naturally I find myself turning to Luke 2 for my bible reading this week. The story is familiar as I read it, but 2 words seem to jump from the pages and land on my heart. Treasured and pondering.

Luke 2:18-19 “…and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Luke 2:51 “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
Mary was placed in a very unique one-of-a-kind situation. Literally. A visit from an angel. A virgin giving birth. The mother of the Savior. The Messiah born in a manger. Prophecy fulfilled. More Angels. Shepherds. Amazement. And then later, her 12 year old son goes missing and tells his parents “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Mary kept this information, this knowledge, this truth. She thought it through, reflected on it, and preserved it in her heart. She treasured it. She did not store it away like Christmas decorations placed in…

I'm Going To Be A Grandma!

I received the most exciting news this week! Our son and daughter in law are expecting a baby! By early July, I will be cuddling my very first grandchild! This baby will be the 1st great grandchild for my husband’s parents and the 40th great grandchild for my parents. I’m calling him/her “Baby 1-40” for now until we have a better name.

This grandma thing is going to be great! The excitement builds each day. The girls and I found instructions online to make chew toy necklaces, so mommy can be both stylish and provide teething fun at the same time. There are visions of cuddling, ice cream, slip n slides, games, puzzles and so much more dancing in my head. There are so many fun things I want to do with my grandchildren (I started an idea file years ago).
Though I have been borrowing young children for some time now so I would be all practiced up when the time came, I feel it’s just not the same really being a grandma. This granny thing is all new for me. Think of all the ways a grandma a…

For Your Glory and Your Fame

Have you ever asked “Why is this happening to me?”For most of us that question in one form or another has been on our lips at at least one point in our lives. Suffering comes in all colors and sizes and in varying degrees and it leaves us filled with questions.
To be able to see a purpose in suffering is like a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a gift. For if there is no purpose in it, we can be left empty and alone.But to know that we are a part of a divine plan laid out in heaven brings a ray of hope.
Sometimes the purpose in our suffering is for our own growth. Psalm 119:67 “Before I was afflictedI went astray, but now I obey your word.”The purpose is all about me, my need for growth and the opportunity to respond to God’s call.
At other times, the purpose is not about me, but for others. Psalm 119:74 “May those who fear You rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.”My obedience, faith and trust in my Father through suffering and trials can be an encourageme…

The Newlyweds

Just wanted to share a pic of the newlyweds!
Such an awesome couple (even if I might be a little biased)!
And a testimony to God's view of marriage.
They had his wedding ring tattooed on.
Marriage is a permanent relationship.
Amazing how the husband-wife relationship
can be reframed in our mind
 when we take the "D" word out of our vocabulary.
Or better yet, don't ever let it in in the first place.
It may not always be "Happily Ever After"
but with God's grace, it can be "Ever After".

Purpose in Parenting

Our kids are almost all grown now and often my mind reflects back on my job as a mom. While there is laundry load of things I would do differently if given the opportunity, I am grateful to my Father for His grace in the task.

A while back an ad on the Yahoo home page for the Chevy Traverse claimed to have the answer to one of the biggest parental headaches. It showed a brother and sister in a car.He was irritating her and she had this attitude and of course got upset.Over and over….You’ve probably experienced this scene as many moms have in their own cars.
Then the traverse shows up in shining armor and they can now sit separately.The caption says “Finally You Can Separate Them.”The idea is that more space will fix the problem.Keeping them away from each other will result in sudden family harmony.
And it might. But what would it profit them?What would they learn?What character trait would it grow in them?And more importantly, would this solution bring glory to God?
Separating them teach…

Live to Praise

I have been praying and asking and waiting…and praying and asking and waiting...(with the occasional whining mixed in)…and yet still I sit. The For Sale sign outside my house sits as well.

A friend’s house that is for sale showed yesterday. Today our son and his wife’s house will show at 9:30. And ours sits. Its hard not to be envious. Its hard not to get bitter or desperate.I am glad for our friends and kids, they need to sell their homes too, but I feel left behind.

As I sit here praying this morning, a verse I have scribbled at the top of my prayer list catches my eye. Psalm 119:164, “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.”
The praise I give too often tends to come from what God does for me. “Thank you for that great parking spot on a rainy day…Thanks for a safe trip…Praise God for that pay raise…”
Not bad things to give thanks for, but the Psalmist doesn’t look for what God does but at Who He is and His righteous laws. This totally takes the “me” out of the pictu…

Tanned and Ready

WARNING: Content is girly chick-stuff.

I see parallels in everyday life that serve as excellent examples of my spiritual walk with God. Many times I don’t post these because they seem a bit superficial and girly. But I was encouraged this morning while talking with my daughter about a parallel she saw in nail polish (more on that later). So, I decided to share my most recent insight with you.

The story begins with me and my girls in Walmart. We are chattering about white legs, summer and sunless tanning lotion. We decide on a product, make our purchase and happily apply it all week. It works and we are elated.

Fast forward 3 weeks… I have tired of the “chore” of applying the lotion evenly each day and find myself skipping days in a row. The conversation in my head goes something like this:
“You better put it on, as soon as a hot day comes, you will wish you had tan legs when you want to wear shorts or go to the lake…”

“It’s so much work, and it’s chilly today, I’m going to wear jeans so …

Percolating In My Soul

My girls and I traveled to Kara’s home. (Kara will soon be one of my girls too, yea!) Knowing we only had that night to visit and part of the next day, no one wanted to go to bed and end the fun. We stayed up way past bed time and into the morning discussing wedding plans and invitation design with the kids. I relished each minute, ignoring my body’s plea for sleep.

But it’s all fun and games until there’s no coffee. After readying my sleepy self the next morning, I headed to the kitchen looking forward to a nice cup (or three) of coffee. Coffee always fixes my morning sleepy head.

No coffee? What kind of people are they? What kind of people don’t drink coffee? What kind of people don’t have coffee in the house? Heathens? Must be. I know God likes coffee; He and I meet over a steaming cup each morning. What now? I need my starter fluid…I need coffee!

I tried to play it cool on the outside. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was addicted or anything…. (Oh, by the way, do not let my husba…

Spiritual Earthquake

The recent excitement that was stirred up around May 21 has many people talking and I have to say that I am rather enjoying it. I know many believers are angry at Harold Camping, but at the same time I think we need to guard our own hearts from bitterness and slander or we too will give a negative impression of Christ to the world.

Is there a mar on the face of Christianity because of the wrong prediction? Yes, but I would like to point out that what Satan intends to harm Christianity; God can use to bring glory to Him and souls into His kingdom.

In response to his wrong timing, Mr. Camping claims he misunderstood the Word. He says it was not a physical earthquake, but a spiritual earthquake. On this point, I think I can agree with him.

He stirred up a spiritual earthquake. At Impact (youth center) I fielded many questions about the end of the world. Point blank questions like the kind straight out of an evangelistic training manual. In the span of 2 days, May 20 and 21, I was able t…

The Meaning Behind the Title

Titling a blog is no easy task. To convey ones heart in a short, catchy grouping of words is difficult. But behind every blog title there is a story and so it is with mine. I enjoy reading about how others came up with their titles; and it is time I share my story.

The battle of fighting the flesh requires daily focus. Preparation. A battle plan. I don’t know about you (though I could make an educated guess) but my number one battle is fought in the area of selfishness. I want…. I need… I have to have… I like… I hate… I can… I can’t… I will…. I won’t… I must… Expectations I place on others… expectations I place on circumstances… and expectations I place on God. My flesh naturally is drawn to magnify me. To get the best for me. To make it easiest for me. To show my best side. To manipulate others to like me. Self-important, self-seeking, self-centered. A universe is created, dedicated to ME and it’s all too often where I reside until God pulls me away and into the truth.

The truth is …

Let Your Glow Show

I attended a bridal shower for Kara, my daughter-in-law-to-be. The decorations were beautiful, the refreshments were yummy and all the women enjoyed the chit-chat as usual. A nice shower with a good devotional.

After the gifts were opened and the clean-up began, a woman approached me. She was the worship pastor’s wife at the church and I had enjoyed some conversation with her young daughter. Her words took me by surprise, “I have not even met you but I see something in you, in your face….I see Jesus in you.”

My mind raced to make sense of it. “She definitely doesn’t know me, I’m nowhere near perfect….and how does she see something, I wasn’t doing anything special, wasn’t serving or ministering…” I was humbled. This wasn’t about me, it was about the One I have been with. Praise God, my glow was showing!

What she doesn’t know is that for the past 4 months I have been in an accelerated class on trusting and waiting on God. The only student in this class tailored just for my heart and taug…

Love Story

The day before Mother’s Day, the flower shop I was working in was abuzz with preparations. Among the constant stream of customers, I spotted a short elderly man making his way slowly toward me. “Can I help you with something?’ My heart instantly warmed to this gentleman, the pleasantnesss of his soul could be seen on his face. “I want to buy some flowers, but I haven’t got much money.”

I guided him to our display cooler and began to show him the options available. He decided on 1 red rose, no vase, to keep the cost down, and I carried the roses to the counter. “I’ve never bought flowers for anyone before,” He said with thoughtfulness. “But these are for my wife; we’ve been married for 86 years.” He paused and gazed at the rose I was wrapping in colorful paper. “You know, I’ll take 2 roses. I want it to be nice, she’s in the Alzheimer’s unit and I’m taking them to her now.”

I felt my heart in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes as I collected $7.42. I thanked him and watched him s…

How could Peter forget?

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Not because of the Bunny, because of the Cross. There is so much purpose in it. Christmas and the 4th of July have purpose, to be sure. But Easter begins with Good Friday, which was good for us, but I doubt Jesus would list it as one of His favorite memories. Yet, He allows us to call it Good Friday. Because this holiday is for us. His love for us. Divine love, stooped down from heaven to take the blame and shame for humanity.

As I read the Easter story, I can’t help but wonder about Peter. Peter was warned during dinner that satan had demanded him, to sift him like wheat. He didn’t believe it. Yet just hours later, he did just that. He denied that he even knew Christ. And again. And again. Three times. Scripture tells us that when he heard the rooster crow, he remembered.

Remembered? How could he have forgotten? And so quickly? Was this what Jesus’ words in the garden were about? “Keep watch.” Keep watch so he would be ready when satan would at…

Who Do I Think I Am?

When my daughter was 2 she was a demanding child. Her bark was bigger than her chubby little 25 pounds. Barney was her show of choice and her perspective of choice was that if she wanted to watch Barney, then she should get to watch it NOW.

One afternoon while at my parents house, my dad was watching a show. Little Laura entered the room, pointed to the TV and said, “Grandpa,…Barney…NOW!” She added a stomp of her foot for emphasis.

It was hard not to laugh, it caught us all by surprise. Who did she think she was? The center of the universe? The main attraction? Apparently, yes and yes. Proper discipline showed her otherwise and brought some submission and respect for authority to her heart.

As I look back on this memory, I can’t help but notice the parallel between that little heart years ago and mine. I enter the presence of my Heavenly Father, point to my life and lay out my demands. I even add a little foot stomp sometimes. Who do I think I am?

We live in a society that encourag…

Life Interrupted

I attended a Priscilla Shirer Simulcast this weekend. I’m fairly certain that God told Miss Priscilla what to say just because I would be there. Even the words of the songs and the words Anthony Evans spoke I’m sure were divinely orchestrated all for me. How does He do that?!

The topic was “Life Interrupted”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like interruptions. If I have exactly 30 minutes to pick up a few items and then get home to have supper ready, I’m not too thrilled inside when an interruption happens. Someone calls out my name… and wants to chat. Or the car won’t start. Or there is a line at the store.

Sometimes the interruptions appear on a larger scale. Loss of employment. Chronic illness. Financial struggles. Strained relationships. Or when God overlooks your plans and sets His own in motion.

These interruptions can leave us feeling anything from annoyed to abandoned. Jonah 2:8 offers a warning to us in the middle of our whining. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn…

Conquering Clutter

I felt God’s leading beginning about a year ago to begin the daunting task of de-cluttering our home. At first, I was the sole warrior in the war against useless stuff. I began in the basement. A little each week. This past fall, however, another soldier enlisted to fight the battle alongside me. My husband and I went through the house room by room, notebook and pen in hand. We wrote down what needed to be done in each room to de-junk, repair and spruce up our home.

One person can accomplish a lot, but get two side by side in a task and you can “get er done.” We went back through the house, room by room, tackling the junk and making repairs. The first was the upstairs bedrooms, now empty with our 2 sons grown. I found myself in the days following sneaking up to just sit and reflect in the quiet, clean (something those rooms had not been for years) and uncluttered surroundings.

It’s difficult to live in a home that is over stuffed. A few years ago, I caught an Oprah show on houses tha…

Wedding Bells...Again

The summer of 2010 holds an exciting day. A special day. One we will always remember. August 14. The day Jeff and Renae joined their lives together, declared their commitment to each other and to God. We feel so blessed to have children that choose to honor God with their lives and it is a blessing to watch their love for each other.

This summer will mark another exciting, memorable day for our family. On July 23, 2011 Steve and Kara will be united in marriage. Watching them grow and mature and their care for one another has been a delight; it is wonderful to watch a young couple not only plan their wedding but to plan their marriage.

As our kids were growing up, I prayed for their futures. For God's hand and wisdom to be upon them. For their hearts to be inclined to love Him. For the development of character that would make them godly loving husbands/wife. And for their future wives/husband , that God's hand would be upon them and that they too would be godly loving spouses.…

Book Review: Soul Print by Mark Batterson

I'm so excited to share this with you! I've been waiting by the mailbox for my very first book to review and finally it has arrived. "Soul Print" by Mark Batterson. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. It’s a great read and I can’t wait to recommend it to my friends!


The first section was so good, I didn't want to put it down. Mark Batterson challenges, even inspires his readers to dig deep into themselves to see who they were created to be, to live at a level that surpasses the superficial and find their true identity in Christ.

“The best form of worship is becoming the best version of who God has created you to be.” (p. 146) You were made for a purpose. Good deeds were designed for you to do long before you were you. No one has ever existed or will exist who can worship God like you. This is what Batterson calls your soul print, and it’s as unique as your fingerprint. Using the life of King David, Batterson wisks the reader …

What I'm Reading Lately

I'm so excited to share this with you! I've been waiting by the mailbox (not literally- it's been sub zero temps the past few weeks!) for my very first book to review and finally it arrived. "Soul Print" by Mark Batterson.

The first section, scenes- not chapters in this book, was so good, I didn't want to put it down. Mark challenges, even inspires his readers to dig deep into themselves and see who they really are; to live at a level that surpasses the superficial, find their true identity in Christ and become who they were created to be so they can live the life that was prepared for them even before they were born.

If  you are looking for the courage to break free from all that holds you captive whether it is a dream you feel unable to make a reality or sinful habits that keep you from being who you were created to be, this book offers the encouragement you need.

I'm only part way through, so I will fill you in on the rest of the book soon! I'd love…

All By Myself

We reviewed basic safety tips. Don’t lay your purse down. Keep your suitcase and bag in front of you where you can see it at all times. Keep your phone on and with you. You know the drill. Finally we hugged her and kissed her and said teary goodbyes. Then she reluctantly left us, went through the security check point and on to her gate to wait for flight #6177. All by herself.

For months she has felt more grown up than her 16 years as she has planned this trip. She looked forward to being independent, traveling by herself, no mom and dad, similar to her “All By Myself” stage 13 years ago. The talk was big until the night before when the what-ifs set in.

What if I get sick? What if I have an emergency? Who will take care of me? What if terrorists take over my plane? What if I get kidnapped?.....

When reality hits, it is rather sobering. She would be out in the big world and her parents would not be with her to protect and look after her.

This was nothing new to me. As a mom, what-ifs had…

Worship

Ever feel down? Start seeing the negative in things and all of a sudden the negative is jumping out at you and you’re left sitting in a pit. I think today is a good day to praise. I’m needing a good shot of Psalm 145 right now.

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.”
The dead of winter… make that the freezing cold dead of winter can get me down along with struggles and trials in my life. I need to be picked up out of that funk with a spring-fresh refocus on God’s greatness, compassion, provisions and grace.

I know that while I am enduring the sub-zero temps, spring is on its way. I also know that while I’m enduring trials through the growth process in my heart, God’s goodness is on its way as well.

At times He calls me to wait, something I am not inclined to do, and its all too easy to give up in the process. The song by John Waller “While I’m Waiting” encourages my heart so much. Psalm 147 reminds me of the importance of worship, especially wh…

Taxes and Time with the Father

My apologies for not posting this past week. I am still playing the game of catch-up after being down with yet another sinus infection and am also paying for not keeping better records for taxes in 2010. Ugh! Every year I vow to do better at that, and somewhere around April or May, I forget all about tax records and then sprint in January to make up for it. It's finally done and I have vowed once again not to let it happen again! Ten minutes each month can save me a ton of time in January. (Ask me in May how I'm doing.)


This reminds me of how I am in my Christian walk at times. I vow to read my bible and pray more. And I do well for a while but somewhere along the way I settle back into my rut only to regret it later. It's just like my record keeping, daily commitment can save me heartache later.


I forget the headache from January when I’m enjoying the sunshine in June. Just like I forget the importance of being organized and keeping good records, I forget the benefits of Go…

Precious One

I enjoyed tucking my daughter in tonight, we talked and even giggled when I broke out spontaneously in a ridiculous rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

“Mom, rub my face like you used to” she requested. She shut her eyes as my fingers danced lightly around her face, something she used to like when she was a little girl.

She drifted off to sleep and my thoughts drifted to praying for her. “Father, keep her from evil and keep evil from her… "She is Yours, help her to know that and live it and find satisfaction in nothing and no one else…."

I was struck by the truth that her life and soul mean infinitely more to me than anything this life can offer.

As I prayed, God re-ordered some things in my life and refocused my heart. I have been anxious to repaint my living room a fresh new color. Yet compared to the vital task of raising this young woman, building a God-world view in her life, my living room and so many other desires took a back seat and seemed so unimportant.

“Oh, L…

A Little Car and Learning to Trust

The telephone woke us. It was 1:15 a.m. Our oldest son was on the other end. “We need you to come pick us up. We hit ice and wrecked your truck. It’s not drivable.”

My heart stopped. Relieved he and his wife were ok, I sent up a prayer of thanks. I jumped out of bed and gathered flashlights as my husband donned his coveralls, Carhart, hat and gloves.

It was 31 degrees, a warm night for January in South Dakota. I sent up another prayer of thanks. Then I settled into my routine of pacing and praying. It’s what I do when I’m concerned and can’t do anything to help a situation.

The phone rang again. It was my daughter-in-law. “I just need someone to talk to while Jeff is outside checking on the truck. I’ve never been in a wreck before. It is good we were on the bridge when we spun, otherwise we would have probably rolled.”

I was so glad to hear her voice. So glad she was ok. She told me about what happened, then went on to tell me about her day. It had been her special day. Her Christmas …

Busy But Bored

Bored. To my mom it is a four-letter word. In our home growing up, a chore was promptly assigned to whoever dared to use the "B" word. "There is never an excuse to be bored. There are so many ways to entertain yourself. If you're bored, you need something to do. Now go clean the toilets." This is just one of the many valuable lessons mom taught me. Thanks, mom.

Even though I have been trained to not use such language, the "B" word has come to mind quite often lately.  I'm bored. Bored physically. Bored mentally. Bored spiritually. (I seriously hope my mom isn't reading this or I might be cleaning until Ground Hog Day!)

My days are busy, busy, busy, filled with three part time jobs, being a wife, mom and pastor's wife; so having nothing to do is not the problem. Most weeks I need an extra day or two just to make it to the end of my to-do list. Busy but bored. I used to sense God's call on my life; dream of the things He would do through m…