Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Waking up in Richmond...

All went smoothly yesterday as we flew through the clouds to Richmond, Va. Our day started at 3:30 am for a very early flight but the beautiful faces of 4 adorable cherubs welcoming us at the airport was worth any loss of sleep I experienced. We've had some basketball court battles and several rounds of UNO - it's a grandmother's dream come true!!!

I'm introducing my grandchildren to my blog and perhaps we'll have a guest author in the near future. Stay tuned...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Heading to Richmond, VA

Over the Rivers and Through the Clouds,
to Grandchildren's house we go...

This grandmother will spend this Thanksgiving holiday with all four grandchildren at their home in Richmond, VA. Our son lives there where he is the owner/operator of Tuckernuck Plaza Chick-fil-A. We'll spend a week and have lots of fun I'm sure. Our daughter will join us from Florida as she gets a short break from teaching 8th grade English. Our other son is on tour with his wife whose schedule can be seen at

This picture was taken in December 2007 when our son and his family visited us in TX. My mother was spending a couple of months with us as well. The four generation picture is a treasure. My mother will be enjoying Thanksgiving in WI with other family who live near her there.
I'm giving thanks for many things but especially for my family this year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Thanksgiving Memory...

For much of my married life, I have lived physically far from family. Because of this, I often have been unable to celebrate special holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays with those most special to me.

My husband was a pastor at three different churches in our early years of marriage. Our first church was in Loomis, NE. Loomis was 700 miles from our parental homes in WI so we traveled "home" only during the summer when we had some vacation time.

We had moved to NE in early September, 1972. Our only child at that time was 15 months old. As Thanksgiving neared, my thoughts turned to family and I longed to be able to spend the holidays with them. I wanted our son to be hugged, kissed and pampered by the special people who were so fond of him. But we had a new "family" and now our responsibility and privilege was to experience the holidays with these friends.

Though I would have dearly loved being with my own family, we had been very warmly welcomed by the congregation in Loomis and I looked forward to memorable moments with them also. But would there be an invitation to join someone's family for Thanksgiving or would we be alone for the day?

The answer to that question came soon because of a special woman named Alice Dahlstedt. Alice, who had never married, was old enough to be my grandmother. More importantly, she was wise and loving enough to shine God's grace all around Loomis and especially into the home of the new minister and his family. By Thanksgiving, Alice was already smitten with our 15 month old son and her generous gifts of time had often lifted my mothering load.

Alice and I had a discussion in early November about Thanksgiving. She diplomatically inquired about our family's plans. I told her I didn't know what we would do but I had been thinking that since we didn't have family nearby, we'd like to share the day with others who may be in the same situaion for the holiday. Alice's face lit up and to this day I can see her joy as she said, "I'll provide the food if you provide the home!" That was a magnificent idea. She knew the people who would be alone so together we invited about 10 individuals all of whom were delighted to accept our invitation.

It was a lovely day. Our son napped in his own crib while we prepared the food and when he awakened all the guests showered him with hugs, kisses and pampering which filled him with exuberance we could hardly harness. The sincere gratitude and joy expressed by each person is a memory I still treasure.

We stayed in Loomis for three years and most Thanksgivings and Christmas's were spent hosting a group of people who might otherwise have been lonely except that Alice cared about them and taught me through her generous thoughtfulness to care for the lonesome and marginalized as well.

From Loomis we moved to Brooklyn, NY. Again we were too far from family to celebrate the holidays with them. Alice wasn't with us but we had her example and training so Thanksgiving 1976 was opened to those who would have been alone without our invitation. We included Richard that year. Richard was reluctant to come as he carried the scars of inner wounds we could only glimpse through his troubled demeanor. He frequently dismissed himself from the table to be alone in our basement. We did our best to share our lives with Richard that day and in the days that followed. In time, Richard was ready to embrace the God we sought to serve, share, honor and glorify. His letter of gratitude years later mentioned the life changing invitation to join our family for Thanksgiving in 1976.

With these treasured memories resurfacing in 2008, I am thankful for Alice who loved my family in ways that allowed me to learn the privilege of caring for lonely people who need the touch of a friend. And I'm thankful to God who is the only friend whose touch is the eternal cure for loneliness.

I am participating in a Thanksgiving Celebration as described in the
following invitation which is extended to you as well.

You are cordially invited by L.L. Barkat to join a Thanksgiving Celebration. Just post about a Thanksgiving memory, something you are thankful for this year, a special family Thanksgiving tradition, your favorite "thanksgiving" bible verse, or anything else you can dream up. Be serious, spiritual, creative, beautiful, humorous, whatever... it's a celebration and good celebrations welcome all kinds of expression!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Play the Game You Know How to Play!

Most mornings I take a 2-3 mile walk around my neighborhood as I start my day. It is a wonderful time for me to breathe deeply, listen to birds, get my heart rate up, notice my neighbors and pray. I walk the same route everyday and it's never boring to me. I like that version because I know exactly how many miles I walk and because I can ponder other things instead of needing to notice and wonder about a new route.

A month or so ago, my thoughts while I walked began centering on a question I sometimes ask myself. That inner articulated question was, "Am I doing what God wants me to do or are there other things I should be involved in along with or instead of what I'm doing now?" And while this question swirled in my thoughts, I began to list possible options to answer the question. Should I look for added employment, should I have greater income to add to our home, should I take on more volunteer work, should I sign up to take a class offered in Community Education, should I teach a class through Community Education, should I... And the list went on and on.

But a half mile into my walk, I "happened" to walk past a parked car. This car was parked in front of the home of people I do not know. I assume they have 2 school age children because I see the names of 2 children on Spirit Placards from local schools which are posted in their front yard. As I neared the car, I could see that a teen aged girl was leaning through the passenger side window engaged in conversation with the driver. I assume the driver was a Mom driving the school carpool that day and was waiting for the other child to come out of the house. The teen aged girl was wearing what I think was the uniform of the local girls' volleyball team. It must be that she was going to play in a game later that day. I say that because of the one brief sentence I heard as I walked past that car that morning. The driver Mom was saying, "Play the game you know how to play!"

I walked on without even hesitating but the short clip of conversation I had just heard shot like an arrow into my earlier stream of thoughts. It was as though God himself had spoken with the utmost clarity a message he wanted delivered to my life. I walked on repeating over and over again those words and gained joyfulness as I claimed that message for myself and my questioning thought life.

Sometimes I get so distracted by the "Shoulds" being shouted into my life that I forget what I know absolutely when I sort through the sometimes upsetting, off-course byways into which my mind wanders. But that early morning walk and its timely word to me has given me affirmation to "Play the game I know how to play" and accept relief from all the times and ways in which I beat myself up mentally for not "doing" enough. It has been liberating!

Another benefit from that "magic moment" along my walking trail is what it reminds me of about God and his extensive creativity and capability. If he will orchestrate my morning walk to be strategically timed so that he can give me a 3 second message delivered precisely as I pass the open window of a parked car, won't he also do that for other children he has? Often times we think we might be God's only voice for some of the people in our lives - family, friends, neighbors... We might worry that if we don't warn them about their wayward ways they won't have any other way to hear what God may want them to be told. But that is such a limiting idea of what God is capable of. And my morning walk is a clear demonstration of that. I can trust him to communicate his message in very creative ways. Until my walk a month or so ago, I would not have listed my "moment" as one of his ways of communicating to his people but now I know better. And his message to others will be just as compelling and creative.

So one of the "Games" I think I know how to play is my writing. I am getting better about believing its something God wants me to do. The experience on my walking trail is one more element causing the spark to burn brighter calling forth my writing gift. I'll close these thoughts with some affirming, energizing words sent to me yesterday in an email from a dear friend after she read one of my recent blogs.
"Thank you so much for sharing your "self", your soul, your fears and your truths because I believe they speak to many and especially to me. I have always thought that you exemplify God's words through your actions and the way you communicate with people - it's truly a special gift from God and I hope you don't stop!"

There's excitement for me as I continue to live in light of "Play the game you know how to play" - a message specially timed and tailored for me from an ingenious, loving, patient creator.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Connection to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

I have been doing some cleaning in our garage within the past week. It is a detestable job but I have made some progress. In a box of items we inherited from a distant cousin of my husband, I found a newspaper clipping of interest. I will explain.

The distant cousin's name was Eylene Worden Sherman. She grew up in Hillsboro, WI and married a local boy, O.W. Sherman. He became a radiologist and practiced at the VA hospital in Temple, TX as his career closed. Both Eylene and O. W. were only children in their family's of origin and they had no children. My husband and I moved to TX a few years before Eylene passed away. He was one of her few living relatives and nearly the only relative close enough to Temple to drive there to receive items from her estate that only family would want. We were able to purchase some of her treasures and were given the things not suitable for an estate sale. So Eylene's boxes of memorabilia have been stored in our garage since we received them in late 1989. I decided this fall it was time to tackle those boxes and make some decisions. Since I'm not in the bloodline of this family, I decided I needed my husband's advice about things in the boxes. There have been all sorts of interruptions in our life making it nearly impossible to get to the task - other more urgent boxes, an out of town business trip for hubby for a week, election responsibilities, life... I'm sure you all understand the difficulty of putting a 20 year old box full of non-strategic things at the top of anybody's priority list. So the box made it to the table where it was scheduled for attention but it has now been put back on the shelf from where it came until after Jan. 1, 2009 because life has gotten in the way. But before closing the box and reshelving it, I pulled one item out and have it in front of me.

This item is a 5x7 frame with a newspaper clipping from the Madison, WI Capital Times of Oct. 1941. The short article has the heading, HAD FAMOUS COUSIN. The article begins with these words, "O. W. Sherman,... tells us that he is a third cousin of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, famous leader of the 'March from Atlanta to the Sea' in Civil war days." The article gives the connection of O. W's father and Gen. Sherman and more accurate bio information about the Gen. which I confirmed by doing some web searches today.

I give this information only as a preface, however, to the closing paragraph of the article which has prompted some reflection on my part. That paragraph is this:
"Gen. Sherman had an individual code of religion which, expressed in his own words, was:
'I believe that if people only act half as well as they know how, God will forgive the balance.'"

So what are my thoughts in response to this Code of Religion?
  1. What is the biblical chapter and verse for this statement?
  2. When will I find out if God decides that half of my acts are good so that I qualify for forgiveness of the other half?
  3. What if my goodness is only 49%?
  4. If there is a God, which this statement assumes, has he made this policy clear in the book where his other teaching is located?
I assume that these words are Gen. Sherman's code for how God will decide whether or not the Gen. will make it into heaven upon his death. Through the Bible Study I'm currently doing with women at my church, THE VISION OF HIS GLORY; Finding Hope Through the Revelation of Jesus Christ by Anne Graham Lotz, I have focused on scripture in Rev. 21 this week stating a different "code": v. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will qualify to go to heaven. And fortunately, God forgives 100% of all sin of any sinner when that sinner repents, opens the door of their heart to God's knock (Rev. 3: 20) and invites him in. I'm not sure I would qualify for even half of my choices being good and I certainly don't want to run the risk of finding out at heaven's door that I came short of the cut-off by a fraction or any amount for that matter.

I'm grateful for Gen. Sherman's service to our country but my hope is that he had opportunity to find the way to make certain his name was written in the Lamb's book of life before he died.

I haven't exhausted possible responses to Gen. Sherman's code. If you have comments to add to this discussion, please add them to this blog. I appreciate your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bible Study in the Book of Revelation #3...

Today's sharing relates to Rev. 21:26-27 which is part of Seminar 5 of THE VISION OF HIS GLORY: Finding Hope Through the Revelation of Jesus Christ by Anne Graham Lotz. Prior to these two verses in Revelation 21, there is a vivid description of Heaven. Scripture paints a glorious word picture of this place which is being prepared for those who will go there. The verses I'm focusing on say:
26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it[heaven].
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
I'm not a theologian but when I read that the "glory and honor of the nations" will be brought into heaven, I think that is a reference to the Great Multitude mentioned in Rev. 7:9 "there...was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." The multitude are believers - i.e. the glory and honor - of all nations. Verse 27 tells us that no one who is shameful or deceitful will enter heaven but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. This verse confronts me again with the truth that not all humanity will enter heaven - some will and some won't. It's imperative that one's name be in the Lamb's book of life in order to enter heaven. Pondering these verses has reminded me of the importance of communicating God's truth about these matters to those in my realm of relationships and contacts.

I know that is my assignment from God but often I neglect it. Recently I was confronted by a friend with a harsh accusation which has caused me to reflect seriously on her words. I had known of something which was painful for her when she learned about it. She then accused me of being a "coward and not telling the truth". I have weighed those words heavily in my mind. She is right. But not because I didn't divulge a confidence someone else had entrusted to me, but because I have been her friend for many years without sharing God's truth with her in a winsome way. I have asked myself, "How come you are afraid of speaking to others about Christ?" I have some answers:
  1. I'm easily intimidated; especially by very vocal people. I have a
  • fear of failure
  • fear of not knowing what to say
  • fear of stumbling over my words
  • fear of alienating friends
  • fear of offending others
  • fear of ...
My friend spoke to my fears. I have been a coward. I have not told God's truth. And so I have faced my fears this week. I know I have not been trusting the promises of God. I have been allowing Satan to whisper lies into my spirit which have weakened my resolve and my effectiveness as God's child. I decided to ask God to make changes in me. I wrote out a prayer to him yesterday from my repentant, trusting heart. And I already have some confirmation that he will open doors for me to speak if I take time to be with friends. I'm thanking God for an opportunity yesterday and another today to share these verses from Rev. 21 which have led to God's truth being shared as I trusted God to help me know what to say and when to say it. I am experiencing joy today. May my compassionate bravery continue. And may more names be added to the "Lamb's Book of Life" from every nation, tribe, people and language.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Joining The High Calling Blog Community...

Blogging is getting into my blood and it's becoming a passion for me. The High Calling blog site shares the thoughts of like-minded writers and so I hope many will read, reflect and be energized to think, live and act more Christ-like. I take very seriously Jesus' command to "Go and make disciples of all nations.." Matt. 28:19a and blogging for me is another way to respond to those words. Being part of this community whose premise is REAL COMMUNITY SHARED VALUES is something I humbly and enthusiastically join.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hallowed Moment in Church Today...

I sing with the choir at my church and today we sang an especially beautiful, meaningful and hopeful song. This was one of those days when I had a difficult time keeping my emotions from overtaking my focus on singing. I had to suppress the effect of the words on my heart so that God's message through our music could be communicated clearly to the congregation. We sang the Steve Green song, Calvary's Love and here are some of the lyrics of that song.

Calvary's love can heal the Spirit
Life has crushed and cast aside
And redeem til Heaven's promise
Fills with joy once empty eyes
So desire to tell His story
Of a love that loved enough to die
Burns away all other passions
And fed by Calvary's love becomes a fire

Calvary's love has never faltered
All its wonders still remain
Souls still take eternal passage
Sins atoned and heaven gained
Sins forgiven and heaven gained

Calvary's love, Calvary's love
Priceless gift Christ makes us worthy of
The deepest sin can't rise above
Calvary's love

The specific words which had the greatest impact on me this morning were the words, Calvary's love - Priceless gift Christ makes us worthy of. As I sang these words, I found myself once again overwhelmed by the enormity of the love which Jesus expressed by his obedience in dying on a cross in order to atone for my sin. It was Calvary's love - love that paid the penalty for my sin - which is a priceless gift I am only worthy of because of his sacrifice. How can anyone truly fathom such amazing love!!! Loving humanity enough to suffer and die for them is incomprehensible. So when I sang those words this morning, I marveled again with deep joy and gratitude that I can be a recipient of that gift which I am so unworthy of. I am also grateful that I had parents, extended family and a church who told me about Jesus and the gift he has made available for anyone who wants to receive it. It was a gift I received at age 6 when I prayed beside my mother one evening at our church and asked Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me for my sin. I had a child's faith but that has deepened as I have matured.

Another reason I was so moved by the words of this song this morning was that there was the Dedication of a 2 year old little boy whose adoption had recently become final. I knew something of the story of that little boy's birth family and of his adoptive family. As I thought about his birth family, this part of the song had great meaning:

Calvary's love can heal the Spirit
Life has crushed and cast aside
And redeem til Heaven's promise
Fills with joy once empty eyes

This child's birth family has experienced pain but today I saw joy in the once empty eyes of the Grandmother who herself had been adopted over 4 decades ago. And I saw joy filled eyes as the adoptive parents treasured the hallowed moment they had been longing to experience for many years and which they had waited for through lonely months of infertility. What joy they and their family experienced as they dedicated themselves to the Lord and willingly promised to raise him so that he will one day chose to become a member of God's family.

I am filled with deep gratitude as I share these thoughts. I am also grateful for the song I sang this morning which got me thinking about the meaning behind the lyrics. And I'm grateful that God is in the Redemption Business and that his gift of grace is available to anyone who asks for it.

Autumn in the Texas Hill Country, Part 2

Autumn in the Texas Hill Country, Part 2

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bible Study in the Book of Revelation #2...

The scripture I studied today in Seminar 5 of The Vision of His Glory; Finding Hope Through the Revelation of Jesus Christ, by Anne Graham Lotz was Rev. 21:1-8. There are several things which stood out to me as I pondered these verses.
1. God speaks with a loud voice at times v. 3
2. God speaks specifically at times v.5
3. God will be done at some time v. 6
4. God will satisfy those who are thirsty v. 6

For each of these points there are some thoughts I'd like to share.

1. God's loud voice
In the book of Revelation, there have been quite a number of verses describing God's words and actions being loud - his spoken voice with words and his action voice through nature. This is liberating to me because of some messages I got as a child. Our family - 3 sisters and 1 brother - was loud!. We all had things to say so we all tried to be heard in the limited time there was for 7 people to get things said. We were also enthusiastic, passionate and determined about things. Somehow this led to a pretty noisy household. My Dad and youngest sister were soft spoken but the rest of us liked to be heard when we had something to say. Apparently my mother had hopes of tempering my decibel level for fear I would scare off any potential suitors. I still hear her saying, "Keep your voice down, Linda, or you won't be able to find a husband." Fortunately, either her advice took root or I found the one man who wasn't deterred by decibels and I have been happily married for 42 years. But God's loud voice tells me that sometimes it's OK to be heard loudly and clearly. When we are telling His good news which is worth being heard to the ends of the earth, we can be bold and sometimes even loud.

2. God speaks specifically
The book of Revelation was recorded by the apostle John. God shows him what will happen and shows him truth about Jesus. As John is shown these things, God says to him, "Write this down." And John does that for which I am very grateful as it has made knowing the truth about Jesus possible. Throughout this book, there have been many times when God has said to John, "Write it down." God had chosen to get his message out through fallible human beings who have listened to his loud voice (or perhaps even his soft voice) and have obediently written down his words which are "trustworthy and true". Each time I have read, "Write it down", I have felt a sense that those words are for me also. I do not claim to be on the spiritual level of the Apostles nor do I hear an audible voice telling me what to write, but I have heard through my heart his encouragement to "write". May I communicate his truth as it has shaped my story.

3. God will be done
In Rev. 21: 6, God says, "It is done." He is referring to a future time when "Overcomers" will inherit all the wonderful things he is bringing about. But it's a reference to the same future time when all those who have not believed him and have done evil will find themselves "in the fiery lake of burning sulphur." These words have quickened in me greater urgency. There is a time when "it will be done." There will be no more opportunity to write, speak, share, respond. Fortunately God is patient, merciful, resourceful, creative and most of all loving. But a time will come when he is done and his justice will be carried out.

4. God will satisfy the thirsty
When I read the word "thirsty" in verse 6, it made me think about how people know to listen and respond. God says that he will "give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life." The thirsty are those who are seeking God and he knows their heart and gives them the eternally satisfying "water of life." Further thinking about this leads me to realize that my part in getting people close to the "water of life" is to create "thirst" in individuals. And what might that look like? We are told to be the "salt" of the world as salt creates thirst and thirst leads to THE water of life. I don't have lots of ideas yet about this but I'm pondering this. It seems it will help create thirst if I'm exhibiting the "fruit of the spirit" so that people will see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and then begin to wonder "How is that possible? I want that too." It's a tall order because I already know I need to improve in some of those areas before anyone will find themselves thirsty after watching my life. But what a privilege God has bestowed on us when he asked us to be his witnesses - his salt; his thirst-creators - in this world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Tribute to Poll Workers...

I will never again cast my vote and think to myself, "That was easy. Nothing to it." And here's why. For the first time in many years of voting, my husband agreed to be the Election Judge for our precinct. And with that volunteer acceptance began the education process for us of the whole voting process and its complexities. He attended a 4 hr. training session; he has spent hours pouring over the Election Judge Manual so that he will be ready to assist voters with every aspect of the process throughout the day; he picked up all the materials - ballots, signs, forms, pens, stand up sections for tables, etc...; he got to the polling site by 6am to get all things set up with the other workers who arrived before then; he administered the "Oath of Office" to the poll workers before 7am and will stay all day to respond to anything which may arise during the voting process. He considers this an honor - a precious privilege. It has been a learning experience for both of us. I hadn't thought about the folks with mobility problems who may not be able to leave their car to walk into the building. The law provides for a secure and secret way for them to cast their ballot curbside. My appreciation for the US voting process has heightened considerably because of the increased exposure to the process this year. I had a minor part to play. I shopped for and provided some snacks for the poll workers if they are ever able to take a break. There had been no time for even a cup of coffee before the doors were opened to a line of people ready to vote at 7am in our precinct.

As I left the polling place, I thought about all the polling places across the country. I can't begin to estimate the number of volunteers it takes to make this event happen. It is huge!!! And these people are serious and faithful with a common sense that what they are doing is a privilege not a pain. At our polling place, I detected a slight accent in the speech of one of the volunteers. I asked where this person had grown up and she admitted to being from a European country. What a wonderful response from someone who is grateful to be a citizen of this great country.

And I haven't begun to list all the pieces of this voting puzzle that must be in place for voting to take place. We picked up the items for our precinct from a storage facility and someone there had carefully counted and packaged everything we needed and carefully signed our materials out. But someone created the ballots, had them printed, wrote the manuals, set the tabulating machines, created the signage, established and marked the "Campaign-free zones" outside the doors and so much more.

When I was a child, my mother was a volunteer at our local voting place which was a One-Room Country School in Bluff Siding, WI. The one-room school I attended was used by another part of our county so I rejoiced that we had a day-off from school. My mother thoroughly enjoyed the day as time to interact with other adults and have some time-off from caring for 5 children, a husband and our dairy farm. She started early and stayed very late to make sure every vote was accurately counted and recorded. She, also, felt that her service was a precious privilege of being an American. Being patriotic was a high priority for my mother and she motivated my father to construct a flag pole on our farm where daily she flew the American flag with great pride.

With deep gratitude, I pay tribute to every paid worker and volunteer who has been and is at work today seeing that the election process is held fairly, accurately and humbly as would pay honor to our forefathers and mothers and respect the prized right of every citizen of the United States of America.

Mom, thanks for your example; and John, thanks for your willingness to take a "vacation day" from your work to provide this service to our precinct. Both of you are fine examples for our family and friends to follow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekend before the Election...

I am so grateful to be learning of many people across the US who are involved in prayer and fasting for this election. There are wonderful websites with daily calls to prayer. The Presidential Prayer Team ministry has many wonderful resources to enhance one's prayer life. Focus on the Family Action is also spending much time encouraging prayer and fasting. Prayer is hard work because it takes discipline and can so easily be interrupted with "good" things. But it is important to be relying on God for His direction for our country. I feel a level of peace knowing that He is sovereign and whomever is elected, will serve at His will. I do earnestly plead with God, however, to motivate people of faith to vote this year and vote for the ticket that promises to protect all human life at all ages and stages of life and to preserve the definition of marriage as one man and one woman. I have voted and now I'm praying.

Returning to Moldova in December...

I will be joining a team of people from many places who will be going to Moldova as part of OPERATION KNIT TOGETHER. Teams will be fanning out all over Moldova to take winter shoes and socks to all orphans there. Check this site to learn more about the work of CERI - Children's Emergency Relief International. It will be awesome to give these gifts at such a wonderful time of year. Pray for me as I prepare and as I go. I want to be aware of opportunities to share about the greatest gift ever given which got Christmas started over 2000 years ago. A friend from my church will go with me for her first trip to Moldova. Stay tuned for more of the details. The dates are Dec. 12-21, 2008.

Bible Study in the Book of Revelation #1...

I'm participating in a Women's Bible Study at my church which is using a book written by Anne Graham Lotz called, THE VISION OF HIS GLORY: Finding Hope Through The Revelation of Jesus Christ. For this study, participants have personal study during the week where they write out their answers and thoughts in a workbook then come together for a small group discussion with other women plus a video teaching session with Anne Graham Lotz. This is my second study using her material and I am very pleased as she really emphasizes in-depth personal study which has proven to be very rich and nurturing. I am amazed at how much more I am seeing in the verses we study than I've seen in more cursory reading in the past.

I have been impressed to share some of my thoughts as I'm studying. The book of Revelation has much that is difficult to understand but it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ and therefore there is much that is very understandable and which reveals the unique worthiness of Jesus to be my Savior and to receive the worship of all beings. Last week we concentrated on Revelation 5 with the Subject, "Hope When You Are Discouraged". The chapter begins with God holding a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed. There's a search for someone worthy to open the scroll but no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was found who could open the scroll. The apostle John is writing this book and is witnessing what he writes. He begins to weep because no one was worthy to open the scroll. But then an elder told John to stop weeping and look - "the Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed and is able to open the scroll". John saw a Lamb who still showed the scars of having been slain. This lamb is Jesus - the lamb who was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of mankind. He took the scroll from God. When he had taken it, those who were present "fell down before the Lamb and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints".

As I pondered that scene, I thought of these bowls of prayers. They are being presented to Jesus in humble worship. I can imagine that Jesus is very pleased and honored to receive these offerings of prayer. But I wonder how many of those prayers have come from me? I am afraid that my prayer life has been weak. The bowl of my prayers may be nearly empty. I asked myself, "Do I comprehend the importance of prayer knowing that those prayers are being kept for presentation to the Lamb?" I don't want an empty bowl. I want to please the Lamb with a lifetime of prayer knowing that He hears and answers and saves my prayers to be presented to Him in worship in Heaven. I long to be a more disciplined prayer warrior so that I'll be able to join with others in worshipful presentation to our worthy Lamb of those prayers. And these thoughts give me hope when I might otherwise be discouraged.

Driving VW Convertible in Homecoming Parade!

This was a first for me!! I "qualified" to drive this VW Bug in the Tivy High School Parade in October because I was the only friend of Olga who knew how to drive a stick shift. Olga doesn't really show very much in this picture but she and Marcus are the Mock Trial Sweethearts and needed a driver for their convertible. The car was being loaned by another student's Mom but she didn't want to drive in the parade. It was a beautiful evening and we all had fun "crawling" down the street in Kerrville, TX. Olga and Marcus threw candy to the on-lookers though they ran out quite close to the beginning of the parade and had to just wave for much of the route. The parade ended in a park where there was a big bon-fire and pep rally. Fortunately, the Tivy team won the Homecoming game the next night. Anybody want my autograph?