Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012


December 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Deuteronomy 6:9

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,

keeping his covenant of love...



Luke 2:10b

“Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you;

He is Christ the Lord...”



The “covenant of love” God established with his people, the Israelites, required their love and their obedience to commandments but included Jesus Christ and his redemption plan.  We joyfully celebrate Jesus’ birth in this season and are deeply grateful that his plan extends to all peoples and nations. 

Acts 13:47

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”



This letter gives you some update on our family.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Luke 2: 1-20...

Luke 2:1-20 (New King James Version)

Luke 2:1-20

New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fall in the TX Hill Country...

Along the road from the Cody Center and Tennis Courts at Laity Lodge...
Japanese Maple at Laity Lodge
It's not just the northeast that has beautiful foliage in the fall.  The hill country of TX waits until Thanksgiving time to display its  glorious panoramas.  I have taken  photos of what we have in our hills right now.  I share these with you so you may see the way we experience God's creation each fall.
The Frio River at Echo Valley in the Canyon of the H.E.Butt Foundation property.
Another view along the Frio River...

Another view of the Japanese maple in the garden at Laity Lodge.
Welcoming guests to the rooms at Black Bluff at Laity Lodge.
 Psalm 19: 1-4
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Along the drive approaching Laity Lodge...
Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - 
his eternal power and divine nature - 
have been clearly seen, 
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse. 

Shining in a glorious, golden frock...


What joy is felt as I ponder the proclamation of God's hands through his handiwork that surrounds me - especially at this magnificent time of the year.  This is the "voice not heard" of a loving God who desires that all creation recognize and embrace his truth - revealed through what He has made.
We are "without excuse" - He has been revealing himself  
"since the creation of the world".
Along the road past the Hovde Houses...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
     I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love 
is as high as the heavens.
     Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
     May your glory shine over all the earth.

Mark D. Roberts used these verses to share thoughts in the Daily Reflection on Wednesday, November 21st.  That Reflection is part of the ministry of The High Calling.

With this scripture, I share words which express my desire as well as that of the psalmist, David.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Please Vote" Post Update...

A wonderful comment was shared on my blog yesterday after I posted my thoughts about the importance of voting.

It seems the critical importance of voting is also shared by Billy Graham.

Because I am grateful for the comment that was shared by a reader who lives in my home state of Wisconsin, I decided to print it in the body of this blog.  Thanks, Marge B. for sharing your thoughts and the wise words of Billy Graham.

"Our Sunday paper yesterday, included a full page ad urging people to VOTE BIBLICAL VALUES on Nov 6. This ad was paid for by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It had a huge picture of Billy Graham & a quote from him: "The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God." I was proud our paper submitted this ad. I pray that those who share this belief, will flood the polls tomorrow. Marge (Wisconsin)"
As I await the results of today's vote, I pray for our nation.  May many remember to be a voice who speaks for all - including those whose voice is silenced before they are born. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Please Vote!!!

To have a voice in this great nation, all eligible voters need to get prepared and get to the polls.  It is easy to complain about elected leaders if they are not conducting themselves as you think best.  But there's a solution for that situation and it requires of us some initiative -
Get Prepared - know the candidates and the values from which they will operate
and
Go to the Polls to cast your vote.
 For people of faith, prayer is also a component for any and all elections but that must be practiced along with action in order for your voice to be heard.

Do not assume your voice won't make a difference - it will.

Jesus' earthly life was lived during trying political times but he still encouraged and instructed his followers to...
Matthew 22:21
"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's,
and to God what is God's."
 Coins for paying taxes had Caesar's image on them.  

God's image is on humanity.  

We participate in the world as an informed, committed citizen.
We participate in God's kingdom as an informed, committed child of our heavenly Father 
whose image we bear.

Both are what God wants from us as he choses to be at work in the world.

Voting is our privilege and our responsibility.

 PriVilege
Of
    CiTizens
         PrEpared!!!

I have voted early and look forward to learning the outcome tomorrow of the voice of energized, faithful citizens.   Be certain that your voice is heard.  
VOTE!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pie... Best recipe!!!

A scene I photographed on Nov. 14, 2009.  This is found along the Frio River in Echo Valley on the property of the Foundations for Laity Renewal near Leakey, TX.
The above photo has nothing to do with this post but it is 
my tribute to this time of year.  
Just want this beauty to be seen as each person reads this blog. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Recently, friends were invited so lunch would include pumpkin pie.  When fall is in the air, it just seems to be the most appropriate dessert for special friends as well as family.
So I decided to photograph and chronicle the process...
All items gathered to make our family's favorite pumpkin pie.
The recipe my family uses came from my mother.  I do not know where she got the recipe but when baked, it is by far the best pumpkin pie ever created!  Her theory was that the secret to great tasting pumpkin pie is to limit the amount of ginger in the mix.  Her recipe used 1/4 teaspoon of ginger.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Registered to Vote?

Fall (Nov. 2009) on the Frio River in the canyon of the Foundations for Laity Renewal...
It's Fall... Be Prepared to Vote...
 
If you live in Texas, the last day to register in order to vote on November 6th is October 9th.  Both my husband and I have taken the training, been sworn in and have the materials needed to register anyone in this state.  Let me know if you need to register before the deadline and I can help you.

You must vote in the precinct in which you live.  You cannot show up at another polling place and get permission to vote there.  You cannot go to your former place of residence and vote there.

We have materials to register a change of address if you have moved since you last voted.

The system is designed to allow all eligible voters to have a voice but you must be registered in a timely manner in order to exercise this awesome privilege.

All citizens who prepare and vote have a voice in the future of our country.  This is freedom in action.  It is a responsibility and privilege not to be taken lightly.

See you at the polls!!! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

In Memory of Betty N...

Within the past few weeks, I was reminded of someone I met nearly 4 years ago and with whom I  had only one conversation.  The remembrance of this person came as my eyes caught a name one morning in the obituaries published in our local newspaper.  The name was Betty N.  I wrote about our meeting and its spiritual significance on December 10th, 2008 in this blog.

Since Betty has recently left this world for her eternal home, I will share again the story I wrote following that one conversation we had.  The story was a portion of my blog post that day.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Before Marriage Begins...

I recently posted the 10 BEST DECISIONS OF OUR MARRIED LIFE.  This is a 10 post series.

Today I read an article which I saw linked on Facebook.  Steven Crowder shares his opinion about the best way to prepare for the wedding night.  He got married recently.

I recommend his blog post, "Waiting till the wedding night - getting married the right way."
You'll find the article on September 14, 2012 by Steven Crowder.  Apparently I can't include the link with the title of this article but you can find it at www.foxnews.com/opinion/.

This article is a wonderful predecessor to the 10 Best Decisions... which I have shared in the past few weeks.

Some may call Steven Crowder old-fashioned, crazy, unrealistic but I call him godly, wise and a man worthy of an awesome woman who shares his values.  I think you'll enjoy his report.

Friday, September 14, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #10 Remain Committed in Adversity

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the Tenth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden

10.  We will remain committed to God even in adversity.

I Peter 1: 5b-7 THE MESSAGE The day is coming when you’ll have it all - life healed and whole.  I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.  Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.
Philippians 1:29 THE MESSAGE There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ.  There’s also suffering for him.   And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.
Life is a combination of good times and bad times.  When there are difficulties, some people chose to blame God for their problems and turn away from following him.  We have had some times of adversity.  We have chosen to continue trusting God’s leadership in our lives even through the pain and disappointment.  Doing this has strengthened both our individual and our joint faith relationships.  Besides our personal faith, we have been supported and sustained by family and friends who have given us much encouragement.  Some hardships have happy endings but some don’t.  We’ve had a great place to work and serve following the congregation’s decision for John not to continue pastoring the church in Delafield.  And we trust God’s leadership but still pray for healing of Uncle John’s left eye though it remains legally blinded due to retina trouble.  But suffering is not grounds for desertion of the path on which the savior leads us.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  And the path of life is much easier when a couple shares the same goals and philosophies.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #9 Weekly Church Participation

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the ninth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden
9.Weekly church attendance and regular participation in church leadership opportunities for the whole family according to our spiritual gifts is a given.

Hebrews 10: 25 THE MESSAGE Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on,
            I Peter 4:10a Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
We have not struggled with this decision and fortunately, our children grew to understand that our family participated regularly with attendance and involvement.  There was never an argument from any of them about attending church.  We think it is because it was a “given” - not negotiable.  Our participation was their example and they followed willingly.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  Of course church attendance does not ensure adherence to Biblical teaching but it is more likely that your faith commitment will be embraced by the next generation if there is involvement in a local body of believers.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #8 Trust & Respect

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the eighth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden
8.  We will support each other with mutual trust and respect confident that each is striving to know and do God’s will.
Ephesians 5: 22, 23, 25 THE MESSAGE Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.  Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a love marked by giving, not getting. 
One of the greatest gifts Uncle John has given me is to trust the choices I make about how I spend my time.  I have many friends whose husbands demand an accounting of everything that has been done, spent, said, with whom, where, when, etc.  And then there is often criticism of those choices.  This trust is precious and for us it has given us both freedom to exercise the strengths we have received from God.  There have been some times when each of us has seen a worrisome expenditure of time and energy in the other.  We have expressed that and it has provided a good balance for us in seeing mistakes we were making.  It is easy to get over committed and find ourselves operating under significant stress.  One time when that was true for me, I talked to Uncle John about my feelings and his counsel was, “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that God wants you to do it.”  That freed me to resign from a position I had so I could take better care of my family.  But to be honest, this is an on-going choice which we have to work on.  It is easy to be critical of how our spouse spends time but it has worked for us to talk about our view of things and get the other’s perspective about what they are doing.  The principle that needs to be at work here is that each partner must be thinking of serving and giving and then trust and respect are the result.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  The truth is, however, that we are still working on this one in our marriage.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Reflection...

As I've been reading articles today which share memories of 9/11, I've wondered if there was something relevant I could share also.

Before I attempted to put something into words for this blog, however, I decided to take care of an important item for a meeting I will chair today at 6:00 PM - the agenda for that meeting.

I am the Missions Director at my church.  A meeting will take place this evening of the Missions Council and this group of people will consider ways for our local congregation to continue international involvement in 2013.

I began the agenda as usual with a scripture which includes mention of God's concern "for the nations."  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #7 Be Worthy of Trust

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the seventh of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden

7.We will trust each other and be worthy of trust when we are apart.  If trust is violated, we will repent, forgive, rebuild trust and allow the situation to remain in the past.

I Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 
Hebrews 13: 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.          
This is a very important decision and one which can either strengthen or destroy your marriage.  When we say our marriage vows, we commit to love for a lifetime and forsake all others.  This is the commitment couples willingly make to each other on their wedding day.  But in the routine of life, there may come temptations to violate trust and break faith with our spouse.  It is possible to put someone or something in the place reserved for our marriage partner.  How painful this is when it happens.  But because all things are forgivable with God, all things need to be forgivable in our marriage.  Let me encourage you to take very seriously from day one of your marriage the decision to live worthy of the trust your spouse places in you.  If you do, you will be able to live without the pain and regret of failure.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  We have had to practice the second part of this decision and it has made it possible for our marriage to be strengthened rather than destroyed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #6 Reach Consensus or Linda Submits

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the sixth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden
6.We will make all major decisions together and seek to reach consensus. We will not proceed in any area on anything unless both of us are at peace and in agreement. But if an irreconcilable difference occurs on a matter needing an immediate decision, Linda will submit to John’s leadership.
Ephesians 5: 21-23 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  This is not difficult for us.  Uncle John is a very loving husband who gives me much support and freedom.  It is easy for me to be willing to submit to him - I almost never have to.  But there was one time when we faced an issue with a difference of opinion.  We were moving to Texas.  I really wanted to buy a house and not move into a rent home.  We looked for a house and decided to make an offer to purchase.  Our offer was turned down and since our home in Wisconsin had not yet sold, we decided not to counter offer but instead to rent a house.  The day before we drove away from Wisconsin, our realtor called to say the seller of the home we’d made an offer on had decided they would accept our offer after all.  I was just sure this was God’s will for us and I was so eager to buy instead of rent.  John, however, did not have peace about the decision and said he didn’t want to own two houses at a time.  As hard as it was for me to do, I knew I needed to submit to his will and move into a rent house.  It took six months for our house to sell but five years before we bought another home.  In looking back, it was definitely the right thing to do.  I am so glad we didn’t buy the house we had made an offer on.  It needed work and it would have been far too expensive for us if we had bought it.  Interest rates were dropping and in five years we had become acquainted with our city and remain very pleased with the home we own now.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  Having peace in decisions is a way to be protected from mistakes.

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #5 Live on Our Income

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the fifth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden

5.We will live on the amount of money our employment provides:
            a. Pay no credit card interest
            b. Save some from each pay check for retirement
            c.  Pay cash for all purchases except items which do not depreciate.

Romans 13: 7a-8 Give everyone what you owe him:...Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another,...  Some of the decisions I am writing about are things we realize that we have lived out but may not have actually articulated until now.  This decision, however, is not in that category.  This was a very conscious, stated, clearly committed to decision from the outset of our life together.  We decided to trust our needs and wants to the Lord and let him provide for us.  There is so much I could say related to this but at this time I will just summarize how we managed this.  We have never had what most people in America would consider a huge income.  So from the beginning of our married life, we have had to live frugally.  We have learned how to do this and feel that all our needs and most of our wants have been supplied.  Sometimes our needs have been met in a manner which could only be an unforeseen answer to prayer.  For example, one month it looked as though we would be short just under $100.00 to pay our utility bills.  A letter arrived in the mail from someone who had never before given us any money.  The letter included a check for $100.00 with the explanation that they just felt it was something that they should do at that time.  Another example is this.  We lived in New York City at the time Uncle John’s father was scheduled for heart surgery.  Uncle John felt he needed to fly home to be with his mother at that time but we didn’t have the money for the trip.  We decided to book the flight anyway.  A day or so after booking the flight, a man from the church came to our door and told us that an accounting mistake had been made during the previous year and we had been underpaid.  He gave us a check in the amount we were owed - about the exact amount of the trip to Wisconsin.  So you see some of how God has taken care of us.   

But the most frequently used method of living frugally is that I have shopped want ads, estate and garage sales, thrift stores and consignment shops for all our furniture, most of our clothing and many of the other things with which we have our home furnished.  I often say that everything in our home has a story and it thrills me to share how God has provided for us at the same time that we have lived within our means.  Further training in this area comes as a free gift - my knowledge will happily be shared whenever you have questions.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  Now I have the joy of blessing my children and grandchildren, a friend in Argentina and others along the way as I find my “deals”.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #4 Live on One Income

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the fourth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden
4.We will live on one income when our children are pre-schoolers and longer if possible.

Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Becoming a mother was the most exciting event in my life after marriage.  We had delayed starting our family until I finished my undergrad degree and Uncle John finished seminary.  (This was also an important decision.)  So when our first child was born, I was very ready to stay home and be a mother.  I have never considered it a sacrifice.  I have always viewed it as a wonderful privilege - both to be a mother and to stay home while the children were young.  I did not go back to teaching until our children began college.  Then I was able to work half time in a job sharing opportunity until we had more than one child in college.  We felt strongly that our responsibility as parents was to give our children quantity and quality where our time was concerned.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  Being home with the children allowed me to be involved in home Bible studies as well as give support to Uncle John’s career.

Friday, August 24, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life...#3 Monthly Tithe Non-negotiable

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the third of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden

3.Monthly tithing a minimum of 10% to Christian work is a non-negotiable commitment.
           
Leviticus 27: 30 “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord: it is holy to the Lord.”  We have honored this commitment regardless of our income.  We have never discussed reconsidering this even during a time of unemployment.  We have always been able to pay our bills.  Scripture has much to say about giving cheerfully, freely, generously as Jesus modeled.  As we look back on our life, we know that we have experienced blessing from the Lord.  Perhaps our honoring him with our tithes has resulted in tangible and intangible blessings.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  And in recent years, we have been privileged to give more than 10% each year to ministry causes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life...#2 No Divorce Option

Yesterday I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
THE TEN BEST... or 
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  

Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the second of our top decisions in the list of:

The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden

2. Divorce is not an option.

Malachi 2: 15a - 16a Has not the Lord made them one?...do not break faith with the wife of your youth.  “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel.  Since this is how God feels about divorce, we decided we would live out his desire for married couples.  Marriage is also a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church - bridegroom and bride.  His love for the bride is unconditional - characterized by forgiveness, sacrifice and grace.  We committed to have that be our goal as a married couple.  It’s not always easy but we have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life..,. #1 Seek God's Direction

As I posted yesterday to share some memories of our wedding day 46 years ago, I remembered something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  I promised to post those 10 decisions on this blog.


The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden

Dear Niece and future Nephew,
Uncle John and I have collaborated on this “Top Ten” list so I am addressing both of you as I share these decisions we have made and followed throughout the nearly thirty-eight years of our married life.  We share these thoughts with you not to seek to impress you or others with our wisdom and brilliance but because we truly feel they contain some nuggets of nurture which you may want to consider incorporating into your married life.  It has been a very joyful process to ponder the path our life has taken and to realize that we have benefited from some of the conscious and unconscious decisions we made as our life together began so long ago.  If there is anything here that is useful to you, we are humbly honored.  We have found that marriage has been a very wonderful experience for us.  We are better people because of the commitment we have to each other.  We have matured and mellowed as our lives have blended.  We share these ten decisions not to imply life is and has been perfect.  In fact, there are decisions we wish could be part of this list but because we have failed, they cannot be.  But for this gift, we are sharing our strengths; not many of our weaknesses.  We just want you to know that some of these things take years to get hammered into habits so don’t require of yourselves immediate maturity.  But starting out with a plan to incorporate your list of firm decisions will limit the potential for regret in the future.  May your love for each other be strengthened each day of your lives together and may you have many years to enjoy your “oneness”.  And if there’s anyway that we could give you some support, feel free to call at any time.

Love,
Uncle John and Aunt Linda

1. We will seek God’s direction in all aspects of our life.

Isaiah 47:17 This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”  Both Uncle John (age 12) and I (age 6), became Christians at an early age.  We had already been living our lives as we felt God wanted us to so it was only natural that we would continue in our married life to seek God’s direction for us and our family. 
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  This verse is telling us that when we seek to follow God’s commands, the result will be that our needs will be supplied - food, water and clothing.  We have been married for nearly 38 years and we have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  We have abundantly experienced the promises given in these scriptures.  God’s faithfulness has brought us great joy.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Celebrating 46 Years of Marriage...

Yesterday was the 46th wedding anniversary for my husband and me. Our wedding took place in John's home church in Madison, WI.  I had lived in Madison for 3 school years and was a regular in attendance with John and his family at Faith Baptist Church by then so it was a logical choice for the wedding.  It also was more centrally located for many of our friends and family who would attend. 

John wrote the marriage vows we memorized and shared that day.

MARRIAGE VOWS
of John Worden and Linda Groves
August 20, 1966
John:  Linda, before God and these witnesses, I take thee to be my wedded wife and so covenant as the head of our home to faithfully love and care for you alone through all of life together, to share with you that depth of love that comes through knowing Christ in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health until death shall separate us or until Christ returns.
Linda:  John, with God and this company in witness, I take thee to be my wedded husband, and so covenant to faithfully love and care for you alone in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health so long as we both shall live.  With confidence and deepest love, I commit to you all that I am and have and hope to be till death shall separate us or Christ returns.
John's family provided much support for our special day which I have only come to really appreciate with time and maturity.  John's mother had been raised in the home of a florist.  She offered to make all floral arrangements for our wedding - bridal bouquet, attendant's flowers, corsages, boutonnieres, altar arrangements and flower girl's basket.  John's parents also hosted many of our extended family members.  Friends of theirs on the block where they lived offered enough bedrooms to house everyone saving lots of money which was very tight for many of us at that time. 
Faith Baptist Church, Madison, WI, August 20, 1966




The female attendants were our siblings.  John's sister, Cindi, is on the far left.  My next youngest sister, Kathy, was my maid of honor.  My sisters Barbara and Margelyn were bridesmaids.  All of us were university students at the time except my sister Marge who was still in high school.  

The male attendants were both family and friends.  John's younger brother, Jim, was the best man.  His sweetheart who would become his bride the next year, had opened the service with flute music.  Groomsmen were a 1st cousin of John's, Robert Stiles, and UW friends, Everett Peterson and Philip Bays.  

The flower girl, Joanne Montie, and ring bearer, Jerry Montie, were the children of the family from whom I rented a room during my third year in Madison, WI.  Part of the cost of my room was provided through some childcare so I had become close to these sweet children.

John and I were not very happy with the photo taken of the two of us in August so our photographer did a retake in early January of 1967.  Again my mother-in-law provided a duplicate of my bridal bouquet in silk flowers which very closely matched the August bouquet.

Early January - still happy to be married.
So with the passage of 46 years, there has been so much that we have shared.  It has not always been easy but we have remained committed to each other and to the Lord.  We give him credit for the many blessings we celebrate together.

We have recently returned from our 8th mission trip together to the country of Moldova.  Last year, we had this photo taken of us while we were there so it's pretty close to what we look like at this point in our lives.

La Taifas Restaurant, Chisnau, Moldova, Auguest, 2011
Several years ago, I participated with multiple family members with the creation of a document entitled, THE TEN BEST... or The Wisdom of the Most Important Women in Your Life, for a niece who was getting married.  My contribution was entitled, THE TEN BEST DECISIONS OF OUR MARRIED LIFE.

I will share those ten decisions on this blog in the future days.

For now I close with great gratitude to God for the deep joy I have in my life that comes from a marriage that is strong and settled.  Knowing that I am loved by God and my husband provides me with growing confidence to be the person who hopefully honors both of them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wrapping up in Moldova...

In just a few hours the last 2 of us will be driven to the airport to start our trek home.  I expect to sleep almost the whole way as I'm a bit behind on slumber.

The last day has gone well.  It included:
  1. packing,
  2. breakfast, 
  3. touring the CERI offices, 
  4. chatting with  CERI's director, Connie, in order to debrief our time here 
  5. learn more about the many ways in which CERI is involved with needy children and families 
  6. meet 2 sponsored girls for lunch
  7. join the sponsored boys to watch ICE AGE 4 - 3D
  8. shop with my girls for personal items
  9. more packing
  10. going to possible apartment for one girl
  11. Saying "Good-bye" to the girls - some tears
  12. Last Lilia delicious supper
  13. Packing
  14. Chatting with Connie again
Now I'm about to conclude this last blog in Moldova, get some sleep and head to the airport.

What a privilege that God has allowed me to be here this week.  I praise him for the strength he supplied and the people with whom he had me spend time.  Leaving here is not so difficult when I know that God's presence remains and his words will bear fruit.

They say the temperature reached 100 degrees but I was at the Mall during the hottest hours and that is air conditioned - oh my but I'm spoiled.

Revelation 7: 9-12
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”
Won't it be wonderful to join people from every nation when we are welcomed into God's throne room? 

Enjoy my day in photos... 

Visiting the CERI offices...
Training area...

Framed photo of a past team from Trinity Baptist in Kerrville remains just inside the front door where smiling faces greet everyone...
Ice Age 4 in Russian with these 2 sweethearts...  Enjoyed them and the pop corn - mostly missed the plot...

Got to know this sparkplug this year in a greater way...  She's full of energy and fun

This gal is very kind and helpful.  She's always willing to assist without being asked. 

An apartment through these windows may soon be home to a couple of these gals...
Nice living room...
Traditional rugs on the wall and couch... 
With the help of God, sponsors and CERI, there's hope for these nearly adult young men...

First Family of the Team House - Sergio & Connie Belciug and baby girl...
So I type my last line with joy in my heart.  It isn't easy to make these trips but it is so worth it.  I am so grateful that a church in TX has decided to support and encourage and participate in these trips, that CERI has a strong presence in Moldova to welcome and provide the ground team that's necessary and that the Lord has trusted a team of 10 to make him known among "some of the least of these" in another nation.