Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mountain Climbing and Valley Viewing

While texting back and forth with my little sister today she remarked how she didn't like the valleys of life. I quickly agreed in my thoughts, but was pulled up just as quickly with another thought, "there would be no mountains if there were no valleys". Even as I type I hear a neighbor's duck quacking in the background and am pulled to the memory of my own ducks given away in hopes of letting go of sad memories and fears connected to my husband's death. We had raised chickens, ducks and goats from babies and I had been forced to find homes for them all as I didn't have the funds or the active faith to continue feeding them. Now they are spread all over my small town here in west Texas and I only see them occasionally. When I do I am tempted to return to the low valley of emotion that I faced as I made the decision to give them up. I steady myself with the knowledge that they are being fed.

The shepherd king David shared his valleys all through the Psalms. He was an up and down man, suffering low lows and very high highs. He faced friends and family who would betray him, abandon and reject him and his faith. He had huge military victories and built quite q kingdom. He talked through wrong perceptions and prophesied with divine insight. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil for thou art with me... I notice quickly that he didn't camp in the valley. I actually typed "valley of death", but God reminded me it was only the shadow of death, not death itself. When not walking in the Spirit we tend to overdramatize our situations. My valleys are always deeper and darker than yours. How would I know? I've never actually gone through a single valley in another person's shoes. I do know that I've read and heard of really horrific things that others have suffered through and I am then glad for my own custom made problems. I rest knowing God has promised to never allow me to be tempted above what I can bear, and to offer a way of escape with every temptation.

There are good things in valleys too. Rivers and streams flow down in valleys. One can follow a stream to a river to a lake when in a valley. The grass is green in valleys, as long as one isn't in Death Valley. There are others who can relate to you in valleys. If you hold hands while in a common valley the going isn't nearly so tough.

If you are in a valley for very long, you learn to identify beauty in small things. In a desert valley you learn not to take for granted even the tiniest of flowers or creatures. A flower on a cactus becomes a work of art. The ravens and buzzards flying overhead become pictures of soaring freedom if you look at them just so. Sand running through your fingers can remind you of the passage of time. It's all in how you look at it.

As I travel through the different valleys in my life I have come to the place where I don't dread them nearly so much. Initially I may be tempted to shun them, but given a little time alone with God in the valley I resolve to enjoy the solitude. Of course I'm also looking forward to the next mountain, but know there will be a lot of climbing if I am to reach the heights I want to obtain.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPa

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In a Crowd

I'm sitting at Starbucks and the place is jam packed. I've already been served, but most of the folks here are waiting. It's the norm these days in West Texas as there is an oil boom in the works. Folks are streaming into the area like digital media over the digital rainbow. I see people of all cultures and a few different languages as well. Gone are the days of nothing but "ya'lls" echoing through the airwaves. Today I've already heard Spanish and Chinese! There are a few fellow geeks here with their laptops. Of course I'm the oddball with the Apple iPad! What's new?

I'm about to go shopping for my new weekly needs list. I hate shopping on a Saturday, but necessity has changed my plans. While sitting here messing around on my iPad I overheard a bunch of younger adults discussing their faith. I butted in and told them I was eavesdropping and overheard their conversation. We all did a little networking and I came away with a couple of contacts that will help me in my new job. Life is full of nice little surprises.

I also took a little time to practice my Chinese lessons. I'm again overhearing their conversation and they are talking about college classes teaching Internet policy in China. Kak interechna. (How interesting:Russian)

So here I am about to leave and get some things done to make my week a little easy. It's chaotic here, but I love it. I'm in no rush, have no plans and love networking with younger folks.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:N Grandview Ave,Odessa,United States

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alle Alle Auch Sind Frei

These words have a familiar ring, but they look very unfamiliar unless you speak German. Loosely translated they mean that everyone is free. I remember chanting them at the end of a "hide and seek" session. When called out these silly sounding words notified the players that the round was over, the seeker had given up and the successful hiders were free to come to home base free from fear of being tagged "it".

Freedom is a precious thing, a costly gift to those who enjoy it. America claims to be the home of the "free" and the land of brave. The freedoms enjoyed here have come at the cost of countless lives at her conception and continued to be costly throughout her short 236 year history.

Freedom for the believer in Messiah Yeshua/Jesus was more costly. The price was his life, his life's blood and the unspeakable unimaginable suffering he experienced the three days and nights he spent in hell.

Believers have been freed from the curse that was tied to breaking the unchanging rules or laws of the Mosaic covenant. A study of Deuteronomy 28 should be a must not only in the Sabbath and Sunday schools in our synagogues and congregations, but should be heralded from the pulpits of those same institutions. Yeshua has redeemed us, made us free, from the curse of the law. Deuteronomy 28 outlines everything the curse held for us. Many "suffer" or allow the curse in their lives by being ignorant of the redemption of the curse, but even more break the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus and walk in the same curse they have been redeemed from.

We are called to walk the love walk by trusting completely in the Father's love through His son. AND we are called to walk in love towards our fellow man. We are called to submit to the spirit of compassion, the Precious Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never lead us back into sin and back under the curse of the law. Righteous men (and women) do not sin as a matter of habit. Sin is all about self. We sin because we don't trust God to provide or care for us. If we take the time to examine ourselves, to judge ourselves we will see that out pet sins fall under the "selfish" heading every single time.

Those who are truly free from the law of sin and death consider themselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness. The end result? That by HIS stripes; righteousness' stripes we WERE healed.

He who the son has made free is free indeed!


- love never fails.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Different Perspectives

We're told that God saw/sees the end from the beginning. His perspective is via the Holy Spirit and therefore His presence permeates reality or truth.
While in Belarus several years ago I sought the Lord for the reason He had sent me. I had walking pneumonia and was so ill I felt worthless. In my mind I had come to save the world, but was so sick I couldn't even lift my head. It wasn't till much later that I could see some of what He was doing in me and through me. He is still showing me what that five week trip was about.
Those hidden seeds of faith were at work, but I was expecting to see them working as if they were above ground.
I have since learned I see the beginning from the end. He has told us that His ways are above ours.
What it boils down to is trust. The kingdom of heaven demands trust. Our minds want answers, but the mind of Christ is trust. We want control and have only the control of will where it doesn't conflict with His.
The more control I relinquish these days, the more He can hand back to me. My perceptions and perspective are changing moment by moment. I find great peace in allowing Him to be God and allowing the free-fall of faith to become a joyful thing.
- love never fails.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ultimate Makeover

As the years tick away in my life I've seen a change in the reflection in the mirror, but I must remember that the face I see in the mirror isn't me. The face I see in the large oval mirror in my bathroom is merely the aging earth suit I wear while on earth. The real me is hidden deep within and is the person God is working on.

I have a Basic English Bible up in my attic somewhere. It holds a favorite verse and that translation has a precious place in my heart. 2 Chronicles 24:13 "So the workmen did their work, making good what was damaged and building up the house of God till it was strong and beautiful again."

The body I live in has been damaged by the storms of life. The Body of Christ is damaged goods, but it is God who is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We are the house of God and He wants us to become the manifested sons of God.

As we submit ourselves to the word of God He is transforming us into His likeness. His goal is to make us strong and beautiful. He is remaking the hidden man of the heart.

When I look in the mirror I remind myself that this outer "man" will also be transformed one day. It is our hope and the last redemption we will know!

- love never fails.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Expression of the Heart of God

Expression of the Heart of God

It's weird how changes occur. Much like the hidden changes that a caterpillar goes through within a cocoon, so are the changes I've gone through in my 54 years. We start out naive and innocent just living like little children and then we are subjected to the pressures of the world. For those of us who have been chosen of God and have returned the affections, we must choose to walk as little children in spite of the affects and effects all we experience have had on us.

One of the changes I've begun to see is that I want to express God's heart in my artsier side. I want others to see how much God loved me through abuses I suffered as a child. How He was with me though He chose not to keep me from the hurt. He was not only present for me, but was long suffering (and wanted me also to become long suffering) for those who were trapped in bondage to an unseen enemy. God is so patient. He could easily have withdrawn the breath of those who hurt me, but had He where would His mercy have been. Some who were cruel to me chose to turn from those wicked ways, others did not. In it all I have been strengthened to love stronger and have a heart of mercy for those who are in such dark bound places.

How does one describe the grace that sees you through the death of children and a spouse. I mention  that I lost a son many years ago and people suck air in surprise. The memory holds no pain for me. Why? Because once again God was with me through it all. He walked me through the shock of finding him dead in his bed. He walked me through the death of dreams, expectations and disappointment. He assured me through His unchanging word that my little boy was in heaven waiting for me. He couldn't come to me, but I most assuredly could go to him. So I moved on.

Now God walks me through the death and absence of my precious husband. Thirty four years is a long time to spend with one person. We finished each other's thoughts and were very much in tune with one another. His end was a dramatic as his life. He lived on the edge up until his departure. He was generous, loving and loved to speak grace to the Body of Christ. He lived an amazing life and I miss him more than words on pages can tell. When I think I can't go on, God graciously shows Himself a worthy if not even more perfect partner. In the natural I would prefer to have Jeff back here with me, but in the spirit I am finding the peace I need to go on and do God's will in my life. I'm not in heaven, but I want days of heaven upon the earth I live on.

God is a good Father. He makes all other fathers pale in comparison. He has been given a bad reputation by those who don't know Him, but I'm learning to know Him in the most personal of ways. He has said He would be my husband and has even presented me with a silver ring. I have struggled with this ring, but I wear it and thank God for His patience as I learn to do so without regret and without flinching at its meaning.

I hope my words have painted a picture of my present heart. It's in healing, it's in renovation at present, but it's on it's way to a full recovery. Why? Again, because God is good and always here with me.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Workmen Did Their Work

There is a verse in Chronicles that says, "The workmen did their work building the house of God till it was strong and beautiful again". Not sure where it is, but I remember finding that verse years ago and thinking how wonderful a verse! It was written ages ago, but speaks to me if a future and perpetual hope.

I refuse to hear all the dark talk of today and refuse to let it color my heart. I've suffered through much loss in my life, but again refuse to let it have a negative effect upon my heart. God is bigger than anything I've ever suffered!

I always tell folks when I see a pile of pooh I'm looking for a pony close by! God is the great creator, He gave Adam command to go and REplenish the earth. His job was to multiply and refill the earth. To redo something tells me something was here before and has to be redone. So it continues to be. We are called to take what we are given and invest our gifts in rebuilding the broken places, the broken things and most importantly the broken people.

God manifested His son (starting in Adam) to destroy the works of the adversary. The enemy came to steal, to kill and to Destroy! BUT greater is he (God by His Spirit) that is in us than the god of this earthly world.

I'm a northerner from working folks. My natural heritage and people were never slothful. I'm a workman. I am tempted to be short with lazy or selfish people. I want to see the house of God strong and beautiful again.

If I could do anything to bolster the Body of Christ it would be to let them know that God was fully aware of all that was coming our way in these last days. He hasn't run out of power or resources and He has even said that the wicked lay up treasures for the last days.

I remind myself this when things look bleak! God is great at redoing, second chances and hope in the midst of the worst situations. He is with us in trouble. I think He rather enjoys a good "sticky wicket" as the Brits would say. He delights in seeing us bookended between the Red Sea and pharaoh! Why? Because the deliverance will be without a doubt from Him!

Except the Lord build a house they labor in vain...Psalm 127:1

- love never fails.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alone On A Hill?

The Lord gave me these words to share with a sister who stands pretty much alone in her stand and calling for Christ. I then realized we all fit that description from time to time and decided to share it with whosoever. That means you. God is no respecter of persons and you can take this as a word for you as well.

Just a word of encouragement. Abba hasn't disconnected from the beacon on the hill. When others can't see your value you must burn all the brighter for the blind are headed for the rocks.

A lighthouse stands alone on the craggy rocks. It never moves from its spot and does its greatest work in the worst of weather and the darkest of nights.

When we are tempted to feel alone realize there is a light keeper that makes sure the light in the lighthouse is burning brightly. He tends the lighthouse with the utmost care.

- love never fails.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Plodding Persistence

It's early Wednesday morning and I'm thinking back to last night's late spring rain storm.

I've been building a barn storage building which will become my art studio when it's done. I hadn't prayed for rain because so much of the material it's made of is pressed fiber board. Rain is not it's friend. I did however know that we needed rain so as soon as the last shingle was on and even before I had built the barn doors I began to pray for rain. That was Monday afternoon and yesterday being Tuesday a rain storm came our way.
I'm quite amazed that the building is up and is sturdy and standing. I've had a different kind of crew helping me build this miracle. A couple visiting from Belarus were my first volunteers. Neither speak much English and my Russian is in its juvenile stage of development at best. With this gracious couple I was able to get the foundation set up on cinder blocks and the four walls constructed.
My next volunteers were a fellow widow and her thirty something son and his wife. We erected the walls, put the roof trusses up and sheathed the roof.
My last and most recent helper was a young Russian American boy. He helped me paper and shingle the roof. Just beginning his summer vacation he rose late in the mornings and discovered the temperature fluctuations on black roofing felt can be drastic. We finished the roof on a day when the temperature outside was 110 and the surface temperature on the felt was a good twenty degrees higher.
Today I've decided to get busy and build the doors for my barn slash art studio slash spare guest room. I don't want another rain storm to come and ruin the interior of my barn.
I was rather overwhelmed when the delivery guy dropped a large plastic covered stack of wood in my yard. I thought to myself, "What have I gotten myself into?".

I have more volunteers waiting in the wings to help with interior projects. I have yet to electrify the building. I have yet to insulate, floor, cover the walls or decorate it. All of these are but items on a long list of "to dos" that will get done in the process of time.
I've said before that if you just do something for fifteen minutes everyday you can finish, or master it. This project didn't follow that exact path, but with plodding persistence I know I shall finish it!
- love never fails.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blast From the Past

I'm sitting in Starbucks waiting for a friend I've never met before and find myself back in the 60s and 70s. First the Monkees are filling the air with familiar melodies, then the Beetles! Now Bread is adding to the nostalgiafest!
It seems that the last eight months since my husband bugged out for heaven has been constantly filled with remembering and with trying to forget. I'm sure my soul and mind have been stretched beyond all normal parameters!
I've learned that mourning is a predictably unpredictable course in life. I lost a child early in my married life. At the time it was the hardest thing I'd suffered. It was more than the loss of a child, it was the loss of hopes and dreams. I discovered strengths and weaknesses I never imagined could come from within my heart. I learned to lean on God and on friends. I learned compassion and put it to practice in practical ways for others who were hurting.
Today I'm past a lot of the horrific fear and torment of losing a spouse of 34 years. I know grief will rear its ugly head when I least expect it. I'm not afraid of confrontation so I'll slam dunk it with proactive resolve. I know mourning is normal, but grief is an ugly self preservative spirit I won't suffer.
The latest tune playing is "The Day The Music Died". I'm glad that title is just that, a popular song. The music of life is running in my veins again and I'm looking forward to living once again.
My good friend Susan shared a bible verse with me: Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.
I'm working to leave behind the hardest parts of the past and hold fast to the good. I'm learning to shun self pity and absorption and return to the giving woman I have come to know and love. The process seems slow, but the end result will be good I'm confident!
- love never fails.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Process

I have some very special friends who have seen me through the past eight months of my life. They are gifts from God. My friend Kath is my "I'm in your face and expect excellence" friend. Her daughter Corey is my "Sister Mary Compassionate" friend. My dear friend Nubye is my "I've walked this path before" friend. My friend Susan is my, "We Merry Widows are wacky" friend. My friend Becky is my "I'm here for you and we can do the impossible together" friend. My friend Samantha is my, "Hey let me share my young life with you" friend. My sister and friend Shauna is my "I am sending hugs to get you through this and I would take your place if I could" friend.

I have many more friends, including men, that have walked me through eight long months of sorrow and sadness better known as widowhood. Each person adds something to me and helps me lay things at the altar of my life. God promised me through the prophetic word of a young woman that came to me the second week I visited the church I now attend that, "God will fill all the intimacy you lack". He has and continues to do so through each person He sends my way. He brings new people to me all the time and I'm continually amazed at His provision. I have not been the easiest person to be around these past long months. Mourning is not pleasant work, and I do mean work. Still there are volunteers who join me in my new job. I have no idea how long it will last, but I'm a worker bee, Little Red Hen kind of woman so I do it with all my might.

I send thank yous out in the spirit and pray huge blessings for each person who has helped me do my job. They hold my hands up and act as crutches until I can walk again without their constant help.

Blessings to each one of you wherever you are today. I love you for your sacrificial love.


- love never fails.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's Fat Got To Do With It?

I get a charge out of all the advertisements for losing weight and diets that cost an arm and a let. I can't believe people pay for tasteless planned meals that also cost an arm and a leg. Especially considering the fact we have access to the Internet and can learn all we need to know about healthy eating for free. I learned all on my own that the reason I was overweight was because I over ate and was too sedentary. That means I didn't know when to say "no" and when to say, "yes". I should have said "no" to big portions, fatty foods, fried foods, white rice, white flour, white potatoes and white sugar. I should have said "yes" to parking far from the entrance to the store, to riding my bike, to walking a mile a day, to getting out more and to exercise. I should have said, "yes" to whole wheat flour, more veggies, fewer simple carbohydrates and lean meat.

The body is designed to store fat when we eat too much. This is for the times when we face famine. Problem is that most folks never face famine. In America we have "convenience" foods which are truly inconvenient for healthy living. Fast foods should be fasted! We need to slow down and take time to live rather than survive. We believe we need things we don't need and in all reality should fast things that aren't good for the body.

Too often we wait until we are sick to make changes. We aren't wise enough to start out healthy and maintain good health. We find ourselves obese and sickly and then work to come out of the stupor of unhealthy eating. I have friends who have back problems, knee problems, the onset of diabetes, high blood pressure and a nasty selection of overweight induced illnesses. I too was amongst their ranks, but it took the death of my husband for me to get serious about health. When one is all alone and ill a rude wake-up call comes!

Why write this? I'm hoping it might inspire someone else to join the ranks of those of us who want to live the rest of our lives outside the doors of the hospital or doctor's office waiting room. I must prefer to ride my bike these days. I love working in my garden. I am adjusting to my new diet (one I created and maintain even in restaurants). I eat whole grain breads and choose complex carbohydrates. I use agave nectar instead of sugar in my tea. I drink clear liquids including 100% juices. I do take a pill for high blood pressure, but as I lose the last 30 pounds of fat (I've lost 30+ so far) I am trusting I can do away with the pill as well. I avoid salty processed foods. I'm even having to look at my canned goods more carefully as they seem to have way too much salt in them as well. I eat less and less fat all the time. I try to eat more fish even though I live in the desert southwest and am landlocked. I love albacore and kippers which have Omega 3 fats and I buy frozen tilapia. I'm constantly making adjustments when I learn that something I'm eating isn't good for me. I look for replacements so I don't feel starved or deprived. If I crave sugar I am blessed to have a postmaster who has a basket of candy on the counter. I take one or two pieces and am satisfied with that. I'm still working on soda. I don't buy it in the store, but I occasionally get one when I go to the restaurant. I don't do restaurants nearly as often as my husband and I used to.

Oh, you can eat at restaurants and eat healthy, you just have to know what you can and can NOT eat and find those restaurants that have those items. I go to "Whataburger" to get my hamburger fix. They have wholewheat buns. I also order more salads and always order the dressing on the side.

There are a million options for us in America. We can eat healthy, but we have to choose to eat healthy. We have to want to be healthy and that means do whatever it takes to adjust our lifestyles to make it happen. Laziness is poverty. It will kill you slowly and take away the thing you take for granted in youth, health! I no longer take it for granted. It's time to wake up before it's too late.

Everybody is different. Everyone has personal taste and personal cravings. You know your body better than I do, but you have to listen to it talking and also know that you can only eat so much of any food before it gets stored as fat on your body. Fat can kill you. It looks harmless enough until you learn that it can cause your heart to work harder, your joints to be over worked, you spine to crumble and your pancreas to give up the ghost.

Fat is not beautiful no matter how much you try to tell yourself it is. I know I don't like the 30 pounds left I'm working to get rid of. It's taking more work to get these last pounds off than it took to get the first 30+ off, but I'm determined to take care of the temple that God gave me. I hope you will consider doing the same for yours.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Walking By Faith

God is love. Sounds pretty simple, but within those three little words is truth that goes beyond anything we can imagine. In the bible it says, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.." 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 

We have a tendency (because we are presently wrapped in temporary flesh) to focus on the here and now of life, but we are spirit. Spirit is eternal. Being eternal means we aren't only involved in this linear timeline we call "the present", but are also part of a realm that exists alongside and occasionally intersects with our "reality". Everything in the spirit realm moves at the speed of light. That's pretty fast. When we intersect (by faith) into the spirit realm God can bring things from that realm to this. It sounds pretty fantastic, but if you read and study the word of God it is much clearer. 

John 1:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 

Yeshua/Jesus was the light that God spoke when He declared, "Light be". He manifested His Son to destroy the works of the adversary. His Son was with Him in the beginning when He created all we see, smell, taste, feel and hear! 

Faith is the divine substance that causes what we hope for to manifest into what we can see. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen". We find what we hope for in the word of God. (There are so many things we can hope for if we dig deep enough.) Then we by faith take them and call them our own. God put His faith in us. Just meditate on that for a little while and you'll be filled with hope. Faith is a fruit of the spirit. It is a faith of our spirits! Some think that it's a fruit of the Holy Spirit, but if that were the case we'd ALL (believers) be walking in the fruits of the Spirit. It is a fruit of our righteousness, the righteousness given us by Christ when we were born again. If we sow to our spirits we will reap the fruits of our spirits. Faith is one of those fruits! As we sow the word in our spirits and act on whatever we've sown we can begin to produce the fruit of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God. The more word we sow in our hearts and the more word we act upon, the stronger our faith becomes! 

The just (those made righteous in Christ that claim that righteousness) shall LIVE by faith. Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. Faith is how we are saved, it how we obtain anything God promises. Most folks work themselves to early graves attempting to get what they need, but it can all be obtained by faith. That isn't to say that we're to sit on our behinds and "live by faith", that couldn't be further from the truth. It takes faith just to live by faith! It takes a great deal of effort to "enter into His rest". It takes a great deal of time in the word to obtain all those great promises.

So today is another opportunity to "live by faith" and so I seek the face of God for yet another day. My life isn't easy, but it sure is getting better. Why? It is getting better because all this time in the presence of God is making my faith grow and bringing to me everything I need or want. God is love and He manifests Himself to those who love Him and trust His word.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Farm Living

When I returned home from running errands today I was met at my front porch by my rooster Rosie and his henny woman Princess. They were giving me the "we want an early dinner" call. These two are quite a pair. After I gave them their private meal I took some scratch out to the other 10 chickens and spare rooster "Fajita". Later while watering my trees I discovered that Rosie and Princess were taking private dirt baths in my garden soil. I had so neatly leveled it and watered it to keep it from blowing away in our west Texas breezes. Now the dirt formerly known as level has huge dips in it where they have rubbed themselves. I lightly sprayed them with the hose, but they simple squawked at me. I had to chase them out of the garden. I guess that means I'll be shutting my gate from now on to slow down their hole digging.

Yesterday I had the front door open and was enjoying light breezes through my old fashion wood and a screen door. Rosie decided around 3:30pm to start crooning to Princess. It sounds like he's dying when he does this. It's almost like hearing an alien calling for his freaky mama! Princess stood at my front door making the most irritating noise as if to say, "Will you shut up old man, you're driving me crazy". I finally had to close the door and turn my overhead fans on. So much for a little natural breeze and sun.

I've planned to give my chickens away so I can minister out of town. I really hate giving up these two as they are really pets. The idea that someone wouldn't give them the care I offer upsets me. I may yet hold out and keep them after all. We shall see.

My life on this non-working farm is quiet these days. I pulled weeds today, watered my trees, set eight bricks in the sand for a stepping stone, planted some morning glories and now my back is a little sore. Decisions these days are tough. I want to do this and that, but I'm struggling for clarity. I have to trust God through so many hardships and turn my back on conventional methods of supply. God has proved more than faithful. I'm still living on a farm, but not much of a farmer anymore.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waking Up

I had no idea six months ago that my life would be so altered by the death of my husband. I'm waking each day a little more different than the day before. I'm not exactly sure what is making all the changes in my life, there are a million little things that "could" be causing the changes, but other than God's hand I can't pinpoint what else might be THEE defining influence in my life.

I thought I might try to make a list of the people and things that I can say have and are"helping" me come out of this fog I've been in.
  1.  Number one is ALWAYS God and His word. I can't ever express how much I depend upon both. Of course God manifests Himself through love and because He lives in the hearts of so many of my friends, He manifests through them as well. I found myself gorging on the word in the darkest hours and the comfort of God's promises has compelled me onto the many tomorrows since Jeff went onto be with the Lord.
  2. My little sister. She stayed with me for two weeks after my husband died. She cried with me, held me and gave me a sane place in the face of horrific sorrow. We were never close as children, but God began drawing us together about five years ago. She surprised me on my birthday one year and came from Wyoming. We had the time of our lives and I'll never forget her for her sacrificial love. Father I pray that you would bless her with miracles in every area of her life. She deserves so much.
  3. A good girlfriend here in Gardendale that calls and ministers communion EVERY morning has been like my flesh and blood ROCK. We share the word and principles of healing and faith. She is older than me and has lots of gentle wisdom. She listens and loves me when I'm hurting. She also lets me come by anytime I need to get out of my cave. She actually came and got my mail key and outgoing mail and made a trip to the post office for me this morning. It was out of her way, but she wanted to share some precious articles we'd discussed on the phone. She left them with me so I could duplicate them and thought she might just pick up my mail while I copied them! When I was so ill several weeks ago, she called and got my grocery list. She bought me groceries and blessed me with them. These sorts of things have given me hope in my fellow man when I had pretty much given up.
  4. My best friend and her daughter who live in Midland. She "slaps" me in the face (not literally) with the word and NEVER lets me make excuses for my sin or for the sins of others. She tells me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Her daughter is my buddy. We share the word in a load of different ways. She is six years younger than my daughter and has been with me in the darkest hours of my sorrow. I owe her my life as she saw me through times when death seemed preferable.
  5. A prophet friend in Decatur, Texas. His voice and love of the word helped me make it through those times when I missed my husband's voice like a drowning man misses air. 
  6. An apostle friend in Arizona. He prayed for me and gave me prophetic words of direction many times. He continues to check on me and gives me prayer needs of his own to focus my faith on and to pull me outside of myself. It's odd how often I seemed to implode during this time of mourning.
  7. I have several authors that are my favorites: Kenneth E. Hagin, Smith Wigglesworth, Charles Capps, Kenneth Copeland, Norvel Hayes and several others. Their books about faith, healing and prayer are my favorites and these men of God, some here some gone on to their rewards, have shared their vast wealth of knowledge to my benefit. I ask God to send new treasures into the mansions of those who have gone on. Not sure if it happens, but I'm trusting it does. I want them to know when they are a blessing to me here on earth.
  8. I have a stack of precious sisters in the Lord that create beautiful cards and send them with a little cash just to "make my day". Oh dear Lord they have no idea how much I needed and continue to need such things.
  9. There is a couple that I really didn't know before Jeff died. The husband was a friend and also worked with Jeff climbing towers for the TV network they both worked for. After Jeff died they came by with feed for my goats and fowl. They took me to dinner and blessed me with so much love I can't even express it.
  10. My Russian girlfriends. I have a bible study with them every Thursday evening. It is a challenge to cross cultural and language bridges, but I delight in it and having someone besides myself to focus on. 
  11. My daughter and grandchildren. I can't see them, they don't call and the adversary has blocked them from my life, but dear God I pray for them and they compel me in ways only God knows. I lift them for the biggest blessings that God can provide. I surround them with faith. I shower them with love. I so miss them. I miss them as much as I miss my husband and they are alive. 
  12. The adversary. He has caused me to focus in on faith like a missile system focuses in on a terror cell in the middle east. My hatred of him is so immense that if I sense even the least little ache, pain, suffering, sorrow, hatred, envy or any one of a thousand manifestations of his presence I got "postal" in prayer and in the spirit. He compels me in ways that again, ONLY God knows! 
There are so many others who have and continue to touch me and change me. God uses braying jackasses, sweet sisters, precious brothers, horrible circumstances and situations to make me into the child He can use to love the unlovable and reach the untouchable.  I have no idea what I shall be when this life here is over, but I know I am and have been transformed in ways that stretch my soul to its breaking point. I know the work has only just begun, but I'm awake and aware that God is at work.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

By Faith

It's just after noon on Saturday. I'm sitting in my recliner with the front door open. The sound of spring lies just beyond the screen door and I'm breathing in deeply of all life has to offer this day.

I've been a widow (that still sounds weird to me) for just under six months and I'm learning a load of life lessons everyday. God is still on the throne, I will survive, I am not alone and I will go on.

I have a list of "to dos" that seems as long as my leg, but I'm one person and I'm learning to resort to God in a new way everyday. Today I decided to do another new thing. Actually I had decided to do it on one of my shopping adventures. I picked up a repair kit for bicycle tires. I have several things that have tubed tires in them. One was the garden cart someone gave us a couple years back. It has never been used. The little rubber spikes on the tires can testify to its disuse. In spite of its disuse it had a flat.
I decided to tackle the job of pulling the tube and tire, repairing the hole in the tube and then putting it all back together.

I remember my dad fixing tubes on our bikes when I was young. I remember him filling a bucket with soapy water and inflating the tube. One the tube was submerged in the soapy water he could see the hole. So I wrangled the tube and tire off its wheel and turned my compressor on. Inflated the tire and used my wash tub with soapy water to find the hole. One problem: too much soap. I had to bale the soapy bubbles out of the water. Once the majority of the bubbles were gone I could not only hear and feel the air escaping, but I could see where the hole was!

I put my finger on the hole, dried off the tube and followed the instructions on the repair kit. The first try was unsuccessful as the tube was a tad damp. The second effort proved successful!

After all of this came the real challenge. I have come to depend upon God's helpers, the ministering spirits or angels. The wheel was digging into the dirt and causing it to be full of sand. I heard a gentle, "turn it on its side" and so I did. I used the little pry tools provided in the kit, aired the tire and voila a fixed flat. Just one in a long list of "new things I've learned to do since my husband died"! Now I can sell the cart and someone who will use it will get more use out of it!

I'm learning to believe I can do whatever I hear God to do! It's called living by faith. It's not natural, but I sure love it when it works. Thus far it's worked without a hitch! Thanks Abba!

- love never fails.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spreading Wings

My life is changing in so many ways I can't even note them all. This is odd because I'm a list maker and I'm not even the least bit interested in putting together a list of the changes. I feel like a caterpillar that is strangely drawn to wrap herself up in a chrysalis and withdraw while the metamorphosis takes place.

The privacy of my chrysalis allows me to face the tearing away of the flesh and soul of my beloved husband. It allows me a safe covering from the onslaught of worldly events I seem to be totally sequestered from.

I sense new things are coming out of the transformation I'm undergoing. Some of my friends are closer than ever before. Some have chosen to step away from the strange manifestations they see happening in my life.

The idea that I shall be a completely different person when the time for my emergence begins is surreal. I never anticipated the way my husband left. I had imagined he would die a different martyr's death many times. For him to die in my arms never crossed my mind. Never.

So as I stretch in my chrysalis and new things come to light in the small fissures that are appearing in my shelter, I anticipate the woman I will be. I look forward to the healing of my heart and soul. I delight in the new opportunities I will encounter. I will be a totally different creature when this is all over.

- love never fails.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Crossing out the Farmer?

Two men are coming for one of my last two goats this morning. Soon all my chickens will be transported to their home and I'll be very close to freedom from the responsibilities of caring for farm animals. I will still own a small farm, but I'll only have a cat and a dog. It will be weird, but everything about my life recently has been weird. No animals and no husband. Both seem VERY weird to me. A good friend of mine told me that "abnormal" would become my new normal. This was in reference to widowhood. She was so right on. Her mom has buried three husbands and will more than likely bury her fourth. I don't think I could do widowhood that many times.

Today it's overcast with a slight promise of rain. I feel like that more often than I care to admit. I'm an optimistic, but wary person. I have hope for all, but am also in touch with the realities of life. I consider myself balanced, but I have my off days when I have to cling to God and cry out for grace and mercy. I don't cry nearly as often as I did when Jeff first died. It still sneaks up on me from time to time, but I'm better and better all the time as well.

I am in love with my friends right now. So many have filled in the voids that were left at my husband's death. I know I can call them and they have been so gracious to call me intermittently and check on me. Some bring groceries, some even brought food for my goats and chickens. I've made so many new friends as well. The guys coming to get my goats are friends now. My neighbors have become very close and I'm even looking forward to barbecues and get togethers where we play our instruments and sing. I'm looking forward to living again and I'm actually enjoying the journey again.  I think I might live after all.

I'm learning that all the ups and downs I've experienced are VERY normal in mourning. I mourned when my baby son died of SIDS, but it was nothing compared to losing Jeff. He was my buddy, my confidant, my lover and the one who could get under my skin faster than a cheetah after a gazelle.

Now I'm moving on in so many ways. I do some things the same way I did when he was here, but I also do so many other things so differently I surprise myself. I'm rediscovering myself. I'm much stronger than he ever gave me credit for. I'm working at compassion in much bigger ways. I know how much I need it right now, so I'm sowing it with the grouchy and nasty people of the world.

Life goes on. Folks bury folks all the time. Folks are abandoned all the time. Folks are betrayed all the time. It's all about what you do with the situation at hand. It's all about how your respond to the circumstances. I'm choosing to press into God, His word and His will for my life. For now I am a "retired farmer". I can live with that. I know that my beloved animals have a better chance of getting fed where they are. I know I won't have to lug home bales of alfalfa because the field in my acreage is empty. There are many advantages to being a "retired farmer". I was mostly a petting "zoo" operator. I don't like eggs so I mostly gave them away. My goats were pets and we only butchered one of them. I ate some tasty goat, but gave 90% of it to a friend who helped me with some plumbing.

I guess I can't really cross out the "farmer" in my title above. I'll leave it for now knowing that I WAS once a farmer and it  forever changed the woman I was into who I am today.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Back, Well Sort Of

Have you ever been lead on a solitary journey into a wilderness you would rather have skipped? I'm feeling rather ambiguous about the one I just finished. Of course feelings are very often ambiguous, I've learned many times the hard way. In all actuality I may still be in the wilderness and may still be on the journey? Again ambiguity seems to be the word of my day.

My husband has been gone for close to five months now. The moments of insanity are further apart all the time. The stabbing pain in my gut when I see his picture has become a dull ache and I find myself a little less devastated at his absence.

Along with the shock, numbness and anger that comes with widowhood come a few other unwanted visitors such as fear and helplessness. I've come to the conclusion that the devil himself orchestrates much of what surrounds the mourning process. I'm also quite confident that Abba Father trumps his direction with angels and the Comforter on a regular basis!

Women have become widows all throughout history, but it is a new journey for each and every one of them. No two paths are identical, but they share enough in common to cause a strange sort of "sisterhood" amongst its ranks. I discovered along my path many of the commonalities we share. I'm a proactive kind of person so I went searching out anyone I knew personally who was widowed. Our numbers are bigger than I could have ever guessed! We enjoy each others company and camaraderie. Those who have been in the sisterhood the longest are quick to share their testimonials and helpful advice. We are a group of ants about to take on a Goliath of a grasshopper and chase him to kingdom come!

I've been blessed by so many people on this early part of my journey. It seems that whether widowed or not, folks know that losing a spouse is devastating and go far to help those in this fragile state of being. Of course there are also others who are equally willing to take advantage of the woman whose earthly covering has left her unattended. Sadly I've had my share of this sort of people as well. I've learned to forgive quickly and just move on.

The weirdest surprise I've had is folks who disown you once their "friend" in your husband is gone. I understand the concept of the "third wheel", but not when you've been part of every holiday and birthday of their children and other integral facets of their lives. It showed me how little I knew some of the people I called friends. It has caused me to be less blind to things I had previously purposely ignored. Again a quick forgive and move on has been requisite.

Thankfully for each bump I've encountered on my short but obstacle packed trip have been wonderful friends. The calls and cards come just when I need them. God has graced me with some precious sisters in the faith. The "blood" between us causes us to be bound eternally and seemingly makes us extra connected in multitudinous ways. Hallelujah!

I have more road ahead of me so I'd better close for now. I'm not sure of my destination or when this phase of the journey will be complete. For some reason (oh yeah God) I'm a strong woman and I always come up on top like the proverbial cream on the milk jug. I give my heavenly Father all the credit for any successes I've had. I sure didn't have the strength in myself to survive these past five months. I give Him the credit for all the successes I shall have in the days, weeks and months ahead of me. I know that once again I shall me leaning on Him for my very breath, so I might as well start my thank yous early.

For all my girlfriends and sisters in Christ, and I do mean ALL if you I owe my love and gratitude as well. I know you've been praying if you haven't been in attendance physically. I understand your individual circumstances and situations. I can also tell that prayers have gone up for me. I love and need you more than you will ever know.

Que Kleenex commercial because that paragraph started the incessant waterworks. I really do need each person that God has sent my way. Thanks, hugs and all my love.


- love never fails.