Posts filed under ‘Faith First’

I’m a Reading Rainbow

I did finally get to read to my neighbor.  It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

My friend whom I met with in regard to God’s harebrained plan about reading to her husband the doctor, was glad to see me and optimistic about our arrangement.  Unfortunately her husband had fallen asleep and she was not able to readily wake him so instead of introducing us she left me with her eleven year old daughter while taking her other kids to youth group.

Waiting made my anxiety worse.  My husband had asked earlier in the day if I was nervous and at that time I was not, even when I showed up I was not but sitting there I began to entertain my reservations.

What will he think of this crazy plan?  Will he think I intend to evangelize him without compassion.  I bet he is wondering if whatever I have planned will allow him yet another chance to sleep or let his thoughts wander.

I chatted with my heart in my throat, nervous about what to do if he woke.  At last we heard him coughing in the other room and that darling little girl got up and ran into his room exclaiming, “Good morning, sleeping beauty!”

It was actually six at night!

“Do you wanna meet a new friend?” she exclaimed and beckoned with her hand for me to enter.

Thank you Lord! 

I had been so nervous about how to approach him and yet this lovely little girl had taking away all tension with her plucky introduction.

Lord, help me not to talk down to him, help my conversation to be comfortable and respectful.  Lord give me the right words so that I don’t pity him but that your love shows through me and your hope is evident without my having to preach at him.  Jane and I want so badly for him to learn to trust you, help me to understand your timing.

She left us alone and I sat beside his bed and began to explain why I had chosen the book that I did.  Despite the fact that God clearly directed me to read House, by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, I had many other reasons for agreeing with Him and I shared those. 🙂

As I spoke I took in a couple quick glances at the pictures above the bed, they were of healthier times for the doctor and I was shocked at the stark difference.  Though he had thick cotton white hair even then, it was silky and bright .  Now his hair was a coarse gray mat against his head.  He had been a big man with a broad inviting smile.  Now, emaciated and limp, his smile ghoulish, his head appearing too large on his skeleton frame.  My heart ached.

I opened my book and read stopping now and again to take a sip of water and allow him to cough.

We finished one chapter and I paused to talk a little about myself.  I told him briefly about each of my kids and that I felt blessed to know his family.  His daughter came in to check on us and I took another drink of my water while conversing with her.

I read another chapter and twice I made major mistakes that sent us both into laughter.  His eyes sparkled and he tried to laugh but it caused a coughing fit.  I winced at the pain it seemed to cause him as he gagged and sputtered.  I could not believe that I was sitting there, next to a man who was so incapacitated and yet the Lord was allowing us to fellowship.  I was not disturbed by the monitors and wheelchair.  My mind was filled with compassion and my heart longed only for him to know my Jesus and accept the promise of complete healing whether on earth or in heaven.

I read a total of three chapters and in the third had another laugh fumbling around with my voice attempting to recreate a “booming” male voice.

Though I had seen the sparkle in his eye and thought I made him laugh it was hard to be sure how he was taking it until his daughter ran to her mother the minute she arrived and exclaimed “He was so into it, I haven’t seen him that alert!”

My reservations were wiped away and the Lord graciously confirmed that His thoughts are completely different from ours…and His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.

I read again soon and will be sure to keep you updated.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word.  I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  Where once briers grew, myrtles will sprout up.  This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Isaiah 55:8-13

October 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm 10 comments

Look to the Rock

Isaiah 51:1 says “…look to the Rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were hewn.”

I was thinking about that verse and our discussions on names and I had an epiphany….  what do God’s names mean and what are  they all?

So I went on a little hunt.  Do you know that our English translation of the Bible is quite limited in understanding of His names.  What I mean is that God’s names are so deep and rich yet in our language there is no comparrison to the original Hebrew. 

Where we use “Lord” there are many many different versions of the name Jehovah (YHWH or simply the 4 letters) which is God’s covenant name or the name He promised.  It means that he is the God who continually reveals himself to us.  Add it to another name and it literally means he will reveal himself to be as such…. Example; there is Jehovah Raah, which means shepherd, Jehovah Nissi meaning banner or refuge and carries with it a hope that can’t be understood in just one word of the English language.  Since Jehovah preceeds each of the names they literally mean, God who reveals himself to be our shepherd, or the God who will show us He is our hope!

I’m not doing all the work for you! 🙂  Find out for yourself who God want’s to reveal that He is for you today!

Here are a couple few 🙂 websites I found to help you study.

Blue Letter Bible

Hebrew Christians

Bible Gateway

September 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm 2 comments

What’s in a Name?

If you look at Biblical examples many times children were named for the mother’s first impression; Esau (hairy), Jacob (deceiver- he came as a surprise, hanging onto the heel of his elder brother) and so on….

I’ve decided if I were to name my kids based on my current impression they would not have the most flattering of names.  Would I for that matter??

Introducing Lawyer (master of debate and arguing his case):thing 1

 

Here is Ticking Time Bomb (everything is fine until an unknown switch is triggered and KABOOM!):thing 2

 

This is Clown (jokester, magpie, remember-er of everything especially naughty words and apparently “funny” jokes):the bubba

 

Finally the Girl (at least she IS a girl but man can she scream and manipulate and get everyone wrapped around that pinky finger):pee wee

 

Sigh! Then there is me, I can’t even imagine the things I deserve to be called.  Thank you Lord for giving us a “new name” for making us children of the Living God, for allowing us to be know by association of YOU. 

Christian

“Christ follower”

“Little Christ”

“Child of the Most High!”

Revelation 2:17  He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Revelation 3:11-13  11.I am coming soon, hold onto what you have so that no one will take your crown.  12.Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which is coming down out of heavenfrom my God; and I will also write on him my new name. 13. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

September 21, 2009 at 10:43 am 10 comments

The Doctors Doctor

It wasn’t even Sunday and I got that feeling in my stomach that happens when you know you are supposed to go up during the altar call.  The very same butterflies that urge you to speak out on something important.  The unrest that does not settle until you take action.  I’m sure you’ve felt the same feeling in one situation or another.  But this was the middle of the week.  No pastor preaching, nobody challenging my ideals just me driving my car down the road in peace and quiet!  Maybe that was the trouble, I’m usually unable to think, let alone pray with my Thinglets poking each other and Pee Wee squealing along with them, my radio blaring to try to drowned out the noise.

I knew what it meant. We have a new neighbor in the valley whose house I pass each time I go to town.  The  family had moved into the single level home six months after the man of the house had suffered a major frontal lobe stroke that put him in a nursing home and made it unable for him to return to their multi level house only a few miles away.

Matt and I had stopped by one day and offered our assistance when we saw them moving in.  Jane told us the whole story about her husbands stroke and how he was unable to return home to her and the kids until they moved into a house that was better suited to a wheelchair.

When we left I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could serve them better.  What could I do to help out? 

Drop off a meal?  Ugh!  No offense to any kind soul who serves meals in love but I always cringe at the Christian cliche, “Just serve them a meal!”  Although this common practice is how I was introduced to one of my favorite meals to date (so I had better not frown too obviously) it’s just not my cup of soup.

I could babysit the kids but anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am not the gal for that job! While I love my kids and have an absolute blast with each and every one of them I’m not the little kid type. Please send me all your teenagers but not your babies!  Only one of Jane’s children would fit my category so I didn’t think that would be my job either.

“How then Lord, how can I help?”

Have you ever asked a question and promptly found you regret the resulting answer?

I did get a clear answer.  Not in the form of actual words but a vivid and real epiphany complete with the thought process behind it, none of which I came up with on my own.

For months the Lord has been preparing me to stop and present His harebrained plan of which I am supposed to happily facilitate.  I’ve prayed many times since then, ” let me know when it is time Lord,”   and yet even when he made it distinctly evident, I didn’t want to go through with it.

***************

Imagine an intelligent and mature man who had spent a lifetime pursuing a successful career as a doctor, a family practitioner.  He has a beautiful wife many years younger than himself, loving and devoted to him, his three darling children and his time consuming  job and passion.  They live in a grand custom home on a private lake and lead a life of ease.  The family entertains many friends and attends church every holiday.  They are the ideal American family.

Now imagine you are that man and one night after you lay your head to rest you awake to the bright lights of the ER.   The smells and sounds as familiar as your  jobplace. 

Wait… you can not turn your head, you can’t sit up and reach over to turn off the monitor beeping in your ear.  Your heart begins to race, your eyes dart from the lights on the ceiling to the IV in your hand.  The blue coats rushing around are not your nurses, but you’ve seen them before while attending surgery at the local hospital.  Why can’t you speak?  You want to ask “Why am I laying here?”

***************

I thought about these things and I imagined myself in Dr. Smith’s position.  I feared the inability to move myself, to express myself, to learn.  When I climbed into his shoes I was terrified and lonely.

It’s been a year since his stroke but mobility has not returned, speech continues to allude him.  People come to the new house to wish him speedy recovery but most of them don’t know what to say, they talk to him like a child.  He can’t lift his hand to shake theirs, he can not assure them he is still as sharp as ever in thought.  He can only sit alone with his  thoughts hoping to either get well or die.

If I were in his shoes I can only imagine the struggle I would have pondering the apparent either/or.

Armed with compassion I would not have mustered on my own and the harebrained plan that made me blush each time I explained it to those who were praying, I drove up the driveway to the new house and parked reluctantly at the barn.

I was really hoping this was another practice run since I’d parked there once before (another time when the butterflies made me do it) only to find that Jane was not home.    This time she slipped out the back door almost immediately and strode confidently toward my Suburban.  A lump formed in my throat.  I conjured up a front for my visit and began to converse about our kids, 4-H, the Mariners (not really) until finally the swirling, fluttering, shaky feeling could no longer be ignored.

“Jane, uh er, I uh…,” I took a deep breath then spit it all out, “the real reason for my visit is to see if your husband would like if I was to read to him on a regular basis.” 

I didn’t look for her reaction before I continued, “I have a book in mind that I have not read yet, it’s a supernatural thriller that honestly sounds a little scary.”

Then I took another breath and tried to blur the next sentence into an unrecognizable muddle, “It has a faith based component, so I believe it ends well.”

To my surprise my lovely neighbor whom I barely know anything about latched onto the whole idea like I was sent by God to help ease her burden.  Imagine that! 😉

Before blurting out the whole plan I had thoroughly convinced myself of the stupidity of reading to an intelligent man, like I was Mr Rogers.  The Lord told me clearly to read  to a scholarly doctor who despite his medical condition I was convinced  could certainly read on his own.

After I had settled my fluttering friends, I confided in Jane as to how stupid I felt for even suggesting the idea.  The only read aloud forums I would let myself imagine were juvenile gatherings; the library story hour, Saturday nights as a kid listing to my dad read “Little House on the Prairie” and visions of my own children nestled around reading “The Indian in the Cupboard.”  What in the world would a full grown man think of me READING to him.  “I’m sure he can read on his own, maybe he would prefer to borrow my book!”  I explained.

“Oh, no,” Jane grew solemn “He would not be able to hold the book.”

The stroke had been severe enough that even a year later the doctor is still unable to sit fully on his own or steady his hands for anything other than a squeeze or a meager wave.  His speech is nearly non existent and if he stands at all it is only with the help of a strong adult.  Most of the time she said he doesn’t even lift his head to watch the TV.  “He just listens,” she assumed aloud.

At the mention of faith (a word I had used hoping to avoid the subject of Jesus all together) a whole new conversation emerged and I spent the next hour sharing a spiritual connection with Jane.  I learned that she is a believer herself and concerned about her husbands salvation.  Before the stroke, he had been successful and preoccupied, not the one to persue Christian gatherings but never in the way of her endeavor to educate the children on “religious” matters.  She told me about how more and more people have been pursuing him and telling him that Christ wants to be a part of his life.

She told me, with an embarrased but mischievous glint in her eye that she had been reading her Bible to him and dragging him out to church every Sunday. 

As she described it, they had recently had a discussion where she told him that he needed to give his burdens to the Lord and allow Christ into his life.  Things that day had been really bad, he was weak and unhelpful when she tried to get him up, she had struggled to lift while he resisted and in the end he had fallen.  She knew that her prayers could only go so far since the Lord will not make a person believe so she urged him to pray and ask God for assistance.  The next day his strength was back and his face a little less ashen.  

The Lord hears and the doctor is beginning to ask!

There was an urgency in Jane’s mind in regard to her husband knowing the Lord’s healing.  We talked about the possibility of the Great Physician bringing total healing and she insisted it won’t happen until Dr. Smith allows it.

I invited them to a bible study at our house and she said they would be sure to come.

Through obedience to the Lord, I have made a new friend, been given a new prayer, and am a participant in the healing process of the doctor in heart and health!  I am confident this won’t be the end of the story.

Click here to read what happened next.

September 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm 10 comments

Sometimes I Forget

garden sunflower

Sometimes I forget to taste my food.

I’ve even forgotten what wheat tastes like.

Sometimes I forget that my children are all very young,

That the oldest is young enough to still fear the dark.

Sometimes I forget to hug my husband,

And that my best weapon is prayer, my shield is the God who sees!

Sometimes I forget that I do a good job,

That the children will not remember a swept floor, a well thought out meal.

Sometimes I forget my manners, my patience, my happy countenance

But my Jesus, my Joy

He is my witness

Sometimes I forget

He never forgets

Please visit the others by clicking the picture below!  There are so many great photographers that participate!

September 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm 19 comments

Not so FAST!

Do you know how much you can learn from observation.  “Be still and know that I am God” implores the Lord!

In our instant gratification, fast food, fast paced, speed dating, online chatting, thrill seeking society the noise never stops.  But those who take the time to STOP and look around will find knowledge in the simplest of places.

Did you know you could learn to garden without “Gardening for Dummies” or that you can track an animal without high tech gear?

I met a huge bull moose face to face the other day.  Twenty feet apart we stared at each other, me on my horse, he in his element.   No fear, no aggression he just caulked his velveted rack and stared. Quickly we departed.  But how did I track and sneak up on one of the largest specimen of four legged creatures in our mountains when hunters search for weeks with their ATV’s and GPS, their cell’s and scopes and tree perches? 

It’s because I listened and learned.  I’ve tracked numerous deer and found signs of bears and many other critters. I use my nose, my sight and the sounds that carry on the wind when you are silent.

That’s why I love the woods, they remind me to hear with ears that really listen, see with eyes that search, feel with my whole being and trust my God given senses.

Sometimes in the day to day I begin to feel like one of the machines I load to wash dishes, or type at to communicate with friends or watch to learn something new.  When did we become so one dimensional?

Today will you sit down and listen?  What can you hear beyond the honking cars, the whir of the fan or the droning of the local news anchor?

August 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm 12 comments

10’s and Reese’s

Reese’s:

I tried to take a picture for you of my depressing Reese’s!

Can you BELIEVE they had the nerve to make them SMALLER!?

Matt brought me a package of Reese’s which I stashed away in the refrigerator for a “rainy” day and when that day came I opened up the package to find a scant representation of what my Reese’s used to be. What once filled the package to the edge barely fit in one corner.  I estimated it is only 2/3’s the size it used to be, I should look up the oz but I was too darn bummed.

Maybe I should look on the bright side since eating a Reese’s now equals less calories but on the other hand, I need three cups to get the previous positive effect. 

Maybe I’m better up giving them up all together because when I open a package now I’m suspicious and crabby instead of swept away with peanut-buttery delight.

What would you do if Reese’s were extinct?

10’s:

I’ve recently been reminded of a past obsession.  I may as well call a spade a spade, right?  Most things I tackle become somewhat of an obsession.  I am not moderate in the things I set my mind to.  This week I heard a nice explination in which I might be allowed to call it something other… it was said that the healthy side of obsession is devotion and the unhealthy side of obsession is desperation.  May I call it my newest devotion?

For the time being I am devoted to the idea of continuing my Japanese language lessons.

When I was 15 our family had a Japanese exchange student who fast became one of my best friends.  The following year I spent 10 days in Japan visiting her and got my first taste of the language.  It was actually my first taste of any foreign language, magnified by the fact that growing up in a small town people in California spoke a foreign language. Haha!  Not really but anything outside of our little town was different and strange not to mention I had changed schools enough to somehow “get out of” taking foreign language in high school.  10 days in Japan was my first taste and I liked it!  What a thrill it was to hear the different sounds, see the signs in lines and symbols and even see some familiar but strangely different sights!  I was hooked.

Years later I spent another 10 days with my my husband leaving behind our firstborn baby who at the time was 10 months old!  I missed him dearly but again I was swept away (not like the Un-Reese’s) by the magnitude of it all.  The sights, the smells and the now somewhat familiar sounds.  I bought numerous Japanese language books and attempted to learn the language.  I could ask for a few necessities and introduce myself.  I even learned to write and read Hiragana, one of the Japanese alphabets. 

Guess what?  I found a blog by a Christian, homeschool family in Japan and at the same time a box of books came out of storage that happened to have those Japanese language texts in it!

My newest devotion… Japanese!

Once I picked up the books I remembered more than I would have thought!  It is fun, it is challenging and I love learning something new.  Since I remember the Hiragana alphabet and some of the Katakana (used for writing foreign words) I am going to begin learning Kanji.  The pictographic representations of thousands of concepts were adapted from the Chinese language thousands of years ago and they are fascinating.  At first glance a jumbled bunch of dashes and lines but upon further investigation they are beautiful pictures and visually make a lot of sense.  I picked up a book with the “1st 100 Kanji” and will begin that this evening.

Do you know a foreign language?  If so what one and why?

August 2, 2009 at 10:09 pm 10 comments

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Us and Our Thinglets

MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Food Fun

Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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