Friday, July 17, 2009

Vacation Blessings

First of all, I AM BACK TO BLOGGING, having finally found time to set up a google account to enable me to get back on board. The dilemma now is: Blog, Facebook, or email????? Oy-vey!

Someone asked us the other day what we were doing in a Library on Facebook when we are on vacation? I believe it is called "building relationships"! (smile) No matter how exciting it is to "get away from it all", we always miss those we love so dearly and enjoy "living life with".

We have been so blessed on this vacation as we have returned to the roots of our marriage ... where it all began in Colorado Springs, CO. We have been able to visit our first home, reconnect with friends from three different states where we have lived during the journey of our married life, climbed mountains, backpacked and camped and, among other things, observe the miracle of arriving at the peak of a mountaintop just as the sun sat on the horizon followed by the moon rising minutes later!

The rain forecasted for the first 9 days of our trip turned out to be, at the worst, a couple hours of afternoon thunderstorms that were very easy to work around or even hike in! We got a "standard motel room" for a bargain price and were pleasantly surprised it was loaded with luxuries including a whirlpool tub! Friends have taken us into their homes for a night, fed us meals and brought joy to our hearts as we have reminesced over the memories of days gone by. Jim has been able to connect with distant cousins he has never met before and discuss/share information of family research they are all involved in plus access tons of information from libraries & museums of counties where his ancestors came from. And it looks like we are going to finish this trip with half the expense that we budgeted for it .... even less than we spent going to the Smokies last year!

God is good! He knows what we need much more than we do and I believe He takes great pleasure in blessing us in places and in ways that we never expected. Thank you, Father!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


We were blessed to have our son and his family home for Easter ... our first Easter with a grandchild! I was so excited I went on a shopping spree for our little granddaughter ... a little of this and a little of that and I ended up with more than could fit in her basket! I know that at 21 months old she does not need much of anything ... does not even want anything ... which made it even more exciting. I actually got to buy her a pair of cute little white sandals for Easter! I love buying things for my grandchildren that I know they will use and enjoy.

The second best thing was having our son and his wife home ... still young at heart and "into" the excitement of Easter egg and basket hunts. We loved setting up a "Treasure Hunt" for them as a unique way to give them a small monetary gift towards their new washer and dryer they had to buy recently. It was so much more fun than just handing them the money. Through it we were able to recapture some of the joys of "days gone by".

Things change so much when your children grow up and leave home. I now understand what my mother meant when she would say, regarding the holidays, "It's just another day to me." The holidays do lose their "magic" when you no longer have children at home to enjoy them with and do kind of blend in with all the other days of the year. I don't know what we would do if it was not for my husband's closeknit family that usually brings all of the brothers and sisters together on the holidays.

I won't soon forget this Easter and the blessing of being able to see it, once again, through the eyes of a child. Also, it was such a blessing for us to have our son, his wife, and our granddaughter in our church on Easter Sunday morning to worship with us and, of course, to "show off" to our church family. Most of them are blessed to have their children and grandchildren always with them and they share in our joy of having our kids home ... That's what "family" is all about, whether it be your blood family or "adopted" family - sharing each others joys as well as sorrows. How truly blessed we are!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I would say there are four seasons of life: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. I believe I am presently in the "Fall" of my life and since "Spring" and "Summer" consisted of approximately the first 50 years of my life, I would say I am right at the beginning of the "Fall" of my life and, the Lord willing, may even live to be one hundred! (smile)

Fall is my daughter-in-law's favorite season and this season of my life is, thus far, bringing me great joy.

You know you are getting "older" when ....
* Staying up all night does not sound "fun" at all.
* You start losing your balance and falling ... usually due to carelessness and not
accepting that you are not as young and agile as you used to be.
* Your kids get upset at you for saying you are getting older
* You have grandbabies to spoil
* You stop hair doesn't grow as much, as quickly ... and may even thin out
(on your head and your legs!)
*You start getting used to gray hairs trying to make their appearance
* You start getting pimples, age spots, moles, fatty cells, etc. etc. .... all kind of
strange little "growths" on your body
* You start doing things your mother used to do that drove you crazy!!!!
*Even though you have always been a pack rat, you start getting tired of all the
"stuff" and want to get rid of it
*As you see your kids with their kids you often reflect ( and cry) about the "years
gone" by when you were the young parent caring for your "little ones" ...
* You start understanding how your parents felt when they were your age ... with
young adult children and grandbabies living far away
* Your body hurts in places you never knew there were muscles or bones that
could hurt so bad
* You become more adventuresome ... trying things you never did before, or rarely
ever did, when you were younger.
* You start thinking about preparations you need to make to make it easier on your
kids when you pass on to your heavenly reward... Hoping you will never be a
burden to them.
*You get excited that you are down to, or close to, the "single digits" in years to
retirement ...
* You are getting close to the age of those "Senior Citizen Discounts" and the
Golden Buckeye Card!!!

* ETC., ETC., ETC.....

I am enjoying "growing old" with the one I love. We have become so much like each other over the 34 years we have shared as husband and wife. We are so blessed to have children who really try to assure of us their love and try to make sure our grandbabies know who we are and get to see us as much as possible. Life is good. God has blessed us so richly throughout our lives. Wow! I wonder what He has in store for the last half of our lives?!? No matter what comes our way we will always live by our favorite motto:

"Growing old is inevitable but Growing up is optional!

Live, laugh, love, seize the moment, rejoice in the Lord and don't let today's sorrows rob tomorrow of its joys. Enjoy the "Fall" of your life!!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


This was my favorite Christmas since the grandbabies were born. Having Adelaide here for her first Christmas was awesome in itself 4 years ago but having her at 4 years old and the two younger ones at 19 months and 18 months old was a true joy! They all have their own very special personalities and they all made me feel very loved even though they don't see me very often ... I felt very close to every one of them ... especially my Adelaide! I never dreamed we would have the joy of having our kids and their families both home for not only Christmas day but also Christmas Eve! I felt so blessed to have them not only attend our Christmas Eve Service but also participate in it. The grandbabies went "wild" ... frustrated that their parents were up on the platform and not sitting with them in the pew! I know it made it very difficult for them (and probably even Grandpa as the pastor ... somewhat) but I thought it was so awesome to have them there and be able to hear them sing (It's been too many years!) and Kelly play the guitar ... They were AWESOME! And my grandbabies were just as awesome in their tears and challenges they gave Aaron and I as we tried to calm them down.(HeeHee) I truly felt like a REAL grandparent!!! I'm sure our kids probably were a bit embarrassed and stressed with all the commotion but they made the service perfect for me. Then Barb volunteered to take a family portrait to "capture the night's events" ... I am so thankful for her thoughtfulness ... She knew what would make me happiest later better than I did!

At home we got a couple pictures of our three grandbabies together - a rare opportunity to be sure! And I started a new family tradition that the grandbabies get to open one gift on Christmas Eve ... possibly it will always be a book as it was this year. I don't know how often I will have the joy of having them at our house on Christmas Eve in the future but I want it to always be a good memory.

My daughter once said that there is one thing company and garbage have in common ... After three days they both stinketh! (smile) I disagree with that when it comes to my children and their families ... It takes at least 4 days! (HaHa!!!) We had a great time together the entire time and I am so thankful for that special blessing this Christmas that brought me more joy than all my gifts put together!

The other thing that has brought be greater joy this Christmas is teaching a Sunday School class on "Rediscovering The True Spirit of Christmas". We have dug into the scriptures and details of that first Christmas to such a depth that even now that my Christmas tree and decorations are put away I still feel the joy of Christmas as I think of my Savior's birth, life, resurrection ... and coming again!!! I hope others in our class have had success in reclaiming that special joy and peace that only Christ can bring to our lives as we seek Him with all of our hearts.

Tomorrow is the end of the year 2006. It has been a good year. Thank you, Lord, for all the good things you have done and all the great things you will yet do in the upcoming year. God is Good!!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006


We got up at 5:00 AM this morning to head to town for the "After Thanksgiving" Sales. When my sweetie asked me if we should drive 2 cars I said "Definitely not". I have come to apoint of realizing that over half of what we have bought at these annual sales are more of a "want" than a need. You see those great bargains and think you just have to take advantage of them because you may need them "someday" or you just want them now, for such a great price! At least, that is how it has been for us.

So we jumped into the car and headed to town, amazed at how much less trafic there seemed to be this year. Could it be that others have also awakened to the "Wants bs. Needs" factor or is the economy really tight right now or are people just "burned out" by their bad experiences on this day in years gone by? We went to one store ... TOGETHER. While he waited in line for the "super bargains" tickets that were being handed out to redeem at the Courtesy Desk, I went and picked up the other items. By the time I got back, he had the tickets and we got in the checkout line. While we stood in the checkout line, we noticed the ticket line was wide open so we went and got a couple more tickets and and checked out again quite quickly. It was a nice, enjoyable event for both of us! We made a couple more QUICK stops and purchases. We could not believe how easy it was. We ate breakfast with our family at Bob Evans and still was done and headed towards home by 9:30! WOW! If it could always be that easy, I'd go every year.

Of course, it all comes back to "wants" vs. "needs". We did not pick up lots of things that were actually "wants" due to the great prices. I think our home improvements proved to be a benefit for us right now, helping us to balance the importance of our purchases so as to conserve our cash flow for our current home projects. I still remember the one year it took me at least 8 hours to make out all the rebate submissions .... It was a nightmare! This year it will take maybe 30 minutes, mostly on line! What a relief!

I guess it also comes with admittting we are getting older and, despite the fact we are both majoy packrats, we are tired of the clutter in our home and want to get rid of things and not add anything extra. It's funny to be at this stage that my Mom "drove me crazy" with when she reached it in her life. "Things" just don't seem to be as important anymore. You just want to enjoy "relationships" ... those you love ... and make things as simple as possible. I guess that is a "good thing". But it means a lot of work and determination to overcome that inner voice that often says "I might need it someday". I am realizing that 9 times out of 10 that day never comes and, if it does, that item is so much cheaper that it costs little at all to pick up.

Well, the day is wasting. I need to work some on "de-cluttering" my closets and shoe collection!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I have had many "friends" in my lifetime but can not really say I have had a true "best friend" in my entire lifetime ... till now. In my friendships I usually felt like I must do all the "pursuing", giving, "working" to make it grow and last. Friendships take time and effort to develop and grow... for both parties involved ... just like marriage does. It requires sacrifice at times to help a friend, expecting nothing in return. It requires taking time and making a conscious effort to talk, spend time together, and building trust in order to establish a true friendship.

Yes, Jim and I have been very blessed with friends across the country through our ministries in various churches but when God closes the door and we move on ... the friendships are not as "real" anymore. I believe we have many friends in our church right now ... but what is at the "heart" of our friendships? I often feel a barrier of having true friendship with any of them because we are the Pastor and wife and you certainly cannot favor one over the other in the congregation or it could cause division in the church ... at least that is how we feel.

Yet Barb Marsh has come the closest to being my "best friend" within the church. She is always "there" for me. I know that she would set aside any of her own needs to meet my own, if at all possible. But that is who "Barb" is ... to everyone. She is a very loving, compassionate, giving person. I admire her. Even when she is down and "out", hurting or sick or under insurmountable stress, she seeks to minister to others. How I pray God's richest blessings on her in return. She has visited me when I was sick and provided a meal, brought me a special treat and gift on my birthday, brought her family to help us on a home improvement project (even when she has many of her own she "can't find time for" :)) ... that is "Barb". I love her and appreciate her so much as many do because she does it for everyone, it seems! WOW!

However, last Saturday I finally realized that I have a true "best friend" in Barb Hanson. She has pursued my friendship and sought to "be there" for me in more ways than I can count. She and I can really share anything with each other and be "real" ... accepting each other's differences and uniqueness ... enjoying each other's company. Our husbands bonded first as best friends but I subconsciously "held off" from even allowing myself to bond with Barb because of ... I don't know. Past experiences and disappointments in friendships, I guess, where I seemed to always have to be the one "pursuing", giving, encouraging, etc. Last weekend I realized Barb may justly have felt that way about me. I realized I had held her "at bay" and robbed myself of the friendship I have always longed for. Well, no more! I thank God so much for bringing her my way. I hope I can bring joy, laughter, encouragement, companionship, help and strength to her as much as she brings to me. It feels so good to have a reciprocal relationship with my newfound "best friend." I kinda feel like a "schoolgirl" when I say "best friend", but that's okay. "Growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional"!!! God is good!

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Well, my Honey ran his race in Akron and beat his last time ... I knew he would! He finished the 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 6 minutes compared to 4 hours and 32 minutes last year. At this rate of improvement, and considering he will be entering a new age bracket after Nov. 4, he might even qualify for the Boston marathon next year! That would be so COOL for him. It was a rather cold, drizzly day but he hung in there and seemed to be in great spirits when he completed it .... already looking forward to next year!

A friend of his ran too and this was his 27th marathon. His wife is not quite so excited as I am. I wonder if the novelty of being a bystander will wear off for me after lots of marathons have passed? Not that she is any less proud of her hubby (nor would I be of mine) but it is not real exciting standing on the sidelines waiting for another glimpse of him running by. I'm thankful I am not having to endure the yucky cold and drizzly weather (I can cover up with an umbrella and wear warmer clothes) and that I do not have to endure the occasional leg cramps and fatigue that must come with running that far. I cannot even begin to imagine how it feels to run in a marathon nor understand WHY someone would want to do it! It's one of those things I would smile and say, "And you PAID to do this?" What is it that inspires someone to want to run these races? I understand some do it for the monetary prize at the end ... hoping to win a cash prize. But others, like my honey, just want the joy of completing the race, and hopefully improve his own stamina and time.

WOW! I do think there has to be a great spiritual parallel here! As we run our individual "race" of life, what keeps us going? No one can run that race for us. They can cheer us on, encourage us, pray for us, love us, believe in us and try to "be there" for us to support us in any way possible - even as I do for my honey as he runs his marathons. But they cannot ever feel the depths of our own internal struggles - pain, disappointment, fatigue ... things that make our race more difficult (like the cold and drizzly weather of my honey's marathon day). They also cannot ever feel the depths of our joys as we conquer different things that we battle against which make "life" so difficult at times, when the victories are gained ... that lead to the joy of completing the race. They may be happy and excited for us, as I am for Jim, but their happiness and joy is on a different level.

As I sit here writing about this and thinking of that parallelism, it gives me a little insight into the struggle of others in their spiritual journey. I am so "into" this spiritual "race" and have come through so many of the small races with their pain, difficulties, defeats and victories along the way, that I have learned to just "keep my eyes on Jesus" and lean on Him daily as I seek Him constantly in prayer, His Word, and fellowship with other believers who "cheer me on". I get so frustrateed with others, at times, who often come to a point of feeling like giving up, not being faithful in their church attendance and fellowship with others who can support them and, worse of all, not being faithful to God by seeking Him daily in prayer and reading His Word. I have to remember that I was also "there" once in my spiritual journey. I have been running this race much longer. As a "bystander" observing them in their race, I cannot truly feel their pain and difficulties that their personal "spiritual race" is bringing their way. I can cheer them on but I cannot run their race for them. That is so hard to accept. I want so bad to pick them up and carry them. Other times I feel like smacking them and telling them to just "grow up and get with the program"! Oops! That doesn't sound very compassionate and "Christ-like", does it? It's just I know that, if they truly put Christ on the throne, things will start going better for them.

God's Word says it all:

"You were running such a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" (Gal.5:7)

"Come near to God and He will come near to you." (James 4:8)

" Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
(I Corinthinans 15:58)

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1-2)

In Ephesians 6:10-18 we are told to put on the "full armor of God" so that we are able to "STAND". We are repeatedly urged in this passage to STAND FIRM.


"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." (Philippians 3:10-16)


"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)

If you think you are not as close to God as you once were, here is the question: "Who moved?"

God hasn't. He is still there with open arms ready to carry you, lead you, and help you complete this "race of life". But He will not force Himself upon you...He loves you too much to make you His mere "puppet". YOU must make the first move back to His loving arms. You may actually be doing just fine in God's eyes but are just going through a "dry spell". Our race may take us through the lush green valleys, over hills and high mountains, along the cool refreshing rivers, through the brights sunny days or the cold and dismal nights ... even through dry, arid lands called deserts. But God is always there. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. We just have to seek Him even more fervently and not let our human emotions guide us. Stand firm on God's Word ... quoting His promises .. not wavering from the "truth" He has allowed you to traverse this "dry, arid land" because He knows you are ready for it (even though you may not realize it) ... He believes in You. One day you will return to the lush green pastures and calm, still waters.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5,6)