Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

It's that most wonderful time of year again.I have not posted in awhile.I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.I hope you found much to be thankful to God for.I know I did.It was more than the wonderful meal prepared in full by our daughter April.It was everything.It was her good cooking.Her hospitality.It was the presence of those we love.It was being able to set aside a day in a relatively free country and give thanks to the One who gave us so many things to be thankful for.Like Steve and I celebrating our 14 year anniversary on November 21st.In my family I think 14 years is/was a record for length of time married.I am sure our shared faith in Jesus and commitment to each other is the key.Then I got to celebrate my 45th birthday on November 30th(how did I get to be so old?LOL)and to think of my mom who would have been 79 on November 29th had she not passed away in Janruary of 2001.She always said I was her belated birthday gift the year she turned 34.Thanks mom.I love and miss you still.And now Christmas is just 3 days away as I type this.The day we,as Christians,celebrate the greatest gift of all God's gifts.His Son Jesus.Being born into a world,dark and filled with sin.Full of pain.Sorrow.A tiny baby bringing light and life to all who would choose to follow Him.To commit themselves to the man He would become.Our Savior.The One who would by being born and then dying at the hands of sinful men,would grant us access to heaven.Emmanuel(Matthew 1:23)God with us!God.With.Us.His presence ever near.Bringing us hope.Peace.Salvation.All we would ever need.Thank You Father for this wonderful gift.This most important gift.Your Son.Jesus.Emmanuel.God is with us.No matter what we face.God with us.No matter what we've done.God with us.No matter the darkness we find ourselves surrounded by.God with us.
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:Behold,the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,and shall call His name Immanuel."
(Isaiah 7:14)
In closing I want to wish each of you a most blessed Christmas filled with all the goodness of God.And a prosperous New Year too.Merry Christmas to all.
Blessings all,Sharon

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I Have Good News

If you have read my blog very much you know I have had a few bouts over the last four years with an irregular heartbeat(called atrial fibrillation).I believe 3 bouts is the actual number.Anyhow,when it rears it's ugly head I have to go through a season of blood draws at our local hospital so that the cardiologist can monitor the blood thinner they paut me on.A-fib puts one at greater risk for heart attack and stroke so keeping the blood thinned out is essential.I am also put on other meds to keep the heart rate down.Recently,the cardiologist I was seeing moved to Texas.He had been given an offer he could not refuse.He is extremely thorough.Seeing me for the first time he decided he wanted to rule out heart disease and such as the underlying cause for the irregular heartbeat that has been showing up almost yearly for 4 years now.He ran a series of tests on my heart and had some bloodwork done up too.God is so good.The heart tests revealed no clogs or blockages anywhere!I know my oameal consumption would pay off eventually.I love the stuff fortunately.The bloodwork was fine too.No elevated,cholesterol,etc.All is as it should be in those areas.I am thrilled.I will be cardioverted back into a regular rhythm and soon I hope.I am also hopeful that this time it will work permanently.So please pray for me on this dear readers.I want to get back to exercising like I was and enjoying life without having the confinement caused by a heart that beats out of rhythm.The doctor has said that if it does not work I can consider a pacemaker.That is too invasive for me at this point.I am believing God can and will allow this next cardioversion will work.He is Jehovah-Rapha...the God that heals us.I am believing Him for that and I hope you will too.Thanks so much and God Bless.
Blessings,Sharon

Thursday, October 26, 2006

His Faithfulness and Ours

"Faithfulness is seen in the trenches,not in times of rest."I sensed God spoke this to me as I pondered many things while preparing for my day on Tuesday of this week.I was thinking about Wednesday's upcoming stress test on my heart.I was somewhat nervous about it as I had never had one before.I was also thinking about the many Christians I read about that have and are facing far worse things in their bodies.All suffering.All still so very faithful to God and His call upon their lives.They are proving Him faithful while deep in the trenches of life.We see that same quality in the life of the apostle Paul who said"And now,compelled by the Spirit,I am going to Jerusalem,not knowing what will happen to me there.I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.However,I consider my life worth nothing to me,if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."(Acts 20:22-24 NIV).Be encouraged,child of God,as that same grace that Paul spoke of is still available to us today.To all who are trying to remain faithful in the trenches of life.
Blessings,Sharon

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Anxiety

I awoke Monday and Tuesday of this week feeling anxious and on edge.Perhaps some of you know that feeling.It was just a real panicy kind of feeling.Not sure why I had it.Perhaps it was from a dream the night before.Or perhaps it was a direct attack from the enemy of our souls,satan.It may have even been caused by lack of solitude and time for writing which this introvert needs regularly.Whatever it's cause it is gone today.I praise God for that.And I praise Him for reminding me of one of my favorite hymns from my youth.If you are feeling anxious today I pray that you find some comfort and relief in the words of this old and much loved hymn:
BE STILL MY SOUL
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.Leave to thy God to order and provide;In every change, He faithful will remain.Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly FriendThrough thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertakeTo guide the future, as He has the past.Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;All now mysterious shall be bright at last.Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still knowHis voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,And all is darkened in the vale of tears,Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repayFrom His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening onWhen we shall be forever with the Lord.When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.Be still, my soul: when change and tears are pastAll safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praiseOn earth, be leaving, to Thy Lord on high;Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divineThrough passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.
Blessings,Sharon

Monday, September 04, 2006

I Can't Believe It

I can't believe it's already September.Where did the summer go?I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I posted anything on this blog...original or otherwise.My mother warned me this would happen.She told me(when I was about 16)that as I aged(horrors...makes me sound like wine or cheese)that time would seem to fly faster.She knew what she was talking about for it has happened.I don't know why it seems that way.We still have 24 hours in a day.7 days in a week.365 days in a year.I have decided it must be because as we mature it takes us longer to do things.We tire easier.Therefore we do not accomplish as much in a day as we did when we were 20.I had much opportunity to see that this summer.We watched our granddaughter Hope alot this summer so her parents could go to work.When she got bored it was a challenge to find things for her to do.So we relied on that good old standby called nap time.I know,I know,my husband and I are only middle aged.But we have discovered that we just don't seem to have the time or the energy we did when were in our younger years.Sometimes I think that's a lesson we need to learn to appreciate.Slowing down even a little can be extremely beneficial.Accomplishing less in a day can allow you to live a richer life because you find yourself really focusing on the truly important things.Like hugs from a child.I saw that this weekend.We had watched Hope and were tired from other activities as well.At one point I was sitting.Resting.She saw me resting.She came running over.Threw her arms around me.She then told me"I love you to pieces Grandma Sharon."I smiled,hugged her back,smothered her face with kisses and told her that I loved her to pieces too.She then just rested in my embrace.We both sighed.Just enjoying the moment.Time spent cuddling with each other.Neither of us was too concerned about what still needed to be accomplished that day.We were living richly.Enjoying each other.Enjoying the moment.In many ways I'm enjoying middle age much more than I enjoyed my youth.I'm learning to slow down.Live richly.Enjoy small moments.Focus on the truly important things.I think our Heavenly Father was pleased.I think that is also what He desires from us,His children.He wants us to just enjoy His presence.Have some cuddle time.:-)Let His presence surround us like a hug from a child.It's the best stress reducer I've found for those days that seem to fly by too quickly.God bless all.
Blessings&Love,Sharon

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dying To Self/Others May,You Cannot

I've been really busy here.Too busy to write something original.The following are two writings that have challenged,inspired,blessed and even convicted me for a few years now.I hope you enjoy.I do not know who wrote them...
Blessings & Love,Sharon

DYING TO SELF
When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take in all in patient, loving silence.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility-and endure it as Jesus endured.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.
THAT IS DYING TO SELF
Are you dead yet? In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross.
"That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Phil.3:10
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OTHERS MAY YOU CANNOT !
If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other people do things which He will not let you do.
Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful, may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it, and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.
The lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never feel distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you, but if you absolutely sell yourself to be his love slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.
Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He must have the right to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Life's Unknowns

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God
~Corrie Ten Boom~
If we are truly honest with ourselves we will admit that life,even our carefully planned lives,are still full of unknowns.Questions about the future gnaw at our minds night and day.Will my job still be there tomorrow?What does the future hold for me?Will I marry?Have children?Will I stay single?What about my health?Life is full of unknowns.And that's why faith in God is so important.The strongest of us can crumble under all the weight of life's unknowns if we do not have a vital and growing faith in God.Yes,that faith can be sorely tested at times.We can experience unknowns in life even when walking with God.Many of God's choicest saints in the Bible faced times of not knowing what the future held.But in the midst of all the unknowns,all the questions,God proved Himself faithful time and time again.Sometimes we have to continue following Him into the great unknown of our future with our questions still burning in our minds unanswered.It is then that He makes Himself known to us and says trust Me with all your unknowns.
Blessings,Sharon

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Good Medicine

The Bible in Proverbs 17:22"A merry heart does good,like medicine,but a broken spirit dries the bones."(NKJV)I can't think of a better medicine than a good chicken joke.:-)This was sent to me by a friend today.Here's to your health.Enjoy!
Blessings,Sharon



Barnyard Literacy

So this chicken walks into the library, and she walks up to the librarian and she says: "Book." The librarian says: "You want a book?" "Book." "Any book?" "Book." So the librarian gives the chicken a novel and off she goes. An hour later the chicken comes back and says, "Book-book" The librarian says: "Now you want two books?" "Book-book." So she gives the chicken two more novels. The chicken leaves but she comes back soon. "Book-book-book." "Three books?" "Book-book-book." So the librarian gives the chicken three books, but she decides she'll follow the chicken and find out what's going on. The chicken goes down the alley, and out of town and towards the woods, into the woods and down to the river, down to the swamp, and there is a bullfrog. The chicken sets the books down by him, and he looks at them and says: "Reddit...Reddit...Reddit."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

I just want to wish all you Fathers out there a Happy Father's Day!Enjoy the love lavished on you this day by your wives and children.And don't forget the LOVE of your heavenly Father either.Spend some time thanking Him for being your Father,always there for you,always loving you.
For those of you who feel more pain than joy today my heart goes out to you.Maybe your Father has passed away and you miss him.Maybe,like me,you never knew your earthly father.Or worse yet,you knew him and he abused or rejected you in some way.I have good news for you from God's word,the Bible.Psalm 27:10 says"Though my Father and Mother forsake me,the Lord will receive me."(NIV)Though today may be a sad day for you never forget that God is ready and willing to listen.And He is a Father that will never fail you.
Blessings,Sharon

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Be Still

"Be still and know that I am God..."Psalm 46:10

Recently Steve and I rented a marvelous DVD from our local video store.It was called"Be Still."It was a DVD about contemplative or listening prayer.I eagerly devoured it as we watched it.It had people such as Max Lucado talking about their experiences with contmplative prayer.They also discussed historical contemplatives such as Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich;names that were familiar to me due to my own study of this type of prayer.We often grow up with the idea that prayer is simply about asking God for things.Bless this.Provide for that.Heal this person.Let me win the lottery.Please give me a new car God.Those types of things.But prayer can be so much more than our lengthy list of requests.It is so much more.Though God has a listening ear when one of His children has a need He also has much He wants to say to us.Through His Word.And from His heart.We just need to learn how to listen.To put our list aside and trust Him to meet all our needs.The following is what I was inspired to write as I watched this DVD...
BE
Cease all your striving.
Cease all your activity.
Cease all your doing.
And simply be,my child.
STILL
Still your heart.
Still your mind.
Still your spirit.
For it is in stillness that you can truly hear Me.
AND KNOW
Know that I love you.
Know ME and MY will for your life.
Know that I am all you'll ever truly need.
THAT I AM GOD
I am God in the good times.
I am God in the bad times.
I am God when you awaken each day
and I am God when you close your eyes each night.
I am God and I am with you.
Any good relationship involves both talking as well as listening.It is my desire that I will really continue learn to listen to Him as well as talk to Him.To be still and know that He is God.
Blessings,Sharon

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Mary and Martha In Me

In Luke 10:38-42 we read:Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village;and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.And she had a sister named Mary,who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.But Martha was distracted with much serving,and she approached Him and said,"Lord,do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?Therefore tell her to help me."And Jesus answered and said to her,"Martha,Martha,you are worried and troubled about many things.But one thing is needed,and Mary has chosen that good part,which will not be taken away from her."

Over the years I have thought much about this passage of scripture.I have always loved it for many reasons.One of them being that I can readily identify with Martha.In fact I can clearly recall a memory from about 15 years ago(Yikes!Has it been that long?).I was single,living in a townhouse with my younger sister Sandy and attending church together with her there in our hometown of Sacramento,CA.We(meaning Sandy as I recall)had invited the singles group over.She has always been the life of the party.Very gregarious.I was always more quiet and bookish.So,when this social happened she was out in the living room where all the action was but I was in the kitchen...you guessed it...serving...making sure everyone had plenty to eat and drink,etc....while Sandy enjoyed the presence of all our guests.From that time on my new nickname in the singles group was"Martha."Though all my serving was appreciated I still look back and wonder how much I may have missed by being so focused on the external things like food and drink for our guests.What was it in me that made me feel more comfortable in the kitchen(besides a basic shyness)than out with our guests.I have sometimes wondered if the Biblical Martha was somewhat shy and therefore felt more comfortable behind the scenes.I do not know what her motives were for doing what she did.Perhaps she felt it was an obligation,a duty to feed everyone as opposed to sitting at Jesus feet.Perhaps it was a cultural thing.Whatever her motive was she was very upset that her sister was just sitting around(in Martha's eyes anyhow).I can just imagine her frustration turning into a slow burning anger.Maybe she began to bang pots and pans around(LOL...most likely not...I am not certain of what they cooked with or on in Biblical times...but I am fairly certain it was not stainless steel or aluminum pots and pans).I can just imagine her reaching a boiling point and bursting in upon Jesus,Mary and all else gathered there to express her frustration to all who would listen.She felt left out and put upon I'm sure.And stressed.I can relate.You want to do something nice for people but noone else seems to care about it.They just are enraptured with their guest so much that food and drink and all other obligations pale in comparison.And I think that was the point Jesus was trying to make.That though what Martha was doing was important it paled in comparison with the food,the bread, the words of LIFE that HE was speaking to them.The food He provided was to nourish them eternally.I so appreciate Jesus' response to Martha.I picture Him looking at her with nothing but love.And firmly but with so much mercy reminding her that she was too caught up in that which did'nt have eternal and lasting value.I picture Him gently reminding her that Mary has chosen that better thing.Spending time in His presence.At His feet.Listening to Him and learning from Him.I just get the sense that He was never harsh with Martha.That He extended grace and an invitation to sit at His feet like Mary.He issues the same call to us today.To put aside earthly distractions whatever they may be and focus on that better thing.It's not easy.I still struggle with it.The Martha in me sees the dishes that need to be done.Or the carpet that needs vacuumed.But,by His grace,I am hopeful that I am the way to finding that much needed balance between my need to spend much time with the Lord as well as my need to do more mundane tasks like fixing dinner.What about you?Have you found that balance or are you still seeking it sometimes like me?
Blessings,Sharon

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Nurturing Day!

You may be wondering why I chose to call this post something other than"Happy Mother's Day."I have a very good reason.Not all women are mothers.But we all nurture.Churches everywhere will pass out flowers to all women who have borne children.Nothing wrong with that.Except not all women have borne children.They will be the ones sitting while all of the mothers stand to recieve all the accolades and flowers.What is a happy day for some may be a sorrow filled day for others.Maybe you've never had children.You may still be grieving.Or maybe your mother is no longer alive.And you miss her.Maybe you did'nt have a perfect mother growing up.Maybe your mother was not nurturing in the way you needed her to be.If any of these apply to you today my heart really goes out to you.I know how it feels.I never had children.My own mother is passed on.And she was not an ideal candidate for motherhood.But I still miss her.I was able to make my peace with her years before she passed in 2001.God has allowed me to nurture other things in my life in the absence of children of my own.I have friends.I have siblings.I have had pets.I have even nurtured flower gardens.:-)And I have nurtured my husband.In my youth I babysat alot and taught preschoolers in church on Sunday mornings.As a middle aged woman I have had opportunity to nurture my step-granddaughter Hope.And her mom and uncle too in some ways.Nurturing can come in many ways I believe.More than just cooking and cleaning and teaching for a houseful of children.What about praying for someone.Encouraging someone in the way God has gifted you...writing,speaking,painting,drawing...so many ways and opportunities to nurture others(and things such as gardens) even if you are not a mother.So I dedicate this post to all of you who wanted to be mothers but are'nt on this sometimes sad day.I also dedicate this to women who are step-mom's and raising someone else's children.What a challenge you have.You may not have children(or are raising someone else's children) but you are nurturing.You are valuable.You are so loved by God.And me.Have a blessed day.Do something nice for yourself.You deserve it too.:-)
Blessings,Sharon

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kids and Contrasts

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them,but the disciples rebuked them.When Jesus saw this,He was indignant.He said to them,"Let the little children come to me,and do not hinder them,for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.I tell you the truth,anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."And He took the children in His arms,put His hands on them and blessed them.~Mark 10:13-16 NIV
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Those of you who have or had children will readily agree that their personalities show up very early in life and can be as different as say apples and oranges(I bet you thought I was going to say night and day,did'nt you?:-) ).Though my husband and I never had our own children as a couple we've had plenty of opportunity to observe his 2 kids(both adults now)and his granddaughter(now just over 5 1/2 years old).We've also observed stranger's kids in public.Plenty of opportunity for watching kids and how different they are.We saw just how different recently.A few weeks back we went to the local Hollywood Video to rent some movies.Yes,our town of 7,505 is big enough for such a store.:-)We chose our DVD's and made our way up to the counter.Surrounded by enough candy to keep all of Oregon's dentists working for plenty of years we noticed a little boy in front of us.With his mom(we assumed).Now,my husband's day is not complete unless he has given someone,anyone, a hard time.He's said his goal and purpose here is to make people laugh.Even strangers.Or their children.He saw this little boy of about 3 or 4 and began to make faces at him and talk to him.This little boy clung tighter to his mom so my husband tried harder to make him laugh.The little boy finally found his voice and said to Steve"Are you going to steal me?"We wre both a little stunned.My husband recovered long eneough to tell him "No,I'm just playing with you."He then told the boy's mom who was by now paying close attention that we have a granddaughter a little older than her son.She attempted a sincere smile but I could tell she was really more annoyed and wary of us.I found that whole scenario sad and have thought about it often since it happened.That we live in a world where children are fearful of being stolen.I thought about it again this weekend as we were out garage sale-ing.We'd stopped at one sale to look at couches for our son who is getting his own place soon(YIPPEE!).She had two of them for$20.00 each.She invited us to sit on them and try them out.As we sat in her living room her little son woke up and came out to where we all sat chatting.He came and stood by me(I was seated on the white leather sofa and Steve was across from me on the black leather sofa).I looked at her son and he at me and we smiled at each other.He was about 4 I guess.Dark hair,dark eyes and a winning smile in his pale little face.I continued to chat about the sofas with his mom and my husband.The next thing I know this little boy is standing right next to me and has taken my right hand and asks if I want to come see his room?Of course I said yes.It was a mess for sure.:-)Boy toys scattered everywhere.But he did'nt care it was his room and I was a willing stranger.Not to be outdone his red haired sister had to show me her room next door.What a contrast.Her room was definitely all girl.Pink and purple everywhere and neat as a pin.She even invited me in for tea.:-)Though I had to decline her offer I thought about both experiences we'd had with these children.One boy thought we were there to steal him from the video store.A few weeks later another one invites us to look at his room.One trusting.One distrusting.I imagine that's how some of the children were that day that Jesus rebuked the disciples and called the children to Himself.Some came readily while others maybe held back.I bet some of us are like that too as adults.We hold back instead of implicitly trusting the One we know will always be there for us no matter what may come.Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us.Trust HIM today for all that worries and concerns you.He can be trusted.
Blessings,Sharon

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bragging Rights?

Steve and I did something this morning we had'nt done in awhile.We watched some morning news.They had a segment on the newest trend in bragging rights among families.It was"How busy are you?"I commented that I thought that was an insane thing to be proud of.Just hearing about their hectic schedules wearied me.But apparently these families thought it was praiseworthy to be completely exhausted 24/7.We then went about our day.Later on the topic came up again as we had lunch.I still thought it was insane to be that busy. :-)I like time for reflection myself.Quiet time to think.To listen to God.To pray.As I did some baking I thought about bragging rights.We've all had them at one time or another.Perhaps you grew up in a prestigious family and felt that gave you bragging rights.For a young man or a middle aged one even it may be the car you drive.Perhaps it's really cool,really fast and really expensive.Or perhaps it's just really loud.Bragging rights again.Or perhaps you are a woman who has been blessed with lots of children from your own womb.And you feel that is worth some boasting.Or perhaps you're a student or one that's just graduated from an important(in your estimation)university.You've covered your walls with awards received including your recently obtained diploma.Something to glory in.Or perhaps it's your appearance.Natural beauty that needs little if any cosmetic help.Reason to be boast for sure.As I pondered all of these things I thought to myself that these are all normal things.Good things.Blessings from God for sure.But do we dare to assume bragging rights when these are all gifts from God(see James 1:17).Any good that comes our way is purely a gift from God to be enjoyed for a season or maybe even a lifetime.We are but caretakers of His blessings.I like what His word says in II Corinthians 10:17"But,let him who boasts boast in the Lord."All of these things are but a vapor,a mist compared to Him.
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"Thus says the Lord;"Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,let not the mighty man glory in his might,Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;But let him who glories glory in this,That he understands and knows Me,That I am the Lord,exercising lovingkindness,judgement,and righteousness in the earth.For in these I delight,"says the Lord.~Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV
Blessings,Sharon

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Parenting

I was at my computer today when my husband brought in the mail after walking our Beagle,Madison.I laughed out loud at the one measly piece of mail we had received.It was an offer for"Parents"magazine.Not one,not two,but three full years of this magazine for only$12.00.Though I thought the price was great I laughingly declined when my husband Steve asked me if I was going to order it.He's got a unique sense of humor.I laughed at him because of the absurdity of it all.I am 44 and he is 53.We have been married since 11-21-92.For all of our married life I have dealt with infertility that was unexplained.In June of 2004 I had to have a complete hysterectomy due to endometrial cancer.This forever sealed my fate as a woman who never had children of her own.But I have still been allowed to parent.My husband has 2 adult kids from a prior marriage.And one granddaughter.More recently though I have been able to do a different kind of parenting.The puppy kind.In a previous post I mentioned we now had a dog in our home.Madison,a beautiful Beagle puppy,who came to live with us in December of 2005.She is almost a year old now.What none of us knew was that when Justin,my step-son purchased her,she was already pregnant.Had any of us known this she would not now be a part of our lives.We live in an apartment.Not on a farm which is a much better space for dogs.Especially pregnant ones.But Madison became a part of our lives.And on February 10th she delivered 8(yes,I said 8)very healthy puppies.Madison,a baby herself still,had 8 babies.We do not know who tha Father was.What breed,etc.We just know he was black for Madison has not a bit of black on her.But her puppies are each mostly black with bits of their mama's"fair"coloring scattered about their chubby little bodies.Life really changed here when they were born.I had not had a dog in nearly 30 years.We always had males growing up.Neutered males.This was a huge change for me at 44.Much like the change atage 40 when my step-kids came to live with us back in 2002.It had been just husband and I for a really long time.And now we had 8 little furry babies here.As they've grown we've lost sleep at night.Babies are on their own schedules when it comes to being hungry,etc.The same with puppies.Babies often leave messes of various kinds.So do puppies.Our recently purchased rug cleaner and our vacuums have really been getting a work out.So have I with the never ending laundry.Babies get stinky sometimes and need bathed.So do these puppies.Oh boy do they get stinky.Smile.They are officially weaned now.And we have managed to sell 4 of them to a local pet store.My SIL has taken another one so we are down to three little fur covered bundles plus Mama Madison.We are hoping the pet store will take the last 3 tomorrow.It has been heallatious here at times.But when one of those freshly bathed little chubby,furry bundles falls asleep in your arms it makes all the work worth it.Or when they see you walk into a room and they come running to you,tails wagging in unison as if to say"welcome back,we've missed you!"It's easy to forget the loss of sleep the night before because you are filled with joy over their excitement.Though we may be completely puppy free by this time tomorrow I will still have memories,Mama dog Madison and one little puppy living 20 minutes away in Salem to remind me of this time of puppy parenting.This chaotic,tiring,wonderful time of being a surrogate parent of sorts to 8 little fur covered bundles of joy!God is so good.
Blessings,Sharon

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Right Focus Regained

Finally, brothers,whatever is true,whatever is noble,whatever is right,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.~Phillippians 4:8 NIV~
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I've been pondering this scripture verse for a few days now.My thoughts had been less than lovely.Times of intense testing in our lives has gone on far longer than I ever thought they would and I was just feeling down.Looking for light and seeing only darkness.The gray skies overhead did not help.I was longing for spring but still facing winter.Longing for freedom but still feeling burdened.And then God helped me to regain my focus.And it came from a most unexpected source.I was at our local hospital receiving treatment for the cellulitis on my right leg.The infection is gone but I am now facing wound care.It was a rare and strong strain of cellulitis.Because of this they brought in a wound care specialist to look at it.Her name was Beverly.She pulled out a digital camera and took a picture of my wound.I commented and on how neat her little camera was(I don't own a digital camera so find their diminuitive size charming somehow).She then proceeded to tell me that there were also pictures of India and Florida on the camera.And how that she had just returned from a medical mission trip to India that was 2 weeks in length as I recall.She had gone with an evangelist whose name escapes me at the moment.We continued to discuss treatment of my wound.As we finished up she began to show us the other pictures in her camera.We saw India first and she began to tell us about each one.There are rich people in India but most are very poor.Many do not even have running water.Many live in what amounts to nothing more than a shack.As I viewed her pictures and listened to her tell us about India my mind was replaying some of my negative comments and thoughts of recent days.And my perspective began to change.I began to silently,internally ask God for forgiveness and thank Him for what I do have.A nice apartment with hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing.A nice bed to sleep and rest in.A van to get us where we need to go.I was also reminded that He has always come through for us when we have placed all our burdens on Him.That He will provide for all our needs as we trust Him and His love.At this point we left as my appointment was over.As we walked out to our van under sunny skies I realized I had recieved more than cellulitis care at the hospital.I had been given the gift of right focus regained by our loving Heavenly Father.What are you thankful for today?
Blessings~Sharon

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Though He Slay Me

I've been thinking about Job alot lately.The Bible says that Job was blameless and upright;he feared God and shunned evil(Job1:1 NIV).Job was one righteous dude.Smile.Righteous in that he was in right standing before God.He had been blessed with much in his life.He had many children and much in the way of animals and servants.He was living well until his entire world began to cave in around him.Satan had convinced God to let him take away all that Job had held dear on this earth.Family.Health.Livelihood.Things we can hold dear as well.Satan was convinced that Job was only serving God because God had blessed him with so much.He was so convinced of this he told God"Stretch out Your hand and strike evrything he has and he will surely curse You to Your face."(Job 1:11 NIV)But God knew Job far better than Satan.God had created Job.He knew him at his very core so God essentially said"bring it on!"Job had no clue as to what was coming.Disaster upon disaster befell him.All in a fairly short amount of time...
My husband Steve and I have been facing storms that have been Job-like for about 8 years now.We have lost family members in death.Loss of health.Loss of income.Loss upon loss.Bad news daily it seemed at times.Our world,like Job's,turned on it's head.Pain and tears and fear.And nowhere to look but to God.When all human comfort,all human resources had fled or been depleted,God was there.Faithful.Waiting patiently while the enemy of our souls assalted our lives.Knowing the outcome would bring glory to Him(though we cannot see it yet)and shame to ther enemy.We received another huge assault from the enemy of our souls this last week from two sources.These two things have the potential to totally wipe out our already fragile finances(CA is trying to take child support from my husband's disability checks;his"children"are adults and on their own or on the verge of it)and adversely affect my husband's health(Medicare Part D issues.Mistakes on their part really).However,I choose to say,along with Job,"though He slay me,yet will I trust in Him..."(Job 13:15 NIV)I'm going to keep trusting God for we have seen His faithfulness to us in the past and His word in Malachi 3:6 says He never changes!I am fully expecting to see God do great things for us(see Psalm 126)and that we will see miracles in the days to come.I will share them here when they happen.Smile.
Blessings~Sharon

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Times of Transition

I love the month of Janruary.New Year.New beginnings.Fresh pages to fill in the journal of our lives.Time to relax after the busy holiday season is over.I also love this month because I know that in a couple of months spring will be here.New life bursting forth everywhere.The promise of warmer temperatures and sunny skies just around the corner.The promise of loads of color in our town after months of leaden skies and liquid sunshine.Change of pace.Change of scenery.Change of weather.Transition.The local weather guys called today a transition day.After about 2 months of rain literally we are due for about 3 days of partial sun.It will officially start tomorrow but today was the transition day.No rain.Partially clearing skies this afternoon.A noticeable drop in the temperature due to the clearing skies.As we drove about town on this transition day there were amazing signs of life everywhere.People were out walking in the cold afternoon sun.The bare trees and the snow capped mountains east of here shouted to us that it is still Janruary.But we saw signs of imminent changes in the weather as well as the season.We saw small buds on the bare trees.Crocus were beginning to bloom in a neighbor's yard.Daffodils and tulips were sending up their slender green stalks through through dark earth to the warming sun above.Grey clouds parted and gave way to white,fair-weather,cotton ball clouds.Bits of blue sky began to herald the wonderful change.We are in a time of transition and I am loving it.Even optimists get weary of winter.Both on the calendar as well as in our lives.Steve and I are in a transition period here personally as well.Though I'll not share the details of the potential change I am looking forward to seeing God change not only the season weather wise but this particular issue that suddenly assaulted us this weekend.I am trusting God that just as the calendar is on the verge of a new season; a transition time to warmer weather and sunny skies, so are our lives on the verge of sunnier weather.
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"For,lo,the winter is past,the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth,the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
~~~Song of Solomon 2:11-12~~~
Blessings,Sharon

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Our New Addition

We have a new addition here at home.She came to us around the holidays via our son(he bought her).She's adorable.Her name is Madison.She's 8 months old and is one of the cutest puppies I have ever seen.She's mostly Beagle but has some Bassett Hound in her which would explain her length and her occasionally droopy eyes.Sometimes she evn looks like she is part Pointer.She's white and light brown.Not a bit of black.She's beautiful.She absolutely loves Steve and I she loves to sit and sleep with us.We are her caregivers 90-95% of the time.We're still not sure how that happened except that perhaps our son did not count the cost before purchasing her.So we bathe and feed and walk her.We love on her and she on us.Sometimes she looks up at us with sheer adoration, bordering on worship,in her puppy eyes.We've had to puppy-proof the apartment some since her arrival.Steve's medicines are no longer on his night stand but tucked away in a cabinet out of Madison's reach.All in all she's been a good experience.Steve and I are animal lovers who have not had pets since our youth.We now are getting to reap the benefits of having Madison(Maddy,Mad-Hatter,Maddy-Monster,Maddygascar...she answers to all of them:-))in our lives here because our son paid the price to purchase her.It struck me the other day that it's just like Jesus.He paid the price for our sin so we could enjoy all the benefits of eternity with God.Someone else paid the price and we are reaping the benefits.Even greater than puppy love is Jesus great love for mankind.He loved us so much He was willing to die for us.He paid the price for us.We honor Him and the price He paid by living for Him.
Blessings,Sharon

Friday, January 06, 2006

You Say Tsunami,I Say Salami?

The Bible in Proverbs 17:22(Amplified) says"A happy heart is a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,but a broken spirit dries the bones."I love to laugh.Fortunately I come from a humorous family and I married a very amusing man.I think laughter is one of God's greatest gifts.I had opportunity recently to laugh till the tears fell.My husband had called his mom to check in.He does that daily or at least a few times a week as she is nearing 80 years of age.In the course of the conversation she had told my husband of some predictions for 2006 she had seen on the 700 Club earlier that day.One of the predictions was for Tsunami's on the West Coast.But she pronounced it"Salami's!"Now,since I tend to be very visual and think in pictures you can imagine the imagery that conjured up.I began to chuckle.Then to laugh.I laughed so hard the tears began to flow.I love laughing till the tears flow.My husband was laughing pretty good by this time too.The next morning we were still chuckling over his mom's verbal faux pas.I told Steve that I could just imagine what the headlines might say"Subversive Summer Sausages Stalk Unsuspecting Swimmers and Surfers in Waters off West Coast."Just try and picture it.Use your God-given imagination.Have fun.Laughter....it's a good thing.
Blessings,Sharon