God’s Ah-ha Moment

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“Ohhhhh . . . I get it.” I heard my grandson say over his math homework.

There’s nothing sweeter than a revelation. Suddenly, your brow smooths out, a smile breaks across your face, understanding has come.  Bliss.

It’s like this: Revelation

What is a revelation?  “It’s a surprising and previously unknown fact.  The divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence or the world.” (Dictionary)

Have you ever had an ah-ha moment with God?  I love it when He illuminates the Scriptures and something I might have read over and over suddenly comes alive in a new way.  It makes me want to jump up and preach.  It’s when His Holy Spirit turns the written word (logos) into the speaking word (rehma).  That’s when it becomes a “kiss” to our hearts.

The Bible talks about all sorts of kisses.  The kiss of a friend, a parent, even an enemy.  But, there is one kiss that is saved for the expression of love between a husband and wife.  The kiss of betrothal as in the Song of Solomon.

“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth, for Your love is better that wine.”  Song 1:2

Is it possible God wants to “kiss” us.  How?

It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which goes out through God’s mouth”  (Matthew 4:4)

Words are the fruit of our lips.  God’s Word is the fruit of God’s mouth . . . the fruit of His lips.  When we embrace God’s Word into the intimate chambers of our heart, it is like a “kiss” to our spirits from the Lord. But, there’s even more . . .

The word “kiss” obviously means: to touch with the lips as a sign of love, reverence, or greeting.  But the Hebrew definition adds another dimension. It means to equip with weapons.

Jesus models it for us: When He was tempted in the desert, Jesus used the Word (the fruit of His lips) to rebuke Satan when He said, “It is written.”

DSC04070It made me wonder if it was possible to “kiss” God.  I found three ways:

1. The definition of the word worship is to kiss toward!  Wow. That means when we worship Him we are sending Him kisses.  Think about that a minute.

2. “Every man shall kiss his lips who gives a right answer.”   When we lift God’s Word (our right answer) back to Him, we are also sending Him kisses.  And, in our relationships, when we answer honestly, with integrity, from a pure heart, we delight the Lord with sweet kisses.

3. “Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of (our) lips giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)  When we give thanks, we are sending Him kisses.

There is so much here.  I hope you have a “ah-ha” moment as your read this. Isn’t it proof that God wants intimacy with us.  This is the place of deepest joy and satisfaction this side of Heaven.

 Father, please open the Word to us.  Enlighten our hearts with Your Spirit today. May be lean in for Your kiss.  In Jesus name, amen.

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A View From the Porch Swing

IMG_9856-2I’ve been working on my book: A View From the Porch Swing.  It is a series of stories off the pages of my journey as a widow.  This is from the first chapter.  I thought you might enjoy a taste.  I’m hoping to make great progress this summer and finish it. (but that’s what I said about this winter) Prayer is appreciated.

This is two-blogs in length, but here goes:

A Swing And A Prayer

I didn’t have a shred of hesitation about buying the swing. It was so exciting. For
40-years I’d held in my “wiggle” so my husband could sit without moving, but when they wheeled out the huge carton with my swing in pieces my heart sank. It never occurred to me it would need assembling – that was always Bill’s job.

Little did I know I was coming up against a common problem for widows: the awkwardness of asking for help.

From other widows I’ve talked to, this is an ongoing predicament. That’s why the invitation to “call anytime if you need help” often goes unanswered. It’s very difficult not to feel like a bother when you know that the person you are asking works all week and only has one day off to relax and do the chores needed at their house.

Few of us are in the position to hire someone to do all the things our spouses did. I don’t have trouble asking for help in emergencies, it’s the daily stuff that frustrates me: like getting on a ladder to change a bulb in the ceiling light, or moving something cumbersome.

I’m sure my son remembers the time I called him in a tizzy convinced the house was sinking because the bedroom door wouldn’t close.

“Maybe the house has shifted and the door frame warped, or maybe the hinges got bent somehow.”

“I’ll come and check it,” he said.

An hour later he lumbered in, walked directly over to the door, bent down and picked up a tiny Lego piece wedged at the bottom.

“Here you go.”

“WHAT? That’s IT? I’ve been hammering on the hinges sure that they are bent.”  My eyes filled with tears. “How humiliating to make you come all the way over here for this. Sorry, I just never saw it.”

“No worries,” he said, wrapping his arms around me.

“I miss your father so much.”

“Me too,” he said softly as he walked to the door. “I can’t stay now, Mom, but I’ll call you tomorrow.”

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The box with the swing was too heavy to lift, so I dragged it across the driveway. Just then my mother-in-law materialized in the doorway.

“WATCH YOUR BACK. Call KYLE,” she called. “You can’t put that together yourself, YOU’LL GET HURT!”

“I’m NOT going to bother him again,” I clipped.

“Suit yourself,” she replied closing the door.

“Lord help me,” I muttered.

It took two hours, but alas, in the middle of my garden sat my beautiful swing. It was better than I imagined. But, after a few mornings being rudely startled by dewy, rain-soaked cushions, I decided to take off the awning and move it on the porch.

I studied the swing carefully, trying to determine my strategy. There was no way I was going to disassemble it, but I could remove the awning. Not thinking, I unscrewed the sides just as a sudden gust of wind whipped one end out of my hand, and the metal frame cracked me in the mouth.

The door opened again. “MARJORIE, you’ll be as stiff as a board tomorrow.”
She silently observed my lip.  “Call KYLE!” she yelled.

Her comment gave me just the determination I needed.  I gave the swing a big yank. Thankfully, she didn’t witness my next stunt as I lodged the swing between the house and the Japanese Maple.

Finally, fat lipped and disgusted, I called my neighbor. “Can you come-b hel-b me?” I asked.

“What’s wrong with your mouth?” she said.

“I hit my li-bib. Can you help-b me moo-b something?”

She laughed. “You sound like Bill Cosby! Let me finish up what I’m doing here and I’ll pop over.”

For the next two hours I avoided Bamma while I iced my lip. I didn’t want to hear it.
This was another rude awakening: waiting for help, and living with “I told you so.”

Having to ask people really pricked my sense of independence, and made me feel uncomfortably vulnerable, but waiting until it was convenient for them was going to prick my patience.

One anxious thought pulled on another: what will I do about cleaning the gutters? What if the car battery needs charging? What if the toilet overflows? By the time my neighbor came I was all tearful again.

“Why do you want to move that big thing on the porch?” she said as she walked down the sidewalk. “Is it gonna fit?”

“Hi . . . wet cushions. . . I neb-er measured.”

She spotted my lip and rolled her eyes, “Oh, geez, why didn’t you call me earlier? Look at you.” We both started laughing at this point. “Come on, let’s do this.”

After about ten minutes of grunting and tugging, we were able to hoist the ginormous swing frame on the porch.

“It fits!” I shrieked.

“Lucky for you,” she said laughing. “Have you been crying again? Your eyes are as puffy as your fat lip.”

“How am I going to lift the air-conditioner into the window when it gets hot?” I blurted out.

She stared blankly at me for a minute. “What are you worried about that for? It’s September. I know, everything is very overwhelming now, but one day at a time,” she said. “Look, I know it’s easy for me to say that, but that’s all you can do. We love you. People will help you.” She gave the cushion one last tug, “Looks great. Sorry, I can’t stay, I’m cooking something. Call me if you need any more help.”

I watched her cross the lawn and disappear around the corner of her house. She was a good friend. I was grateful to have her nearby. Reaching for my Bible, I randomly opened to Matthew 6: 33-34: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be given to you . . . do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s amazing how appropriate that verse was for the moment. It gave me a deep peace to know God is involved with every detail of my life . . .  but I was also very aware that I was the only one sitting on the swing.

Posted in Years Gone By | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

God Makes It Happen

DSC04026 We all have specific things in our lives that drive us to our knees.  Mine is: my kids, and going out in ministry.

I just spoke Sunday at Bergen Presbyterian Church.  I had been a part of their Week of Renewal tent meetings for ten years, in the eighties. I was their official “songbird.”  They knew me for my singing.

What do you think they were expecting when the headlines read: Marji Stevens Returns To Bergen?  The Song Bird – not an Old Bird. (giggle)

I was intimidated by my own reputation!  That’s different.

Singing has been so dead and buried, too physically painful to perform anymore. Rarely can I even sing in church without shooting pains in my jaw and tongue, neck, head, not to mention my shoulder (still healing).  But yesterday . . . I sang with a voice twenty years younger than me.

How many of us are still learning:

When God wants you to do something, He makes it happen.

I sang like a seasoned songbird.  Painlessly.
The problem is, when I’m not anointed, it hurts.  So,
I’m inclined to not practice.  Guess what?  When God wants you to do something, He makes it happen – even DSC04028when I don’t practice daily, like I used to.

The pastor gave me two hours to minister !  I’d planned to show a Stories with Mimmy, to break up the time, but the sound didn’t work.  Not what He wanted, I guess.  I was so peaceful about it, the woman in charge of sound, threw her arms around me relieved I wasn’t upset.

You’ll understand I hope, that it was all God, when I say they were captivated.  No one nodded off (and the average age was over seventy) No one even fidgeted.  They never moved.  One man had his eyes wide and his mouth open the whole time!  I wanted to stick a mirror under his nose, or yell: “somebody make that man blink!”

God just wants us to be ourselves. He wanted me to tell stories, encourage people to draw closer to Him, and believe that the Creator wants each one of us to be creative – in many more ways than just the arts.

There’s nothing quite like a good story.

DSC04029It never ceases to amaze me about the power of a story.  One woman told me she remembered a story I told, twenty-five years ago, about the day I announced to Bill that I’d had the eight inch hole in the wall upstairs fixed, as a surprise; and He replied, “what hole?

I also brought watercolors and showed them how the Lord sparked my quiet time by expressing my devotion to Him through art.

Believe me, if you knew how nervous I was the entire week before, you would know I am not bragging, I’m amazed.  God came through. I don’t know why it always surprises me.

Each time my insides tell me I should retire – the Lord shows me again: I was born to do this, until I the day I die.

Father, thank you.  Help us all to rest in You.  To trust the gifts You have placed inside each one of us.  To believe – to the point of peace – that when You call us to do something, You will be the first one to show up and make it happen.  Thank you for Your fathomless faithfulness.  We love You, Father, Holy Spirit, Blessed Jesus.  Amen.

 

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Where the Life Is

chapel painting 100One of my favorite things to do was take a walk with my husband, Bill.  He was a real outdoorsman.  We’d head out into the field side by side  . . . but then something would change.

My expectations went like this: we’d walk hand in hand down the well-travelled paths on the waterline.  He would pause, take my face in his hands, whisper how beautiful I am, and then kiss me passionately.   (NOT)

Taking a walk with Bill Stevens went like this:  “Wear your high boots it’s gonna be muddy.”

There was nothing that resembled a path.  He’d begin winding through the burdock and tall grass, staying at least ten feet in front of me.  Occasionally, he’d glance back to see if I’d gotten tangled in the briar bushes or strung up by my my hair on some branch.

Too often I came home disappointed.  I tried to pull him aside for a kiss, but it was always a peck followed by, “Let’s keep going.” . . . sigh

Bill knew what he was doing.  He was going off the beaten path looking for signs of animal life.  We’d go where the deer had bedded down for the night.  We looked for buck rubs and scrapes.  We examined all the droppings. He could recognize what animals did what and tell me about their diet.  (it was rich, girls)

I was chatty.  He was silent.  I was huggy.  He was mission minded. I finally had to accept that if I wanted to go for a walk with Bill, I’d have to be like one-of-the-guys. You know how hard that is?  I thought we were bonding, he was hunting for animal poop!

“Shhhh,” he’d whisper.  “I think they’re just over there.  Walk softly.”

Many times we spooked out deer and then have the thrill of watching them go bounding away.

On one trip, down in the Southern Tier, he put me in a deer stand eight feet up in a tree.  “Stay here and watch. I’ll be back for you. Don’t try to get down.”

“But . . . .?”  There I’d be.  In a tree.  With my New Testament, and an apple.  I was fine until it started getting dark and the wind kicked up.  I could almost see the headlines:  “Woman’s skeleton found in a tree, in the middle of nowhere, with a Bible and apple core.  Could it be another way to kill your lover?”

I could write a book about dying to my expectations.  But the Lord always taught me things through my husband.  Rich life lessons, like:

Walking with God might take you where you never expected, but He’ll always lead you to where the life is.

Religion makes Christianity boring.  Walking with the Holy Spirit is a walk of adventure, creativity, and joy.  Even through thorns and briars, or across the valley of death.  It may be off the beaten path, but it will be straight to where the Life is.

Father, I pray that You will spark the devotional life of every person reading this blog today.  Ignite our sense of adventure.  Scrape away the dross, the dead wood, the religious encumbrances.  We want to dance again.  In Jesus name, we will.  Amen.

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Grouchy? Try This

You know you’re doing something fun when your grandson begs for a repeat.  Well, he won, and this is what transpired.

A discussion with Mimmy about being grouchy:

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The Place Outside of Time

Nothing You can't handle 72For the past week, I’ve awakened each night at exactly 3:30.  The first night, I wandered the house not realizing the Lord was calling me.

The second night, at the exact time, I was awakened again.  I got up, walked around checking things, then crawled back into bed with my I-pad.  Recently, I discovered that Youtube has videos from the revival meetings in Toronto. that’s when I discovered Ruth Fazel  She leads worship often, and wow.  So unlike what I’m used to hearing lately.

Her violin work is astounding, and the Presence of the Holy Spirit is almost tangible.  If you click on her name above, it will take you to a short video of her instrumental music and the artwork of David Costello.  She sings straight from the Word.

John 1:37   “And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.  Then Jesus turned, and see them following,  said to them, “What do you seek?”  They said to Him,  “Rabbi, where are You abiding?”  

“He said to them, “come and see . . . .””

Not to the multitudes, but to those who press in, they will find where He is abiding.

   “They came and saw where he was staying, and remained with Him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.”

Why does the Holy Spirit put the “tenth hour” there?  The Bible is full of “pointers”, information we tend to skip over, like this, but I believe they are meant to point us to rich truth.

The number 10 is the number signifying divine perfection, when the cycle is complete from time historically.  The place of abiding is a place where we find our completion, separate from a calendar “day”, we are beyond time and space, where God lives.  The Now-day of abiding with Him.

Abiding with Jesus, we enter a place outside of time – a taste of heaven, a glimpse at eternity.  The stress of this world falls away and we are restored.

He is inviting us to “Come and See.”  Here’s another great clip with Ruth leading.

Father, we are hungry for Your Presence.

Give thanks WC-tangle 72

 

 

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Royalty with A Bended Knee

DSC03951I haven’t been on the front porch facing our road since last fall.  Today it was bathed with sunlight in the late afternoon. I pulled the draft stoppers away from the bottom of the front door, tugged on the antique lock and finally yanked it open.

The warmth spilled in like a long-awaited embrace.

I sat on the rickety wicker chair and positioned myself so that the sunlight drenched my face.  Soon my coat was off, and amidst the snow-covered scenery, I bathed in the glorious, warmth of the sun.

We can’t live without sunlight. Hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors, and the genes that regulate all living organisms are totally dependent on the availability of sunlight.

DSC03944 All of creation has a rhythm that is dependent upon sunlight.  It “helps prevent and treat depression and sadness.  The brain begins producing the mood-influencing chemical called serotonin upon first exposure to light in the morning.” (Ask)

Sun-light, Son-light we need them both to survive.

This has been a very long season with grey upon grey.  Everyone has their faces turned toward the hope of  spring.

Sitting in the sun rays, I thought about the quote in John’s gospel when Jesus said:  “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall no walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Then in Matthew it says, WE are lights in the world, a city on a hill.

We can go to the word of God and find light, but to BE a light requires rebirth because it’s something you have to be born into.

When I was a teenager, my father used to say, “When you walk into a room, remember you are George Fine’s daughter.”  He wanted me to walk tall, be on my best behavior because I was a part of the Fine family and carried its name.  In other words, don’t get in trouble because you represent the family.  I didn’t get it then.

But lets rethink this idea in terms of today’s thought: When you walk into a room, remember the Light of the world, is your Father.  Never lose sight of that truth.

DSC03948Jesus wants to set us on a lamp stand so we can “give light to all who are in the house.”

How do you walk?  Are your shoulders back, your head high?  Not in arrogance, but with humble Christ confidence.

Do you cower in awkward situations, buckle under pressure, say “I can’t”  or do you stand in the confidence that you are God’s child?

As God’s children, we are royalty with a bended knee.

“Awake you that sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” Ephesians 5:14

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show for the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.   1 Peter 2:9

Father, help us to walk with a keen sense that we belong to You.  We are not our past.  We are reborn into a royal priesthood.  Help us to find the blend of pride in who we are in Christ and humility because You’ve called us to serve.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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Heart Throb’s Encouragement

workbench 2014Three-year old Heart Throb was at my house yesterday.  We were plotting our playtime.

First, we made towers with blocks.  He looked at mine and said, “That’s fantastic.”

Then as we each scrambled to put together one of his primary puzzles, he observed my progress and said, “That’s a good job, Mimmy.”

“Why thank you,” I responded immediately wanting to put together another one.

I was having a  flare up of Fibro that day and whenever there was a lull I’d lie down on the couch.

“Mimmy’s back hurts today, I’m sorry I can’t get on the floor with you.”

“That’s okay,” he sighed quite bored with my unfunny behavior.

After letting me rest for ten minutes he announced, “Let’s have a show!” And ran for the radio.

Good, I thought, I’ll lie here and watch.

Once he’d settled on a static-y music channel, Heart Throb announced, “You go first.”

“I don’t know what to do . . .show me.”

“You do this . . .” and he went into a flurry of gyrations that hurt just watching.

“Wow, you’re a good dancer. Why don’t you be the entire show and I’ll watch you,” I said hopefully.

“NO, it’s your turn,” he insisted.

I groaned and got off the couch.  I wiggled a little, but didn’t attempt his floor work.

“See, Mimmy, you can do it.” He clapped. “Good job,” he said like a parent.

DSC01598I thought, I should record this so I can play it back for myself when the house is still and I’ve had my allotment of Advil for the day.

Echoing in the distance I remembered, “You’re amazing,” as my mind raced back to memories of Bill.  He always knew how to encourage me.

I don’t know how people live without encouragement. Heck, I’ll even take it from a three-year old.  Usually, all we need is someone to notice we’re trying.  It’s amazing the reaction I get from my grandkids when I start my sentence like this: “You know what I like about you?”

Heart Throb started yawning.    “Well, I see it’s time for our nap,” I said, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically.  All I could imagine was the pillow and comforter and a chance for an hour snooze.

He looked at me like I’d lost my marbles.  “You just had your nap!?!”

Then it dawned on me.  One way I get him to lie down for a nap is to tell him Mimmy’s tired. He soon falls asleep beside me, then I get up and get a few things done.  It’s worked like magic.

I guess he’s been thinking all those naps he’s taken at my house were just for my benefit.

Well, Heart Throb, wasn’t about to submit to another nap for Mimmy.  It made me wonder for a moment: Who’s taking care of Whom here?  

On the way home we stopped for gas and some pretzels to take home.  Heart Throb spotted a bag of powdered donuts and held them to his chest.

“No, honey, we’re not buying those today – just pretzels.”

“But WE NEED THESE!” he bellowed.  That’s when I had to clarify Who was taking care of Whom.

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Want To Give-Up? You’re Not Alone.

I don’t usually write a blog like this.  After a time of prayer, I had the sense that there is someone who will read this blog today who is just about ready to give up. Discouragement has settled all over your life.

Maybe prayer just isn’t happening for you and you’re tempted to think why bother.

I think a lot of people are feeling the same way.  We’re desperate for spring, but more than that, we’re desperate for a sense of God’s Presence.

Maybe church has even become the same old, same old.  Or, perhaps you’ve stopped going.

snowy wreath 1 Listen . . . you are not alone.  Many people are feeling this way, and besides the fact we’ve had a terrible, long winter, I believe there are two other reasons to consider that might help.

1.  The enemy is firing up his oppression 

Don’t believe for a second that the devil doesn’t have a plan.  He’s all about strategy.  We often approach spiritual warfare as if we’re running into an occasional bully on the playground when it is a long-term war.

Daniel 7:25,  speaking of the Anti-Christ says: “And he shall speak words against the Most High God and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change the times and the law . . .” (emphasis mine)

There is no doubt that the system of the Anti-Christ in operation today, and its goal is to wear us out.

In the Complete Jewish Bible, this verse is a little different.  It says “He will speak words against the Most High and try to exhaust the holy ones of the most High God.”

If we eat healthy, and get the right amount of sleep, and still feel exhausted . . .maybe we need to consider whether we’ve somehow bought into a lifestyle God never intended for us.

spring 1Everything in God’s Kingdom moves in seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall . . . it’s cyclical.  We have the rest of winter when plants are dormant and root systems deepen.  Spring is a time for new life, sowing seeds.  Summer is hot, hard work, when little benefits are seen, until Fall, when things cool down, and we enjoy the bounty of our hard work.

But if our lives are stuck in one season, like summer – summer – always hard work and seeing no results, we have somehow stepped out of God’s timing.

If we’ve made some wrong choices and allowed the enemy in to our lifestyle somehow, a good place to start is with repentance.

Repentance always throws the devil off. We repented when we accepted Jesus, but the lifestyle of repentance has just begun.  We need the continuous correction of the Holy Spirit to crucify our flesh and bring new life to our spirits.

This brings me back to the second point:

2. We’ve lost a sense of His Presence.

We can’t avoid times of worship, fasting, prayer, study, and devotion and expect to keep the awareness of His Presence.  (believe me . . .I’ve tried) We need these practices because they connect us to God, renew our minds and build up our spirits.

There is no substitute for dropping to our knees.

We must get back to the rhythm of Heaven.  Don’t let the devil kick you into overdrive.  God wants us to live each day with an awareness of His Presence, and leading.

Heavenly Father, please forgive us.  We don’t want to settle for a life below what was in the heart of  Your dear Son when He went to the cross.  Help us find the way back to the rhythm of Heaven.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

daffodiles 1

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Only My Grandkids Know My Secret . . .

quit faffing
I could feel something building inside me. Five of the seven grandkids were here, along with a few adults. We were just hanging out. Even though there was someone over four feet tall for me to talk to, the grown-ups weren’t holding my attention.

I should have seen it coming . . . Chapel is always cute, but today I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

Then it happened: he was busy coloring, but when he took a break, he stuck the crayon behind his ear like Fonzie with his cigarette. (Who taught him to do that?)

Well, it struck me funny, and I started to laugh.

Then I couldn’t stop.

This is how it goes down: phase one is just a few normal giggles, but then something mysterious happens. A switch. A weird chemical download in my brain, and I launch boldly into . . .

Phase two: This is when giggles turn to howls and snorts. There’s no stopping now.

The grandkids crowded around and pointed. “Look, she’s crying.”

Now I’m pounding the arm of the chair.

Phase three follows relentlessly: PAIN. Your stomach knots, you have muscle cramps in your face, and you can barely catch your breath.

Now NO intelligible sound comes out, just a high pitched whistle emanating from my big, red face. It isn’t pretty.

The minute I’d muster a bit of control I’d look at that little crayon behind Chapel’s ear, and off I’d go again.

In the haze of my hooting I heard Chapel ask, “Wha’s so funny?”

When I couldn’t answer he said, “Mimmy stop that faffing.”

Avery explains to my guests, “She does this a lot.” Then she cradled my head and said, “shhhhh, Mimmy, shhhhh, calm down.”

hazel bendingHazel said, “It’s just like when we spent the night and Mimmy was the only one who couldn’t stop laughing at bedtime. She broke all her own rules.”

I finally got enough control and gasped, “Somebody, PLEASE, take that crayon off Chapel’s ear!”

Like magic I calmed down.

William said, “Look at it this way, Mimmy, it’s past 4:00! You made it through without getting grouchy.”

That’s when all the grandkids started laughing. The grown-ups were clueless. But, you see, only my grandkids know my secret: I’m really just a six-year-old who’s been swallowed by a senior citizen.

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I Don’t Want To Love My Enemies

sunrise by windowThe sunlight streams across the frozen snow, and lifts the pine trees into brilliance with touches of gold.  Your world is so beautiful, Lord.

Then I saw the news, and read about the capture of 200 + Christians in Syria.  They threaten to kill them all if the US doesn’t stop the airstrikes.

I don’t want to love my enemies.

While we look at the horror, we must be reminded what God has said through His word.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. “(Romans 8:18)

God will make this right . . . the plan is set.

I look into the faces of my grandchildren, five boys, two girls, and wonder about their future.  Will they have to go to war?  It turns my insides grey.

Here is a comforting conversation Corrie Ten Boom had with her father when she voiced her fear about the future:

“Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?” I sniffed a few times, considering this. “Why, just before we get on the train.”

“Exactly. And our wise Father in Heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need–just in time.”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

In this world, in this beautiful sun-tipped, golden world, we will suffer persecution.

Matthew 5:10-12  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven….”

We must guard our hearts, because Jesus commands us to love our enemies.  Corrie’s father also said:

 “When He tells us to love our enemies He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.  (Heb 10:25)

Father, we lift up our brothers and sisters in Syria. We know that you are a God of all comfort.  Give them courage, and steady faith in the face of their persecutors. We ask, in Jesus name, that you spare their lives.  

Father, we also lift up their persecutors.  You can give them dreams and visions to reveal Jesus Christ.  Only You can turn their hearts, like Paul, and make them mighty servants of Jesus Christ.  Please grant them repentance.  Give our leaders wisdom to know what to do. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Posted in Humorous | 2 Comments

Picture May Be Disturbing – Mus Musculus Death Camp

 

DSC03825

Well, ye Ol’ Farmhouse Saga continues . . . with another mouse episode.

As you know from my last blog,  the dishwasher is the current, and very active  Mus Musculus  death camp.  (You can relax now, there aren’t anymore bad pictures)

DSC03829I’ll have you know I’ve had to switch to a different dish-washing set up. Quaint, isn’t it?  It reminds me of the early days in this farmhouse.  I used to stand in the same place, only my bathrobe would blow in the wind from the cracks under the sink.  The only light in the kitchen was a swinging, pull chain, bulb in the center of the room.  My dishes never got that clean because I was washing them in the dark.

Anyway, I digress . . .

DSC03827Yesterday, I tried a different kind of trap, but I only caught my scrubber!

After catching FOUR, I thought for sure the battle was over.  But NOOOOO,  last night I opened the door and there was a BIG one.  It was fearlessly wandering around inside looking for more peanut butter.  The trap was licked clean!!

Scarlet, my rescue cat, was right next to me (clueless) so I picked her up and pointed her head in the direction of the mouse.  (I think I need to cut back on her food so she’s not so satisfied)

Scarlet zoned in like a flash . . . grabbed that fat mouse in her mouth, ran into the living room and DROPPED IT!

“Scarlet, you trader,” I shrieked. “It’s not time to play.”

The hunt began.

I went to get my son.  He just looked at me. “I don’t know what help I can be.”   Between you and me, I could have handled it, but I just get this sick little enjoyment watching this hulk of a man squirm over a tiny mouse. 

He came in with his broom.  I had mine.  The thing ran behind the cabinet.  Poof . . . gone. We poked and moved furniture. . . nothing.  However, I found two of Scarlet’s balls behind the cabinet.  tsk tsk . . . when I rolled them out across the floor, you should have seen Kyle.

That’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time!  Anyway . . .

DSC03821DSC03824I left Scarlet on duty.  She sat staring at that cupboard all night.  In the morning . . . there she was.  No mouse.

However, upon opening the dishwasher again . . . AT LEAST WE CAUGHT ITS BROTHER!

 

Mimmy 100Evidently, I’m not alone.  You’ll have to hear Mimmy’s Story.  She thought, this time, she had a raccoon in the house!

What’s That Noise?

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Mus Musculus – This Is War

DSC03812DSC03813Twelve deer congregated in my yard yesterday – eating my bushes, trees, anything they could find.

“Awwwww,” said sweet daughter-in-law on the phone. “Mimhead, you have to feed them.”

Right.  That’s all I need now.  Feeding flocked of animals, AND feeding flocks of grandkids.

The day was young, later I innocently opened my dishwasher and saw movement.

MOVEMENT ?

face of worryIt wasn’t difficult to figure out, from the appearance of poop-sprinkles, just what was going on. I am now feeding a flock of illegal Mus Musculus!  

I practically pre-wash my dishes, so before you think “rinse off the food, stupid,” I have to tell you.  The last time this happened (!!!) the repair man said they were after water, not food.  Whatever. They chewed through a hard plastic thingy at the back of the washing machine.  It cost me $100 to get replaced.

What’s a gal to do? Here I am in this old farmhouse, clad in three layers of  black socks, my bathrobe and two sweaters to keep warm . . . and now this?  (I don’t wear a hat because the fibers adhere to my hairspray, then I can’t get it off.)

Where’s the mercy, God?

I was NOT going to call my friend for help with the critters (you know who you are) because she’d want me to pray for them and put out food. “Maaaargggee, awwwwww, but they’re so cute. You can’t kill them, they’re just hungry.”

No way . . . I’m done with Mus Musculus. . . this is war! I’ll feed the birds, maybe the deer, but these guys . . . NEVER.

I put on my steel-toed boots, grabbed the broom, and slowly opened the dishwasher door.

No movement, phew. The coast was clear.  Just then my eldest son walked in.

“What’s with the boots and broom?”

I pointed to the poop-sprinkles.

“Put the trap inside, and close the door.”

“YOU put the trap inside.”

(I secretly hoped for the thing to reappear just to see what 300 lbs looks like on the ceiling).

I got out the old-fashioned spring traps, and peanut butter.

Forty-five minutes later . . . WHACK!

Two hours later . . . WHACK!  This one I removed myself! (audience of women squirm)

I put out another one before bed . . . the next morning, the dreaded Mus Musculus had figured out how to slid the trap under the heat coil so it wouldn’t go off.  It was licked clean.

With my plans spinning out of control – I could have sworn I heard:

“Hey Chewy, come chow.  This old bat uses organic peanut butter . . . go get the family.”

Now I wait.  Sadly, the deer, the Mus Musculus, and I . . . all have one thing in common: this cold makes us want to eat. . . anything!

I refuse to pay $100 for another plastic thingy – so I guess I’m washing my dishes by hand from now on.  I’ll use my $500 dishwasher as the strainer . . . . wait . . .

I just heard a snap.

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Just One Of Those Days

WM shrunk my clothes 72It’s not only snow that’s been piling up around here. It’s a lot of little things.  The storm door won’t close, some unexpected bills came in, there’s an ice jam of glacier proportions over my living room window so I’m worried about a leak on my new ceiling . . .

What’s worse . . . I discovered my entire wardrobe has shrunk in the wash. . . even my shoes!

It’s so cold in this old farmhouse I’ve had to drag out my sleeping bag to sit at my desk.

When things really pile up I avoid it all by leaving the house. Well, it was becoming one of those days, so I bundled up and started my car.  But, when I tried maneuvering around the six foot snow banks and other cars in my driveway, I backed myself right into a snow drift up to my running boards (or whatever they’re called).  I had to climb out the passenger side (which isn’t easy to do when your pants are too tight).

I thought I was in control until my sweet, unsuspecting daughter-in-law workout 72called.

She read my mood at “hello”.

“What’s the matter, Mimhead?”

That’s all it took! It was as if she’d pulled on one of those preverbal loose threads . . . and the unraveling began.

“Well, my car . . . and then this bill . . . and I’m so fat . . . and I miss my husband . . . Bwahhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

As I blubbered like a loon, she said exactly what I needed to hear: nothing . . . she just listened.  (That always works for me.)

Soon I was cracking jokes.  We both went into hysterics and I was on a happy-roll.

After we hung up, it occurred to me that I was living my next blog. So, I ran outside to take a few pictures of my car in the snowdrift and OMG, my camera wouldn’t work!  It registered no light source at all. “Do camera’s stop working in the cold?” I asked my son who’d just arrived and was digging me out.

“The heck with your camera, you need to learn how to back-up.”

“I will not let this ruin my better mood,” I told myself as I went to google camera troubleshooting. That’s when I discovered the lens cap still on my camera.  (Now you know what stupid looks like).  My car was not the only dingus not working.

Isn’t it amazing how tiny a single snowflake is? Yet, once accumulated, they can shut us down completely.

There’s nothing like piled up stress to hinder your get-up-and-go.  We all need to learn how to deal with stresses when they’re small, because once they compound they can ruin more than a good mood.

snowplow 1I just had to laugh and give thanks for a cleansing cry, a good sense of humor, and someone to help shovel me out.

 

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Is Our Gospel Incomplete?

Forget not His benefitsI woke this morning thinking about the healing ministry of Jesus; and the single word on my heart was: ALL. I went to my Bible.

“Psalm 103:2 -4  “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons ALL your iniquities, Who heals ALL your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.”

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease among the people.” Matt. 4:23

I couldn’t find any place where it said,  Jesus went out and healed some.

It makes me wonder if we’ve settled for a gospel of some.

If we are following Jesus, have His Spirit living in us – and we have His directive . . . what’s the matter?

Matthew 10:1  “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal ALL kinds of sickness and ALL kinds of disease.”

Matthew 10:8  “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Have we spent too much time with introspection, guilt and shame, that we’ve taken our eyes off the words of Jesus? The best way for a prayer to go unanswered is never to pray at all.

Have we been determining what we believe by our results?

(Luke 10:8-9 NKJV) “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.  “And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (The seventy were sent out)

Healing and deliverance are a part of the Kingdom of God drawing near.

Jesus modeled this: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Luke 4: 16-21

Give thanks WC-tangle 72The “good news” is incomplete when limited to preaching.

Why aren’t we seeing more healing in our midst?  Could it be we have built our theology around our disappointments instead of around the Word?

If we don’t see results, does that change God’s Word?

What hinders us from stepping out?  Embarrassment?  The fear of giving false hope? The fear of offending someone’s theology? Unwilling to take a risk?  We don’t feel ‘led’?

I’ve been guilty of thinking those things, and I’ve shrunk back at times.  But, I’ve also stepped out and seen people healed.  I hate to think someone stayed sick because I didn’t have the nerve to step out and pray for them.

He sent us out to preach the Gospel . . . heal the sick  and cast out demons.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”  John 14:12

I want the greater things . . . don’t you?

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