73 and Counting

Earlier this week I finished reading the complete Bible for the 73rd time. Some years ago I decided to set a long-range goal. I wanted to complete reading the Bible as many times as my age. I haven’t reached that goal yet but have started the 75th reading with the King James Version.

That number is correct for we are reading the Bible together every night and that is the 74th. We chose the New Century Version to use. It is a little simpler to understand and has many interesting sidelights and examples of how the principles can be applied to everyday life.

As I started to read in the KJV the names I’d written in the margins reminded me of a special challenge I received from the Lord many years ago, when I was in the CMI concert choir. I don’t remember what started that challenge, but when one of my friends there had terrible trouble when she tried to sleep, I told her I would put her on my prayer list. But when I went to write it down I felt a check. Instead, I was impressed to start a promise list. To do this I read the Psalms until I found a promise that would help her and wrote her name beside it. Then as often as I thought of her, I simply turned back to that verse, read it again and claimed it for her.

As I continue to read the Psalms today; I not only enjoy the memory but praise the Lord for all the results from that promise list. Some of the people have received their help by being in heaven now, where they are receiving blessings and joy, no longer needing the help they received on this earth. I rejoice at that even while missing their presence with us.

As the Lord continues to help me learn to use the many tools we have for sharing our thoughts with others; I feel a great responsibility to share the wealth of continuing to use the written word of the Lord as our foundation for learning.

Each time I read the Bible, I am blessed and often challenged by a verse or a thought that I have read or heard read many times before. Sometime a verse that I didn’t remember claims my thought. Perhaps a solution to a problem currently happening to someone important to me.

I realize the Lord’s timing is perfect! I might not have needed that verse the other times I read it, but it is very valuable on this very day! Praise the Lord!

For some reason I couldn’t find the way to get on this site to edit and write a blog from August until now. But listening to His voice instead of trying to find someone else to help didn’t happen until the 73rd reading of His word was completed. Then it finally registered that although I had complained long and often to many people, I hadn’t taken time to listen for His instruction. Should I comment, “Duh” here?

My King James Version of the Bible, which I started reading on Bill’s birthday has only 1280 pages. That means that keeping my immediate goal of reading only 7 pages per day I will be finished with this copy on April 21, 2015. and our nightly Bible reading should be completed on August 11, 2015. If I expand my reading time by only 15 minutes I could be done in half the time. Something for me to consider.

In reading the Psalms today I noticed that two of my currently close friends were named in the margins. I will soon take time to claim those verses which still are valuable to them. Then post them in my status.

Thank the Lord for showing me how that promise list can still bless many, including the ones who were original recipients.

How has the Lord blessed you recently? I’d love to have you share it with me!

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Rough Passage

“God promises us a safe landing, NOT a calm passage.” This quote that I read today accurately describes the last 9 weeks for us. Is the rough passage over yet? Doesn’t look like it with the number of health challenges represented in our medical related calendar. Listing them would take too long so will just reflect on a few of them.

Coming home sick, from our annual Thumb area visit, began the health challenges.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit seeing our precious family; including sister, daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. As we become limited in our ability to travel, we see them far too seldom, so the time there was precious.

And the challenge has extended for another 4 weeks. Without the newest challenge from the Lord, waiting for feeling well enough to be back to normal would be somewhere in the distant future. Since the Lord is ready for me to begin to write again, regularly, I assume He will provide the energy needed to accomplish this blog.

For the lover of a calm passage, that is not a comfortable thought. But God never promised an easy road just a worthwhile result for our effort. My efforts are described accurately in the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 26:41 with the phrase, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Regularly seems to be a relative term in our life for a long time now. Longer than I like to think about. So I won’t. Trusting in the Lord is easy for me. Putting actions to my instructions from the Lord, not an easy accomplishment.

Back to the biggest challenge recently. Bill was in the hospital with pneumonia for 6 days, finally getting home on the 29th of May. Then followed 6 weeks of physical therapy in our home. That was very beneficial in helping his balance, strength, and breathing. He’d had shortness of breath after very little effort, causing him a severe challenge for several years.

Keeping up with the necessary follow-up to the physical therapy is more of a challenge than what we’ve managed to do with any amount of success. So the relief of finally feeling almost normal is much welcomed. It doesn’t happen every day yet but Thank the Lord it is happening more frequently lately.

Today the 20th of August Bill’s appointment presented another challenge. Bill’s kidney function is such that the Doctor is talking about the possible advantages of dialysis. Bill has decided to try for another 6 weeks at least before agreeing to that. We are taking a couple of new supplements and waiting for directions from the Lord.

I don’t know what I would do without the Lord’s help when difficult situations occur. When decisions have to be made that will impact our future. But there is a quiet joy in knowing God is in control no matter how rough the passage.

This blog has been short and rambling but I close with this quote “Whatever happens, know that you were Formed by God’ hands, Dreamed up in His heart and Placed in this world for a purpose>”

Have you recognized your purpose? I like this quote from Collin’s sermon on Sunday, “God never called you to be spectacular. He called you to be a servant.”

OUR NEGLECTED CALLING

Simply Rhetorical

Jesus ministry was first and foremost to the Jewish people.  He said to the woman of Canaan who desired that Jesus deliver her daughter from an evil spirit, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)  Jesus continually frequented the synagogues with the specific purpose of turning the hearts of Jews back to God.  When He sent the twelve into the country side to preach, He commanded them to go only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:6)  God had a covenant with Israel that no matter how rebellious they became, He would never forsake them.

We also have a covenant with God through the blood of Christ.  Jesus said He would never leave nor forsake us.  No matter how rebellious we become, we can’t escape His forgiveness and love!  In Luke fifteen, we have the account of…

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Who loved Mother Best

Thinking about this poem I learned as a child, made me think about how we as Christians serve the Lord.

“I love you, Mother,” said little John
Then forgetting his work, his cap went on,
And he was off to the garden swing,
Leaving his mother the wood to bring.

“I love you, Mother,” said little Nell.
“I love you better than tongue can tell.”
Then she teased and pouted half the day,
Till her mother rejoiced when she went to play.

“I love you, Mother,” said little Jan,
“Today I’ll help you all I can.”
The stepping softly, she took the broom
And swept the floor and dusted the room.
Then to the cradle she did softly creep,
And rocked the baby till he fell asleep.

“I love you, Mother,” again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think their mother guessed,
Which one of them really loved her best?

How often do we say so easily, “I love you, Lord.” and then either go about our daily routine, without using the opportunities the Lord gives us to pray for someone’s need; or introduce them to the loving friend, who can meet all their needs? Or like the second child be so busy worrying or complaining about our needs, wants and desires that we never think about the many blessings we receive daily from our loving heavenly Father.

From the very first time I heard that poem and still to this day it makes me stop and think. Do my thoughts and actions reflect the words that come so easily to me? Do others see how I really love and serve the Lord? How can I show by my life, what the Lord really means to me?

I read the Bible daily, talk often with the Lord, but do I take the time to listen and follow His instructions? Do you? Do you know Him as your personal savior? Is He really the Lord of your life?

How would others judge the way I serve the Lord?

How would they judge your service to the Lord and others?

The Tiniest Chime

The tiniest chime I ever heard was on Sanabel Island, off the coast of Florida. Many years ago, when I took Mom to Florida, we visited Sanabel Island. She and Dad had stayed on the island several times when they went to Florida.

The first memory of why we left Michigan was a somber day in the late fall. Mom had another cold, which quickly developed into another attack of Asthma. I can’t remember if I heard the doctor’s comment or only heard it repeated, but it was awful! He told Dad, “If Lillian stays in Michigan all winter the chances of her developing pneumonia are almost 80 percent. If she does, there is a 99 percent chance that she will die.”

She refused to leave until after Christmas. She wouldn’t disrupt our family plans for the holidays; but tried to be extra careful of her health until then. So we left shortly after that to begin what would become an annual trip, for at least part of the Michigan winter.

That wasn’t the first trip we had made to warmer weather to help Mom’s battle with Asthma. We had been to Florida when I was about 4 years old. That year we had stayed on a family friend’s farm and Dad had worked for Lymon most of the time we were there. Another blog about parking in the bull’s pasture will be here sometime in the future.

But the trip when I heard the sound like the tiniest wind chime, made by the waves receding over millions of tiny shells, was several years after that first trip. To get to Sanabel Island we drove through Fort Myers and across a bridge. Can’t remember details about that; but the fun memory from then is when my mom gave me directions, as we drove through Fort Myers. Her instructions were, “to get to the bridge you turn on the street that has the Palm Trees.”

Have you been to Fort Myers? How many streets don’t have Palm trees?

But she recognized the correct one and we were on our way to Sanabel Island 🙂

It was there, early one morning, while I was stooped over looking for special shells; that I noticed a soft, sweet sound. It was like a tiny wind chime would make, but alone on that part of the beach with no house nearby, where was it coming from? As I quietly listened again and watched the waves receding from the beach I realized it was the sound of millions of tiny shells touched and tumbled together when the waves retreated back to the ocean. What a blessing from the Lord, unexpected, but very quietly beautiful.

When I was looking for a special poem that I read all those years ago I found a great website, with lots of information and great pictures. If you’re interested it is iLoveShelling.com Well worth visiting. Lots of pictures and information about the area and the shelling that is described in the poem entitled ‘The Sanabel Stoop’.

If you ever get to visit Sanabel Island try to listen and see if you can hear that beautiful sound of the ‘tiniest chime’. Let me know if you hear it. I only read about one other person who heard it. There was a description of it in a book, sadly I’ve forgotten the title. It’s somewhere in my house; among the several thousand books I’ve read and collected over the years.

Every time I write or chat I’m reminded of another fun memory. The book that I gave away and bought it back at a yard sale many years later. It started “I’ll die, I’ll just die if I don’t have a …” Do you recognize that opening phrase of the ‘Trixie Beldon book?’

From a tiny shell/triggered, by wave, chime to a Trixie Beldon book. Any suggestions for the next blog? I’d love to hear from you.

and Now for the Rest of the Story

I’m sure that phrase is familiar to anyone who ever listened to Paul Harvey.  I’m using his famous line to keep the promise I made to folks a few weeks ago when I started to tell them about my first date with Bill.  Do I remember the exact words used in that status? Of course not, so I will review it for those of you who are new followers.

61 years ago, January 31, 1953 was our first official date. Jim had introduced Bill to us after he had been hired by the company Bill worked for. As a surveyor Bill was a frequent customer in my folks grocery, lunch counter, miscellaneous store. Attractive in his tight blue jeans, white shirt and engineer boots; it was always a pleasure to wait on him, with his ready smile and great sense of humor.
When Bill came in for breakfast he often looked at what Dad was eating and commented that it looked good. Since Dad usually had just sat down, but hadn’t started eating; he would just smile and slide the plate over to Bill.

Things changed when my current boyfriend, who had recently been drafted, decided to spend most of his remaining time before leaving for the service, on a trip to Florida.

Selfishly I realized that I didn’t want to spend the next several years alone; without dating. My next thought was to meet someone, have them like me enough to date me, even knowing I was planning to date/write to the other guy too.

Looking back it sounds even worse than I thought it was at the time.

Then in walked Bill, a great guy, a surveyor, and a friend of Jim, hired by the same company and working together every day. Jim, also a friend of my boyfriend, introduced us and so our story begins.

For those who know me now the next part of our story will be hard to believe. That day when Bill came in for either a cup of coffee, or maybe lunch, or breakfast? I can’t remember which, he asked if I would like to go to the show with him that night. My reply, remember I was only 17 then, and that was a different time and culture, I said I would ask mom if I could.

When she said that would be fine, I went back into the store and was too shy to tell him she said yes. I really was that shy back then. He assumed she had said no so he just kept sitting there and visiting. When mom came out; she guessed what had happened and said, “will you kids go pick up the meat from Stovers for me?”

Bill told her we would and we left for Croswell. On the way there he asked me what mom had said earlier. I told him I could go. Can you believe that if mom hadn’t intervened I might have never had one of the most important nights of my life?

Many times since then God has used others to fill a need in my life when I didn’t have the ability to speak up. Some of those memories will certain provide material for future blogs.

Back to the first date with Bill, who would soon become the most treasured part of my life.

Beside being a fun evening that led to many more it was one of the most embarrassing up to that point in my life. What happened?

After the show we went out to eat. That was a given so why be embarrassed? I don’t remember where we went to eat but will never forget what happened there.

I was a farm girl remember and used to eating lots of food, at home or at the end of an evening out. Didn’t everybody? So when Bill asked me what I wanted to eat I replied, “A hamburger, fries and a malt.” Normal enough for then. Then when the waitress asked what Bill wanted he said, “Black coffee, please.” I wanted to crawl under the table. At that time, in that culture, no girl ever wanted to order more than her date did. And never on a first date!

Looking back it only sounds funny, but I was a very self-conscious, shy person at that time and it could have been the end of our dating. Except that Bill made me feel comfortable about the difference in what we ordered, easing my embarrassment with his kind comments. Do I remember what exactly he said? No, but as he just said, “you did go out with me again.”

Over sixty-one years later; I’m so happy I did!

This winter of 2014 has been a challenging one for each of us physically, and with God’s help it has still been a very happy one. Although many physical limitations have hampered plans, still with the love we share and the amazing love of our Lord, we’ve managed to accomplish the absolutely necessary goals of everyday living.

Every day I’m happier that our first date wasn’t our last. That is one of the reasons we celebrate the anniversary of it on or near every January 31st.

What do you remember about your first date? I’d love to know 🙂

Possible? Sparkle? Easy?

Three words. Three question marks. What’s the connection? For this 60th blog it links my mind to 3 thoughts sparked by reading a saying in my daily inspirational chart. The three words in my mind describe the effort and results of faith in God. Framed in some verses from God’s Word they each make perfect sense to me.

Many thoughts and examples prove faith in God can make anything and everything possible to all of us; provided that faith is rooted in the Bible’s conditions and requirements. Verses I use to come to this conclusion?

Jeremiah chapter 32 verse 17 (Jeremiah 32:17) says, “Oh Lord God, you made the skies and the earth with your very great power. There is nothing too hard for you to do.” Matthew 19:26 puts it this way, “This is something people cannot do, but God can do all things.”

Mark 9:23 tells us how to release that power in our lives; when Jesus said to a father, “All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately after that Jesus honored the father’s request to help the man believe more.

In Luke 18 Jesus used a story to teach his followers that they should always pray and never lose hope. At the end of the story He said, “God will always give to his people who cry to him …” and later in verses 7 – 8 he repeated “God will help his people …”

Many times we have experienced that help from the Lord; so we believe that all things are possible.

The sparkle we enjoy in our lives comes in many ways. A few days ago Adam, a young friend, put a picture on Facebook that put a definite sparkle in my life; when I recalled lots of fun memories. For several years I was a member of the CMI choir. If you want to know their history and see some of the pictures you can go to http://www.cmichoir.com . I got so involved in fun memories and pictures I spent over an hour filling my mind with sparkles of joy.

If you would like to see pictures of some of the concerts providing those sparkles of joy go to their website. Once there choose the gallery and go to the pictures from 1975 – 2005. I’m in several of them, triggering memories I had almost forgotten. In that thumbnail, picture number 3 shows the first concert where I sang, 18 was we were wearing one of my favorite dresses. We each made our own, and if you know me well you know I have all of them, even if they don’t fit any more.

Dino was one of the special guest stars we had with us in concert. One of the sparkles was being in the same concerts with him. A fun memory from picture 20 was the working water wheel. I was almost next to it. I became very red from being too warm. The man next to it wet his handkerchief during one of the times the lights were low. He gave it to me so I could wipe my face. it was lovely to be a little cooler.

Photo 26 was taken in Hawaii. So many sparkles on that trip!

Two of the pictures are of our Liberty concert series. 27 was my first time singing with dry ice providing clouds to surround the young woman portraying the Statue of Liberty.

The final one was a memorable rehearsal and TV performance represented by photo 34. So many great memories from every concert in that series. Even singing directly under where fireworks were coming down around us. We performed that concert several times in different towns. It was always thrilling when the audiences responded so enthusiastically.

Talented guest musical artists were with us as well as some notable personalities to enhance our enjoyment of sharing our songs. Three well-known ones will be touring with 200 choir members in various cities this year. Hopefully they will be in our area so we can enjoy them again.

The more memories surface, the more my life sparkles, so if you enjoy these and request more I will share different ones in another blog.

The third word is many faceted. In an early description of me a friend called me many faceted. Wasn’t sure at that time if it was a compliment, but as varied as my interests, plans and goals are it was and still is quite accurate.

Easy. Easy by what you compare it with. Is lack of finances easy? Watching God’s amazing way of meeting that need makes it easy to live despite lack of luxuries. Is being alone easy? When it makes you turn to the Lord for companionship it becomes precious and in time, easy. Is dangerous sickness easy? When you discover that you are in danger of dying and an unfathomable peace sweeps over you, even danger becomes easy. I think that has to be the most blessed feeling of all. Easy to remember and a joy to experience.

So possible, sparkle and easy are all connected to how you love, trust and respond to life’s challenges. With God all things are possible. With God in control many things sparkle. With Jesus as Lord of your life, difficult things become easy. Salvation, lack of fear, and joyful sparkles are some of the reasons I love, trust and serve the Lord. Are you receiving the same advantages?