Friday, December 11, 2015

Carry On and Shine On

II Corinthians 4: 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 


The last few days, terror assaulted the innocent, leaving 14 dead and 21 wounded in a gathering just a few freeway miles from where I live. The tragedy as we know, happened in a center that services the developmentally disabled, it happened to a group of County Public Health employees, it happened to San Bernardino, it happened to First Responders, doctors and nurses, it happened to families, it happened to Americans, it happened to you and me and the world.

It will happen again.

Darkness seeks its way into the hearts and minds; an absence of light so incomprehensible, so immoral, ungodly and evil, that our own brains can barely understand how someone comes to these conclusions and then acts on them.  My heart breaks as the first funeral of the youngest took place Thursday not to far from here.

She should be shopping and celebrating, baking cookies with her sisters, and wrapping gifts. To be a wife and mother--she will never know.  "Lord, comfort those who loved her,"  I pray. 

Yet God said...Light shall shine!

Do we cower, hide, cancel our plans, stock up and arm up?

I simply need to keep my heart-light burning, telling and proclaiming, living and testifying, sharing and inviting, being and doing His will to the best of my abilities, and praying for the strength and courage to stay bright and shining despite the looming darkness.

~~~

A friend brought me a "visual gift" this week. She likes to do that, does it often. I love her for that and many other things.

Sometimes--well, all the time, despite the harshness around us, we just have to "pick ourselves up and carry on!"


Pick up and carry on! 


I believe when we do that, the Light of God only gets brighter and more intense. We persevere and build character. God uses our story to warm the cold hearts of others and in turn, it keeps our hearts warmed as well.

Do I get discouraged at times, sad, afraid, concerned? Yes. All the time really. Yet I know where my hope lies, where the Glory is...in the face of Christ! Later in the same chapter the Apostle Paul tells us in verse 8, "we are afflicted in every way, BUT NOT CRUSHED; perplexed, BUT NOT DESPAIRING, persecuted, BUT NOT FORSAKEN; struck down BUT NOT DESTROYED. The Lord remains our steadfast Light, never flickering or shorting, never blowing a fuse or unplugging, but shining in our hearts for Eternity.

The star and heavenly realm of angels led the way and proclaimed His arrival in a lowly stable; the shepherds, were the first to see His glorious face...the Face of God. Today, we can experience that same revelation, that same amazing transformation and Light of knowing Him and allowing Him to insert that same Light within our mind-hearts.

Heavenly Father, You gave Your beautiful, perfect Son to us, to overcome our darkness so that we could fellowship with You in Your Light. On the Cross, Jesus died to conquer the darkness. He replaces our broken connection and we receive the Light Switch of Salvation Thank you for the grace and love that allows me to have knowledge of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ. When this world is dark, ugly, sad and teaming with demons of evil, Lord Your Light reminds us of Your sovereign plan and Your strength for each day. May Your Light be multiplied out through this Season of Love and May Your grace be shown, even in the hardest of circumstances and point to the One who came to save us from ourselves. Amen.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Forever Young

II Corinthians 4:16 "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." 




My husband and I spent Thanksgiving Day at the "Happiest Place on Earth,"  Disneyland. We aren't exactly teenagers, but sometimes, we just like to pretend. We can get away with that at Disneyland.

We become young again, and remember the good ol' days. Surrounded by the things I love, creativity, color and design, gardens and story, I---we feel inspired.

We sat at our outdoor table at a restaurant called the Plaza Inn, our turkey dinners in front of us; my husband grabbed my hand and said,

"Let's pray, I'm hungry." 

 For the first time, I bowed my head and prayed out loud amongst everyone else at Disneyland,  right off Main Street, below Sleeping Beauty's Castle and catty-corner from Tomorrowland.



God made His presence known, for He is always with us in our hearts. His streets and pathways lead to grace and joy, His Kingdom reigns forever, and our future He holds in Eternity

The highlight of our evening concluded watching the "World of Color," water and light productions over Paradise Bay in California Adventure. The shows, filled with songs from the Disney films from my youth (yes waaaaay back then) and some modern songs (Frozen) came to life with animation projected in color,  dancing waters and even fire,  for our wonderment and entertainment.


The final show ended with the song, "Forever Young," composed by Bob Dylan and probably remembered best sung by Rod Stewart.

Maybe Bob spent sometime in the Word when He wrote this...


"Forever Young"
Written by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always 
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others 
And let others do for you

Matthew 7:12 
"Therefore, however you want people to treat you, 
so treat them, for this is the Law of the Prophets.


May you build a ladder to the stars 
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

Proverbs 4:18
But the path of the righteous
is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter
Until the full day.


Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous 
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth 
And see the lights surrounding you

Ephesians 5:9
For the fruit of the light consists in all
goodness and righteousness
and truth

May you always be courageous 
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be Strong
And courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed,
For the Lord God is with you
Where ever you go. 

Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy 
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

I Corinthians 3:11
For no man can lay a foundation other
than the one which is laid, 
which is Jesus Christ.

May your heart always be joyful 
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him,
And I am helped.
Therefore, my heart exults
And with my song,
I shall thank Him.

Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.


While out and about today, out of the blue tonight, my husband mentioned the feelings he felt last night, 

"The music...made me think about Timmy, (our son  in Heaven).  It made me miss him. " 

"He is forever young Ted, I thought of him too,  it's all good."

Ted: "I hope Corey can come with us soon, we'd have so much fun."


"He doesn't exactly like hanging out with 'old' parents," I said. 


"WHO says we're old? I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength..."


So tonight, dear friends, may you be "Forever Young," living in and through the promises of the Savior King, the Prince of Peace and the Divine Creator of everything wonderful, colorful and joyful. 

Yes, serving the Lord and knowing Him even beats Disneyland! 





Lord, Tonight and I am grateful and thankful that I have a season pass to Heaven! While I am here on this earth, You help me navigate through all the different "lands" of my life, whether happy places, discouraging places, fearful places or unknown places, You Lord are my Light, my shield, and my King. Thank You Lord for my husband and partner Ted, who enjoys this life with me and that we desire to stay "young"and serve You with all our hearts. Help us Lord to do just that and keep the turnstiles of Your truth moving with ticket holders set for seeing Your Kingdom established. I pray for the sons and daughters still young, that their hope falls upon a Star, one rising in the East that points to the Promised One, the Messiah, The Giver of all things Good. Lord, in thanksgiving, I praise You.  Amen. 







Friday, November 20, 2015

An All In, Whole-Hearted Thanksgiving

Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Thy wonders. 

Read the Psalm and you hear the author proclaim what he is in the process of doing. It's not a "maybe," its not a "I hope to" or "if I happen to see or feel something..."

I will. I will do this thing, this thing of thanksgiving, of gratitude. 

I think he's done it before. He knows. He is used to this holy habit, the consistent humbling and hash tag hallelujahs in his life. 

His heart-eyes zero in on the gifts, the wonders, and he gives his gift back, this thankfulness in the wonder of it all. 

The thankfulness is whole-hearted and whole on his lips, because of whole-body and whole-purposed love.   



It's every slice of the pie with lots of whipped cream and then the serving of it, its sitting and watching the game of football and cheering for your team--wearing the jersey and/or the "cheese head." He's all in! 

And its also the quiet gifts that turn his head to wonder. The moments that come in a whisper of "I created this for you today!  I saved you for this today!  I have this planned for you soon!" 

He feels it and knows it and bows his head in grace-filled gratitude at the Wonder, the wonder of all of it, just for him, and for us all. He can't help but tell.


This is how he does this life. Covered in grace, a heart beating to a song of gratitude and blood that needs to tell it in order to keep flowing and regenerating. He knows the power behind all of that, the way it heals and transforms. The telling uncovers the hope and the supernatural sets the table for one more. 








Here, write your name in the book. You're THE special guest today. Your name tag is written into eternity. 

Others ignore the invite, pushing it away, full from the world, bitter from its unrelenting pain. There is no truth, no winning team, nothing worth the fight...thriving on nothing but leftovers and carcasses of the dead.

But Love awaits when we say the words...Thank you Lord  for Your love, reveal it more and more to me...

 He will, and you'll keep coming back for seconds. 

He tells it, he shares it. Listen to the Psalmist, what he wants to tell. There always an invitation waiting. It's never lost, inscribed in gold each time. 

And there is always, always something to be grateful for. 

Begin today to bow your knee if only slightly, begin to take Him into your heart, to yearn to become whole-hearted and wonder-filled.  Grasp the bread in your hand for one more minute and remember, feel His goodness and His sacrifice. Slow down and savor the  cup, and taste and see...and I promise you, God promises you, you will  know your own whole-hearted thank-FULL-ness and wonder to tell of His gracious goodness and wonders. 

Lord, move today in those hearts yearning for Your peace and fullness. Allow for our prayers to be heard, for the eyes of the blind to be opened and the hard-hearted to be humbled. Let us look deeply and expectantly for Your wonders of glory and embolden us to tell of your majesty and your promises of Hope. You are Good and I will give thanks. Amen 


#1000Gifts (18th, 19th, and 20th). 

Three gifts of Traditions:

1. Mums on grave markers
2. Wednesday night Thanksgiving Service 
3. Turkey Soup   

Three Gifts of Autumn




1. Piles of crackling leaves on my campus
2. A clear view of the San Gabriel Mountains
3. The smells of pumpkin and cinnamon and cider

Gifts Made, Shared, Passed On.

1. A colorful crocheted scarf
2. An unsolicited blessing from a friend
3. God's Word in blogs for the world 


Friday, November 13, 2015

My Refuge

Nahum 1:7 "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him." 


I've caught a bit of the news today; enough to know that this is not a good day. Friday the 13th has nothing to do with it. 




Terrorists unleashed a coordinated attack in Paris; at least six different locations. Last I heard from the news, 158 dead, and that number will rise. Many of the perpetrators possibly escaped, or blew themselves up. The threats remain. 

This is the world we live in today, a close-by world, an "Instagram-grenade" world, 
a music concert-hostage world, a dinner-then dead world, a world bent on terror and human trafficking, heroin in our schools and bullying, shark attacks and earthquakes, water shortages and Presidential elections. 

Where do we take refuge? What do we do with our fears? 


~~~

My close friend Zaine is planning a trip to Brazil next week to visit her beloved aging parents and family. She fears flying--and it is a 12 1/2 hour trip!  She's been watching YouTube videos to help her with her anxiety. The thing she plans on doing though first as she boards:  pray and listen to her praise music in Portuguese. 

I've heard it. She sings it every morning to me as we eat breakfast together before school. Her singing the words I cannot understand, moves me to worship and a peace for the day ahead. 




She will be taking refuge in her Lord and Savior to calm her fears, closing her eyes and humming her hymns in her native language; finding that peace that surpasses her fears. 


~~~


I thought I had conquered my fear of speaking in front of people. As a small group leader, prayer warrior and various times of teaching opportunities at school, I feel confidant most the time when I speak and teach.  

Until recently...

I was asked to participate in a Sunday sermon series,  to "video tape" a response to the Hope and...just so happens, the CONFIDENCE I have in the Lord. 

First take...I was so nervous, so jumbled, so unprepared...my fear won and I couldn't rest until I was given a chance at a second take a week later.  That my friend, is called grace. 

With my fear in check, my prayer lifted to the Lord, my words gathered in my heart and my Bible open to hear His voice, to take refuge in Him, the shadow of His wings calmed my fears and I re-shot the video with success and peace. 

Fear gets all our physical, emotional, irrational and sometimes impulsive thoughts and actions going crazy. That human emotion of anxious and unknowing moments can cause one to isolate, become angry, feel sadness and hopelessness--keep us from living a life meant to be joyful. 

Satan knows our weaknesses and if fear is one of them and it will prevent our light from shining, you know that is going to be the weapon he wants to use. Ramping up those feelings and fears...especially if we keep far enough away from the refuge of the Lord is overwhelming. I believe in prayer warrior girl friends and I am thankful I can pray with others to help me be a conqueror through Christ.  I know who my Stronghold is and in Him, will  I cast my fears and anxieties, for He is a God I can surely rest my head and heart on. 




Thank you Lord for being our refuge, our stronghold in times of trouble. No matter where we are in this world, darkness lies all around us. Help us Lord to stay in Your light and trust in the bigger picture of all You have for us in this world that is in need of You.  Lord, we pray that we do not live in fear, but live in confidence from all that You have shown us, that You are sovereign and Jehovah-Sabaoth, our Protector. My little fear of being video-taped is nothing compared to the fear faced by others living through and surviving the terrorists attacks tonight.  Lord,  we pray for the First-Responders, the victims and families of this cowardly act. We ask for the leaders of free nations to respond with resolve to keep our nations secure in the freedoms we guard with our heart, soul and sacrifice. Amen. 














Friday, October 23, 2015

Falling Into His Grace

I Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

It started 7 years ago, with an article in the local paper--a walk for kidney disease, THE kidney disease that bloated our son up, filled him with anti-inflammatory steroids for life and taught him words in his young age like nephrologist, embolism, and needle biopsy.

Here I sit, eating a cold slice of pizza, still wired from my after-work Frapp and a couple of gathering trips for supplies for tomorrow morning's NephCure Walk--the 6th one I've planned and organized.

I feel it coming on...

I am not sure if I am going to burst out crying from exhaustion or I am going to fall to my knees in utter humbleness at how good God is to me. There is a fine line between the two at this very minute and so, I sit to write, to see where my words go, to unwind in the massaging of the Holy Spirit through His Word, in my thoughts, in my memories, in my anticipation, in the sweet mercy of the Lord.

The manifold Grace of God.

The meaning of this word, manifold, (in the Greek) is interpreted as "variegated," or multi-colored. Fall, though in California it looks and feels different than most parts of the country, the changing leaves, the colors and foliage exemplify variegation, the fullness of colors.


Fullness of Grace brightens up the dull areas of my life and piles high above the roots of my salvation. 

Grace Upon Grace (John 1:18)...Amazing Grace. 

Super-duper support, generous givers, vigorous volunteers and pro-active adults with numerous Facebook posts and the sweet faces of their children culminate tomorrow to share in this burden and to gather within the Grace--all different with different stories, yet the same love. They step out in Hope.

I will place my son's picture up on the table with a few pumpkins around it and know the Hope of the Lord. I see it in the challenge of this event and the Grace and fellowship He lavishes on me.

I snuggle still through the warm blankets of His promise to bloom again in the Spring of His planting. The variegated leaves of His grace cover me, feeding me, restoring me to know that I labor not for my glory...

but all for His Glory. 

I miss you Timmy, every day. It is never something that leaves me, ever. Thank you Lord for so many butterfly gifts this week, so much encouragement for Ted and myself. Lord, you know my uttermost thoughts and desires and You intentionally bring me to Your table to feed me and rejuvenate me, when so many things can get in the way. Thank you Lord for Your wisdom, Your Word, the Holy Spirit's voice that gently speaks to me in my very human emotions. Thank You Lord for this ministry---Yes, I call it a ministry, and may our efforts bring comfort and healing in Your time. Thank you for the relationships I am making and keeping. Lord, thank you for Your strength, even in my moments such as now, may I remain Your humble servant until You sweep and lift me up to be in Your presence, like a single multi-colored leaf floating high on the very breath of God.



Friday, October 16, 2015

Is It In You?

I Peter 3:15  "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts...


I know. It's only part of a much larger verse, a greater calling. The words before...commands.

Do Not fear...but

Do Not be troubled...but

So many of us have taken that first step of faith, believed, asked for forgiveness, know the promise of heaven. Praise God!  




And it ends there.  You are a beautiful butterfly never opening your wings. 

Oh, good deeds may abound, prayers may still be whispered at the beginning of the day, at the closing of heavy eyelids, at a table with the smell of food and appetites waiting. 

That "sanctify" part...What exactly does that...what do I have to do in order...how much time will it take...what will I have to...change?  Give up?






Complacency.

Apathy.

Excuses.

Comfort

Unwilling, unmoved, ineffective.

For me, the sanctification process became reborn within me, like a cut-off, half-dead branch grafted again to the Vine, after the "comfortable" burned up. I lived with the complacency, the apathy, the excuses and the ineffectiveness for way too long. Pink Floyd said it well, "comfortably numb." 

But the HOPE of God, though dormant, never left.

God reawakened in me a desire to deepen my faith and then live it out. I began to see and understand true Grace in a soul-changing purpose for me. That, my friend, is sanctification: the intentional pursuit and the resulting growth in that pursuit of all that is Holy, all that is purposeful, all that is inspirational and affirming--sojourning on the  path of His will and finding joy and peace in the process.

Alive again and active, my intentional asking and seeking, the nerve-endings of my soul surged with anticipation and longing for more. In that, God leads me to His comfort within the uncomfortablness of this world. 

For we may have the privilege of suffering for Christ.

The rest of that verse says this: "...always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

I know the Hope of Christ. Because I intentionally seek it every day within my grief-stricken heart, God has refilled, re-purposed and recharged a passion, planted long ago by the Holy Spirit. I gravitate towards it and I run to it. His Word is alive and active, personally sanctifying and leading me in truth towards His promises. As Lord in my heart, I can't help but share.  I stand firm to make a defense, I invite the broken, the seeking, I  encourage the down-trodden, I pray with my sisters--together in the suffering and waiting; and I am embraced and loved by a community who lifts me up as well. I rejoice in the redeeming Love and forgiveness of my Heavenly Father.


For I am a sinner.

I am called for the very purpose that I might inherit a blessing!  (I Peter 3:9). Though I have suffered greatly, I have not been crucified. I have not held the very sin of every human being in the palms of my hands and left to die on a forsaken cross where even God, The Father turned His face away. Jesus Christ bore the ultimate suffering for me, for you. In the resurrection, He conquered death, the ultimate suffering--the result of my sin.

I am redeemed, blessed. I am a temporary resident, taking daily steps towards Him in the sanctification process.  One day, I will inherit all His promises. 

Thank you Lord for the Hope within me. May I use it in a way that only brings You the glory and may this same hope stir others to seek more of You than just simply believing; for You are made known through us. Your power and grace magnifies through the believers heart if we let it go and give it to You, full reign. I am thankful for the very first step, the belief. Thank you for stirring me up. Lord help us to continue to arise out of our own dark comfort and bask in Your marvelous Light. Amen. 




















Friday, October 2, 2015

A "Freshening" Upwards

Lamentations 3: 22-24 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! 
        His mercies never cease.  
Great is His faithfulness;
        His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance,
        Therefore, I will hope in Him." 


I've missed a few weeks posting. Starting back to work, Friday night football games and a mini trip out of town last weekend, provided an excuse for not getting some words, some thoughts on this site, but I continue to fill my own heart with the Words of the Lord and inspire these same words in other opportunities God gives me to shine His light.  God is good and when you just know that and see and feel it continuously, I want to shout out His goodness and point others to see and experience it as well. Like leaves from a tree in early fall, I am ready to gather again, gather more!




The word I am thinking about tonight: FRESH.

I just finished renewing my Disneyland Pass!  Now I look forward to a whole new FRESH year to enjoy the Park and all its Magic.



It's Oct 2nd, and after the hottest September I can remember, today was refreshingly beautiful!


FRESH, as in a brand new paint job on our rented townhouse.  I've been steadily watching the progress on the other units since last Spring, knowing by late summer, they'd reach ours. It happened this week. Not sure which color scheme we'd end up with, I came home Tuesday to find a pallet choice I hoped for and soon the trim would compliment it. Today, the job is complete and I moved a few pots and tables back into place and stood back. A FRESH new look and an update; our little place looks awesome!

FRESH!  Now this one is BIG. As a Special Education one on one aide, this year started out a little different--my prospective new student never showed up. Without going into detail, --"sort of in-limbo," and feeling rather insecure in where and when I might be reassigned, I've tried to remain under the radar, still working in the classroom and doing my job.  First, I only found out a few days before school, I'd be back at my same campus, but working with a different population, the moderate to severe. Not quite sure about this, I plowed ahead. After a few weeks of getting to know the kids and co-workers,  I liked this assignment, I wanted to stay. (God always knows what He is doing).

God made that happen in a peculiar--well in a way that only points to Him. A position opened up in the same classroom for a collaborative (teacher's) aide. I applied and I got it. The Lord gave me a fresh start in a new classroom with 10 new students, 4 new co-workers, and a FRESH start at learning new things and using my gifts in a new job. The desire of my heart was to stay at my same site. He gave that to me and then some. Thank you Lord.

God blessed me with a creative spirit and I just love brainstorming FRESH ideas. While taking the kids out in the community, my teacher found these Cheetos shaped liked parts of a skeleton. She showed them to me, how cute they were and thought that somehow we could use these in our domestic lessons for October, (we cook and bake a lot). I had the idea of placing them with a frosting on a cracker. So down the aisle we headed and came up with this FRESH idea. The kids had fun making them, using their fine motor skills to spread the chocolate and preserves and finding the bones to make a skeleton. And you know what?  They tasted pretty good!  I decided to name them "Graveyard Cakes"  

Ingredients

(Seasonal) Bag of "Skeletal Bones" Cheetos
Headstone: Rice Cakes (flavor of choice) 
Dirt: Nutella or Chocolate Spread
Blood and Guts: Strawberry jelly

Bone-Appetit' !  

Lord, thank you for always freshening up my life!  You DO make things new all the time. Walking with You and wanting to live in faith teaches me to expect and hope for Your fresh ideas for me and my ministries. Your Word Lord gives me renewed strength and fresh insight when I read and ask for Your wisdom. When I sit and listen to Your teaching, I am refreshed, encouraged, ready and equipped to share your Hope in a spoiled and stale world. Lord, I do not want to be dry bones, tossed aside and brittle when it comes to knowing You and serving You. Help me Lord to always be reactivated, fresh and alive, piled high in faithfulness and expecting refreshing and new things, all for Your glory, Amen. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

ALL IS GOOD

Ecclesiastes 3: 12-13 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God. 

What more could we really want?  All is GOOD! There's food and drink on the table because the reward of a paycheck entered the bank account, then the wallet. The agenda of the day includes grocery shopping, picking from a number of places in which to find multiple choices of ingredients for a meal, --not just one meal but three for each day and then maybe some snacks in between.

An alarm rings and we awaken to a brightening sky and a sun bursting with energy. All is GOOD. The car starts, coffee-hot and satisfying,  and the traffic isn't too bad. E-mails and communications wait for us at the office and the sales projections meet and exceed expectations. Projects progress towards completion and a possible bonus...

The surgery ended and you walked over to the family and told them of the success, allowing them to feel hope...

A food critic comes into your restaurant and gives you a four-star review.

Checks are written for donations and charities, colors are picked for a remodel, and schools selected for a higher education. Children are healthy, flowers are blooming, teams are winning. Tweets are sent, statuses updated and pictures posted. All is GOOD!

But for the Grace of God,  go I...

How do you REJOICE in the GOOD---the reality of YOUR GOOD?





Do you hear the BOSS? He calls you to come to a board meeting with Him every day. He's got a working plan, one set in eternity long ago. He wants to bless you and direct you to achieve your purpose by sending you out into the world to bring Him Glory. Our good effort in His grace, redeemed in eternity.

And it IS GOOD!  OH, SO VERY, VERY GOOD.

Every breath, every moment, every action and reaction, every dollar, every talent, every inspiration, every human being's potential in this world starts as a Gift of God. Every moment we spend at "labor" whether a surgeon or a sandwich maker , whether a carpenter or a counselor, a CEO of a large organization or a teacher of a kindergarten class, someone labors, rejoicing in their job and building up others and/or creating something new, something better. GOOD is visible.


Someone else leaves the day grumbling, back-biting, cheating, and ungrateful.  We've all labored with someone like that. Our job, our assignment in that?  Pray and build a relationship. That's how Jesus enters the labor force, through us. Model gratitude. Work to improve your surroundings. Be the Light. 

Today, we taught some special needs kids to grate carrots, developing and strengthening their fine motor skills. The result?  A sweet carrot cake.  All is GOOD and yummy too!  For these kids, there IS nothing better than to do GOOD and smile, rejoice in the task and receive the blessing of  the result of their labor. A simple task for some, a challenge for others.  






Many labor in need of daily encouragement. For them, Good is hard to see. The cancer spreads, the lay-off notice came, the accident...the divorce...the "fill in the blank." Discouragement lingers outside the cubicle,  fear waits in the parking lot. A lack of focus on the Good, leaves a void of any rejoicing for and in THE Problem Solver, the Burden Carrier.  Only a  bitter cup of coffee, and one that spills in in the lap,  feels hopeless.  Take a step back into the "training room." Find your "co-workers" and begin to believe in better days. Pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and sit for awhile on break with the Lord in His Word. 

God tells us to rejoice in even these times. (James Chapter 1).  Endurance is the result, the Word says and for ourselves? We eventually become perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. God will hire you, a perfect candidate for His earthly duties, promote you for your job performance and attitude, use your story to bless others, and even in the hardest of laboring days, with our focus on Him, bring it all around for His glory. I know, this job seems impossible, but with God, all things ARE GOOD and POSSIBLE. 

Lord, help me to rejoice in my labor. All is GOOD in and through your economy Lord. Let others recognize You in their duties everyday and help me Lord to make You known in my own laboring and work. Lord, please help me NOT to grumble, fear or complain.  You know, I am guilty, if not with my mouth, definitely in my head. To You, it's all the same. Allow me to be a blessing, my labor a sweet success and all for Your GOOD and for Your glory. Lord, keep me rejoicing in all circumstances and laboring for Your kingdom. Strengethen me Lord until the day my labor is complete and may you say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant."   Amen. 



Happy, Safe and Restful Labor Day Weekend. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

The Seen and the Unseen

Hebrews 11:1 "Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." 

There seemed to be an impending storm brewing the last 10 days or so. A fog of uncertainty just kept hanging around.

Fog amongst the vineyards. 

As someone who works for the school district, I've enjoyed my summer off, doing what I like, gardening, writing, walking...and the last two weeks, waiting for a new assignment, possibly a new school. I started praying long ago, actually beginning last September when I knew my time with my senior meant that a transition for both him and myself, culminated at graduation.

So I waited until the calendar rolled around to August to expect the letter, a reassignment of a new student and praying I'd remain on my same campus.

The letter never appeared. Every time I prayed again about this, I felt such peace. "God's got this," as the saying goes. The fog remained, the haze settled in and things continued to be very fuzzy, very unclear. With school starting in just a few days, I became proactive and began the e-mailing and calling down to the district office. Yes, I became a little concerned.

It seemed I had fallen into a black hole somewhere.  With each communication, the sun seemed to start to breakthrough. In my time with God where I like to hang out, I waited for a sign of strength, a butterfly, the ones I like to name. One day, as I sat out there drinking my whole cup of coffee, I got up to return to the house, and there it was, the butterfly I named "Faith."



God's Words came to me: Just have faith, I will make things clear.  I told God that I didn't think I was too great at waiting, especially about this. He probably smiled and thought...that's why I'm doing this!  

As I write this tonight, I am back at my same high school, a new student and a new challenge. God is faithful and He gives us the desires of our heart. Sometimes, though, we must wait in the haze until He makes things visible. In that, my faith and trust grows again. I will remember this time, this uncertainty, this provident answer in His timing when things looked pretty bleak, and encourage another.

~~~

Other times, clarity is so evident. For the last two summers, the writing of my memoir, a book about my journey through grief and healing remains my number one project. At this point, I am near completion. An old friend came to visit and I decided to show her my chapter titles.

"Pick one, I said."  "I'll read it to you."

So, she did; chapter 7 titled "My Timmy." It ends with a cliffhanger.

"I can't leave without you reading the next chapter to me!" she states.

So, I read her Chapter 8. She has closure and things are clear to her as we talk about my book.

Today, another friend came for a visit and when we returned to the house, I did the same thing. I handed her my chapter page and asked her to pick one and I'd preview my book with her by reading one chapter. Out of 31 chapters, she picked the exact same chapter as my other friend, "My Timmy," and of course when reaching the end, she just wanted more, the answer to what I had left the reader wondering in Chapter 7.

Knowing me for many years, it became clear to her how God's grace and my growth have moved the dark storm clouds away and my vision and attitude now look towards the bright side of life in and through the grieving process, which to me became a part of who I am. The writing of this memoir and the spiritual experiences I've had writing it, the continued healing and purpose in the words, the stories---all the insight is as crystal clear as a Santa Ana windy day in the valley.  I need to tell this story because this is all for His Glory.

I find that is how God works. He makes things like His creation, His love, His majesty so very clear and easy to grasp while other things more abstract like faith, trust and His will, forgiveness--actually are more to do with us, our growth, our willingness to surrender and to wait.




Clear view of Los Angeles Harbor

Lord, The weatherman is right. We need to take heed and wait out the storm, stay under an umbrella of prayer and trust that You, the Light will lead us safely through the haze of uncertainty to a sun shiny place once again. In the clear and sovereign purpose You have for us God, I can trust that the Son and His rays of Hope will keep me focused and headed into each new day with a story to tell, prepared for the rainbow of promise through what is known from the testimony of Your faithfulness to me.  And in all things... I give thanks. Amen.