Sunday, April 28, 2013

Family growth is God's doing

9:32 p.m. Today's project was to enjoy a fun "Spanish-only" day here at home with my son Kriss and his wife Marisela. They like to do this every Sunday when they're talking in front of their one-year-old Clark, my grandson, so he will be bilingual in the very English-speaking setting here in our house. I had an easier time of it than Kriss, who never learned Spanish in school--he chose to learn French, due to the influence of his best friend Emmanuel down the street, whose family are French. He actually traveled with them to France a number of years ago. I on the other hand, studied, speak, read and write Spanish, beginning in the 5th grade and then continuing on to a minor degree in that language, with my actual degree in English literature. 

I would have been more rusty today except for the fact that I spent several months tutoring an AP Spanish student from India, and had to regularly speak the language in a big hurry! God uses all kinds of experiences, I find, to prepare us for His "next assignment." I'll take an assignment of speaking Spanish to and playing with my little "nieto" Clark any day! Jesus Himself especially loves children, shown in Mark 10:14-16,

"Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Yesterday,the Kruckenberg and Love families had a wonderful opportunity to bless our children Nick and Heather Love, and prepare to welcome their son Desmond, due to arrive in late May. Nick and Heather's siblings, parents, aunts, one uncle, nephews and friends created a wonderful setting, served carne asada grilled to perfection by my oldest son Sean, with delightful drinks and desserts for the occasion. Games were hilarious, and the large pile of gifts didn't even include items too large to bring, like the crib I purchased for Desmond. My nephew Chance's gift arrived UPS just before the party broke up--talk about timing!

The Lord was so good, allowing me to finish off the last banking portion of living trust arrangements, and I even got to listen to the daily encouraging Mary Kay telephone conference call ("The Million $ Message") before the shower, where I just relaxed and focused on family. My sister Dona, pictured below, was a real joy to have join us. I appreciated her driving all the way up from San Diego. We made plans for me to stay with her family for my niece Destiny's wedding in August. A little business managed to sneak in before lunch, when an aunt of Nick's made an appointment for a facial on Monday afternoon!

My late husband Steve's sisters and sisters-in-law added to the warmth and fun, but seem to be a little camera shy. I'll capture their precious images at my niece Kindra's wedding this summer!

This evening, I attended another family event, our last Home Fellowship Bible discussion for the year and as always, our meeting was wonderful. The Book of Acts came alive as the Holy Spirit led us into personal interaction with the scripture.After closing the year with Chapter Eight, we offered concepts and inspirations that meant the most to us through the season. One mentioned, "going for it," in sharing the gospel;one mentioned having the power to push through after being "broken" by God into the humility that leads to usefulness for Him; our leader Mark reminded us that each one of us, not just some, have been given gifts of the Spirit and we are to use them to edify one another; I mentioned that we have a lowered expectation of the power and activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church today, and after studying these chapters, I've grown in my absolute expectation that God WILL act, Will show Himself real in behalf of His children, and WILL perform even more signs and wonders than He did for the early Church. We just need to live in expectation, belief and obedience!

Above all, we noted as a group the simplicity of the statement we need to make in order to be saved, Acts 8:37b, the Ethiopian eunuch speaking:

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Do you?

Friday, April 26, 2013

A dream, a goal, a life

8:06 p.m. Today's project was to wrap up details of the living trust the Lord has allowed and led me to set up. At Steve's passing, all of his estate passed to me as joint tenant. But I have 5 children, 4 children-in-law and 4 grandsons so far, and their modest inheritance needs to be prearranged to be fairly divided among them. After a desultory number of appointments at Wells Fargo yesterday, my details were taken care of by my regular, knowledgeable banker Laila this morning; and then I had a short and productive session with Provident banker Danielle, and we're at the last step, which I can take care of tomorrow.

It's been important to be a wise steward of our family's property, because the Bible makes it clear that we are to conduct our lives wisely as believers. We give God the praise for our ability to work and earn; we give to God's work; we put aside support for our children and grandchildren. Scriptures that encouraged me are:

A wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands, Proverbs 14:1
It is He who gives you the power to get wealth, Deuteronomy 8:18
For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children, 2 Corinthians 12:14b.

Before, during, after, over and above the legal and banking procedures of the last three days has been hard work toward the achievement of my goal in Mary Kay: building my team from five active business women to ten by April 30th. On May 1st, I then may submit for DIQ (Director in Qualification), to debut on the 50th anniversary stage as a Sales Director in Dallas in August. I'll need a minimum of 24 women in my potential unit, which the Holy Spirit showed me to name "The Uplifted Ones."

For the first time this year, the Lord has led me to envision myself in that leadership role, and has told me repeatedly, especially when the goal seems far away and setbacks crowd hope out, "I am in this for you." I've added four new team members in the last two weeks, and now need to encourage my more seasoned members to continue to be active. Because I'm down to a five-day wire, I know God will get all the glory when my goal is accomplished, because only He can move another person to make a decision. Psalm 94:11 tells us that God knows the thoughts of man; Proverbs 20:24 shows us that even our own thoughts and actions can be a mystery to us, but not to  God.

Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

My son Kriss and I were talking about the difference between a dream and a goal earlier this evening. To be a professional musician has been his dream for many years, for instance. But goals such as moving his family here to live in Riverside with me on a certain date was a goal--a definite action with a date and cost. The cost could be monetary or sacrifice of familiarity or comfort. My dream is to enjoy, as sole source of income for myself, financial independence through my Mary Kay business. But my goal is definite, and has a date stamp: create my 10 woman team for DIQ by April 30th. And there are definite costs--no gardening this season, lots of appointments, parties, interviews and lead-gathering events, and many missed dinners! (How blessed I am that Kriss' wife Marisela leaves me a perfect portion of every meal I miss, which I eat later on)!

Life may not always conform to the dreams we have, but achievement of increasingly challenging goals will directly lead to success in any endeavor when the Lord is with you! Most important, let's remember to set spiritual goals as well, to read the Bible daily, pray, stay in fellowship at church, and tell others about Jesus. And we will attain to more usefulness to His kingdom if our goal is to learn and grow. 2 Corinthians 3:18:

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as of the Lord the Spirit.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Touch not

9:28 p.m. Today's project was to return some unneeded items to a department store. My schedule, which included shopping for my dad in another town, became too hectic and I didn't get it done. But the lesson God taught me is blatantly real!

Yesterday, I went shopping for the perfect outfit, head to toe, in the perfect colors, for a family event on the weekend. While I pray and trust that God is, first and foremost, developing my inner beauty of character as a woman of God, I do own a business that assists women in caring for their skin and applying color cosmetics to their advantage to look their individually beautiful best. So I do dress fashionably, whether I'm in a professional, social or casual everyday setting, with modesty and thrift as priorities. We ladies would do well to make sure our emphasis lines up with I Peter 3:3 (NIV):

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair, and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

The event's color scheme was tough to match as I searched for an outfit, combing the racks for any possible combination without much success. Then voila! There was the perfect designer dress, a Vera Wang, the price knocked down to $11.90, a Petite__! It was literally hanging facing outward, just waiting for me to take it! That was totally God, no other explanation possible. Can't help but think of the verse that assures me that God cares and gets involved in even the smallest matters if they matter to us--Psalm 138:8:

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.  

I'd already found sandals, so I just selected an assortment of costume jewelry and accessories and took it home to try different combinations for the right effect. That decision made, I began putting the non-coordinating items back into the bag with my receipt. One piece of costume jewelry, a necklace that cost twice as much as my discounted dress, kept lying on the counter, was  or was being dangled from my hands, the necklace below--absolutely gorgeous. I thought, I can use it with other clothes." But a quiet voice said, "You win jewelry from Mary Kay all the time, so you don't need it--put it in the bag!" 

I kept hesitating, and then, shockingly, was reminded of the story of Achan during the Israelites' conquest of Canaan under Joshua,  Chapter 7. After the city of Jericho had been burned to the ground, the devoted items--silver, gold, bronze and iron--were taken not for men's plunder, but to build God's temple. But Achan had stolen and hidden an gorgeous Babylonian garment, a wedge of gold and many silver coins. That theft had caused the children of Israel to suffer defeat at the hands of Ai. Leviticus 27:28-29c, KJV says,

...every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD.
None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be out to death.

At Joshua's command Achan, his family, and all he possessed, were stoned to death and burned in the sight of the congregation.

"Touch not the unclean thing," I heard repeatedly in my mind. I put the necklace into the bag, reminding myself that covetousness can be fatal!

Whatever our besetting sin may be, take it to Christ in confession, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when you are warned! As I was reminded by this morning's selection in Charles Spurgeon's Morning & Evening,

"None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints, either.You must be conquerors through Him who loved you, if conquerors at all ." (from Romans 8:37) Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Desire for significance

3:24 p.m. Today's project is to acknowledge a desire for significance, God meets that need in many different ways, even changing ways, for each of His children.

I began pondering this desire all humans have after the Boston Marathon bombing and the controversial, even outrageous comments that followed it. Whether people are physically murderous or verbally venomous, their words and actions say, "Notice me! I have the power to make you notice me!" They get their wish--plenty of press and lots of debate and investigations swirl about them.

Most of us want to be significant in more normal, God-honoring, even benevolent ways. Unusual talent, charisma and drive can cause a person to step into the public eye locally, as I experienced in elected office, or even go further to state-or-nationwide recognition and service. One may never have planned from childhood to become a celebrity, but one's passion for a cause or to develop a talent drives them forward.However, that's a pretty small segment of the world's population. The rest of us just want to be noticed, needed and loved by those we live with or see regularly--the ones we "do life with."

I believe that our need for significance to others was designed by God, who created the smallest unit of community--a marriage between a man and a woman, and, springing forth from their union, the family. Extension of the family goes out from there, in a ripple effect, creating communities and nations. God said, and acted upon, His Word in Genesis 2:18,

"It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

Four of my children are married, and the youngest, our son Steven, is in love with a lovely young lady he met as part of a prayer group. Looks like God has found each of my sons and sons-in-law "a helper comparable to him!" And for 31 years, I was that comparable helper, lover and companion to my late husband Steve. 

Until Steve was gone, he knew me, always anticipated my visits and perked up when I was in the room; even on his deathbed, he reacted ever-so-slightly when I'd come over to his bed to whisper to him or give him a kiss, differently from anyone else.  But for 31 years, whether we were blissfully or cozily or habitually in love, or even at times of not getting along, we were the most important human person in each other's life. I always felt sad for those who perhaps through no fault of their own, had no one who felt that way about them, who needed them more than anything or anyone else in their daily life, who couldn't imagine being without them.  How could you not be the first person another looks for in the morning, and the last person they see at night?

And now that person is me!

Don't pity me, by any means, because I don't pity myself. God delivered Steve out of the most wretched end of life imaginable--helpless, speechless, unable to walk, swallow or ultimately to breathe. I was well prepared for his passing from quick-moving dementia, because I was prayed for, surrounded by family, friends, church,and the Riverside County community who loved Steve (and me to this day). My dad is still with us, and two of my five children and their families live here in our house. Two others are in nearby towns, and the youngest is within 6 hours' driving distance. My women's Bible studies and ministries, and Mary Kay business keep me happily and gainfully occupied. Now that life after Steve is settling into place, I've returned to working out at the gym and caring for my own health once again.

But the most important Person in my life without question, though He is in heaven, not an earthly physical companion, is Jesus. He has been, for 33 years, truly my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. I ask for His guidance and help before getting out of bed, and He gives me a praise song in my mind to start my morning. He shows me what to do throughout the day, and keeps me safe on my many journeys and activities. Jesus gives me lots of funny things to laugh at and people to laugh with, whether in person, phone, online, or by text. He provides people who need my help or counsel, or just enjoy my company. I have plenty of invitations to social gatherings with people of all ages. He comforts me with biblical devotionals before bedtime, and enjoyable reading by Christian authors before I turn my light out for the night. Jesus Christ truly is "my Maker, my Husband" now (Isaiah 54:5).

Now that almost 4 months have passed, The Lord has given me my bearings in this new lifestyle, and it's a busy, family-filled one. I have lots of help around the house, and many friends to pray for, study the Word with, and who love me enough to include me in their fun. With the Lord in my life and opportunities to teach Bible studies, I am living out what Jesus said in John 10:10:

I came that they might have life, and they may have it more abundantly.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

No safe life

3:23 p.m. Today's project is to attend a Broadway production, "The Screwtape Letters," with my daughter Heidi and her husband Pavel, for his birthday present. We'll be traveling to Glendale by way of Pasadena, in order to treat ourselves to incredible hamburgers at the famous eatery The Counter. It promises to be a wonderful evening.

This play, from the novel by C.S. Lewis, the famous atheist-turned -Christian-apologist of the last century, concerns a demon named Wormwood, writing to his apprentice Screwtape, schooling him in ways to harass, ridicule, discourage, frighten and finally try to persuade a new Christian to defect from the faith. I read this novel over twenty years ago, and found it quite realistic and well in line with scripture, particularly I Peter 5:8:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Verse 9 tells us what believers are to do:

Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

This process of resistance is known as "spiritual warfare," which Christians of all maturity levels are involved in, whether they know it or not, and whether they desire to engage in it or not. Just moseying along keeping your nose clean and your profile low is not enough, I assure you because, Ephesians 6:12 tells us,

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Let's consider some obvious examples concerning church:

  • Do you feel extra sleepy on Sunday morning, a little cold coming on, and are the kids unruly and cranky, making you and/or your spouse want to throw up your hands and not make it to church?
  • Do you think obnoxious thoughts when you are attempting to pray?
  • Does your mind wander seriously during the singing part of the worship service?
  • Do you "turn off" all possibility of learning if you've heard a chapter of the Bible taught before?
  • Do you experience an argument in the car on the way to church, and let it keep you from listening to the Word as you play the "who's right?" arguments in your head?
  • Do you consistently nod off, though you've had enough sleep?
  • Do you decide not to go at all--though you aren't ill--choosing rather to just watch online or on TV, rather than participate in fellowship with other believers as commanded in scripture?
The last one is more subtle, because you can talk yourself in to thinking, "Well, it's the same service!" But you and I both know that at your house there's no way to truly concentrate unless we take a laptop into a dark closet--too many undone chores and distractions abound!

About your personal devotional life:

  • Do you plod along each day, praying only "as necessary," and only opening your Bible on Sunday?
  • Do you wonder what fellow believers are talking about when they mention that the Lord showed them what to do or say in a situation?
  • Do you get angry at God when daily events just don't go your way?
  • Do you lose your temper with others in un-Christlike, un-righteous, self-centered anger?
  • Do you set up schemes and action plans to solve your problems as your first automatic response?
  • Do you lack an uplifted, joyful, hopeful and infectious attitude that draws others to you-- "charisma?"
  • Do you avoid reading instructive or devotional Christian books or biographies by inspiring authors?
  • Do you confess your sin to God and ask His forgiveness? 
Witnessing to others:

  • Do you look for conversational openings to share your testimony with others?
  • Do school or work colleagues even know you're a Christian?
  • Do you bring the Lord into your daily remarks wherever you go in a natural, appropriate way?
  • Does your work ethic reflect the character of Christ, being honorable and helpful to everyone?
  • Do you sincerely cheer others on who move ahead of you in your profession, determining to contin- uously improve your own performance, whether you get a raise or not?
I think we can note behaviors, or lack thereof, which will make the lazy, complacent backslidden Christian an easy mark for the devil. The listless Christian barely requires any effort at all on the demons' part, because he or she is already doing an evil work: giving our faith a bad name, or making it of no consequence in our lives or lifestyle. The "hear-no-evil, see no evil" believer has checked out. And with no strengthening protection from the Word of God, and a thriving, intimate personal relationship with Christ, they just let the enemy devour them. With no recourse to deal effectively with life's trials, the inert believer becomes bitter, avoids other Christians, won't pray or ask for prayer, and soon finds themselves on the outside looking in. Playing it safe will prove spiritually fatal if sin goes unconfessed. And the devil had very little work to do to accomplish this, sadly!

What of the believer who decides to "fling it all out there onto God," as I like to think of it? To go all out, to seek Jesus diligently, to confess sin immediately, to praise and worship God as a daily lifestyle? What of the believer who pores through God's word in a systematic manner, gleaning solid life instruction for his or her conduct in this world? Will the devil and his demons leave them alone? Absolutely not, as we read in I Peter.

But here is the difference. When ungodly thoughts and worldly schemes come into your mind from the devil, the person armed with scripture through regular and deliberate study (Ephesians 6:17), continuously praying, filled with the Holy Spirit, and thus led by the Lord constantly, will have the means to resist the devil in the name of Jesus! As we trust Jesus to bring us through, seek Him daily in good times and bad, we learn to deal in a godly manner when vicious attacks from the enemy come. We won't buckle. We power through by the power of our Lord Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit and end up victorious in battle, though bloodied, we stand against the wiles of the devil, and live to fight another day!

No "safe life" for me! It's when the conniving enemy comes in his strength, that the almighty strength of my Lord Jesus proves again and again, what He told his disciples in John 16:33:


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Awkward times in leadership

4:18 p.m. Today's project was to seek authoritative counsel on a sticky ministry subject. While the correctness of the stance I had taken was confirmed, it had become awkward to implement. I
faced some mild-mannered opposition, but opposition all the same. The Lord was gracious to direct me, and thankfully, I'd been praying about the situation, even jouranlling my concerns, for the last two years.When it came time to lead and speak with boldness, it was the Holy Spirit who strengthened me! In 2 Timothy 4:17, the Apostle Paul speaks of opposition within and without the ranks of believers during his imprisonment, and testifies thus:

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me

This strengthening from the Lord is available to all believers, not just those in leadership. But leaders have to be so much more cautious about the words and actions we select, because we do not want to misrespresent our Lord Jesus Christ in even the smallest detail of ministry. We check and examine ourselves, first as Christians, and then as to the way we lead, that we may be diligent and loving, caring for all who come under our influence. I Peter 5:1-5 says,

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

That's certainly a tall order! But James offers a very severe warning to teachers in Chapter 3:1:

My brethren, let not many of us become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

Lord, may all who lead and teach Your people remain humble, thankful that You have seen fit to place us in ministry, teachable ourselves! Let us trust You for guidance in everything, that we might never lead "one of these little ones" astray! In Jesus' name, Amen

Sunday, April 7, 2013

W hen in doubt...

3:55 p.m. Today's project is to practice thankfulness for the Holy Spirit's "early warning system." (and so many other multitudes of blessings from God). I've been mentally processing an incident from yesterday morning from the time it happened until now. I awoke Saturday with the strong impression that I needed to find out exactly the kind of help a loved one needed, and take care of it. "But isn't that enabling? Shouldn't they learn to stand up on their own two feet and work this out? Turn to God for themselves without any
human interference?" These were my reasonable objections, not born of stinginess, because I was well able and willing to assist; it was more a matter of it being the appropriate time to practice "tough love," allowing the natural consequences to fall. Readers of the Bible are certainly aware of the "wisdom" scriptures, such as Proverbs 8:33 ( KJV):

  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

Yet, we as sinful residents of a fallen world, often do refuse instruction, don't we? That aspect of my loved one's situation did give me pause. But I continued to have the impression to find out the entire extent of the need first, and then act, even if it felt like a wrong step.

When in doubt, I thought, do the right thing. Have mercy on another, as God has given me mercy and forgiveness so many, many times! Jesus didn't refuse to help or heal people. He dealt with the sin question first, as with the man lowered through the roof in Mark 2:5, but He showed pity and met their needs anyway. And if the Judge of all the earth, who knows every single aspect of each human's background, thought process and situation, can lovingly heal and help, so could I.

So, although nervous, I helped out this family.

When I sat down to read my scriptures for the day, I  "happened" to be in Luke Chapter 6. Hear Jesus speak in Luke 6:30-31:

"Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I started sobbing with relief and peace! Then, I began my journalling, using the Word for Today journal by Pastor Chuck Smith, which contains a scripture at the top, and a good word from Chuck at the bottom of each page. The verse was Obadiah 1:12, where the prophet rebukes Edom for relishing Israel's punishment:

But you should not have gazed upon your brother in the day of his captivity. Nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

The picture was becoming more clear! Then came Pastor Chuck's wise and loving words:

"It is a terrible thing to fail to help when someone is being oppressed. It is even worse to look on in pride and derision; and worse still to profit from their demise."

I wept now with sheer joy, that God would speak to me, direct me to act despite my initial unwillingness, and then reward me with such strong confirmation!

I love You, Lord Jesus!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

No more excuses

3:49 p.m. Today's project was to sign up once again, at our neighborhood LA Fitness gym.

The last time I worked out there regularly was in 2009, my last year as a teacher. I'd go directly after work a few afternoons a week, go on an evening when Steve attended men's Bible study, and go on Saturday morning while he puttered around in the yards. Added to the running I would do in the mornings with my 6th grade students, and walking on alternate days with the gym workouts, I was in pretty decent shape! But  the Apostle Paul said this about dropping pride in his former religious prominence in favor of knowing Christ in Philippians 3:13-14,

...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

So, after four years of  joblessness and disability (Steve's) and retirement for care giving (mine); sorrow, stress, and ultimately Steve's death in January of this year, I now see the need to "reach forward" in several areas of my life. The kids have moved in, and we're beginning to make good headway with repairs to the property. Also, thanks be to God, my Mary Kay business is flourishing. Now my physical body needs repair! Praise the Lord I am not taking any prescription medications at age 61.Thanks to using natural supplements rather than drugs, I only have occasional twinges with my arthritis. And the physical work around here does have strengthening benefits.

Even if I don't tire easily despite long hours, and have tons of energy, and no bad medical tests, it's time to drop the weight! And the the snacks need to go, sadly. Below is just a portion of our Easter candy selection--delectable, but deadly!!
Yes, my behavior must change.I've found wonderful success over the years with the Atkins diet, because I love protein food s the best, and had little trouble cutting my sugar intake for two or three years at a time. My persnickety digestion improves, and there's no after-sugar fuzz to deal with late in the day when you grab a bad snack to wake you up. So i know it can be done. As for exercise, my walks with my buddy Michelle can still take place a couple of times a week for accountability; but playing my "Faithful Workouts" show is a little tougher with several early risers including my darling 1 year-old Clark who doesn't need to awaken by the sound of a TV in the family room.

So that's where the gym comes in. Now I have to peruse the daily class schedule and find a time and activity I can stick with!

In past years, I've shunned classes because I was working full time and also I needed the flexibility to just show up, jump on a bike, then treadmill, and move through my weight-training machine circuit. But classes will allow me to make new friends as well as see neighborhood pals I've lost touch with since our kids grew up.Life has moved all of us former PTA moms onward, as time must pass.Yet, I can identify with 3 John 1:14, where the apostle expresses his desire to see his friends, rather than just write to them:

I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name. 

And Proverbs 18:24 reminds us, particularly if we want to make friends as a door to witnessing for Jesus to others,

He who has friends must show himself friendly.

Looking at the schedule, I think that Zumba would be a reasonably doable class, and it's offered two weekdays and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. before I can even make phone calls to customers and contacts. I think we can safely state that "Kickbox Cardio" and "Boot Camp Conditioning" are out...maybe by the end of the year.

As people created by God, we are body, soul (our personality) and spirit (the part of us that communes with the Lord). Now it's time for me to care for all three. Your prayers will be much appreciated!!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Settling in

9:17 p.m. Today's project was to help my son, his wife, baby son and cocker spaniel get settled in at my house.Kriss, Marisela, 1 year-old Clark and spaniel Penny Lane arrived very late Sunday night, so Monday we were all getting adjusted, most of all, the baby and the dogs. My Jada was her usual self, as I stuck with her schedule, not a problem since she lives in the backyard for the most part. Penny, on the other hand, was experiencing an introduction to her new life as an outdoor dog. So we had a good amount of howling and whining, but today was much better!

I haven't moved since we bought this house in 1988, so I've forgotten how many life essentials a family needs to bring with them. Since I was expecting our fifth child the same week our new house was completed and ready for move-in, Steve forbade me from lifting a finger with the move--he did not want me going into labor until afterwards! A friend of the family cleaned the old house, and ladies from the Bible study helped me sort and pack. At age 13, our oldest son Sean was a huge help; and Steve's mom met us at this house to watch the kids. My mom and sisters-in-law came after Steven was born a week later. And my dad helped us out financially when big unexpected needs arose with the kids, on our single wage-earner budget. Proverbs 27:10 says,

Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother afar off, but I can truly say that Steve and I have always had unstinting, unselfish support from both friends and family. God brought us together, and made it good!

Today, while Kriss built shelves and we all juggled taking care of the baby, Marisela and I combined pantry space, kept fresher spices and threw out old ones (mostly mine), combined, stored and froze any excess fresh items. I made sure to get some canned goods into the Jeep for donating at church. Kriss and I devised a better "waste disposal" program for our furry friends in the backyard. I'm replacing my aluminum pans--shown to be one heavy metal that attaches to the brain of dementia-prone people--with her surgical steel set. Plans are afoot for completing the patio with short white fencing to keep Penny and Jada out when we want the baby to go out to play. And we enjoyed a mighty fine lime-chicken-and-rice dinner by Marisela too.

As the Lord would have it, the Disabled Veterans' charity donation collection truck will be coming in the morning. With all of the changes we have going on, we had much to clear out and give away! As the Apostles Peter, James and John charged the Apostle Paul after their convocation at Jerusalem:

They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing that I was eager to do (Galatians 2:10).

The life God desires for us to live is one of love, generosity and the sharing of talents with one another. In my house, as we settle in, we have the freedom to give, cooperate, be our best most of the time, and be forgiving when we aren't the people we want to be! Jesus said that if we don't forgive others, our Heavenly Father won't forgive us(Mark 11:26).

And I have a baby to cuddle! I was so blessed to have Clark doze in my arms last night, and then stretch out with his daddy nearby (see below). Multi-generational households haven't been the norm for the last few generations in America, although it's common practice around the world. With our poor economy now, families are pooling their resources and  mutually benefiting one another. My home is now a brighter, busier, and joyful place. Thank you, Lord, from this grateful widow!!