New Journey


Hello, my friends…I’m back…

Since I last wrote this blog, quite a bit has changed, most of it for the good like having major surgery and discovering no cancer but still healing…praise the Lord.  This taught me that God is in control no matter how scary life gets…

Then, in the midst of recovering, I learned that I would be finishing school earlier than planned.  Yep, I’m done…my last two classes were on care ministries where I learned to counsel, shepherd, and care for people; then, Small Groups, where I learned how to set up and maintain small groups.  Both classes were amazing and I learned a lot but then as quickly as they started, they ended and now no more classes for me…except eventually to take a few for credentials.  My last class wasn’t done up to the standards I was used; however, I did pass and learned that I do not always need to be perfect and life still goes on…

Then in the midst of finishing my classes, I also had to complete paperwork and a portfolio required to graduate…that was a major project itself since it took me back through looking through three years’ worth of final papers as well as collecting information and figuring out where to find this information.  The exercise taught me to be a bit more organized in the future…

So, now I’m done…my portfolio was approved and one of the next steps is to walk in December so now I need to make travel plans to California, which should be fun as I decide to drive, fly or train?  While making the trip fun…

So, now that I’m done, I need to find a ministry Care that comes with many questions since I don’t know what’s around the next river bend…but I am learning to seek God and His desire for me and my husband.

After all, according to Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Questions:

  1. Are you struggling with your own future or next journey in life?
  2. What fears do you need to overcome?
  3. If you’re not sure of which direction to go, have you prayed and read scripture?

So, what’s next? Well, I hope to continue writing a blog about the journey including following God’s lead on deciding our future so that I am able to use the degree that I’ve worked so hard for, with God’s and my husband’s strength, while fulfilling His purpose for our lives…

 

Cherish Health and Loved Ones


Well, first, I apologize for not blogging in a while…this journey has gone down a different path and its about to go on another adventurous path.  This may be the last blog for a while especially as I wrap up my current class in World Religions.  Next week I get the adventure of interviewing a rabbi and visiting a synagogue for my final paper on Judaism.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, hubby landed in the hospital with another infection and another amputation.  Now he’s down to just a thumb on one of his hands.  During this time, I had my birthday but I realized spending time with him was more important so no celebration though he did make sure I had a card and balloons.  Someday soon we will celebrate…

Then, just as he recovered from that, we rushed him to the hospital again a few days later…this time with a mild heart attack and extremely high blood sugars.  If we had waited longer – like he wanted – he would have ended up in a coma.  Praise the Lord that we got him in and Type 1 Diabetes sucks.  He’s doing fine now.

Well, just when he got out, I had a minor procedure myself to remove what they thought was benign growths called fibroids.  Then, I got the results a few days ago and its the stage before cancer…I was in shock!  It had changed from the stage before that in less than 3 months…tears were shed.  I’m trying to be brave…as I prepare for more surgery and a specialist…

Just a few months ago, I was moaning because I thought I was abnormal because, other than type 2 diabetes and high bp (which praise the Lord, I’m controlling), I have been relatively healthy – not even a broken bone – my entire life!  Now this!  So cherish your health and if you think you are abnormal for having such great health, don’t!  Enjoy what you have!

I wanted to stay in bed all day long – well, still recovering from procedure – but today, I realized that is no life.  I’m going to fight and be grateful that I’m still breathing.  After all, why would God take me when He’s preparing me to be a minister?

So, now I’m in the mode of live, let God be in control…and above all, cherish your loved ones.  Another celebration has been put on hold throughout this – our 7th anniversary.  We ordered dinner in but we’ve yet to really celebrate.  So yeah I repeat myself – cherish the ones you love and its not about celebrating but spending it with the ones you love, being faithful to God, thankful for all you have, and enjoying life.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends…I will try and blog over the next several weeks.  If not, I hope to get back after the first of the year, when I start my final year (5 more classes left) until graduation.

And, I’m saying a special prayer for anyone out there who is struggling with health issues…and remember, no matter what, God is in control and He is there with you on your journey.

Community of Support and Encouragement


I do apologize for not writing in a while…its been hectic.  Starting with the first day of my new class, life started out with landing in the emergency room one day due to a lot of pain.  This visit will lead to several tests in the coming months and perhaps major surgery.  Nothing serious…I pray.  Yet the people who I expected to say something have been quiet; however, I have been getting support from strangers, good friends, and relatives…who I appreciate and feel blessed to have in my life.

Then, our community was hit was a tragedy called a school shooting.  Three young people tragically passed including the shooter himself.  The community is reeling.  People around the community have reached out in support of the families of all including the young man who chose to commit such a terrible crime.

In the midst of this, as I wonder if I will be diagnosed with the big C (not yet, more tests will determine if so), I’ve also wondered – why do people stay so busy and then show up at funerals?  Why don’t we stay in touch before a person passes or even is diagnosed with a terrible disease?  Why does it take a tragedy before we realize that someone was facing issues in their life?  This is not meant to judge anyone…but just a curious thought.

Yet, we need to support each other during both the good and not just the bad stuff…after all, God made us to be part of a community.  Humans thrive when they have a support system, surrounded by loved ones.  Perhaps if people knew they had this support, maybe there would be one less tragedy in this world?

I know it may not stop all tragedies like the one my communities and others have experienced in recent years in this country…but even if it was just one or maybe even two, that would be few less tears shed.

So think about it…who haven’t you spoken to a while that may need to hear from you even if they are going through a good time?  Maybe inside they are facing turmoil too afraid to say something in fear that they will be judged.  So, perhaps just a few words of encouragement will help them through that turmoil.

The encouragement can be a simple hello, how are you to even praying with them.

Maybe write a real letter or card sent through the postal system called snail mail.

So, in conclusion, I leave you with a verse that was preached in church yesterday to encourage those facing struggles now as they read this blog:

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcame the world!”

And, remember, even if you feel alone during a health crisis, loss of everything dear to you, or even something as simple as not passing a test at school that you needed to pass, God is with you and He does love you.

Finally, if you do need encouragement or even just prayer, please contact us so both my husband and I can pray for you…

A God Who Delights in Mercy…Like You


Hello everyone, how are you doing on this blustery fall evening?  Hope all is well with you…

So, this is my 100th blog and as I write this, I am reflecting on a final paper on the prophet Micah that I just wrote for my prophets class…

The passage that I based the paper on was Micah 7:1-20 and one of the verses was as follows:

Micah 7:18 (NIV):

Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.

This passage starts out with how the prophet is upset because the leaders of Judah are corrupt and even those within the community from friends to family members have turned against each other…sort of reminds me of today’s times.  Yet Micah wrote about a God who is merciful and does not stay angry with his people forever.  That the problems of the world can be overcome through God’s salvation…

Questions:

1) when  you hear a phrase “who is a God like you,” what do you think of?  Negative or positive thoughts?

2) If negative, do you know where these thoughts are coming from?  Have you been hurt by corruption or even people turning against you?  I’m praying for you and I know the feeling…I once thought God was negative because of the words Father that were associated with Him because of bad experiences yet after prayer and listening to a message one night, I realized He’s an Abba Father who does not stay angry forever and loves to have compassion and mercy on His children. Yeah, He may get angry at times because of things like social injustice, corrupt people, idol worship, and so on but He doesn’t stay angry forever and He forgives people because He loves them.

3) If positive, good for you and maybe use the positive thoughts to encourage those who are discouraged by negative thoughts?

So, I leave you with these thoughts and prayers that all is well with you…and remember God DELIGHTS to show His mercy…

I’m going to put together a contest soon to celebrate 100 blogs and I started a class on World Religions about the different religions around the world and how we as Christians can reach out to them…so stay tuned for the contest and a few words on what I am learning…

Blessings to all of you and sticking with me through the journey of 100 blogs…

Praising the Lord as I Hit the Bumps in the Journey


Hello, how are you my friends?  Hope all is well as I write tonight’s blog…

So, as I write this, I will first let you know that I may not write a blog for at least a week as I prepare to focus on a final paper on a passage in the book of Micah for my class on the OT Prophets this week.  Yep, another class is about to end and that will be one more down with five more to go…if I get a chance, maybe i’ll pop in and write a few notes about the final as I discover the Lord’s lessons in this study…

Anyway, as I go through this journey of earning a degree towards a Master in Pastoral Care, I have been hit with a few bumps in terms of my own health and even my husband’s health, which have forced me to cut back my hours at the church but I won’t give it up.  I almost did but God reminded me that He wanted me there and opened my eyes to another option of cutting back hours, which I have, as I face the bumps in my journey.

  • Bump 1:  As for my health, I won’t go into details but earlier this year I was finally diagnosed with diabetes and began treatment.  Currently its just taking a med twice a day as my condition is monitored.  This has forced me to watch what I eat and focus more on natural ways to heal my body.  For the most part, I’m controlling it.
  • Bump 2:  Then, throughout the course of getting routine checkups, a biopsy has occurred with the results to be on the lookout for a concern and be treated for it…no its not the c word, yet, praise the Lord and praising the Lord that it won’t become the c word.
  • Bump 3:  Another routine test confirmed a suspicion – I have partial hearing loss…it took 20 years until I finally got a doctor to really listen and have me tested.  IF something is not right, be persistent with doctors.  Yet, I need to be tested for something else to explain the physical reason why I have partial hearing loss (thought it was from either getting hit by a baseball plus construction at work at the time).  Even need expensive hearing aids!  But praising the Lord that He’s in control…
  • Bump 4:  Finally, yet another issue has been hitting my body that has led to the discovery of low iron and hemoglobin levels – yet another round of tests coming up…yes, I’m still praising the Lord!
  • Bump 5:  My husband has been having circulation problems again and this next week he will be having an angiogram on his hip to determine the extent of lack of blood flow in his right stump…yet I’m still praising the Lord.

Well, to be honest, I haven’t always been praising the Lord – over the course of the last several days, I’ve had my scary moments and even questioned why the Lord would send me on the journey to get a degree in ministry, only to have my health be attacked like this.  Yet, I continue to praise Him even in the scary times and sought both His comfort and the comfort of my husband’s arms and strong encouraging words.

I’ve felt alone because I’ve asked for prayer from people and not getting much response…yet I still praise the Lord and I will still pray for people.  Though the storm clouds seem dark right now, I know the Son is still shining and HE is in control.

Suggestion:  Be there for people as they are going through a rough time…even if you don’t know what to say or do, just a simple I’m praying for you will work.  Being silent only makes the person(s) think you don’t care and the storm clouds seem darker.  Yet that person(s) knows they still have Jesus at their side.

Finally, no questions tonight, but just a wrap up…even if you are still silent with people, you are still loved…as we continue to praise the Lord and put our trust in Him.

Making a Difference…bit by bit


Do you ever go through your day and wonder if you are making a difference to someone, anyone or anything?  I’ve often wondered that because I’m not a big time minister yet even though I’ve been told I’d reach quite a few people…even though I’m an introvert.  Yet I know if God has plans to use me this way, then I’ll let Him work through me.

Even though I know God will use me, I had an interesting discovery this week and realized I am making a difference in someone’s life especially after writing a crazy paper about the horrors of what other people do to each other around the world…all I can say is that we need to kinder.

Anyway, we have been sponsoring a child for almost 2 years from India who was 7 at the time.  This started around Christmas as I was shopping for presents for my cat and realized we spend so much on our pets but there are kids who need our help (for animal lovers – its okay to spoil your pets).  Shortly after this thought, I was presented an opportunity to sponsor the girl and finally responded to a call I’ve heard for a long time – to sponsor!

Though money has been tight at times, God has always provided the funds for this monthly contribution.

Yet, over the years, I’ve wondered if we are making a difference or should we pull our sponsorship and find another org?  But then, I think, if I was the girl’s mother, I would want someone to keep helping her even if it’s just a small contribution.

Then, we received a progress report this week and I wept as I realized we are making a difference to at least one person as she wrote that she wanted to be a doctor and she enjoyed the classes that the org provided for her through our donation.

So, make a difference in someone’s life rather it be a sponsorship, helping the elderly neighbor with a chore, or some other small thing that won’t get you applause but will make a difference to just one person.  And, even though people on earth may not notice, God does.  And, remember, its not about just works its also about faith in Jesus.

Questions:

1) So where can you make a difference?

2) Do you often wonder if you are making a difference?  If you do know, well smile and get teary eyed.  And, even if you don’t know you are making a difference, God knows.

Horses and Gifts


Well, I’m a big fan of the show Heartland, which is about a girl who basically takes troublesome horses and changes their behavior or even the behaviors of their people.  Furthermore, the show is about a ranch where her family takes in people who are just as troublesome and changes their behaviors.  I want to do something similar someday- either with a ranch or coffee shop – and help people walk through the life patches of life with the help of other humans, animals, and above all, God.

Yet, as I help people through life patches, like horses who were made for different tasks, humans have different gifts and talents.  For example, some horses were made to show jump, some were made to pull wagons, and others were meant to race around tracks.  Likewise, for humans, some were meant to be artists, some were meant to build houses, and some were meant to lead a corporation or even a church.

After all, according to 1 Corinthians 12:4-5 (NIV):

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.

I used to work in various analytical and office jobs at different companies; however, when I was let go from my last job three years ago, I decided to re-invent myself and use my gifts and talents in the ways I was meant to use them.  After all, i was bored out of my mind with office work but noticed I was content in ministry type roles.  Just like a racing horse would be bored in a petting zoo but would be thrilled to race around a track.

In conclusion, I was meant to be an artist/craftsperson, write, and reach out to people through ministry; thus, the reason I eventually want to open up a ranch/coffee shop that reaches out to people.   Thus, with these gifts, my purpose is to reach people through creative methods like art or writing while showing them God’s love through His Creation and helping them heal from the wounds of painful experiences.”

Questions:

1) What are your  gifts?

2) What is your purpose?

3) Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose in life?

Old and New Seasons


Well, today is the last day of summer and tomorrow we quietly slide into fall.  For a while, I’ve noticed the change in weather even though today, the last day of summer, was a day in the low 80s as I chilled, relaxed and watched fave shows on Netflix while enjoying a nice lasagna soup with cornbread and checking SEA-Bronco Games scores (go ‘Hawks!  Sorry, I do live near Seattle and I have had connections to the Seahawks over the  years!)   Yet even as we celebrate with a ‘Hawks victory and the last day of summer, the season continues to change to autumn.

With the change of seasons, the change in weather is noticeable especially at night with a bit of chill in the air though we have yet to turn on the heaters…probably soon since we wake up to a chill in the apartment.  No fun when taking morning showers!

With the change of seasons, things will get hectic over the next few months with holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving before sliding into winter and its holidays like Christmas (yes, I’m already planning for this holiday but I will enjoy the first two before celebrating Christmas).

With the change of seasons, life has been crazy around here with my class on Prophets, which will end soon and I start up a new one on World Religions.  Wow!  Time goes by quickly when having fun in a great class!

With the change of seasons, life is getting crazier as we prepare for more tests and another procedure with my husband.  Even I am dealing with a few health issues; yet I know God is in control.  And, He has our life and our health in His hands.

Finally, with the change of seasons, I must realize the following according to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
  a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
 time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace

Questions:

1) With the change of seasons, are there any changes that you are going through?

2) Are you at peace with the changes?  Or do you sense turmoil?  Or something else?

3) Have you taken the turmoil or something else to God in prayer?

One Bold Step at a Time


So, as I sit here, I wonder about my life…have I fulfilled my dreams?  Not all of them and some have yet to be fulfilled.

Have I fulfilled the dreams that matter?  Or the purpose/vision for my life?  I’m on my way to fulfilling that dream of going into ministry.

Will I be able to fulfill that vision?  After all, I’m not a perfect Christian (God loves imperfect people), I feel too old to go into a ministry (yet God used a lot of “old” people in the Bible) and I don’t even know where to go to get started in a ministry.

Above all, I am an introvert – that’s right!  Writing in the background of my home office is find; however, if you get me in front of a crowd of people, I freeze up!  Though at one time in my life, I was at an out of town church and urged to get up and speak – I amazed myself as I began speaking to a crowd of people – most strangers!  And, I’ve been told I need to be as bold as a lion so I’m working on that part of me and with God’s help and strength, I can do it…after all, guys like Moses has a speech problem and he ended up going before a Pharaoh and leading a gazillion people out of Egypt – so I guess I can speak up!

Even figuring out how to get credentials will be a long process and I face the challenge of being a divorcee…yet I know God can still use me even if it takes a while to get my credentials.

Questions:

1) So what dreams do you have that need to be fulfilled?

2) What’s holding you back?  Is it minor stuff like being bashful or thinking you’re not the right age?

Well, my friends, in conclusion, I encourage you to fulfill the dreams that matter to you the most and let God handle the “small” or “big” stuff…and take small steps towards that dream like I’ve started doing by volunteering once a week at my church.  It may be simple projects; however, its giving me the experience of working in a church/ministry while working towards fulfilling the purpose of going into ministry…a calling that I heard when I was a kid and my dad was a ministry, nearly 30 years ago as I stood on the steps of another church and swept its steps or preaching in front of a crowd of strangers…

The Clydesdale and Prayers


Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything for it?  You prayed and you ran scenarios through your head as to how you would handle this thing you wanted really bad?

This happened to me a couple weeks ago at a county fair where I went to see one of my favorite animals – horses!  There was a raffle ticket for a horse – a Clydesdale mare, of all horses – but I was determined to win her as I purchased several tickets.  After all, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a horse.

I spent that night dreaming of ways to care for the horse – though I don’t think the apartment management company would welcome a horse as a pet – especially one as big as a Clydesdale.  I begged my in-laws, since they have a field, and even called my parents who have a neighbor with a field

I was full of hope until the night of the drawing came and went – with no calls!  I wanted to rant at God for not answering my prayers then remembered there are times when He will say no especially for something like a horse that I would not have been able to take care of.  So the reasons for God’s no on this prayer request were understood.

After all, James 4:3 (NIV) says:  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 

Maybe I would have used this horse for my own pleasures and not for God’s purpose?

Yet some prayers will be heard and taken care of yet sometimes God needs to say no to us.  We may not always understand like me wanting my son back in my life…yet I know God has a purpose for that and some day he will be restored to me.  Yet, other prayers like my husband’s complete healing are not so easily understand as I watch him fight the complications of T1 diabetes and yet he is faithful to God as he encourages those around him.

Yet, in conclusion, as I look back, there have been times that He has answered with a yes;   After all, Matthew 21:22 (NIV) says:  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  The yes answers have been about glorifying Him and serving His purpose like the prayers of giving me the right words for this blog or even allowing recent doctor tests to come back that said “no cancer” so I can continue to use my degree to serve Him.

Questions:

1)  Is there times that God has said no to your prayers?  If so, if you looked back, do you think there was a reason?  I know some “nos” maybe painful like not healing someone like my husband…and I don’t have an answer to these nos.

2)  Can you look back and see where He has answered with a yes?  If so, do you show you are grateful even if the answer was no?