Storms of Contentment


 

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed overhead as I experience the first t-storm in my trailer…though normally I am scared of storms, this one seems peaceful.  Though normally I want to hide under the bed, this time I just typed away to the pitter patter of rain drops on my roof…Perhaps its because I’m finally content in my own little home.  Or simply knowing that God is in control…

 Even my cat has been content…during the last couple of moves, she seemed stress to the point of not eating and/or getting sick; however, since we moved to the trailer, her appetite has been normal and she seems more playful like a little kitten…

 Though I’ve had a few incidents with the trailer like draining the tanks during a downpour (Yeah, that’s my life now…), thinking my fridge was about to go out (just a matter of adjusting the temperature), and dealing with bugs…yeah, I’ll have to find a way to keep really gigantic ants and flies out of my trailer

 Yet, I often worry about these little things…in some ways, I get impatient with them yet I’m working on being patient…because little things happening is a part of life.  I stress and worry about things like getting ready to go back to work…or making a good impression in my new community and church.

 Therefore, I need to let to let worry go as heard on the radio the other day when the DJ quoted the following by CS Lewis (The Collected Letters, vol 3):

Remember one is given strength to bear what happens to one, but not the 100 and 1 different things that might happen…and I’m sure God never teaches us to fear of anything…

Yeah, that’s me…I worry about 101 plus different things and constantly fearful like worried about what could happen as I prepare to start my new job…

 Or most recently…I had an interaction with someone and my analytical mind thought I had done something wrong because I didn’t hear from the person for a few days.  So I became almost physically sick from worry…yet, that was not the case.

 Yeah, I could say I have a right to fear because things have happened in my life…yet, I continue to pass through those valleys and come out stronger each time with the strength God has given me.

 Anyway, what are you worried about?  What can you do to lessen stress and worry in your life? 

According to Luke 12;25 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

As someone who needs to keep stress down due to a health concern, I’m not helping by worrying so I need to let go and turn it all over to God…and not be so fearful about what could happen.  Or just be like my cat as she cuddles with me during the storm…knowing Mama will take care of her like God, the Father, takes care of us…

 Or, like I do, take a moment, sit on the front step, and just enjoy His Creation and the wonders of the earth…meditating on his word with scripture reading and prayer.

My church life…in a small community…


The other day, I was up in the balcony preparing the sound system and the morning songs on the overhead projector…once I had things set up (well, a few hitches during the service), I felt content.  Like I had finally found the place to worship God and learn more about Him.

 

Sort of how I felt when I attended this one really big church and would greet people as they came through the doors…excited to be part of a great ministry…and to see people gathering to worship the almighty and merciful God…

 

Though the church is small, there is approximately fifty people on an average Sunday morning; although it may seem small, the people have big hearts and the messages are usually powerful.  Most recently, I attended another church where they had a congregational sing-along with other churches in the community…what a great opportunity to meet others.  Of course, me, was shy and went into my little shell…but I’m slowly coming out…as I acquaint my self with a new community and church.

 

This church was initially discovered by my parents a few years ago so they have described its wonderful atmosphere and people, who are just as my parents described.  Then, when I moved here, I checked out one church that really didn’t seem like home…it probably feels fine to others but I wanted a close knit church…like a family atmosphere…after losing my husband…it was as if God was telling me to become part of a family again after listening to several messages the topic of family.  Which does feel like family especially by those who helped with the move like the pastor and a few others before I even met them…

 

Then, I paid a visit on a Wednesday evening after cleaning out a storage unit…the atmosphere was warm and welcoming as I felt myself drawn to the point of driving over an hour each way to attend its services.  Now, that I’m here, it feels strange to have the church only ten minutes away so that took a few days to adjust to not getting up at 5:30 on a Sunday morning…though the trip was worth it especially now that I have fallen for its many valleys and the community itself.

 

Now I can be more involved like recently helping with a yard sale, going to prayer meeting (something I’ve missed doing over the years), helping with the sound system (which has its own trials as I learn) and other areas as needed…I’m even practicing to eventually sing a solo (Yikes…I don’t do good in front of people).

 

Anyway, though my pastoral license is delayed, I can still do what my heart desires…helping at a church (since part of my spiritual gifts is serving), something I have loved doing since I was a kid in a church that feels like being with family…

 

So, what is your church like?  Have you found a church to call home?  If not, I pray you find one…after all, God is about community and a church is like a community where people learn about Him while being supported during the rough times…so come home to a place of family and fellow believers tow worship Abba Father…

Ahhhh…the joys of homeownership…


I’m back…it’s been a couple of weeks of ups and downs with final move and adjusting to life with a trailer plus waiting for internet access (which I almost didn’t get but I have it now)…anyway, I guess it’s called welcome to home ownership…

 

First, the move went smoothly…some great guys from my church (the same one a second time) plus my parents helped load up the heavy furniture and off to storage we went…though I did trail dirty plant water all over the carpet (though was warned) but at least it didn’t rain.  And, it looks like that house is finally selling just in the nick of time (though, I did pray for a buyer a few weeks so guess the prayer worked)…

 

Second, came moving the cat down to the trailer…yeah, she was shocked at another move especially when the crate kept tipping over with stuff all around her during the more than one-hour trip.  Poor baby…but she’s settling in and enjoys the trailer.  Just need to keep her in due to coyotes and wildlife around the area.  Though she gets excited about the birds, cats, and other wildlife but hiding when things get a bit scary.  Sadly, our neighborhood kitty has disappeared but there are other cats around…

 

Third…then there were not one but TWO key incidents…the first incident involved coming home after shipping and cleaning up the house…I put my load in the trailer amidst all the boxes, etc.  Then I took the garbage before leaving for an errand…wait!  Where are my keys?  After searching the trailer, van, and even the ground I could not find them…but could they be in the dumpster?  So after not one dive but three dives into the dumpster…I found them buried under stuff…

 

Then the next incident…I needed to dump the tanks so excited, I found out how to do them and stepped out of my trailer, closing the door to keep kitty in.  While I draining, I discovered I locked all keys inside with kitty howling at me…yes, I met the local locksmith but I do not step out of trailer without at least one set of keys…and, while waiting for the locksmith, I managed to dump wastewater on myself…gross…then I went to the church where other people were losing keys…aye…aye…but God was there to help each of us…

 

Anyway, through a bunch of small incidents…I now I have internet and even satellite tv…my outdoor stove isn’t working…and then I blew the main breaker while cooking dinner…yes, I’ve almost been ready to give up trailer living until I realize that each time, I called out to God and my daddy, who helped me through each incident…so don’t give up even if life gets a little tough.

 

It has also helped me be more appreciative of people like my dad, my father-in-law, and even others who have helped me with minor repairs over the years…oh, please learn to handle small repairs on your own before an emergency happens…like now, I need to find out why propane is not going to outdoor stove…

 

So who do you appreciate?  Whoever it is, tell them thanks because after all:

1 Thess 5:18 ‘In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 

So stay tunedmy dad is on vacation and I must rely on myself to figure things out…but I did drain the tanks and checked the propane on my own while tending to my little garden…and even setting up my patio area and stocking the kitchen…because, despite the funny things that happen, me and kitty are content living in this little trailer as God continues to bless and take care of us.  And, even with these incidents, its nice to sit on my front step after a long day to enjoy my new life as a homeowner…

The Delivery Process


Well, my trailer has been delivered and setup…though we had a few hiccups…like wrong delivery address and electricity issues…I have spent a couple of nights there already and everything seems to be going smoothly…even with a few worries like getting rained on…

 

First, after unloading and unpacking, I settled down…since it was a warm day, I sat on the front step and studied the scenery…on one side is a golf course and then the rest of the trailer park is surrounded by trees and mountains…plus, across, the street, is an old barn with a herd of cows!  Yeah!  I finally have my little trailer in the country…yippee!  Or should I say moo?  The simple life I’ve been dreaming about for a while…

 

Next, while talking to my mom, I had a visitor…a little kitty who I had met before…he/she wanted to come in; unfortunately, I had to put a stop since my little lady is very territorial.  Anyway, the little thing hung out with me before heading off to find another adventure…

 

That first night was interesting…I heard thumps on the roof…were wild animals breaking in?  Oh, how I worried…then it was a matter of adjusting to new sounds and a mattress; however, by the time I spent a second night, things were more comfortable…though I missed the little lady, who also missed me…and less worrisome.

 

Despite the ups and downs throughout the process, I am excited to live here…though it was cool “home” after church last night rather than facing the danger of deer on the road or even blinding sun to get to my other home.  Plus, it is about ten minutes versus over an hour…so sweet!  I don’t even have my laptop, radio, or even a working television yet so it was nice not to be distracted by gadgets except my phone…just enjoying God’s creation practically in the middle of nowhere…

 

<<sigh>> I once heard you are in the place you’re supposed to be when you’re happy…well, this new adventure called trailer is a happy and relaxed place to be…where I truly believe God is calling me to live a simple life while even ridding myself stuff.  I guess, after losing my husband, relationships are more important than stuff…

 

Well, at the same time, I do have other worries like how to light the propane oven, change the gray and black water tanks, and then supporting myself…yet, I also know I shouldn’t worry since God will take care of me.

 

After all, according to Luke 12:22 (NIV):  Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear…basically have faith for God to provide since according to verse 30 “your Father knows that you need them…” 

 

At the same time, don’t wait for things to come to you…like me, I am looking for a job; however,  I know God will provide while I work on ways to earn an income through writing or whatever God has in store for me to live this simple life.

 

So, what are you worried about?  Like me, I was worried something would go wrong with the delivery, which did happen but, overall, the delivery went smooth and I met some great people with my dad’s help…so trust God and unwind from worry…after all, like the delivery guy said, worry just stresses a person out so release the worry…deep breaths…and let God work things out for His glory.

 

Or, just bask in His marvelous creation…like my new friend who doesn’t seem to have a worry even after accidently being locked in a shed all night…

Celebrating an Old and New Birth


Yesterday, I experienced one of many firsts without my husband…though they have been tough, I manage to get through each one from our anniversary, holidays, and other milestones.  Yesterday was no different since it would’ve been his 53rd birthday…though we miss him dearly, he probably celebrated with Jesus or other family members who have passed.

 

To celebrate this day, I went to the dealer to inspect the trailer with my parents.  Not only did I inspect the trailer I am now calling Mercy, I was given a quick guide on how to handle the many hoses, gadgets, and other bells and whistles that come with the trailer.

 

The appointment started with anxiety when I showed up and they weren’t ready…I just wanted to see Mercy and touch her again…after all, it’s been two weeks since I bought her.  Oh, Mercy is a name I gave her since my van’s name is Gracie…me and my husband tended to name our vehicles.  Well, anyway, after a several minute wait, I looked out in the parking lot and there she is…clean from a “bath” and ready for inspection…it was like welcoming a new member of the family.

 

Unfortunately, within an hour, my head was overwhelmed with learning how to hook up hoses and cords…and so on.  How to turn on each function…rather to use propane or electricity…battery power or electricity and so on…then learning the difference between black water versus gray water and types of hoses to use…and so on…

 

Excitingly, she comes with a ton of bells and whistles that include an outdoor kitchen and speaker system…an amazing entertainment center plus other cool features like the awning and tons of storage.

 

Of course the downfall is deciding what to keep in the trailer, store, or bless other people with…after all, I finally decided to be a girl and splurge on some cute shoes other than black flats…then there is my princess kitty who gives me looks as I pack AGAIN…but I hope she enjoys the new home; though I’m sure she’ll be content as long as she can keep hogging the bed.

 

Well, anyway, it’s getting excited and tomorrow Mercy is delivered to my spot in a really tiny town with trees and fresh air.

 

As for my husband’s birthday, I plan to celebrate my first night in the trailer with his favorite treat of cherry pie and sparkling cider…though I have a feeling he is smiling so I raise my class to a classic husband and the new adventure I am about to embark on…

SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A WONDERFUL HUSBAND 

Anyway, are there some firsts you are about to celebrate with or without a loved one?  How are you handling them?

 

 

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.

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…

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.

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…