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…

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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.

Lost and Found


Well,  how was your week?  Have you been creative or reflective in your walk with Jesus?  Or even made an important decision to accept Him into your life?  Or do you feel lost rather you have accepted Him or not?

Throughout the book of Luke in Chapter 15 there are a few parables about sheep, coins, and even a son who were lost and so these parables reminded me of my own lost story this past week.  You see, I have been losing weight to fight a health issue and so my wedding ring has been getting loose.

Earlier this week, I ran a bunch of errands and noticed it was quite loose but I kept it on.  A few hours later, I noticed it was missing and went in an almost panicked mode…worst scenario – it was flushed down the toilet!  Or lost under the tires of a car in a store’s parking lot!  I even dug through the garbage, garbage disposal, hamburger, fish and so on (I’d split up the meat and produce picked up at the store)…but alas no ring!  We were both devastated and I moaned the loss of such a connection with my husband.

Then, a little voice kept whispering check the bags…check the bags…so I checked the baggie storage and then I checked on bag that had been shoved in an obsolete spot.  My heart leaped with joy as a small shiny object popped out and fell to the floor…rolling under a few more bags that had fallen!  Praise the Lord..after doing some more digging…I found my ring.

Quickly I tucked it away until I can find a nice chain to wear around my neck until the ring can be resized…

Lesson learned was that I need to tuck something precious away especially your ring if you notice it in a hazardous situation (yes I got the lecture from my hubby).

Above all, I felt like the woman did in Luke 15:8-10 whens he found one of her ten coins that signifies she has been faithful in her marriage.  She rejoiced just as Jesus rejoices when even just one sinner repents.  Or the Father who rejoices when His son returns home in Luke 15:11-32.

Questions:

1) Do you feel lost?

2) If so, where are you at in your walk with Jesus?

3) Have you said the sinners prayer?  Or even returned to Him after a long time away from Him?

4) How do you take care of your relationship with Jesus?  Are there warning signs that you are drifting away on the way to becoming lost?

5) Did you know that even if you have drifted away, God still loves you?

Wherever you are at, I’m praying for you and will rejoice with you once you are found and return to Him…

Simple and Powerful Prayers


Prayer…what do you think prayer means?

I believe it is talking to God on behalf of other people as well as ourselves for healing, a job, finances, relationship issues, and so on.  Prayer is having a conversation with God about every day life while thanking and praising Him for the blessings in our life.  Prayer is a heart of gratitude while at times or it may be a prayer of urgency and hoping for a miracle as a loved one or even you are quite ill.

According to Strong’s Bible Dictionary, prayer is defined as intercession, supplication, a request, contemplation, petition, and to even ponder.

I used to be a weak prayer, even struggle with praying at times, yet since moving to this little town, without the distractions of too many everyday life of living in a large town, my husband and I are learning to pray together.  We pray as get ready for bed for each other and anything else that is going on with the world, our families, the church, or even our lives.

There is prayer for those on Facebook like the ones who needs a healing miracle, a missing relative, or even seeking prayer on behalf of my husband who still not himself since the strokes.  I find myself praying for these people when I used to say just praying and not bother to pray for them at all.  Now, I’m teaching myself to stop and pray as soon as I start typing that I’m praying and if possible, put the right prayer words in my response.

We can all pray.  Even Jesus prayed.  For example, during the time He fasted on the mountain and even the night before His death when He prayed to His Father to take the cup from Him, yet He went through with it.

Furthermore, when we believe, He gave us the power heal people in His name through the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, we need to believe that people will be healed or their situation will be turned away.  Yet, even if they are not healed or the situation is not turned around, we can still pray that God will bring comfort and perhaps find another way to help with the situation.

After all, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) reads:

Rejoice always, pray continually, given thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, the missing sister was found, people were healed of their sickness and/or injuries, and there were a few people who went home to be with the Lord.  Furthermore, my husband is still weak yet he is slowly re-gaining his strength as he encourages me even during his moments of weakness.  Yet, he still needs prayer; however, I know God is with us and He will help me through this journey with my husband.

Finally, remember prayer can be done anywhere or anytime – while reading the Bible by praying His words, remembering His words, while we are driving, walking, riding, evening, morning, noon or even while watching your child as he/she participates in an activity.  After all, God does not care what time or place we pray as long as we are talking to  Him.  And, if you don’t know what to say to Him, just start talking and the words will start flowing out of you even if it’s just bits and pieces at first.

What do you need prayer for?  Whatever your prayer request, I’m praying for you and if you need prayer for a specific request, please feel free to message me.

Birthday Wish_Our First Snowfall Here


Well, this last week, I celebrated another birthday (won’t tell you which one ) with one main wish – a white birthday.  I remember when I was five and we just moved to Prosser, WA during a snowstorm this time of the year so I’ve been wishing for one since.  I have had brief dustings over the years since I was five but nothing major so I wished very hard as I heard the forecast for the weekend…

Well, on Sunday, the day before my birthday, it lightly snowed and melted away.  A little disappointed and then on Tuesday, I woke up to everything covered in white.  It was the day after my birthday yet it felt as if it was a belated birthday present even if most of it was gone by noon.

Then, there was a test since we had to drive into Spokane during the storm to a doctor’s appointment.  I was worried about a major hill between our town and Spokane on the main freeway.  And, we do not have our snow tires on yet – which come on soon since we heard we could get a heavier than normal snowfall this year.  So, being brave and hoping for the best, we made our way into town with hardly any problems except a traffic jam as soon as we got off the freeway and then once we cleared that section, it was a smooth ride up to the doctor’s office except for the person walking down the middle of my lane!  Yikes!  Don’t people know that’s dangerous?  Yet, we made it to the doctor’s appointment and then had a smooth drive home afterwards with a few stops along the way.

Yes, I was disappointed when it melted yet I’m told it snows for Thanksgiving around here and then maybe for Christmas.  I’m hoping for both since I love snow!  I grew up in Eastern/Central Washington so I cherish the moments in snow.  At one point, I was a newspaper carrier and remember trampling through snow/forests on the way to customers and relishing the peaceful quietness of those moments before returning to the chaos of home with several siblings.  Or, trying to be brave as I tried to walk across the ice covering my grandparents’ lake…oh please, do not crack under my feet!  One year, it did with my poor brother who has survived many mishaps and is now the father of three lively boys!

Finally, snow reminds me of what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross.  He washed our sins away and made as white as snow when we accepted Him as our personal Savior according to the following verses:

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, and let   us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they   shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Psalm 51:7
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Though the earthly snow melts away, Jesus will continuously wash us clean from our sins like the snow that covered the land…

COMMENTS:

What does snow remind  you of?  Do you like it or are you one of those people who prefer no snow?

Coming home to a new church


Well, one of the changes we had to make when moved to our new town is finding a new church.

Initially, we thought this process would be tough and we would not find a church that would meet our needs as well be too cliquish in such a small town.

First, we went to one local church and discovered it was crowded as we packed in like sardines; however, only a few people said hi to us – the greeter and the person(s) sitting next to us.  I tried to reach out and say hi first yet even then we felt snubbed so it was just sit back and enjoy the service.  The pastor did come and visit us which was nice yet it was interesting that he taught a message about loving people and his congregation was too cliquish to welcome new people.  Worse, it was barely wheelchair friendly…

The next Sunday we attended a larger church and were immediately greeted by an older woman who made us feel warm and welcome as if we had come home.  As we sat, waiting for the service to begin, other people came up and greeted us.

I felt at especially since it was the same type of church I had grown up in – Assembly of God!

Interestingly, when we lived in our old town, we both decided that the AG was not for us yet we did not have many choices in this new town except Baptist, Catholic, and Lutheran.  Dene grew up Lutheran but I never felt comfortable in one and we were not into Baptist church nor was catholic church for us even though we know some great Catholics and Baptists.

This AG church had its usually speaking in tongues, older women dancing and swaying to the worship, and a young couple who I found myself chatting with as we shook hands during the greeting time.  I even found an Evangel – an AG magazine that I loved to read as a kid.   Definitely at home!

The next week, we attended again with my in-laws and again, we were warmly greeted.  We found ourselves wanting to get involved and that week I had the pleasure of attending a women’s kick off event where a woman shared about being attacked and yet she was still alive and praising God.  Reminded me that even though I had been attacked by two different people as a kid, I am still alive and God continues to use me as I yearn to eventually reach out to other women who have been attacked and/or abused.

Another event was attending the women’s bible study on Girls with Swords about women overcoming being oppressed and standing up by using God’s word to overcome adversity and the attacks the “enemy” will throw at women.  A great study and I highly recommend it.

Finally, we attended a prayer session where two great women prayed over my husband for healing.  We left feeling at peace and ready for the healing.

Tonight, we went back to the bible study and even had dinner of stew and dessert with other believers for just a dollar. a person.  Can’t beat that!

Yes, we did find a new home town and we found a “family” in a church of believers who believe in loving people and Jesus.  I cannot wait to become more involved through more fellowship, worshiping God, and praying together.

So, how do you greet new people or even those who have been coming for some time at church?  Do you snub them or do you warmly greet them?  I used to greet people and found that service to be a great service to those who need to be warmly welcomed to church; after all, how you greet people makes a world of difference so go out and warmly welcome everyone to your church just like Jesus would.

When I am weak, I am strong…


So, over the weekend, we went to a family reunion and had a blast with food, family, and fun.

Even as we gathered to have fun, the fun turned into something not so fun.  Jokes, drinking, and other behaviors were laughed at as we seemed to have fun.  Yet the nature of the jokes were very were serious.  Unfortunately, in an effort to fit in, I joined in with the joking that was not befitting a Christian who is studying to be a pastor

Yes, I am not a perfect Christian and I did sin.  I spent the last few days trying to apologize and figure out how to approach the people who were in on the fun to apologize for not portraying myself as a better Christian.  I even caught the attitude that I was better than they were since I did not get as wild nor did I drink.

Then, in this week’s class, I realized that even so-called perfect Christians struggle with weaknesses at times.  Sort of like the thorn that was in Paul’s side in 2 Cor 12:8-10 (NIV) as it reads:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Though I am weak at times, I know that Jesus will use that weakness to make me stronger.  After all, there is that saying “What doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger.”

Therefore, in conclusion, put on the whole armor of God so that next time you struggle against a weakness, you can stand strong and not give in.  More darts will be aimed at us as we prepare for this upcoming journey and with the armor of God, I can fight whatever comes my way with Jesus at my side.

What weaknesses do you have in your life that come up and catch you off guard?  Do you try to fit in even with family and fail?

Please feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Family tears…and more


Just little over five weeks until we make the big move…

We’ve almost finished “blessing” people with the extras or stuff that we really do not want to bring down to Nevada with us.  Yeah, there’s a few more things but that will be given away during the last bit of packing.

In the midst of the packing, we realize that we will be saying good bye to family and friends in five weeks and may be on our own this Christmas as we scrape and settle in.  We do have some family close by but one, like a sister, lives in Arizona.

This weekend, I am going to a family reunion with my mom’s side of the family called the Wallace – Burkett – and whatever last name links you as being related to the Wallace – Burkett name – Reunion.  There will be camping, potlucks, fun, and hopefully a trick or two played on or by one of my favorite cousins.  Told them if they hear what sounds like a bear or big foot, it’s probably snoring from an unnamed person…

At the end of the weekend, we must say good-bye to these people with the understanding that it may be at least another year or two.  Some like my elderly aunts and uncles, I wonder, if I’ll ever see them again this side of heaven.

Just as we are saying good-bye to family and friends who will miss us, we have family and friends that are a bit concerned about this move.  I see their point especially since my husband has health issues; however, we are being called to Nevada and feel that his health would improve some with the warmer climate.

Some act as if they don’t care if we move and won’t take the opportunity to say goodbye or spend time with us in our final weeks.  All we can think is that they are trying to be brave and not show their emotions at the thought of us leaving.

At the same time, we are reminded that Abraham and even Jesus himself met some resistance from family as they answered their calling.

Yet, Jesus does call us to love Him more than our parents, brothers, and sisters and yet, we still love them and will miss them.

Yes, this attitude hurts especially when we have our own neighbors – people we’ve known only a few months – come up and say how we will be missed.  Yes, the rumor that we are moving is spreading quite quickly in this small “community” called our apartment building.

Even with this attitude from family, we will continue to pray for them and make sure we’re right with them as we make the move.  After all, you only have one set of family members and each of them are important.

As you prepare for a journey, are you getting resistance?  How do you handle it?  We plan to patiently answer their concerns, pray for them, and assure them that at least it’s not Africa or some other far corner of the world…

Precious Children…born to a King


Today, the world is hearing about the birth of a royal son as other mothers, with less fame, are giving birth to baby boys and girls around the world.

Some of these children will be born in dire situations with extreme poverty, sounds of war around them, and disease.  Some of these children will be born in better situations but they may have parents who wonder how they will feed or clothe them.  Some of these children have it even better as their parents decide which school to send them to or which outfit they will wear on the way home from the hospital.  Some of these children are born into homes where the parents love and cherish them.  Some are born into homes where the parent(s) never wanted them and will let them know they are not wanted for the rest of their lives.

However, each of these children has something in common even with the royal baby that has been born.

The commonality is that they are all precious to Jesus as newborns and He cares for each of them.  Then they become His princes and princesses, born to a royal family, when they accept Him as their personal savior.  In the meantime, here are on earth, we need to help take care of these precious children and cherish them.

After all, Luke 18:15-17 (MSG) reads, “People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. ‘Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy.  Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” 

My husband Dene and I started sponsoring a little girl from India last Christmas.  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time but I ignored the voice of God until I heard that voice remind me that there are children who have a need more than our pets.  Yes, I am a pet lover and they do need to be spoiled; however, aren’t children just as precious as animals?

Another way is to become involved in their lives especially if you desire children but cannot have any.  This week, I’m helping out with Vacation Bible School at the church in the crafts department!  What fun!  Children and crafts but I love crafty artsy stuff.

I do have one child but he is living in another town far away from us.  Though I miss and love him dearly, if I try to interfere, things would become difficult for him.  Furthermore, he is settled in this life and becoming involved in his life now, would be too difficult for him.  Thus, I hope that after he turns 18, I can once again become a part of his life.  Please pray that the situation changes once he is of age and can make his own decisions…it’s just a few more years and God once told me to wait that long.  It’s been a hard journey but often we need to step back and let God do His work while loving the person from a distance.

We also need to lift children up and treat them as a gift and not a product (Henri Nouwen, 1984).  Don’t call children names or bully them.  Each one is loved by the most high God.  After all, Matt 18:6 (NIV) warns us not to harm little children.  Therefore, we are to take care of these precious little ones.

Finally, once we establish ourselves in the Vegas area and I have finished my degree, we have a desire to adopt or foster a child(ren) especially since I am approaching the change of life and can no longer bear children.  This desire comes from the desire to have children while obeying God’s purpose for my life – to raise and nurture a child and give them a future and a hope.

Is there a child in your life that needs extra guidance?  Perhaps, it’s not your own child but a neighbor child or a relative’s child?  Whoever, it is, help take care of these precious little children.

And, to those who desire a child and have not been blessed, I am praying that God does send a special blessing to you.  I will also be praying for each of your children and that may they be used by God and grow to be special.  Finally, to those whose child is facing a crisis or is facing an illness, I am praying for them as well as strength for each of their parent.  May each of you be blessed as spiritual or physical parents.

Necessary Maintenance


So, for our upcoming journey, I took my car in to have its 20K mile checkup and an oil change.  All turned out well except one part that needed to be replaced since it was very dirty.  Our van was given the okay for the journey and so we continue to prepare for this journey.

So if you are about to face your own journey or just facing everyday life, you need to maintain yourself just like a car needs to be maintained and parts replaced as they get old or dirty after so many miles so you can keep going.

Maintenance for people can include eating right, going to our doctors, exercising, making sure we get enough rest, and restoring our souls.  When we maintain ourselves and keep in great shape (I’m not in the best of shape), we can keep going to serve God’s purpose.

Furthermore, maintaining our souls include entering a place of solitude (seeking the voice of God), praying (listening and talking to God), and reading His word (to know His voice and to strengthen us).   These maintenance steps can lead to a healthier soul and an overall outlook on life while loving people just like the maintenance on our vehicle keeps going and providing us with transportation.

After all, the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22: 37-39 (NIV) reads “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Yeah, something may come up no matter how much you maintain yourself or your vehicle.  Like just before our trip to Nevada, I had to replace the wheel and tire after hitting a piece of debris on the freeway.  Or, more recently, a chip in the windshield or the part that had to be replaced to today. But we just keep going and remember that One you listen to and talk to, is there with you.  Or you may have a neighbor who helps out since they love you and God as much as they love themselves in a healthy way.

Finally, when we maintain ourselves through prayer, solitude, and reading of the word, we can handle the bumps and debris in our lives.

As we conclude, please think about the areas of your life that need to be maintained…how can you maintain them or fix these areas?