Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summertime!

One of my favorite movies is "Roman Holiday".  It's a wonderful classic with Gregory Peck and the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. She is Princess Ann, who runs away one night and meets up with Joe Bradley (Peck), who is a newspaper reporter out for a good story. It takes place, of course, in Rome. I love how the story unfolds and their relationship grows. They each carefully tiptoe around who they really are, knowing that if the truth were fully known the relationship would end. It's a story of love and laughter, and learning what is really important and of how once we know what really matters - it affects our choices.

Now,  you might be asking, "What does that have to do with Summertime?"

Well...

At the end of the movie, when the Princess is back on "duty", she is asked by a reporter, "Which of the cities visited, did Your Highness enjoy the most?"

She begins with the answer that was prompted to her by one of her generals. It was apparently the answer that she had been trained to reply with. Then... she shows her heart.

"Each in it's own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult....Rome!
By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as I shall live."


There it is!  Let's just change the wording a little.

Brenda, which season do you enjoy the most?
"Each in it's own way, is unforgettable.  It would be difficult....Summer!  By all means Summer!"
I do love all of the Seasons that we get to enjoy here in the Midwest. I get excited about different things in each of them.
But, Summer, by all means Summer!

With working in a school district, I have the Summer off. 
Two and one-half months of Summer!
I usually have my "to do" list, but I don't let that bother me too much.  :)

I love the lazy mornings...
being able to stay up late...
having time to read...
enjoying our pool...
vacation time with the family...
time to evaluate involvement in ministries...
putz...
work on projects...
time to weed in the flowerbed...
or not...

Shasta Daisy
Asian Lily

Blanket flower
Rose - of some kind
   
or time to sit and enjoy a cool drink in the screen porch.


If you haven't seen the movie,  "buy all means" do!

And enjoy your Summertime!










Monday, April 23, 2012

Open Hands


Jobs
Family
Friends
Homes
Ministry
Finances
Health
Future


How are you with changes?

When life forces them upon you?

Or when God leads you to something else or somewhere other than where you’ve been?

Are you one who with excitement embraces the changes that you know lay ahead?  

Or are you one who prefers to have things stay the same?  A status quo type of person?


Years ago I took one of those personality tests so that I could know what my strengths were and to help me to know myself better.
It was also helpful in getting Dale and myself to understand each other and why we do what we do.

I don’t remember the “label”, I’ve never liked those. They always had strange names.
But I do remember one thing.
It told me that I don’t like change.  I’m a “don’t rock the boat” person.

As I’ve looked at different events in my life, this has helped me to understand my emotions at those times.

Didn’t make it easier.
Didn’t mean that I now was ready to embrace change with open arms.
It just let me know that I would regularly struggle in dealing with change.


Do you see the problem with that?
I do

As we all know, change is a constant thing in life.  

Yet, I continually try to hold on to my routine.

My status quo.

Keeping what I am able to - the same.  

I rarely even move the furniture in our house!


God knows me. He knows that I need time.
Time to process
Time to think things through
Time to remember that I can trust Him



I love when we have communion at our worship services.

Going up to the altar –
listening to God’s word being spoken –
being encouraged in His love for me-
reminded of His ultimate sacrifice


It is a place where I force myself to pry my closed fists open and lay them before my God.

With a head that wants to hold onto some things of the present, I struggle to have a heart that will allow God to lead into the future. I struggle to let go of what I know I can not control. But, God, ever so gently and lovingly, reminds me

He is faithful
He is trustworthy
He is enough




I pray that you find him to be the same for you.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Taken Unaware

Have you ever been surprised?

I don't mean like with a surprise party
or surprised to see someone.

I'm talking about being surprised by your emotions,
surprised by your own reaction to something or someone,
to be totally caught off guard.
How about being in the middle of something going on
and you realize that
you are being overwhelmed
with emotions and
can't even figure out why at first?

That happened to me the other night
and it caught me by surprise.

I was busy working on something away from home
enjoying all that was going on around me,

the laughter...

the conversations...

the excitement...

when all of a sudden the emotions started to take over. Tears started to fill my eyes.
It didn't take me too long to figure out what was happening.
You see, my heart knew...
even before my mind could grasp what was happening.

I knew...
    that these people had what I don't think I ever will and my heart ached because of it.

It really doesn't make any difference what that was.

I'm sure that for each of us there are times when we look at someone or some situation and wish we had what they had.
We wonder - "Why not me, God?"
Not that we don't want others to be blessed as they have been,
we just want that same blessing for ourselves.
You see, we want to choose our own blessings.
I've heard it said that emotions are neither right nor wrong.   
They are what they are.
But, what I do with them,
how I react to them,
makes the difference.

Thankfully, I was able to rejoice with those around me that night at what was happening in their lives. I'm so excited for them. I honestly am!

Scripture says to "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep." Romans 12

But, why is it so much easier to "weep" with others than to truly "rejoice with" them?

Is it because that when they weep, I'm thankful that it isn't me?
And when they rejoice, I wish it were me?
Am I really that selfish?
Oh, Father, I pray not!

I pray that my heart,
your heart,
will be willing to come along side others, no matter what the occasion, and weep or rejoice as God asks.

It isn't about me.

It's about God and what he knows is best for me.
Can I trust him?

There are days when I'm still working on that.
When I need to pry my fingers open...
fingers that are wrapped tightly around my life and those in it...
again and again releasing it into my Father's hands.

I, like you, am a work in progress.































Sunday, November 06, 2011

Open


I love this church building

I love the white brick with the bright, red doors

The crisp, clean appearance of it

The contrast of the colors, making it very easy to see where one enters the building.

But, most of all I love that the door is open.

This is the church in Nashville where our son, Zach, and his wife, Christina, worship. We were with them last weekend and walked through those open doors.

It was a very cold morning - cold enough that Zach had called to tell us to dress warmly because the building was cold.  He was there early to practice for the praise team.

Yet, the door was open.

There was frost on the windshields

Yet, the door was open.

My first thought was, "why don't they close the door? Keep the little bit of heat in the building?"

But, they didn't. It was open through all of the service.

The more I've thought about it, the more I love seeing it open.  
You see, maybe it's not about keeping us warm &  comfortable. Yet, that comfort was my first selfish thought. Maybe it's all about others. 

I think that they are saying to those who see it,
"come on in, you are welcome here,
the door is open".

And we were welcomed in. The air may have been cold, but not the fellowship amongst the people inside.
The worship of our God was precious and genuine.

Dale and I were old enough to be the parent of just about everyone there. But, we were made to feel as though this is were we could belong. I loved that, and

I loved red door,

the open, red door.


God, help me to be an open, door, a visible sign to those around me of the loving God that you are. I praise you for your amazing love, love that threw open your arms and said, "Come, you are welcome here". 





Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blessing Upon Blessing

The past few weeks have been times of celebration.
                Wedding anniversary celebrations.

First, Dale's parents, Ed & Ruth celebrated 65 years!  That's right, 65 years! 
Then, Dale and I celebrated 35 years. 
Next, it was my parent's, Woody & La Verne, who just celebrated 60 years!  
That's amazing, isn't it!

The six of us went out to eat to celebrate. We went to a place that we hadn't been to in years and I'm so glad that we chose to go this day. Black Wolf is a rustic log building overlooking the golf course and river in Kohler.  We were in the large room with a beautiful view area.
We had a great time together. We've  been blessed with the fact that our parents enjoy each other's company. It makes times like this doubly special.


Because we were celebrating, we were given delicious desserts to share as a couple.
Doesn't it look amazing!
But, not as amazing as the fact that at our table were 160 years of marriage! What a blessing!

Last weekend, we celebrated my parent's anniversary with about 60 people at their church.
Myself, along with two good friends, had the fun of planning the decorations, while one did all of the food.
Nikki, Lyn and myself
 It was a gift I wanted to give to my parents. Plus I enjoyed doing it.
Both of my brothers were part of the short program that Mom & Dad had wanted. Terry and I did a funny song called, The Senior Citizen Shuffle.
Shuffling in


Who ARE these people?

Zach came up from Nashville to sing one of his songs for his Grandparents


Mom and Dad sharing their thankfulness


Mom's dress
Some of the decorations - burlap & lace







Brother, Kim, and wife, Missy, enjoying the food.

My nephew, Rob, took pictures of all of the people that were there. I don't have a copy of any of those at this time.  I'm hoping to get some of those pictures.

It was a great afternoon celebrating the blessings of faith, family and friends.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

SWEETHEART OF ALL MY DREAMS - 35 YEARS


“SWEETHEART OF ALL MY DREAMS”



Happy Anniversary 35 years – 12,775 + days and still counting






Brenda – you are the Love of my life and because of you it has and will continue to be a “Wonderful Life”


35 years ago you were a beautiful bride, but you are even more beautiful to me today!!!!!!


Our life together in God has been a joy. As we sang 35 years ago –“We have joined our spirits with the Spirit of God; we are one in the Bond of Love”.


As Dick Witt would say – “You are a GOOD WOMAN”


You are my wife, mother to our children, mother-in-law to their wives, now grandmother to our grandchildren, my helper, and MY LOVE


I would marry you again in a heartbeat.


I LOVE YOU!!!!!!


Dale

This first video is the audio of the song "We Are One In The Bond of Love" that Brenda and I sang for our wedding. It is a little over 2 minutes long.

video

This next video is the audio of our actual wedding ceremony from 35 years ago. It is 31 minutes long.

video

Thursday, September 08, 2011

In Your Name Will I Lift Up My Hands



"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for
you in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and
beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with
the richest of foods;

with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
 I think of you through the watches of the night.

 Because you are my help, I sing in the
shadow of your wings.

My soul clings to you; your right had upholds me."
Ps. 63:1-8


    I love this chapter in Psalms. It was what I read for my time with God today. I try to spend some time each day with my God. I usually read a Psalm. I've been through the Psalms many times, but it seems that each time I read, God shows me something that relates so well to what is happening in my life right now.

    Each day that I read, I look for something that it reveals to me about God, something that I can praise him for. Then I write down that praise in a journal.

God has changed me through that process. 
He has revealed more of himself because I have choosen to look deeply into his word and search for more of who he really is. As I have come to know him more, I've come to understand myself more and my deep need for a loving God.


There is so much in these verses to praise him for,

his power and glory that he at times allows us to see

his love that satisfies my deepest needs

his giving such a sense of security that I can sing in the shadows of uncertainty.

It is a choice I must make - daily.

It's my choice to "remember"

my choice to sing in the shadows

my choice to cling. 

Oh, how I wish that it was always so easy to do as it is to write that down.

There are times when I forget God

times when my voice can't sing

and times when it feels like my grip is slipping.

I'm so thankful that my God's love for me or his ability to forgive isn't determined by anything of myself.

It's all him,

God alone.

He alone is worthy.









Monday, August 08, 2011

The Brave Knight

Once upon a time, in the land of the brat, there lived a brave Knight and his young Lady. (ok, maybe not so young) They planned and prepared with excitement as they anticipated their next journey. For this adventure, they were traveling to the Governor's Park. So they loaded their portable castle with all of the necessary accoutrements: the ax, the portable lantern and flame, vessels of ale (ok, it was really water) and the butchered sow. (pork patties)

They arrived in the land known for its badgers and Cornish pasties.  It was where the Lands End. There they were met with the King and Queen and other Knights and their Ladies. They enjoyed an evening of great food and merriment.

As the starlit sky sparkled like jewels, they each headed out to their own castles. They were weary from their day of travels.

But then....

        sometime during the night...

               a noise was heard by the Lady.

She listened carefully, trying to discern where the noise was coming from.
Was it from without?
One of the masked bandits known to wander the forests taking from the wealthy?

No!! It was from within!

Not wanting to disturb her sleeping Knight, she laid still hoping that whatever beast it was would find it's own way out.
Suddenly, she felt a slight breeze along her face and she thought to herself,
"There should be no wind inside this castle!"

She quietly reached for and lit her lantern. That's when she saw it!
A bat!! Flying back and forth trying to escape the castle walls. She darkened the light.

Dale!! (oops)

"My Knight, my Knight!! There is a bat in here!" she whispered loudly caring not that he had a long journey at the break of day.

"What?" the Knight asked sleepily.

The Lady repeated, "There is a bat in here!"

The Knight quickly arose gathering his wits and anything else that might help. He lit the lantern while the Lady drew the curtains around her raised sleeping platform. The entire castle was searched from tower to dungeon, but no bat was found. He turned off the lantern and sat guard near his Lady so that no harm would befall her.
Long into the night he waited and listed, but no more was the bat heard or seen.

The next day after the brave Knight continued on his journey, the King and another Knight of the Rectangular Table, searched the castle to no avail. Using their trained hands they repaired the castle for the Lady where they thought the walls may have been breached.

The Lady missed her brave Knight in shining armour. She loved him so and prayed for safety on his journey. She will always remember him as he sat guard protecting her during that long night.