Sunday, December 26, 2010

Obedience Brings Peace

Even as I start this blog, our first born is boarding a bus for Boston...where the storms are heading, with a prediction of up to two feet of snow.  That is, if the bus makes it through Cleveland and New York.  The same storm system that has messed up the southern states with snow and ice is now blowing north with strong winds and heavy snow fall.  They predict a lot of power outage.  So I can only pray God's protection on our son.  He's looking forward to the adventure.

He's been with us since last Wednesday.  We celebrated the birth of Christ on Friday, Christmas Eve Day, with Paul's parents, sister and her family, and our son.  Eight around our table this year.  I believe this is the first Christmas dinner I have made since moving in this house in 2006.  I enjoyed fixing favorites for everyone, and of course others brought goodies in also.  We all played a game of Scratch after dinner, before leaving the table, and then it was off to lounge in reclining furniture and just yak.  Christmas Day the three of us just had leftovers all day...and still ate too much.  Overeating on the holidays is a sin I have not conquered, nor surrendered as of yet, but this year I am coming closer to that goal.  When you eat too much at my age, you just don't feel good!  Thankfully, the scales only went up one pound in three days, and now it's time to back off for the new year's resolution of eating more sanely and simply.  I am down 15 pounds from last year, so if I keep losing a pound a month for the rest of my life, I should be about the perfect size when I meet Jesus face to face.

This past week was spent in doing my shopping and preparation for the meals while our son was here.  We did spend one evening with friends on the grounds.  I've been feeding about 4-5 cats this past week, during this long cold snap.  I think the cats overate at Christmas also, for they haven't been around much today.  The dumpsters are overflowing, so I am sure they have some choice gourmet food out there.

Let's look at what God has been saying to me this past week in my daily readings:

A God-given vision will keep you going when nothing else will.  (Lord, I need a new vision!)

Words from James:  
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  (Carol, pay attention!)
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  (I desire to be a peacemaker.)
Summit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  (I hear you, Father!)

Negative expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies

Focus on God's promises instead of your problems.

Peter's Epistles:
Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written:  "Be holy, because I am holy."
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  (no problem there!)  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  (I always considered myself to be a plain Jane, but Paul gave me some pictures of myself from earlier years, and I said to him, "I was pretty!  No one ever told me I was pretty!"  He replied that I was pretty, but that my beauty came from within me.  That was sweet of him to say that...I just wish I had heard it earlier!)
Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.  He must turn from evil and do good, he must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.  (See how often keeping control of our tongue brings peace!)
The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.  (One can only hope that the end of all things is near.  Let it be, dear Father!)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith.
...a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God...
Since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.

What Priscilla might have written in Hebrews:  (I have a good argument for the author of Hebrews to be Priscilla).
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.
Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.... and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  (There's my answer to whether I need to attend church or not.)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  (Peace and holiness and obedience seem to be strong directions being given to me this past week!)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.  So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?"  (God has come through for us so many times, I am ashamed when I desire new furniture or new clothes or a new vehicle.  Help me in the contentment department, Lord, for you have truly blessed us beyond all measure!  You are teaching us that "little is much when God is in it!"

I must remember that my sins of omission, commission, and disposition were all paid for at Calvary.  I must serve others and share Jesus with others, as I live in obedience to God and as a citizen of His kingdom.

John's Epistles...from his heart to ours:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
This is how we know we are in him:  whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.
No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

True believers can be distinguished from unbelievers by their mutual love, godly lives, and obedience to God's commands.  Am I seen as a true I measure up?  Lord, help me overcome all short comings...keep working on me, for I want to represent you well!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


This is my regular Sunday update.  It's been a cold week, not much snow, but the ice remains so I am still not out walking the dogs.  The last time I walked them Tuxedo froze up halfway to our destination.  Had to carry him the rest of the way as he could not get his body to move forward...very unusual.  But being almost 13, I imagine the muscles are a little weaker when it's so cold and trying to maneuver on ice.  I decided to not put the dogs through that.  They are having enough trouble adjusting to the cats for which I am providing food and sleeping pens on the front porch.  I hate to see animals struggle in the extreme temperatures.  Tender hearted.

We delivered more donated items to the Jesus Film Mall Ministry this week.  They are having a great response, but are in need of more volunteers.  We do not live close enough to help with that part of the ministry.  May God provide.

Went to a Christmas Cafe at a local church last night to hear Christmas music.  I am having a very hard time this year getting in the "Christmas Spirit".  I normally love to see the lights and hear the music and such, but this year I sense I am just going through the motions.  I have been baking cookies each week of December for our maintenance crew and some shut ins.  I've enjoyed that.

Here are the summary notes from my devotional reading this week, which seemed to focus on surrender:

  • your greatest mistakes often come from impatience
  • when you've passed your biggest test, you are at a point where God can use you
  • surrender is:
    • demonstrated by obedience
    • saying "Yes, Lord." to whatever He asks
    • obeying God even when it doesn't make sense (Abraham/where?...Hannah/when?...Mary/how?...Joseph...why?)
  • you are surrendered when you trust God to work things out instead of relying on or manipulating others, or forcing your own agenda and controlling the situation
  • doing things God's way gives you peace, freedom, and power
  • when you have a lack of peace, it can mean the heavenly whistle has been blown, and it's time to reevaluate your direction
  • victory comes through surrender
  • if you don't surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos
  • you are free to choose what you surrender to, but you're not free from the consequences of your choice
  • nothing under God's control will ever be out of control
By my next post Christmas 2010 will be over.  I hope the family get togethers went peacefully.  We need to learn to cherish each other, for we may not come this away again.  I have a friend who just found out she is loaded with cancer...will she be here next year?  I'm sure that will be on her family's minds as they celebrate the birth of Jesus together.  Reality is that none of us have the promise of another year, so let's enjoy the one we are in.  (Hear yourself, Carol!!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blustery Sunday

We are in the midst of a major winter storm here in southwest Michigan.  It's the same storm front that ripped the roof on the Minneapolis Metrodome Stadium and dumped all the snow inside.  A lot of football fans unhappy there today, I'll bet.  Thank goodness this happened during the night, before the stadium was loaded with people!!

Rain yesterday pretty much melted all the snow we have had accumulated the past few weeks, and then the temperature dropped and everything became a glaze of ice.  When we woke up this morning, we had perhaps a couple of inches of snow on top of the ice, and it has snowed most of the day thus far.  Very pretty sight outside!  Tree branches are so glittery when encased with ice!  Then sprinkle some snow on top, and it looks like a special homemade viewed from inside!!

Well, today is the day I MUST make a blog post on my I Peter blog. I've been working on it for 2-3 weeks, and have 15 pages of notes.  I'm trying to get inspired and motivated to start summarizing my notes and writing the blog, or Bible study.  Just wanted to get an update on this blog first.  

Don't know what happened, but all of a sudden yesterday I realized I had close to 500 comments going back to when I first started my blogs, but comments I had never seen before...most of them spam.  So I spent a major portion of last night cleaning up the blogs, and putting some tools in place to prevent that in the future, I hope.

Yesterday Paul and I went to see "A Christmas Carol" in Kalamazoo at CenterPointe Church.  Very nicely done.  That was our "Christmas Date"...a break from routine.

Notes from my devotions this past week:

"Walking By Faith":
Like Abraham when we follow God's leading, we do not know where we are going, but we can be confident that no matter what our path, or how long it takes, God will keep His word to us...He will be with us in our journey through life.  We won't be exempt from problems, but "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion."  (Phil. 1:6)  All we need to do is "trust Him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." (Prov 3:5-6).

"Be Careful What You Say":
"The lips of the godly speak helpful words."  (Prov 10:32)  We need to speak with wisdom, passing on to others what God has taught us.  We can only speak correction if we have earned the right by having a close relationship, speaking the truth in love, and not expecting prompt results or even appreciation.  We need to speak words of encouragement, for hope pierces despair.  Encouragement is a way of bringing healing to the bones.  When we speak, we need to ask ourselves the following questions to avoid hurtful or gossipy words:

  • Is it true?  Time will always reveal the truth.
  • Is it confidential?  If trust is betrayed, integrity is sacrificed.
  • Is it helpful?  Do not partner with satan, who is devoted to defeat.
  • Is it necessary?  We are more likely to regret things we do say than things we didn't say.

"Righteousness of God":
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And  hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."  (Rom 5:1-50)

"God Will Forgive and Restore You"
God already knows our guilt, so we need to deal with it honestly and confess.  Confession is simply agreeing with God that it is wrong and asking for forgiveness.  He cannot cleanse what we do not confess, and He cannot heal what we won't reveal.

"Instead of Complaining, Change!"

We need to acknowledge our wrong behavior because complaining is an offense to God.  "Let us examine our ways and test them."  (Lam 3:40)  We need to look at our behaviors and determine if they really work.  If not, we need to change them.  Doing things God's way will bring an end to our frustration, and will be the beginning of joy and fulfillment. 

Personal note:  I have been struggling, I've been in a fierce battle with the enemy of my soul.  He is trying to disable me, making me ineffective in God's kingdom work.  He is doing this through my mind and spirit.  It's been a particularly rough week for me, and I've had some pretty low moments, taking me back to the days of my depression.  I won't go there.  All I know to do is pray and keep up with my daily devotional time with Jesus.  I have to make some changes, and this week's devotions spoke directly to me.  

I hope anyone who reads this who is also struggling will recognize that God does know, and He does care about you.  He loves you very much, but He wants you to grow and conquer some more battle ground.  It seems to be something we cannot do without the Holy Spirit, so we must seek our guidance through prayer and reading God's Word, taking to heart what He is saying.  The battle is not ours, it is the Lord's!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"It's a Song Holy Angels Cannot Sing"

Click on the above button and listen to this song. In my study of I Peter 1:12, this is the song that came to my mind, and hubby was kind enough to find it for me on the web. It is a nice wrap up to the section of I Peter I am currently studying. I will copy this over to my I Peter blog for now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekly Update

I have been diligently working on my study of I Peter this week. I have 8 pages of notes for I Peter 1:3-12. Now I need to condense them into a nice one page blog study for my other blog site on I Peter.

We finished putting out our Christmas lights yesterday. Now it's beginning to look a little like Christmas! I'm into baking cookies every week of December as a gift to our maintenance crew here on the campgrounds. Did I mention I love chocolate chip cookie dough? Therefore I don't make cookies as often as I did when our sons were home.

We traveled for church today...went to Jackson, MI. It was very contemporary, and I have to say that just doesn't work for me. My age is showing. Last night as I was studying I Peter, the old song "What A Day That Will Be!" came back to me, and I had tears in my eyes as that song touched my heart. How long has it been since I've heard that one? No....I belong to a different era. I have no desire to move into this age where church is more of a performance than a heart touching experience. It works for some, but not for me.

From my devotional readings this week:
Joseph had two coats...the coat of many colors (a coat of favor) and the coat of integrity. Just as he was tested, so will we be. In our testing our character will be revealed. If we pass the test of integrity, then we are able to be used of God.

We joined a group of people from our campground at the Essenhaus Restaurant in Middlebury, IN on Friday night. It was to celebrate the ministry leader of our Grandma's Cupboard program, which has been in existence for 12 years under her leadership. GC is a food pantry ministry, and has been a huge blessing to many people in this area. If you are going to celebrate with a good meal, then you can't beat the Amish food of the Essenhaus (especially their pies!).

Today we are getting some lake effect may actually accumulate over the next 24 hours. I love snow in December!! It's January and February where I am so very ready for spring and flowers and buds on the tree branches.

I used to live in Cleveland, TN. Lately I have been thinking about the good times back then while we were raising our family. There are times I wish I could turn back the clock, but I am so grateful to say it is the GOOD memories that stay with me. I am ready for another visit down there. It has changed so much since we lived there. Usually just visiting for a couple of days takes care of the nostalgia. Anyway, I've been told by our granddaughter that we HAVE to live on the campground where we are now. There's far too many neat things for the girls to do when they visit us in the summers. It is a neat place to live...I just love to move and house shop. Are those days behind me??? Certainly house shopping is not the best thing to do in this time of weak economy. So may I learn to be content, and praise God for all the blessings we do have....and I am and do!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Time to Pause...

What a restful week I have had! Our office was only open one day this week, but we were able to get several behind the scenes things taken care of. I'm thankful for slow times at the office to prepare for a new year, a new camping season ahead. It's that time we clean our desks, our closets, our basement, and get reorganized. We are switching from Outlook to Google Apps for our email, and from Internet Explorer to Chrome for our web sites/viewing/searching. Always something new to learn to keep up with technology!

We witnessed a powerful answer to prayer this week. We were called to pray and fast last weekend for a ministry that was operating in a mall kiosk. It appeared it was going to be shut down, but what satan intended to do resulted in God opening up a new space for the ministry. Instead of a small center-of-the-mall kiosk where the Jesus Film was being played, the mall management offered them a 2,500 square foot store with multi-faceted windows just outside the entrance to Macy's...huge space with lots of opportunities, a place they had hoped to move to in a couple of years. With that much space, the ministry has great needs, physical and financial, let alone spiritual. We were glad as a camp to donate chairs and a welcome desk, and are preparing computers for use in displaying the Jesus Film in up to 1,090 languages. I'm quite certain satan won't give up, so I am being somewhat vague about some of the details. Prayer power must surround this ministry so that it can continue.

Speaking of prayer, one of my devotionals this week was on prayer. I made the following notes:
  • the place of prayer is where you meet God so He can teach you, correct you, cleanse you, and love you
  • through prayer you are prepared to do His will
  • through prayer you operate in God's strength and not on your own
  • whether you pray or not shows up in your attitudes and actions
Some more thoughts:
  • God uses tough times like a refining process to bring out the best in us
  • God isn't out to destroy us, but to develop us
I have been using this past week as a time to organize myself, my winter schedule. Days are shorter and colder...I'll be inside more and have more time in the evenings. I have started back on my Greek studies, and my study of First Peter. There will be occasional blogs on First Peter, as I complete a passage and write my synopsis/overview. Check my other blog for that.

I also took time the past few days to put a Christmas tree up at the office and decorate our house for the holiday season ahead. This year I am giving out gifts early...gave to our kids and grandkids on our trip in October...gave to our Michigan family on Thanksgiving the process of giving gifts out to staff members this week. One reason for the early gifts is because the gifts are deco items for this season, and they need to be opened and displayed. Another big reason is that I want to keep the focus off gift giving at Christmas. I want that time to be all about being together and enjoying each other's company.

I find that each year I am putting out less decorations, focusing on keeping things simple. I love the sights and sounds of Christmas, but I just want to keep commercialism out of the picture as much as possible. Shopping is behind me, gift giving will be behind me, and I can spend the month enjoying the lights, the trees, the music, the laughter, the stories, and quiet moments with Jesus. I love my early morning time with Him. I want His birthday to be special to Him. I hope many will draw aside and spend time with Him in the days ahead. For we are a people desperate for His presence!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stop Grumbling and Complaining

Good Sermon today by Rev. Tim Smith, Sparta First Church of the Nazarene. His focus on this pre-Thanksgiving Sunday was on gratitude. It's rather difficult to be thankful and complain at the same time. One sort of wipes out the other, you know? When others look at you, listen to they see you as a grateful person, or a grumbler? What do you want to be remembered as?

Well, obviously, the sermon hit me between the eyes. I like to hand out compliments, look for ways to encourage others. But behind the scenes, in my "private" world at home, I do more than my share of grumbling...I might even be a grouch. Wow...I don't want that to be the person people think of when they think of me. I don't want them running away from me, avoiding me. That means I have to change. age 60...does not come easy, or even naturally. I have to make obvious choices to shut my mouth, to turn off the negative thoughts by replacing them with gratitude. I must think on what is right...goood...lovely, and no longer dwell on the things that irk me or disappoint me. I want to be an easy person to live with. I want to learn to laugh more, smile more, reach out more. I've been huddled up in my private world too long, and this past weekend gave me a good dose of what it feels like to be alone and lonely.

The question is...can Carol change at 60? By now I should be a woman of wisdom and have all my ducks in a row and know how to shrug off the disappointments of life. I should know how to focus on the positives in my life. Life is too short to be a complainer, a grumbler. With the grace of God and the nudge of His Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ living within me I CAN change. And I must. I've been given my marching orders in the sermon this morning. What a practical sermon, full of truth, and very convicting...probably to most of us who heard it. Thank you, Father God, for yet another chance to change. Please help me, starting NOW!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Summary 11/14/10

For lack of a better title....

I thought I might try to blog on Sunday afternoons and sort of give an overview of the week gone by. Seems like I tried this once before and it didn't last long. So here I am again, for today, for THIS Sunday.

Often in the morning when I am reading my daily devotional material, I read some good points to think about. I jot it down in my journal. I'll share some of these here in this weekly blog. They come from the devotional booklet "The Word for You Today", which is listed in the side bar as part of what I am currently reading.

- walk your like Jesus

- what you do consistently, you become permanently

- laughter is like a shock absorber, it helps you get over the potholes of life

- make your loved ones a top priority, for all too soon life is over

- choice, not change, determines your destiny

- if you limit what you WILL do, you limit what you CAN do

- failing doesn't make you a failure, quitting does

We have had an absolutely lovely week here in southwest Michigan this past week. It's been sunny and in the high 60's up until today. Today it is down in the 40's, but after all, this is November!! Last week's weather was highly unusual. Our maintenance staff took advantage of the nice weather to put up road blocks for the winter to keep us from having to plow unused roads. Many of the ILNC residents put out Christmas lights in their shirt sleeves, instead of trying to do it all bundled up in bad weather. We are grateful for such nice weather, for we know what is just ahead.

We winterized our cabin this week...drained the pipes and such. It's that once a year job that one doesn't really enjoy, but if you don't do it, or if you don't get all of the water out of the pipes, next spring you have to fix the broken pipes and clean up the water mess. We've had to do that a couple of times!!

I have my "new" desk in place in my study as of yesterday. Paul had to cut down the return to fit in the space I had. Now I have lots of space to lay out my books on the desk, and do my typing into the computer on the return. This is in preparation for me getting back to my study on I Peter, which I started last April and stopped after about three got busy here at the camp. I hope to spend these winter months reading and writing, preparing a new, teachable Bible study. It's been way too long since I've done this on a consistent basis. I know I am out of shape, but I believe the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do it, so He will help me as I begin to take my first steps.

One thing I most definitely need help with is how to use the computer and the camera and the ipod and the phone....all this technological stuff. That does not come natural for me and I am challenged to keep up with it all. Taking pictures, no problem. Getting the pictures from the camera to the computer and off the camera...a struggle. How to label and file the pictures once they are in the computer...frustrating to me. Hubby is highly skilled in those areas, but low in patience with me...know what I mean? And I don't blame him. I just don't seem to grasp it, and when I make notes, things change and I somehow still don't know what I am doing.

And why do I take pictures? Who cares? I need to just learn to enjoy the moment and quit trying to grasp it to look at later when everything else has also changed. Remembering how it was isn't necessarily a great thing either. I go to church on Sunday night, or not? I only do it for Jesus, so I guess I should go. Gotta leave now!! (and I'm not ready!!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Fall, and other thoughts.....

We had a wonderful vacation. I was gone three weeks, and loved every minute of it!! Even when our van wouldn't start and we had to get a new fuel pump. God is so good...the van broke down in front of Cracker Barrel!! We had a four hour delay during that part of our trip, but I figure it was so we could meet Chris, who was having chest pains. We prayed for him...he ended up going to the hospital. I believe in divine intervention, and Chris needed prayer.

I absolutely loved my week at Colonial Williamsburg. On the way we stopped in Holmes County Amish area....delicious food, lots of shopping available. Spent three hours there before heading on to Morgantown, WV...our stop for the first night. The next day we toured George Washington's Mount Vernon before arriving in Williamsburg. While in that area, we spent a day at Jamestown, three days at Colonial Williamsburg, one day at Virginia Beach, and lots of shopping in between. It was a unique area...very interesting. Now that I am back, I am reading a book about the historic area and it makes me want to go back. Thank you, Mr. John Rockefeller, Jr. for restoring Williamsburg to its glory days. I would like to take my granddaughters there some day, when they know their history a little better. Had a great time on this trip with my girlfriends though...first girlfriend getaway in a long time, and I'd do that again in a heartbeat.

We only had 2 1/2 days at Myrtle Beach...far too short to enjoy the relaxing setting of our resort on the Atlantic Ocean. I did walk the beach front one afternoon, between Gaither Fest concerts at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. We also spent time at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing. We had to cut our time short there to head on to Nazarene Camping Assn. annual conference in Tishomingo, OK.

Camp Bond, Tishomingo, OK, was a great place to meet up with our Nazarene camp director friends. We go to a different camp each year. It would not be my choice to live in Oklahoma, but for a short visit, it was okay. That camp uses goats to "mow" their grass. We were right in the middle of red-neck country there...even went to an old make-believe wild west town. I was ready to ride out of town after a couple of days there...and that's when we headed to Albuquerque, NM.

That's also when we were delayed with our fuel pump problem. Once we were on the road again, we drove through the cotton fields of Texas...harvesting season. Got into Albuquerque late at night, and had been told driving into the city was like looking at twinkling Christmas lights. It was a pretty sight...seen even better from atop the Sandia Mountain range. We rode a cable car up to the top and had supper at sunset. It was a treat to us by our son and his wife, and it was a very special time. We had three days with them, and hit the road running...covering the University of New Mexico (where our son is a grad student); Old Town Albuquerque, drove the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe (stopping to visit Paul's sister on top of a mountain along the way), and shopped and had lunch in the Plaza area of Santa Fe. I walked one of the trails on Sandia Mountain that my son and his wife like to hike. Didn't go far...didn't have much time. Attended Hope Evangelical Free Church while there. What a setting...right at the bottom of Sandia Mountain. We packed a lot in during our three days there.

Left there and drove to St. Louis, MO, stopping in Tulsa, OK for one night. Got to have supper with our son and granddaughters as we passed through St. Louis. From there we drove back to Michigan. We put on 5,000 miles in that 2-3 week span, and didn't have air conditioning in the van. I had my hair cut before leaving so it wouldn't blow in my face. That was a good decision.

Back in Michigan at the end of October we came home to face all the fallen leaves. The peak of the season had come and gone while we were out of town, and now it's time to clean-up. I was thinking how the beauty of the Fall Season comes in the changing colors of the leaves and the mild climates, sunny days. The down side of the season is a result of The Fall. If Adam had never sinned, we wouldn't be raking leaves and mulching leaves and all that goes with trying to keep the camp cleaned up and looking good during this season of the year.

Winter is just ahead. Shoveling snow is a lot harder than raking leaves!! But each season has its beauty, and that is where I plan to focus my attention. God is a marvelous Creator...He thought of everything for our pleasure. Thank you, Father, for each and every season and all that goes with it. I am grateful to be part of your creation. May I do my part in living a Holy life, having an Obedient will, a Pure heart, and Eternal values....thank you, Father, for HOPE!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Need A Break!

You probably noticed my last blog was Memorial Day weekend. We live on a camp ground, my husband is the Executive Director, and our lives become totally wrapped up in the camp season...Memorial Day to Labor Day. Blogging goes on the back burner for a while.

We also do not take many breaks during the summer months...certainly not any vacations. Summers are our time to enjoy the company of the campers and guests, and most of all our grandchildren when they visit. This summer we were blessed to have them for a total of four weeks!! What an extra special treat that was for us! While one granddaughter was in Girls' Camp, the younger one was in "Grandma Camp". What a great week that was for all of us!!

Each season has its own delights, and now we are in the fall season. The leaves are starting to turn color and drift to the ground. We still have a mixture of warm and cool days. The grounds are much quieter, though we are having groups most every weekend. After our mulching season is completed, we will be winterizing, shutting off water, storing boats, buttoning down for hibernation. But before all of that begins....I NEED A BREAK!!

And so....

I leave for a Girlfriend Getaway Week soon. Four of us are heading to Williamsburg, Virginia...a territory I have long wanted to visit. We will go by way of Holmes County, Ohio...Amish territory. Then we'll cross the mountains of West Virginia, and then on down to the land of our early settlers. First time I've gone on a week long getaway with friends. Should be a fun time!!

My husband will pick me up in Williamsburg and we will go down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a few days. Another couple will be joining us there, and we have tickets to Gaither Fest. Hopefully I will get a good dose of Southern Gospel music and ocean waves while there.

Nazarene Camping Association annual conference will be our next stop...out in Oklahoma this year. We always look forward to being with our fellow camp directors in this annual get together. Each year we go to a different camp, different parts of the country. We have much to learn from each other, and we certainly can relate to one another...being in the same "career" field.

From Oklahoma we travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit our son and his wife, who just moved there in August from Columbus, Ohio. Our first time to go to that area of the country. Everyone says Albuquerque is beautiful. Certainly our son and daughter-in-law love it down there, and are very anxious to take us hiking in the mountains.

Then it's a three day trek back to Michigan. By the time we get back home, perhaps we will be glad to hunker down for the winter and stay closer to home. Our 2-3 week trip will cover around 5,000 miles...all in a van with no air conditioning and no radio. A van with 172,000 miles on it. But it has two new tires, and it's very comfortable to travel in. We are grateful to have the vehicle, and plan to drive it to its grave.

When I get back home from our fall vacation/getaway, I will be starting back into my study of First Peter. I started the study in April and got about three verses into it, and summer hit. I have been greatly encouraged this past month to get back to studying and writing. I was in a small accountability group (three of us) and we used material I had prepared for a women's retreat two years ago. It spoke to all of us, and my friends plan to use the study in their Florida communities this winter to reach other women. The basic theme is drawing closer to God and to one another...developing intimacy with Jesus and being open and real with one another. it's purest so hard to experience any more...hard to find...hard to trust others enough to open up and share our hearts, our hurts, our loves, our lives. Having had a small accountability group for one month, I know what it meant to me, how precious those hours were together. Perhaps I will be able to find a winter group, but to be honest...trusting doesn't come easy. My position here at the camp also makes it more difficult. I have to be very careful what I share, and with whom I share. But I NEED such friends!! And so do you.

I wish I could hear back from those of you who understand are you surviving? Do you have such a group? Are you experiencing intimacy in your spiritual relationships and close friendships with others? Or are you squeezed into a bottle about to burst the top off? Share. If not with me, find someone you can trust, and share. For your sanity's sake, share. And first of all, share with Jesus. He's always ready to listen to you. He totally understands like no other. Share.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

We live in a great county. Thus far we are still considered "free". That freedom which we experience cost many families the loss of their sons, their husbands, their fathers, and women who have also served our country in the armed forces. We must never forget the cost of freedom, we must never take freedom for granted, and we must never take it lightly. With gratitude and respect I honor those who have given their lives so that we might be free.

Christ gave His life for our ultimate freedom, and I give Him my heart and soul and life in return. May all I do and say honor Him. Today may petty jealousies and selfish ambitions and foolish pride all melt away as I pledge Him my allegiance.

What has He been teaching me this past week?
  • it is God's approval that I must seek...not those about me
  • everybody needs a friend they can trust...may I be a trusted friend

Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. (I Peter 3:11-23)

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

Trust God:

  • when you are in a cave...a situation you cannot fix or change or escape...TRUST GOD!
  • if your security is based on success, it is fragile
  • if your security is placed in God, even in the dark caves of life you will find strength

Mind Your Mouth:

  • words have the power to build relationships or destroy them

Real Religion:

  • brings heart satisfaction (seeking and finding Jesus)
  • brings us into worship (personal adoration of God)
  • brings us to total consecration (personal giving of ourselves to God)

Wise men and women:

  • seek Christ
  • find and worship Christ
  • give of their best to Christ

We must give Christ the same gifts the wise men gave him:

  • Gold - all things of value (health, money, relationships, strengths)
  • Frankincense - passion from the heart (love and loyalty)
  • Myrrh - those things that bring us pain, sorrow, and suffering

We are in the midst of a terrific weekend here at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp...our traditional "opening weekend". We just came through a week where we had 30 senior adults come for "Work and Win" to help us get the buildings and grounds spruced up for this weekend. We were able to get over 80 acres mowed (in the same week), and the 150 +/- tabernacle pews all polished, plus cleaning down the Dining Hall and Snack Bar and spray washing many of our buildings. The boardwalk to the beach had boards replaced and horse shoe pits were built. A few of the women were busy planting flowers around the grounds.

A month ago we had about 80 teenagers come for a work day and they got our camper cabins and duplexes cleaned out and beds wiped down for a new season of youth camps. We had a crew who reroofed three of our white cabins. Many hands across the age spectrum have been crucial to being ready for the season upon us. We are blessed to have volunteers who care and are willing to give of their time and talents to keep Indian Lake Nazarene Camp looking good and prepared for a whole summer of activities.

This weekend our 150 RV lots are almost full with campers. We had the Climbing Tower and Zip-line opened on Saturday afternoon. Our first service in the Tabernacle occurred this morning. The snack bar and dining hall have been open for meals. I so enjoy seeing families and friends gathering here at ILNC to enjoy time together and to create memories. May they sense God's presence on these grounds, and not take for granted the freedom and safety we feel here. This is a unique place, and we are blessed to be serving God on these grounds. Visit the camp web site at

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Highlights from this week's devotionals, May 15-23, 2010

Sunday afternoons are a good time to take a nap and catch up on any missing sleep from the previous week...especially on a warm day, or a cold day, or a rainy day, or a normal day. I sat on our front porch for a while, reading the Sunday paper, and just about fell asleep out there, listening to the birds, and feeling the afternoon breezes. I finally moved inside to the recliner.

Sunday afternoons are also a good time for me to go back through my journal and see what insights I have gained from my devotionals this week. Just a reminder of what God might be saying to me. These come from Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, by Chuck Swindoll, and from a little devotional booklet I get called "The Word for You Today". Both of these are listed at the right in my list of books I am reading, for further reference. So, for this week, here are my reminders:

Strive for excellence by: standing on Godly principles; hearing God's Word, recording it and obeying it; and having an attitude that strives for excellence in ALL things...even the seemingly insignificant things.

Anger is a by-product of resentment you have allowed to invade your soul. Spend time with God and allow Him to forgive your resentments, remove your pain, heal your memories, and enable you to love as He loves. Act in love rather than reacting in anger.

We are least likely to prepare for attack in our area of strength. What seems innocent can destroy us. If we flirt with temptation, we will eventually give into it. Our potential can be destroyed if we yield to temptation, but God's grace will still be available to us.

When God gives us a task, He will also give us the grace to accomplish it. He didn't call us to work FOR Him, but WITH Him.

If we don't take GOD seriously, there's really no reason to take anything else seriously. Without Him as our foundation, nothing else really matters when all is said and done. Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it. (Luke 17:33)

Obstacles move us above being ordinary. Some of our greatest lessons will be taught in the valleys of life.

Jesus was rejected by those living in the world HE created. As He walked this earth, He must have recalled creation moments with His Father. Those nostalgic memories no doubt helped Him through the times He felt rejection from created beings.

A prayer from my journal this week:

Dear Father, I am often concerned about my heart being cold...indifferent, uninvolved. Lord, I need your directions. More than anything I need your Holy Spirit to fill me and cause my humanness and frailties to evaporate. I live to represent and exalt you. Give me strength and boldness and discernment, and wisdom to do just that. Amen.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

So...what did you do for your Mom on Mother's Day? Card? Flowers? Candy?

My kids didn't do that.

No, this year we didn't do the traditional thing of heading to Columbus to be with one son and daughter-in-law.
This year we didn't even make any plans.

This year...our kids did the planning!! And we just complied!!

They put together a combination Mother's Day/Father's Day trip for us in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Fort Wayne is a "mid-way" meeting point for the Columbus kids and us. They chose the motel (Marriott Courtyard) and paid the bill for two nights, two rooms. Our St. Louis son could not meet with us, but sent a gift card to cover miscellaneous expenses on our trip. We didn't have to plan anything or pay for anything.

We had pizza Friday night at the room, and yakked until midnight. Saturday morning we headed downtown Fort Wayne to Cindy's Diner. This diner can feed the whole world...15 people at a time. It has one counter with 15 bar stools, and that's it! It's the smallest restaurant I've ever been in. They have a special called "Garbage", which we all ordered. It's eggs, onions, ham, and cheese all scrambled together. It was okay, but I really liked the atmosphere in the diner...a kickback to yesteryear.

From there we walked to the Fort Wayne County Library...a very impressive building with lots of things going on. It houses the second largest genealogy research lab in the country. That day they had a special event for bikers...a big display down through the center hall.

On this cold and windy day, we continued our walk around town and located the Fort Wayne Old City Hall Museum. It even had the old city jail in the basement. Not a pleasant place to have had to spend any time. At one time Fort Wayne had the reputation of being the most lawless city in the United States. The museum itself had quite a few interesting exhibits. I guess Johnny Appleseed came out of Fort Wayne or there abouts.

It was a Saturday morning and some of the downtown buildings were closed, such as the Court House, which is a grand structure being refurbished. The city is a mixture of historic buildings and modern buildings...lots of interesting architecture going on there. Our last stop of the morning was at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. That particular day there was a lot of local artists' work for sale. For one who likes to study art, as does our son, the museum was a disappointment.

As we drove out of town, we went by the local minor league baseball stadium...Parkview, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps. We would have gone to a game that day, as they were playing the Lansing Lugnuts but it was just too cold to sit outside. So, instead, we went shopping at an Ashley Furniture store, which we don't have close to us in Michigan, and then we went bowling. We had planned to golf, but was TOO COLD AND WINDY! So we bowled a couple of games...something none of us do too often. We were lucky to break 100.

After supper at a Golden Corral, where we could all choose our favorite foods, we went back to the motel to play games until after midnight. We played several rounds of Sequence, and then a card game called "Seven".

Sunday morning we slept in and then checked out of the motel and went across the street to this mother's favorite gathering spot...Cracker Barrel. It was Mother's Day, and we had a 45 minute wait to get seated, but all the more time, therefore, to shop and browse the old time store.

Our kids went back home to Columbus, and we headed back to Michigan, taking the back roads...the scenic route. On the way we came across a large complex which caught our curiosity. We stopped to look it over, and a local historian was there who could give us quite a few details about the place. It was a Catholic health spa, built in 1895, run by the Sisters of Precious Blood from 1902-1976. They added to the original building across the years, and there are now enough beds to accommodate 700. A few of the rooms are private suites with private bathrooms. The dining hall seats 200. We did not tour the whole building...just a few rooms near the entrance.

In it's prime the health spa was self-contained. They had over 200 acres, their own farm and 80 head of cattle, and a slaughter-house. They raised all their own food. Many of the original structures, including this barn, are still standing. They have their own power house, if I recall correctly.
In 1976 the Sisters sold this property to a cult called "The Way Bible College". By 1999 the cult had lost most of its membership and could no longer afford to operate the facilities and sold it to the Community Foundation of Noble County, who in turn sold it to a private owner in the following year.
The buildings and grounds stand vacant, waiting for new owners. It's so sad to see such a fine facility sitting empty, wasting away. Surely somewhere there is a purpose and a need for this property and all that it contains. It sits next to Sylvan Lake in Rome City, Indiana. For anyone interested in more details, go to
Anyone reading this blog that has suggestions for our next trip to Fort Wayne, things you found very interesting, please leave me a comment. It's only a couple of hours from us, and I am sure we missed some golden nuggets while we were there. We had a great weekend, though, and we have our sons and daughter-in-law to thank for that!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Granddaughters and Gatlinburg

The Great Smoky Mountains...Gatlinburg....Granddaughters....what could make for a better spring break vacation? God has been very kind to us, and this trip was most definitely ordained by Him!! It was one of the most relaxing vacations we have had in a long time...and we were with our very favorite people in the world...our precious two granddaughters.
We picked up our two special girls in Indianapolis two weeks ago to head to Gatlinburg for spring break...a Grandma and Grandpa get away with the girls. As we arrived in Pigeon Forge, we had to pull over and get this picture of the rainbow...a promise of good times to come!!

The trip started with dropping our two kids off at doggie camp. They love their visits there!! One week with not having to get up and walk the dogs...that's part of my vacation!!

Every good get away week starts at Cracker Barrel!! It's my favorite home away from home. I agree with the girls...the macaroni and cheese is the best!! And we all love shopping the clearance corner. On this trip every time we stopped we gave the girls $1.00 to buy a treat or save. They usually chose instant gratification...candy! The malt balls at Cracker Barrel are pretty good too!

"We are going to the mountains!! I've never been to the mountains. Are we there yet?"

"Oh, look! I see the mountains!"

Our number one photographer getting her first picture of the mountain stream. Have camera, will travel!! (and click, and click, and click!)

"What's with that house? It's upside down!!" Just another tourist trap, don't get too excited. It seems like everything in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg costs at least $80 for a family of four. Be careful of how you spend your time!! Thank goodness we were planning to have a laid-back, low budget, let's make memories together kind of trip that wouldn't break the bank.
First stop is at our resort. One of the best resorts we have ever stayed in...and we've stayed in many nice ones. This is Westgate's Smoky Mountain Resort, and our unit was at the top of the us tremendous mountain views, as well as overlooking the road leading into Gatlinburg. The city lights at night were cool.

This was the view outside our rooms on the balcony. Very relaxing view of the mountains, and a rocking chair just beckoning me to sit a spell! We could ride the "train" shuttle down the mountain to the Indoor Water Park and Craft sessions and restaurants.

This is why they are called the "Smoky Mountains"!

A nice fire to sit by on the cooler days....

And a small rippling brook outside the water park to play in on the nicer days.

We were at the water park every day...not always to get wet. The girls went to craft classes most mornings. Some of them were held in the loft overlooking the water park. But there were a couple of days when we did thoroughly enjoy the water slides, the lazy river, the whirlpool, or just lounging, watching the girls having all the fun!! There was also an arcade room at the water park.

On the nicest weather day of our week, we took the girls horseback riding, a birthday gift to our 11 year old. She loves horses. She's a natural, don't you think?

And of course the four year old wasn't to be left out. She rode with Grandpa. You got it...Grandma stayed behind to take pictures. She's not quite as adventuresome.

We went up to the top of the ski mountain in Gatlinburg, Ober Gatlinburg, where they also had ice skating, snow tubing, and various other activities and shopping.

We took in one show...there were so many to choose from, but the girls chose "The Miracle". It was all about the fallen angel (Lucifer) and the life of Jesus from creation to his resurrection. We wanted the girls to be able to visualize the stories they had heard from the Bible. It was very well done, and I trust it is something they will always remember. They were captivated by the live performances and the music.

The end of most days found the girls in the huge jacuzzi in our bedroom. They would spend two hours in there giggling, playing restaurant (they had dishes), and decorating with the bubbles. We all spent times putting puzzles together, blowing bubbles on the back balcony, playing games, and having family devotions together and reading stories. The girls had various projects to work on, and the oldest downloaded all the pictures onto Grandpa's computer and organized them into four slide shows about the Gatlinburg trip. She's amazing when it comes to creativity!! The youngest one has a smile that melts your heart every time you see her.

Well, the week went by quickly, and all too soon we were heading through the tunnel and out of the mountains to go back home. It was an excellent week, and I can hardly wait until our next trip together!!

Goodbye! See you soon!