Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Grace to Wait

No doubt one of your least favorite things to do is wait in line. We get up and get to the doctor's on time or even a little early only to sit in the waiting room ... waiting ... forever. We go to the grocery store for just a couple items and get stuck in an endless checkout line. Not to even mention the DMV or the drive-through at the bank or McDonald's. No one in our culture likes to wait, least of all me.

When we take something to the Lord in prayer, all too often we bring along our all too human impatience at the same time. We often make a request and expect to get an answer immediately. If God doesn't spring into action right then and there, we often begin to think. Well, I tried prayer, but the Lord didn't do anything. Prayer never seems to work for me.

That's sad! Compare that attitude to that of King David. When David was only 16 years old, God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint him as king. And yet, another 16 years would pass before that promise was fulfilled. What did David do during all that time? Did he whine and cry, shaking his fist at God, demanding his kingship NOW? No, not at all. David understood that the Lord was trustworthy. He also realized that his heavenly Father was not only the God of who and what, but also of when and how. David desired the kingship only when God was ready for him to have it. So he waited.

Are we waiting on something today? Will we wait on the Lord as one waiting on a teller at the bank, or will we, like Kind David, trust in God's timing, as well as His provision?


Sorry about yesterday's blog. It just didn't work out. Well, tomorrow is my last blog. I'm going to take two weeks off before coming back with all new material. So there won't be a blog to read for a couple weeks. My plans are to come back on February 18th. Of course the last time I said I was going to take time off I didn't. But this time I fully plan on a two-week vacation (but you might want to check a couple of times just in case I start back up early). But I don't think I will.

I was up bright and early this morning, 5:55 to be exact, so I've already gotten several things done. That's nice. After yesterday's fiasco, that's really nice. The weather people had so hyped low snow that I thought I'd probably wake up to a white world yesterday morning but it didn't happen. I guess I'll have to be satisfied with the snow we had Tuesday morning, which didn't stick to the ground or anything but sure was pretty coming down. Looks like it's overcast again outside right now. They are predicting more rain for today and they may be right. The weather forecasters are all so inaccurate I never know whether or not to believe them. But we've had 5.27 inches of rain in the past 8 days so we're starting to look good, waterwise.

As soon as I'm sure the rain has passed (at least for a little while) I want to get out and clean my car. Inside and out. I want to vacuum out the trunk and the floorboards while I'm at it. I don't let things build up inside my car the way some people do. There's no trash inside or any misc. items left in the back seat or anything so it won't take much to put my car back in shape. It really needs to be washed though as the birds in the tree under which I park have done a job on it. You'd think with all the rain we've been having, it would wash all that stuff off, but it doesn't happen, at least not to me.

We're going to have Leo over for dinner again on the 16th. He's been wanting to come for a long time now (actually I guess it's since the last time he was over for dinner). He sort of invited himself and I've been putting him off. But Sunday, I knew I had to give him a date so we decided on the 16th. For those of you who don't know. Leo is a 55-year-old black man who attends our church and works at the local grocery store as a janitor. Leo is what some people call "simple" or "slow." His retardation isn't really much of a problem other than the fact that he can't read and he mimics back to you just about everything you tell him. But he's got a heart of gold and he loves the Lord. He lives in a residential care home about a 1/2 mile from our house. Walking distance but I'll go pick him up and take him back home after dinner.

Well, I know this is kind of short but I have several things I need to do. I just heard Michael cough so he's probably awake now too. I get my hair cut a week from today, Yippee!!! I hate my hair. It refuses to do anything for me and we spend 90% of the time fighting. I try to keep it really short because it's a lot easier to care for when it's REALLY short. I wish I could get the nerve to get it all cut off. I saw a woman in the post office last week who had her hair exactly how I'd like mine done. It couldn't have been much over an inch long all over her head and it was curly and just as cute as a button. But the way my hair is it'd probably just stick straight out all over. And then, of course, my hearing aids would show even more than they do now and they may as well be day-glo green the way they stand out now. So I guess I'll stick with the way I've been getting it cut. At least it's short for a couple weeks. I'd like to be able to just finger style it and let it dry but it really needs curl for that and my hairdresser will not perm my hair because it's so fine and delicate. She just flat out refuses to perm my hair and I have to trust her judgment.

No plans for today except to put gas in the car and return the baptismal robes and towels to church. I finally got around to doing them yesterday. I had totally forgotten I've had them in the trunk of my car since Sunday. I had 4 HUGE, dripping wet robes and probably 8 towels to launder. I didn't want to over work my dryer so I took them down to the Laundromat yesterday and ran them through. It wasn't that expensive and it got them all taken care of in about an hour. It would have taken at least 4 times that long if I'd tried to do them here at home. It took me all afternoon to do the last ones and I only had 2 robes that time. The thing is that they are so big and made of such heavy material that they are simply too heavy for my machines. I just put them in the heavy-duty machines at the Laundromat and got them taken care of. And from here on out, that's what I'm going to do as soon as church is over. I'll go by the Laundromat before I even come home. This time it didn't hurt to forget about them because the weather stayed so cold. But if I'd forgotten about them in July, we'd have had molded clothes. They would have been ruined! So from here on out I'll just get them taken care of the day of the baptisms.

I guess this is going to be it for today. Tomorrow I will blog and then it's 2 weeks off for me. I've been blogging every morning for so long now it's going to feel really weird to not do that. But I thought I could take a couple weeks off and then come back with all new material. Basically the new material is just my search for answers and I'll be talking about what I've learned in my study. I'm starting out with the subject of Death and Dying; Heaven and Hell. Nice cheery topic, huh? But I promise it won't be depressing. I'll just be taking you along on my personal journey and we'll see how that works out. If it doesn't (work out, that is) I can always go back to writing my blogs the way I have for the last 7 months: a topic per day. I may find that my search just isn't cut out to be chopped up in daily segments. I'm really just flying by the seat of my pants since I have no idea what will work and what won't. Okay, this is it. Have yourself a wonderful day and I'll see you right back here tomorrow morning, Lord willing and the creek don't rise ... P.S. I can't get my spell checker to work so you'll have to read around any misspellings.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No Blog Today

Had a bad morning and most of the afternoon is gone already so I won't be writing my blog today. Sorry. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rewards of Waiting

We've all experienced times of waiting ... in line at the market, in the dentist's office, commute traffic, or at the bank. Our opportunities to wait only seem to increase with our busy calendars. While there we generally have nothing to do but wait unless we think ahead to bring something to do. In God's kingdom, though, waiting is defined as "active stillness" ... active because we are continuing in our present situation, and still because we are focusing our attention on the Lord for His guidance. Practicing a lifestyle of active stillness requires a purposeful, expectant attitude, a patient and determined stare of mind, and a prayerful, obedient heart.

There are rewards for us for waiting on the Lord. One is the acceptance of the supernatural energy and strength we need for godly living. When we let responsibilities over burden us at times, we might easily get out of step with God. Even though we know He has called us to a steady pace, it's so easy to begin lagging behind. At other times, our busy schedules are so hectic there's little time for us to even think. So we make snap decisions and end up pushing ahead of Him. In either extreme, we run the risk of becoming weary and emotionally spent because we are continuing on in our own strength. Patiently waiting on God will bring us the physical energy and emotional reserves we need to press on.

Two more benefits of waiting on God are discovering God's will, which is always for our own good (Rom 8:28), and gaining spiritual victory in the midst of life's trials or disappointments.

Our all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere-present God is always right on time. He has perfect timing for everything. It is we who leave too early or arrive too late. Pick a situation that you are prone to overrule God's perfect timing, then submit it to Him, realizing it's a matter of trust.


Well it is snowing here in San Andreas. Actually I guess it's just about stopped snowing to be absolutely correct. I was busy with my email messages a little while ago not paying any attention and then Michael told me it was snowing. I turned and looked out the window and he was absolutely right. And of course I had to get up and go outside and stand in the snow for awhile. I guess it's the little kid in us that makes us have to go out and be in things like that. Like when we get a cloudburst and we just have to step out onto the deck and experience the wind and rain first hand for ourselves. Did that Sunday while J, my granddaughter, was here. We had a couple cracks of very loud thunder and then the downpour hit. And, yes, I had to go outside then too. Weather is fun; I love it!

My Bible study went well. I was so nervous about it Sunday night that I became physically ill. Not fun. We also had the horror of not being able to find Michael's Bible. I knew I had had it last and I looked everywhere for it and just couldn't find it. Michael planned to go with me to the study and he needed his Bible. I got so frustrated trying to find it that it just added to my problem. I pulled out another Bible that he could use and I even marked the places in it for him so he'd be able to find the verses we would be looking up. But yesterday morning just before we had to leave I remembered where it might be and sure enough, it was there. So all was well with the Bibles. And Michael didn't have to go with a different Bible. You know, we all tend to be rather possessive with our Bibles and he is no exception. He was frantically looking for it too. But we found it and he got to take his own Bible to small group. Anyway, the Lord was faithful and He carried me through the study. Once I got over my original nervousness, it just seemed to flow and I had excellent participation from the group which was really nice. There are few things worse than asking a question and finding no one willing to open up and answer it. We had lots of time to sit and discuss the different points and everyone seemed to get something out of the study to take home with them.

Next Monday may be the real test though as 2Peter gets a little weird about not slandering celestial beings. If I can just come up with one point they can take home with them I will be happy. And I just want to add that God is so faithful. I had made Monday's study a firm matter of prayer and He was faithful and got me through it. Next week is my turn to bring refreshments. I thought I would probably take a berry cobbler. I love boysenberries (I don't think that's spelled correctly, forgive me if it isn't) but I doubt our little store down here would have them so I may have to use blackberries, I can always go with peaches if I have to. But I like berry best. Anyway, suffice it to say I was really pleased with the way everything turned out with the study. We all just sat around Evelyn's huge table in the eating area where there was terrific light and discussed things. I had us all go around the table reading a few verses until we had read the entire book of 2Peter when it just hit me. Here we were, close to 2000 years after Peter penned his letter, sitting around in a believer's house reading Peter's letter, just as the first century readers would have done. That was a very powerful connection for me yesterday. It almost brought tears to my eyes it touched me so deeply. I hope they too felt the connection with our brothers and sisters of old. Now I just have to work on next week's lesson plan. I think we will probably just "discuss" our way through the verses but I still need to prayerfully go over the verses and see what the Lord will teach me that I can pass on to everyone else. I don't think I will be nervous next week. Or at least I pray I won't. The first time was scary though, I have to admit it, I was really nervous when I first started. And I had no reason to be nervous. I just acknowledged to everyone that I was nervous but had no reason to be because we're all friends and no one was going to stone me for saying the wrong thing. When I called Peter Paul Evelyn just sort of quietly corrected me and it went so well. Anytime I'm leading a group I hope everyone will feel relaxed and confident enough to correct me when I make an error. It's so easy to mix up names and things. In my mind I said Peter, but my mouth said Paul. We all do that occasionally. And that doesn't really bother me at all. I've warned everyone that next week will rest heavily on discussions of the verses so they need to be prepared. I said that before I saw what a great group they are at becoming involved with the study. If they are no better about commenting next week than they were yesterday, it will be absolutely perfect. They were a great group.

I guess I'll let this be it for today. I have lots of things that need to be done around the house and it's none too soon to work on that lesson plan. And I don't even have my morning chores done so I will be back with you tomorrow. I've got two more blogs written and so Friday will be the day of decision. Part of me wants to take a break and sort of catch my breath since I have so many irons in the fire right now, but at the same time part of me is eager to get onto something new. I will probably take a few days off, a week or two, and then get back to writing my blog. I think it would do me good to have more time for other things. Just a short sabbatical to sort of recharge my batteries. Whatever I decide I think it will be interesting to stay on the same subject for a period of time. I've been doing something new everyday now for a good six months and I think just staying on the same subject until I've exhausted it might be fun. At least that's what I'm hoping for. So you'll kind of need to check in every day to see the progression of ideas. That may prove to be a deathblow to my changed blog. I don't know how well it will work if someone misses a couple days. The way I've been doing it for so long now is that each day will stand on its own so you don't ever really get behind if you miss a day or two. With the changes I'm going to make, I may find out it just isn't going to work that way in a blog format. I'll just have to see how it goes. And there's nothing that says I can't go back if I see that the changes aren't working. I'll just go back to a daily blog format like I've been doing. Well, enough thinking here. I'll let you know what's going to happen as soon as I know. Until tomorrow ...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sometimes It's Wise to Wait

Timing is crucial in most aspects of life such as business, relationships, sports, and science. In order to keep in step with the Lord (Gal 5:25) we need to carry out His will for our lives according to His timetable, not ours.

In God's kingdom, waiting simply means seeking further directions from Him while remaining in our present circumstances. It encompasses an attitude of expectancy ... "God, what do You want me to do?" .. as well as an attitude of readiness ... " God, I'm willing to do as You say." It represents our wisest course of action because we will:

Receive direction. Too often we make our decisions based on the wrong things, like the influence of friends or the customs of the culture. But God is the only source of true wisdom. He knows all things and answers our prayers according to His complete understanding on the matters. He is willing to give us clear direction for any decision we are trying to make, large or small. He desires the very best for us in our personal lives, regardless whether the issue is on marriage, schooling, business, or relationships. (Ps 32:8).

We must get onto His timetable. God will also use this time of waiting to bring us in line with His perfect timing. To others it may appear that we are stalling and delaying unnecessarily. However, knowing that we are walking in concert with God will bring His peace to our hearts.

Be prepared for His answer and course of action. God may sometimes use a season of waiting to help us recognize ungodly motives and areas of sin in our lives, and to strengthen our faith.

Acting wisely begins with hearing from God. When was the last time you waited to receive direction from Him?


It is really stormy here today. Rain and strong winds tossing trees back and forth like toothpicks. Reminds me of when we lived up in the higher mountains where snow was common for the winter months and the wind would whip those pine trees around so severely I was terrified they were going to fall on the house. One night in particular the wind was so strong I couldn't go to sleep. I guess I wanted to be awake when the tree came crashing through the roof. I mean, it's not like I could do anything to keep the tree from hitting the house if that should happen. But the wind was just howling through the trees. Much like today but stronger. I thought I better get my blog written before it gets so bad out there that I need to turn off my computer. I love storms, don't you? I love the power ... God's power ... displayed in the wind and the rain. I always have the strongest urge to get my coat on and go walking in the storm. I have a tad too much sense to do that but it's still something I'd love to do.

Poor Michael. He has to drive across the river in this mess for a doctor appointment. Hope everything works out okay for him. He really doesn't like driving in bad weather. If I didn't have other pressing things to do, I'd offer to drive him. But, then, that might be worse for him the way he complains about my driving. Like he does so much better! That's one area that gets my dander up. His criticism of my driving. I mean, I'm obviously the better driver, hehehe! Even if he doesn't like my driving the least he could do is sit there and be quiet. He doesn't have to comment every single time I drive. It's like I can't please him no matter how I drive the car. It's frustrating to say the least!

I'm anticipating a power outage this afternoon in all this wind and so I plan to just turn off my computer when I'm finished here and leave it off all day. We had snow yesterday morning. I'm sure I mentioned that in yesterday's blog (I can't go back and check it 'cause I don't know how to do that and not lose what I have on the screen so if I've repeated myself I apologize.) It didn't last long and was only up on Hogback but I'm sure it turned to snow even down at this elevation, just didn't stick or build up. It would have been fun to watch it snow though. I do miss that since we moved off the mountain. I don't miss the shoveling and the slipping and sliding. But I do miss watching it snow. It's such a beautiful thing. All those white flakes floating down. Of course sometimes when it was stormy it didn't exactly "float" down. And I sure don't miss having to drive in the stuff.

No plans for today except to go over my Bible Study information again. After I got finished yesterday I decided to go ahead and work on the next week's study and I'm going to be hard-pressed to find enough to talk about to last for an hour's time. Maybe I should have looked a little harder at the epistle. Right now Peter seems to be in a rant and I'm not too sure how to handle that. I'm going to try and get a lot of "audience participation." It's the only thing I can think of that will add time to the study. I don't want to just add more verses because I'm trying to make this study long enough. There are three chapters to 2Peter and I thought if I broke each chapter in two that would make a six-week study, which is a good length for a study. Yes, I definitely think I should have looked at the letter a little harder before I suggested we study it. Well, it's too late now! Michael still says he may go with me to small group for the study but he seemed a little more hesitant yesterday when I asked him to go again. So cross your fingers and pray that he will go with me. It's hard for me, you know? Church is such a big part of my life and I want to share it with him so badly. God is my reason for being and I want so much for him to accompany me on this journey. And these are fun people. It's not like he's going to be miserable around them. And he gets along well with people. He can talk to anyone and he enjoys talking so I don't see him not having a good time. I saw Evelyn at church Wednesday and she and Jordan are still planning to have a dinner with Rita and Daryl and Michael and me, just the six of us. That would be an excellent thing to do for him. It would give him the chance to get to know them away from the church atmosphere. That's why I'm kind of pushing him on the small group Bible study. It's just a few people getting together at someone's house and talking about things. I mean, after all, it's not like he's never attended church before. He went all the time when we lived up the mountain and when we lived in Kingsburg. He just needs a little nudge, that's all. He's out of the habit.

Well, I guess I'll get this posted and shut down my computer. I think we'll have potato soup for dinner tonight. Sounds pretty good for a cold, raining, windy day, doesn't it? And it's not a lot of work to make. Looks like the wind has died down out there a bit but the rain is coming right on down. It will be interesting to see how the day progresses. I LOVE WEATHER!! I still haven't decided on what I'm going to do with my blog. I'm taking today's blog to heart and just sort of waiting for the Lord to lead me on this matter. I think I have two blogs left that I had written in advance and when I finish those I'm thinking about taking a sabbatical for a week or so and then come back with the new material I have written in the past couple of weeks. I haven't made any decisions because I just can't seem to get my mind made up on what I want to do. I think I do need a rest but I'm not sure how long that will be. You'll know when I know. Until Monday ...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Defining Our Purpose

Those of us who know and follow God's direction for our lives will experience spiritual peace, joy, and contentment. To discover our life's purpose, the first step (which makes all the other steps possible) is accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and establishing a personal relationship with Him. In other words, we must be saved.

Our responsibility in salvation is solely to acknowledge we are sinners, to admit to God that we've wanted to live life our own way and have lived in rebellion against Him (Rom 3:23). Professing our belief that Jesus' death on the cross at Golgotha fully paid our sin debt, we seek God's forgiveness.

Recognizing Jesus as personal Savior and Lord, we commit our lives to Him (1John 1:9; Rom 10:9, Gal 2:20) By doing this we put Christ at the helm and with Him now in charge, order and direction for our lives come only from Him. Having now become members of God's family, we from salvation on have His Holy Spirit to help us carry out our heavenly Father's plan for our lives.

God's purpose for our lives will always include sanctification, stewardship, and service. "Sanctification" describes our progressive growth in spiritual matters or holiness. The Holy Spirit, with our cooperation, will transform our character to be more like that of Christ. Stewardship, simply put, means managing (according to God's priorities) the time, talent and treasures (our finances) He has given abundantly to us. And service for the kingdom is to mark our lives, as it did Jesus' (Matt 20:28). We serve our heavenly Father when we obediently minister to the needs of others.

As we seek the Lord's specific plan for our lives, we can know with extreme confidence that it will include character transformation, investment of our resources for His, and ministry to others.


Well there is a dusting of snow on Hogback this morning. Michael is still asleep and I'm afraid he's going to miss seeing it as it is melting up there. The ground isn't cold enough to support the snow for long. They said on the news last night that the snow line would be down to the 2000 ft. elevation. It's not like Michael to sleep this long but I don't want to go in and check on him because he's been so short on sleep lately what with his neck and all that I don't want to risk waking him if he's finally gotten to sleep. He could have been up all night as far as I know. But it is something to look up there and see the snow on the trees.

I hate to say this but I'm not enjoying my blog much anymore. I don't know what happened. Nothing's changed; it's just that I don't enjoy it like I used to. I'm considering taking a sabbatical for a month or so between the end of the blogs I already have written and my new change I've been talking about. I'm just thinking about it. If I decide something I'll let you know. It's just that I may simply need a rest from blogging. It used to be so much fun for me to finally have an "out" for my writing. But lately every day is a challenge just to write the blog. And I don't want it to be a chore.

I'm late with this blog so I think I'll just send it on out and get busy with some of the housework I need to do. I've really slacked off on this responsibility. Between blogging and preparing for a Bible Study, I don't have an awful lot of time for housework. I really need to do some. I keep putting it off and putting it off. Meanwhile, my house looks terrible. Take care and keep me in your prayers as I try to decide what I'm going to do with this blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Encouraging Our Children

Parents are given the awesome privilege and undeniable responsibility of demonstrating God's love to their children. With the loving support of family and friends, Mom and Dad can help their kids discover the joy and satisfaction of a personal relationship with Jesus.

In our fragility, however, we can become a stumbling block for our children, rather than a bridge to God. For example, it's important to use wisdom in responding to their efforts. Out of a desire for our kids to be successful, some of us parents continue to "raise the bar." If my daughter brings home an A, do I look for and A+ next time? When my son comes in third, do I ignore his effort and push him to place second in the next race?

Unless we're careful, children may mistake their age-appropriate efforts as substandard and disappointing to Mom and Dad. There's a danger of them later on assuming the same is true of God. Kids might ask, "If I can't meet my earthly parents' standards, how can I possibly ever meet my heavenly Father's.

As we encourage our children to achieve, as we ought to do, we must be balanced and affirm who they are, separate and apart from their performances. When we do, they'll know we appreciate them and find it believable that God values them too.

Of course, the desire of all Christian parents is for their children to acknowledge their dependency on God and to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Parental acceptance and appreciation will help them embrace God's unconditional love along with the amazing truth that they are forgiven of all their sins. He has erased all condemnation (Rom 8:1).


Running late again. I set my alarm but then shut it off and went back to sleep. That's getting to be a really bad habit! I best stop doing that or I'll end up doing it sometime when I have an appointment or something and really NEED to get up early. I'm treading on thin ice here. Best I buck up and face the day with a smile when the alarm goes off. It's just that the house is cold and getting out of a nice warm bed isn't even on my list of things I want to do today. I want my cake and I want to eat it too. (Have you ever stopped to think about just how stupid that saying is? What good is having a piece of cake if you aren't supposed to eat it? When I have cake, I have it for the sole purpose of eating it! Make sense? Does to me!) I've been reading how to quiet my life and find the solitude to commune with my heavenly Father. Joseph Bentz, author of Silent God: Finding Him When You Can't Hear His Voice, says, "Perhaps there's an activity that once served a purpose but now merely sucks time and energy from what you'd be better off doing." I read that and immediately thought about my blog. Uh-oh.

We have an inch of rain out in the rain gauge so we got significant precipitation through the night. I dumped it last night and recorded yesterday's measurement. Yesterday we got .32 so this has been a nice storm. I can't tell if it's still raining at this time but I can tell you that it still looks a lot like rain. I don't think the storm is over by any stretch of the imagination. It will probably be pouring when I go out this afternoon to go to Evelyn's house. We're going to go over the church directory and she's going to see if she can help me out with who need cards and who doesn't. But anyway it will probably be raining buckets when I need to go out. Hope not.

For those of you who are praying, Michael's neck is a little better but he still needs lots of prayer. He has a doctor appointment Friday afternoon so maybe they'll be able to tell him something or at least be able to give him more pills to get through the day. I've been keeping up with Her blog is always so much fun to read. She just has a zest for life that makes you feel good all over when you read her almost-daily blogs. She's pretty good about keeping regular with her blog. If you haven't already, check her out.

I just realized I don't have even one of my morning chores done. If I made writing my blog one of my chores I wouldn't have to feel so bad because I'd at least be working on them. I just have a small handful of things to do each morning. You'd think I would remember to do them. I'm tired of winter. It's dark and cold and is depressing. Although that kind of depression is okay. It's okay to be depressed if you're depressed about something. It's when you're depressed and you have nothing to be depressed over that you're in trouble. That's where prozac comes in. Well my friend Mario just walked across my computer keyboard and I lost an entire paragraph. I haven't the slightest idea where it went. I can't find it. I hate it when that happens! I wish he would go away! Actually he is away right the very minute but like a bad penny he always keeps turning up. Have you ever had a bad penny?

Well, I guess this will about do it. The only vital information in the lost paragraph that I can still remember is the fact that we forgot to put out the garbage cans last night so we missed the pickup this morning! Now that's VITAL! Our company has recently gone to recycling most of the trash and what that did is it opened up our regular trash so we have plenty of room in the real trash. It's like getting half your trash picked up for free! Works for us and I get to feel good about it too because we're saving the earth from global warming and all that other bad stuff. See you tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Moments of doubt occasionally come to every believer. Perhaps our prayers appear to be unanswered. Maybe we've obeyed God but things just keep getting worse. Or maybe we begin to question whether we can truly be saved without earning our salvation by self-efforts and self-works. Doubt can leave us questioning whether God actually has the ability or intention to carry our His plans. Look up Jer. 29:11. That's always a good Scripture to fall back on when we are having feelings of doubt. In fact, it would be a great verse to memorize if you're into memorizing.

But allowing doubts to linger in our minds can hinder our fellowship with God. We are to live by faith which is the only way to please God (Rom 1:17; Heb 11:6). Doubts short-circuits faith and causes insecurity.

Our prayers can become ineffective when we fail to trust God. The impossible becomes possible only for those who believe God and do not doubt (Matt 21:21).

And doubts can hinder our kingdom service. God often asks us to do God-sized tasks but He doesn't leave us up to our own devices to carry them out. The Bible promises us that the Holy Spirit will fill us with power to fulfill God's plan. When we doubt, we'll either fail to answer God's call or stop part way through.

Finally, doubt can hinder blessings. And doubt can and will produce discouragement in our lives, which crowds out our joy in the Lord and the peace Christ gives (John 14:27).

Doubt, or spiritual uncertainty, can come from a variety of sources. These include: unconfessed sin or lingering guilt; a misdirected focus off Christ and onto circumstances; and misunderstanding or ignorance of the truth of Scripture.

When we are troubled by doubts we need to follow three simple steps: 1) identify which part of our thinking is causing us not to trust God; 2) recall a time when God faithfully sustained us and brought us through a trial of some kind; and 3) identify a promise or attribute of the Lord that points the way back to faith. We must remember that doubt is a waste of time and energy.


Sorry about yesterday's blog. It was Monday and our small group started up again and so I didn't get home until after noon and then just didn't get around to writing one. I will try to do better but I have the sneaky feeling that Mondays are going to be out for blogs for awhile. I have taken on the awesome responsibility of teaching the Bible study portion of the small group activities and I am not very good at multi-tasking. My brain short-circuits when I try to do more than one thing at a time. I have so much I want to do before next Monday rolls around. Mostly just prepare for the Bible Study. Scary stuff! We will be studying 2 Peter, a book or letter that gets very little attention. I picked it mostly because it is short and I'm just filling in some time with 2 Peter. Hopefully our resources will be in by the time we finish our study. I also picked it because it is so different from the other epistles. I thought I might be able to glean something out of it. Next week we're just going to read it all at one time (the way it was meant to be read) and then just the first 11 verses, I think. Pray for me that I am able to present this information in a worthwhile and beneficial way. My thoughts can be so abstract and scattered sometimes that it's a lot like listening to several people talking to you at the same time. I haven't taught a class in years and years. I need prayer. Lot's of prayer. I want to bless my friends with a good study and I keep having this phrase run through my mind: "And what, pray tell, makes me think I can lead a class again???" Isn't that a nice thought to have lingering in your head? But I know that's Satan working in there, making me nervous. Making me doubt. My God is stronger and smarter than he is. I just need to keep telling myself that truth. Anytime I pit Christ against Satan, Christ is going to win. Right? Right! Anyway, I think Monday's blog may need to be set aside for a few weeks. At least until I can get a handle on things. I'll see how it goes and you'll be able to figure out what's going on if you call up my blog and you see Friday's blog there instead of Monday's.

Tomorrow I will meet with Evelyn at her house and go over the attendance rolls and see who needs a card next time and who doesn't. I just can't seem to get a handle on who's attending church and who isn't. The problem being that I have to sit really close to the front so I can read Pastor's lips to go along with the sounds I do still hear, and so there is a whole church sitting behind me that I don't know. People I don't recognize. And the last thing I want to do is send a "We Miss You" card to someone who's been attending regularly. That would be tacky. As well as a waste of the Lord's money. At 41 cents a card (for postage alone) can add up quickly.

Our weather is rainy today. Although it's not raining right now. It's supposed to be this type of weather for a couple days, clear up, then cloud up again with more rain likely. But I never count on the weather forecasts because they are usually wrong. Usually, I can be as accurate at forecasting as they can simply by tossing a coin. I know weather isn't an exact science but it appears to me they could be a little better at predicting it. Where the problem lies is with the models they choose to follow from the computer. The computer will assess things and give them several forecasts and it's up to the meteorologists to pick the right one and they never seem to do that. No, never is wrong; just most of the time. They do occasionally hit the nail on the head.

Well I know this is short but I'm getting cold feet again about teaching the study and I think the best way to solve that problem is to just dive into the material and show myself that I do have a handle on things. That we will gain insights as we go along. It's just that without prepared (printed) material and having to rely solely on the words in the Bible is pretty frightening. I mean, what if my mind goes blank. It does that quite regularly, you know. Just totally blank. And for heaven's sake I hope they don't ask me any questions I can't answer. If they don't stay with my train of thought we'll all in trouble! And my train of thought can be way off base at times. I think I should go over the material again. I want to add some references to look up to the material because that does two things. It gives authority to what is said on the subject and it helps to familiarize people with the Bible. Okay this is it for me for today and once again, I think you can pretty well scratch out Monday blogs for awhile. Having the small group in the mornings the way we do kind of puts a damper on the day. Oh but really good news! Michael said he might start going with me!!! Can you believe that? If he starts this coming week he won't have to start out behind everybody else. I'm so excited that he's even considering it. But I know him too well to hold my breath on the matter. It's not that he doesn't believe, because he does, I think it's more that he just doesn't want to be bothered, that going is an effort and he doesn't know if he wants to put out that much energy or not. Okay, this is it for today. [The sun just came out!] And do, really do pray for me. Thanks.

Friday, January 18, 2008


[Don't know if this is going to work but I'm going to give it a try. I know my blog is really late but I couldn't get my blogger called up this morning. So now you know I'm having problems.]

It requires faith to trust that biblical promises are true and reliable, which Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) describes as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." At time of salvation, we believed by faith that we were sinners under condemnation deserving of death, but saved by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His very own Son. We also believed that we were adopted into God's family as His children and that we would live forever with Him.

Many of us since then have struggled to believe consistently by faith that God's promises are true and that they apply to us. Faith has been mixed with false doubt at times. Partly because of our own uneasiness about wrong choices and partly because we feel unsure of God's love or forgiveness.

Then at other times, especially when life gets difficult, we question whether we've actually been given all that we need. At still other times we will question whether we've even been saved at all. If our prayers are not answered as we expect, we may wonder whether the Lord really cares about us or even has the power to help.

When we face relentless or overpowering temptation, we may start thinking He has not provided a way out. In such instances, we are allowing our feelings and circumstances to determine what we believe.

Our uncertainty will be changed into a sense of confidence in our heavenly Father when we take in a steady diet of Scripture. We can trust the Bible because it's Author ... God Himself ... is trustworthy. As we study its pages, the Holy Spirit will help us to overcome our doubts and teach us to live victorious lives. Jesus invites us to take our burden of doubt to Him. We can trust that he will give us rest from it (Matthew 11:28).


As I stated in my note at the beginning of this blog, I am having computer glitches to deal with this morning. Boo! I'm not real sure how I even got this blogger to come up on my screen and hopefully, since I went to the trouble to type it, it will publish okay.

We were down to 27 degrees again last night. Cold. Cold. Cold. But today is just beautiful. I went out to the store for some milk earlier and I had my coat on but I could just as easily have gone without my coat. The sunshine is bright and brilliant this morning. I've got a tub of laundry in the dryer and another load in the washer. So I've been busy this morning. Oh yeah, I have all my morning chores done too! So I didn't just sit around and mope when I couldn't get my blogger up. I made good use of my time. I don't need to worry about dinner tonight because we're going to have the remainder of the pea soup Michael made the other day. There's just enough left for our dinner tonight. Suits me just fine! (I am not exactly into cooking lately!) Now that's an understatement if I ever heard one.

I know this is really short but I'm going to go ahead and finish off this blog and get more housework done. Everything is calling for my attention this morning. So I may as well get busy and see how much I can get done before I give out. Tomorrow's the weekend so that means that I'll see you on Monday. If I can get my computer to work, that is. Or maybe Ken will get the chance to look at it and figure out what the problem is. I'm certain it's just some simple little adjustment that needs to be made. It just frustrates me because it was working fine when I shut off the computer last night and then this morning it wouldn't call up my blogger. Michael came out and discovered he couldn't get it to work either. (But getting him to look at it is very much like the blind leading the blind as far as computers go.) Anyway, this is enough for today. Now cross your fingers for me and let's see if this will publish. Until Monday ...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

God's Love

Our heavenly Father's love for His children is so wide, long, high, and deep that we can never fully grasp its extent (Eph 3:18). God's love for us is constant and everlasting. He will love us forever. But sometimes we shelter or store up emotions that try to tell us otherwise.

We often relate divine love with our behavior in our minds and thoughts. When we feel we've been good, we believe we are loved. But let us make a mistake and we will question just how much He cares for us. After a string of missteps, we might come to the conclusion that He disapproves of us far more than He loves us. (That's our way of thinking.) Some of us even think that God's judgment hangs over us like a cleaver over the chopping block.

The truth of the matter is, there is no condemnation for any believer (Rom 8:1). Everything that would condemn us before Almighty God was placed squarely upon Jesus at the cross. In the Father's heavenly courtroom, His Son Jesus was found guilty in our place so we could be set free from condemnation forever! It's as if God stamped "Paid in Full" on the record of our sin-debt. No matter when the transgression occurred ... whether before salvation or years off in the future ... our transgressions and sins are fully paid by the blood of Christ. No believer is indebted to God for our sins.

God does not excuse our sin. He is a loving heavenly Father, and He will use discipline to bring us back to godly behavior (Heb 12:7). He also allows us to suffer the full consequences of sin; but divine condemnation is not one of them if we open our hearts and minds to the message of the gospel. Receive God's love today, if you haven't already done so. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just say, "Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God and that You died in my place, taking my sins upon yourself. You were then buried for 3 days and rose to life again. Thank you and come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Amen.


I'm off to a late start today. I don't even have my chores done but I am getting my blog out. I had actually sat down and written "No Blog Today" but then I got to thinking that it doesn't take long to type my blog and I might as well just do it. So this is the product of my thinking this morning.

Did that last paragraph make sense? Sometimes I wonder. The thing is that my brain can think so much faster than my fingers can type. And it doesn't help that I have Mario climbing in and out of my lap while I'm sitting here writing this email. Silly cat! I wish he knew how hard it is to type with a big cat in your lap. My left hand functions pretty much normally but the right hand is really hindered with his head draped across it the way he does. He just loves to sit in my lap. There's beautiful sunshine here and snow in Georgia so I best get on with my day. (I don't know what snow and sunshine has to do with anything; it just sounded good.) I need to run out to the Post Office to mail a couple sympathy cards, since I send out the cards for my church. I think I need to call Joann and find out if we're going to have a memorial for Leta. It's the responsibility of the deacons to organize the memorial if we're supposed to have one.

Yesterday's meeting went by without a glitch. Everyone was there except for Joan. We're all really concerned because she seems to be forgetting things. Evelyn called her and reminded her of the meeting (and lunch) on Tuesday and she forgot by Wednesday. She said she had something else that she had to do but I think she's just trying to cover up her forgetfulness because surely she would have told one of us that she wasn't going to be able to make it for the meeting. She forgot she was supposed to help prepare and serve communion a couple times and she misses the deacons meetings if she isn't reminded the evening of the meeting. I called her last night to check on her and she said Shirley had already called to check on her but she seemed to appreciate the concern. But she's been forgetting big things, like going to church on Sunday. I don't know if she forgets that she's supposed to go or if she forgets what day it is but she's forgotten to go to church a couple of times. Everyone has noticed and we're all just very concerned for her, what with her living alone. She told me that she has a doctor appointment today so maybe the doctor will be able to tell something. I hope she remembers to go. She took a trip after Christmas and when she came back she just didn't feel well. Not really sick, just not normal. Hopefully she's just got a bug of some kind that has her thrown a little off kilter. We all fear those days ahead when our memories aren't what they should be.

Michael's neck is still bothering him quite a bit. It's been four days now, I think, that he's been pretty well laid up with it. He won't go to the doctor because he says what could a doctor do? And he's got a point. He says it's muscular so he's taking his Soma and codeine and just trying to wait it out. But it's sure causing him a lot of pain and discomfort. I wish there were something that I could do to make it go away and leave him alone.

Well, the sun just went away. Must be some clouds floating around out there. I have no plans for the day. So I think I'll spend some time cleaning and then do some writing later this afternoon. I guess I should go and get busy doing something. My bed isn't made and I'm not even dressed. I hate it when I over sleep. Sure messes up my day. So I'm going to say this is enough for today and get around and get busy doing things that need to be done. I think I'll fix myself a half a bagel for breakfast/lunch and get busy so until tomorrow ...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Our Christian walk will be damaged by envy. A feeling of displeasure about someone else's good fortune and blessings can also cause harm to our witness, because it often gives people an opportunity to act out in hostility and bitterness. And the catch here is that the jealous person suffers far more than does her/his target.

Before we can begin to rid ourselves of these envious feelings, we first must be willing to admit that we have them. Like greed, jealousy is an emotion we don't like to admit we have. But the trick is that the Lord already knows. We're not telling Him anything He doesn't already know. We also need to recognize that harboring envy is the same as objecting to God's blessings upon the other believer's life. Regardless of how we try to excuse or rationalize such feelings, as long as we have them we are in conflict with the Lord over this issue. Quite simply said, a person cannot be simultaneously jealous and right with the Lord at the same time. They are not compatible in any form.

The easiest and surest way to rid ourselves of resentment is through prayer. After we've confessed these jealous feelings to the Lord, we must begin to pray for the other person. Our petition should have two elements: 1) an offering of genuine thanksgiving for the blessings in his or her life, and, 2) a request that God will place love for the individual in our hearts. At the outset, praying in this way will no doubt be difficult, but as love grows ... and it will ... we'll find that the words come more easily and joyfully.

Envy is inappropriate for those of us who follow Christ since it distracts us from the Lord and is a negative and destructive emotion. We have the promise that if we take delight in our heavenly
Father, He will give us the desires of our hearts. So we must refocus our attention upon Him and what He's doing in our own lives instead of dwelling on useless envious emotions.


It's remarkable. I find that when I get up early I have more time in my day to get things done. Isn't that amazing? Sunshine greeted me bright and early this morning and it's so nice to have the overcast gone for a change. I was beginning to think I lived back down in the Valley with all the valley fog. Sunshine is nice for a change.

I have a meeting (over lunch no less) today. I'm meeting in a dual capacity as a member of Commission III and as the Chair of the Board of Deacons. It will give me a chance to tell Rita and Evelyn how much I appreciate what they do as the Missions Committee. They always have something going on to call attention to missions. And they do such a good job too. They are constantly changing the mission's bulletin board, putting flashy new material up to catch every one's eyes along with letters we receive from different missionaries. They have been so faithful all year to do this for everyone. If they need to be appointed every year, I hope I have the "power" to reappoint them today. I would think I would. I'm going with that assumption anyway. I hope to schedule a meeting with commissions I and II for next week or the week after. Commission I is so small I may just meet with each person individually. There are only two of them. There's 3 in commission II if you count Peggy (we are all assuming Peggy will come back to her deaconship (I may have just made up a word, I don't know, but it serves the purpose I intended for it to) after she recuperates from her surgery. So I may meet individually with each of them too. It's so hard to know what to do when there are so few people in each commission. There are 3 of us in commission III so there will be five of us meeting today. Five calls for a meeting but I'm not sure 3 does. I'll ask them and see if they feel they want to have a meeting or just talk to me individually. A meeting acknowledges and solidifies the fact that they are a team but I still don't know if they'll want to have one. I don't want it to seem that I'm throwing my weight around just because I'm chair. But at the same time I want them to know I recognize their commission and I want them to know that I'll do anything I can to make their work a little easier. I want to be a good chair but I don't want to come off like I think I'm a big shot or something. I'm just the opposite of that. You know, I don't know I just thought of something. I don't know what commission Joann serves. Guess I'll have to ask her next time I see her. And I know all this is fascinating to all my readers. LOL. Sorry.

I don't have much for a blog today. Just my thoughts about my responsibilities and my desire to fulfill my duties as chair in the best way possible. When God calls us up to fill a position in His body, He expects us to fill it to the best of our abilities. Being chair isn't all that complicated it's just asking me to step out of my comfort zone and be a leader. I pray that the Lord will use me in a mighty way and that He will do His part in filling me with the Holy Spirit to do the things He wants done. I pray that He will not let others think I think I'm something special; because I sure don't. I guess I'll let this be it for today. I need to wash and style my hair before going to the meeting. I think I need to buy a couple wigs. LOL. That would make going to meetings so much easier. Just pull on a wig and go. The only problem is that they all look like wigs. I've discovered older women wear wigs quite a bit. I notice them when I'm standing in line at the Post Office or grocery store. You can almost always tell a wig by the way it fits around the neckline in the back. I was just joking though. I think. LOL. Okay ... until tomorrow ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Jealousy is a tricky emotion. It's poison to the believer because it opens the heart to a host of other sinful emotions and attitudes. Consequently, envy must be dealt with immediately ... before it has the opportunity and time to take root and grow up into something we can't manage.

King Saul's jealousy so distorted his thought processes that he eventually became an embittered fool and destroyed his relationship with David, and left him separated from God. The problem actually began when the people praised David more highly than the king, Saul. They sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands" (1Sam 18:7 NIV). The king became suspicious and began watching for signs that David might be subverting Saul and his royal position. Saul never found any actual evidence but his clouded thinking mistook any success in the young soldier's life as reason for resentment and resentment fostered a reason for rage. Bitterness and fear festered like a blister until Saul was willing to take David's life just to set his mind to rest.

But I could never go as far as Saul did, we think to ourselves. We mustn't be so sure. Jealousy is a powerful emotion capable of great harm. We simply can't say what we'd do if we were given free reign. That's why it's critical to deal with jealousy as soon as it rears its ugly head, just as soon as we recognize it. We need to examine our hearts and determine if there's anyone who elicits feelings of bitterness, suspicion, hostility, or resentment. Then we must prayerfully submit those feelings to the Lord. Jealousy and resentment are poisonous emotions that simply do not fit, in fact they run totally against, who we are in Christ. Even a little poison can be dangerous to our Christian walk, and harboring such attitudes for any period of time is too long. We must do what we can and turn over the rest to our heavenly Father who is so much stronger and wiser than we are.


Slept late this morning so my blog is running late. I had my alarm set early but just turned over and went back to sleep. I know, shame on me! My meeting for today got put off until tomorrow so now I'll need to set my alarm for tomorrow morning so I'll have time to write my blog before going over to Evelyn's house for the meeting. I have nine more blogs to write before making the changes I have planned. I must have really miscounted the number of blogs I have left because I thought I only had about 10 written ahead of time and that was last week. Oh well, it gives me more time to get things written ahead of time. I'm afraid I'm going to run into trouble coming up with titles for my blogs again after I change them. Oh well, I'll figure that out when the time comes. And I haven't yet figured out how I'm going to break it up into daily segments. What I've written I've written as just one long 20+ page length blog and that will never work.

I don't have any special plans for today. A little housework and washing and styling my hair are about the only things I've thought of for today. Yesterday Gerry and I spent two hours going over the attendance records, trying to mark the ones that have moved away or died. Who needs cards sent occasionally and who don't. We changed pastors a couple years ago and some people got upset over the change and they dropped their membership. Others don't like our worship style (too loud, but I don't know what that means exactly) but mostly it's just people getting out of the habit of attending church. It would be wonderful to get a lot of those people back. Well I guess this about does it for today. I have some errands that need to be run and I'm going to have to do my hair before I take off and do those so I better close off here and let you get to your pressing needs, too. Michael just came out and turned on the TV so I can't think anymore with that on. I think he's losing some of his hearing because he's got to where he really turns up the TV. Drives me and my hearing aids batty! Personally, I'm all for leaving the TV off all day and just turning it on for the evening shows. The only thing on TV these days anyway is politics and I'm so tired of politics I could puke. (Sorry for getting graphic there.) Michael just left the room so I took that as my cue to get up and turn down the TV. One of the problems is that for some reason, we always have our TV on a little louder in the evenings and so when we turn it on in the daytime, it comes on too loud. And if I comment to Michael he thinks I'm criticizing him (which I'm not) so it's easier to just be sneaky about it and turn it down whenever I get the chance. I don't know why we have it turned so loud at night. For one thing the people next door are home in the evenings and we use the TV to drown out some of their noises. (We live in a duplex.) They seem to enjoy hitting or bumping our common wall. Okay that's going to do it for me for today. Things to do. People to see. Places to go. Until tomorrow ... Oh, and if something happens that I don't get to my blog in the morning, I'll probably just skip the day instead of trying to write later in the day. Okay, that's it ... bye ...

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Forgiven People

We've received everything we need for godly living, through God's grace: pardon for our sins, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, peace with the Lord, and access to God through prayer (Heb 4:16). We work, worship, and enjoy leisure in the unmerited favor of our God. His love surrounds us, upholds us, fills us, and sustains us and nothing either in heaven or in hell can come successfully against us (Rom 8:35, 38).

Since we are a forgiven people, God responds to and relates with us not as enemies but as His very own, beloved and cherished children (Rom 5:10). He has promised to hear our prayers, participate in our lives, act on our behalf, and provide everything we need for life and godliness. Even correction is an expression of His love and grace. "God disciplines us for our own good, that we may share in His holiness" (Heb 12:10 NIV). Because we dwell in His grace, we can act with:

Assurance that our position is secure. No one can snatch us away (John 10:28). Boldness in living for Jesus. Since we always reside in grace, nothing man can do or say is able to affect our relationship with God our Father. Confidence for today because something so much better awaits us in the future. God is fulfilling His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Rom 12:26) ... and nothing can interfere or obstruct His plan. And it is such a good plan (Jer 29:11), sound and well-intentioned! Hopefulness for our futures. One day we will see Jesus in all His divine glory with our own eyes. We will receive our resurrection bodies, glorified and eternal, take our place as co-heirs with Christ Jesus, and dwell with Him for ever and ever.

Just as He promised, God is transforming each and every believer according to His one and only, individualized plan for each person's life. We may slip and fall or waver at times, disappointing ourselves and others. But we remain enveloped in the grace of God. If we have any feelings that tell us otherwise, we must refute them with the truth of God's Word and discard them and be done with them.


Another day, another blog. I thought I'd get right to it and get it out of the way so I'll be free to go talk to Gerry at Church. She and I need to go through the attendance records and mark the people who have moved away. I tried to see her last week but our schedules just wouldn't mesh. Either she was busy when I was free, or I was busy when she was free. Tomorrow I will be meeting with the Missions Committee over lunch at Evelyn's house and that will take care of my daytime appointments for the week I think. Being chair for the deacon board is going to keep me busy until I get a handle on things and I'm not just talking about meetings. I have so much material to go over in my binder and forms to design. Lots of thinking to do. Thinking of ways to streamline things and make communication easier. I'm trying to decide if I want to ask for written reports from the different commissions for each month. That would give me something tangible from which to write my own written reports for the quarterly meetings with the executive board. (I'll be lucky to get that done, with or without written reports from the commissions!) I don't think I know how to write a report. Guess there's no time like the present to learn, huh?

We got down into the 20s last night and it looked like a winter wonderland when I got up this morning, the frost was so heavy. But we have bright sunshine. No overcast for a change; now this is why I love living in the foothills. I'm glad Michael reminded me to cover my cacti last night. I'd hate to lose them. They're so pretty now that they've taken root after being transplanted awhile back. It only took one hard freeze to get them last year and it's taken them a year to recuperate.

Well, I'm going to cut this short and get ready to go meet with Gerry. I wonder if I'll be able to get away without washing my hair again. I hate messing with my hair everyday. I'm never happy with it any more. Just never satisfied. Course it doesn't help that it's getting so thin you can see my scalp all over my head. I'm considering going drastically short this next time. So short that all I can possibly do is finger style it. I want to retire my trusty round brush. We'll see. I guess it's time to say those words made famous by people like me ... until tomorrow. Bye.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Genuine Forgiveness

Because of our likelihood to sin, we have countless opportunities to forgive others. Perhaps we've been wrongly and repeatedly criticized, or we've been disappointed by broken promises, or injured financially or physically. In this fallen and broken world, our lists of hurts can be quite long.

Peter wondered how often we are required to pardon a wrong, asking if we should forgive "up to seven times?" Jesus replied to him, "I tell you, not seven times, But seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:21-22 NASB). In other words ... every single time.

Forgiveness isn't about finding reasons to justify someone's wrong behavior. Nor is it about forgetting what happened or pretending it never happened. That would mean nothing more than suppressing the pain and covering up the wrongs instead of lovingly working through the issues from all sides.

Genuine forgiveness requires deliberate action on our part. While we acknowledge that a wrong has taken place against us, we lovingly choose to release the offender from any obligation toward us. Really, what we are saying is that we will no longer hold this person's unfair behaviour against him, we are extending mercy, just as the Lord has done toward us.

We may think we're punishing the wrongdoer by withholding forgiveness, but we are the ones hurt worst by our own unforgiving attitude. Resentment is like a thick, sticky sludge, clogging our minds and hearts. Untreated anger quickly turns into bitterness, which obstructs and hinders our relationships and prevents us from experiencing the Father's love for us. An unforgiving spirit slowly poisons our very soul. The only known remedy is to forgive, once and completely.


I woke up early this morning and so my blog is going out early too. I don't know why I woke up. With me I never know. But once I decided I was awake I just decided to stay up. I had some reading to do. I forgot to read my Bible chapters last night (that resolution didn't last long!) so I read them this morning and then I got finished up with the reading of the first 16 chapters of Genesis. Now I'm current on my daily reading plan. It's amazing how just a couple chapters a night moves you right on through the pages. I thought about reading tonight's assignment as long as I was reading already but then decided not to do that. The whole idea is for me to sit in a quiet house and read my chapters just before going to bed. That's my resolution. I just thought it would be a nice habit to work into my routine. A chance to wind down before bed and come before the Lord and read His Word.

I was elected chairperson for the Deacon's Board last night. Sure hope I can handle it; I haven't done anything in a leadership capacity for years. And years! I tried to get out of it because of my hearing loss but I wasn't successful. I came home from the meeting and wrote out all my cards for the month, as well as four other cards sent out for different reasons (Thinking of You and Thank You cards.) I should go to the library and research Roberts Rules of Order. (I think that's the right thing.) Brush up on how to be a chairperson. I have a list of responsibilities spelled out for me but I'm really rusty on bossing people around LOL! No, all kidding aside, I think I can do it. I'll make mistakes as I go along but I'll learn from them. Actually it feels pretty good to step up to the plate after all these years. Once there was a time when I managed more than four different departments and up to fifty people for ICC in the Bay Area. But that was another lifetime ago.

I'll need to set up a form on Michael's computer for the agenda so that all I'll have to do will be to plug in the items under each heading and be done with it each month. Or I could completely type it out new each month. It's not like I'm too busy, you know? And I think I need to get a bigger binder to work with because I will be holding onto more things and my binder now is bursting at the seams as it is. I'll get Joann to help me when I don't know what to do. She's really good about that. Can you tell I'm nervous about my new role???? LOL. I can't even organize my thoughts this morning. Sorry about that! I think I can do it and then a wave of fear and doubt washes over me.

I spent yesterday afternoon writing and it amazes me how fast the time whips by when I'm writing. But I want to get as far ahead as I can before I start changing my blog and working with the new material. I look forward to doing something different. I've grown bored with my blog as it is now. I hope changing is a good idea. I think it will be. It may be a little rough in the beginning but I enjoy writing so much and this new format will prevent me from borrowing from other writers because it's all about what I believe. There's just something that doesn't feel right when I borrow. The satisfaction of doing it all myself is lost when I do that. I mean, I'm not trying to "steal" material and get away with it (I've always readily acknowledged that I borrow from other writers). It's just that I don't feel true to myself when I do that.

Well, I'm out of things to talk about. The only errands I have to run today are to swing by the church and get an address, go to the post office and mail all my cards, and then drop by Kelly's and pick up the rest of one of my prescriptions. (They didn't have quite enough to completely fill it yesterday.) Okay, that's it. Until Monday ... (Can't believe it's Friday already!!!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Children don't usually hold grudges. They will react to an unpleasant situation and then let it go. Adults, however, have a tendency to hang onto their hurts. When people behave badly toward us or others, we think they owe a debt for their wrongdoings. We believe they are obligated to the one hurt by their poor behavior, and it seems only fair to us to expect restitution of some kind. Unless that perceived restitution occurs, we tend to withhold forgiveness.

But, as Christians, we are called to a different way of thinking and acting ... one that is consistent with what we know of God's character. He is a merciful Father who wants His children to show mercy to others (Luke 6:36). His Son's life on earth demonstrated how we are to live our lives. As Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). God expects us to forgive just as Jesus did, regardless of circumstances.

We find this command difficult to carry out until we start to grasp the enormity of Christ's work on our behalf. What took place at the cross made us recipients of a mercy so great that it defies imagination. The Savior took on all our ungodly, rebellious acts upon Himself and died in our place. He experienced the outpouring of God's wrath so we might be forgiven and reconciled to the Father. We deserved condemnation but received God's mercy instead. As new creations indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we have the power to truly let go of the wrongs done to us and extend mercy to others as it has been given to us.


Is it my imagination or are my blogs getting shorter? Yesterday and today just seemed to be really short. When I get to the change I have envisioned for this blog, I may not write every day. I plan for it to be less like a daily lesson, and more like a simple conversation about what I believe and why I believe it. I didn't write at all yesterday afternoon. I just wasn't in the mood. That's the thing about the change; it will be much more free-flowing or at least that will be what I'm shooting for. The format I'm thinking of may not work, but it's worth a try before I do something so drastic as discontinuing my blog altogether. I'm just bored with it the way it is and I think some changes are in order. My blog will continue from one day to the next as I solidify my beliefs and put them into writing. I'm ready to move on to something else for a change. But there will be days, I imagine, when I won't feel like writing and on those days I probably won't write so you'll need to continue to check my blogspot to see if I have anything new posted.

We have VERY light rain this morning and have only about .05 in the rain gauge from last night so it's just going to be a dreary day I guess. I need to go out and run some errands after while and I'll swing by the Post Office as long as I'm out. Our PG&E bill should be coming any day now. Usually it comes around the 5th to the 8th but it did come on the 10th one month so chances are it will be in today's mail. Not really any more news to write about so I think I'll finish up here and go get dressed and get my day off to some kind of a start. These long slow mornings feel good, but they wreak havoc with schedules. I have a Deacon's meeting tonight at 6:00 and then I will be finished with this week's meetings. Of course, I'll be pretty much finished with this week, too!! LOL. Well, I'm off to my chores. Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Beauty of Grace

Grace is far more than a pretty name for girls or a mealtime prayer. The world itself gives a sense of blessing. We, as children of God, are recipients of grace, which is poured out on us by our heavenly Father. Grace is a benefit of God's amazing love.

God's favor is seen in our salvation as Ephesians 2:8 says: "For it is by grace you have been saved." The blessing is undeserved and unearned ... nothing about us prompted God to save us. He acted purely out of His own goodness. To reconcile us to Himself and be adopted into His family, He sacrificed His precious Son, Jesus Christ.

Grace is also the atmosphere in which we live the Christian life. At our salvation we were transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-13). Within this atmosphere we live out our new identity as God's blessed children and carry out His purposes of glorifying Him, both of which create even more blessings for us. Blessing on blessing we live in God's grace.

The true beauty and meaning of grace becomes especially clear to us when we consider who we once were ... people hostile to the Lord and eternally alienated from Him. We were spiritually dead, living a life according to our own selfish desires and interests (Eph 2:1-2). But, praise God! we through faith in Jesus our Savior are now justified and given a brand new life. He has declared on His own that we have right standing before Him (Rom. 8:1). All of our sins ... past, present, future ... were placed upon Jesus, and all His righteousness has been credited to our account permanently. We must internalize this mind-bending truth, and then give Him thanks! What an awesome God!!


Another day with a late start. Don't know what happened. I thought I had my alarm set to get up early but for some reason I managed to sleep until after 10:30. Ouch! That shortens a person's day! But I guess it's OK this time because I have no plans for today except work on my writing. We tend to think of writing as a simple, easy task. But let me tell you, it's not that simple. And there's nothing easy about it at all. Writing is work, albeit work I enjoy, but I can grow tired of if without really trying to, so I don't know how my decision to change my blog is going to work out. But I'm going to give it a try. And then I'll see what I'm going to do next. My schedule has been to get my blog out of the way in the mornings and then devote most of the afternoon to writing. It's a nice schedule but I don't know how long I will keep it up. My problem has always been to keep interested in something I'm doing. I grow easily bored. But I will do my best to keep things on an even keel and put out a steady stream of writing.

We had a gentle rain yesterday which didn't amount to much of anything, and it is still overcast this morning (of course it's almost afternoon now) so I think we'll keep the cloud cover the entire day. Then we have rain scheduled to come in again tomorrow. Prayer meeting last night was poorly attended. I get so frustrated with people. I don't understand how anyone can be satisfied with just attending church on Sundays. I'm not happy unless I have something to do at church at least a couple times during the week! Are people really that busy, or are they just not that interested? I don't have the answer to that. I was just hoping for a much larger turnout and I was very disappointed. It didn't help that I got there a little late (that's rare for me) and didn't sit up close so I couldn't hear anything Dan said. He wasn't using the sound system so I was lost most of the time. It was a short service, only 30 minutes in length, but then I stood around and visited with everyone for another half hour. Margaret had brought more bread so I walked that back to the cupboards where we keep all the communion supplies. I like very much the overseer position I have taken over communion supplies and preparations. I wasn't really asked or appointed to do it. I just saw that there was a need there and I assumed it. Before I was always worried about getting to church early Sunday morning and discovering that there was no bread or juice for the services. That did happen one Sunday and we had to run out to the minimart and purchase some grape juice. That was before I started buying the juice 6 month's worth at a time and stocking up.

My card ministry is going nicely. I will meet with Gerry next week and go over the membership roll and try to determine who's moved away and who's just in a slump and needs a card to prod them back into attending. Tonight is PraiseMoves again. I forgot to go last week. (I hate it when I do that.) I don't like doing something halfway. If I'm going to go to class, I want to go to class every week. But last week I just plain forgot to go. Tomorrow night is the Deacon Board Meeting again. It's amazing how rapidly those monthly meetings roll around. We had scheduled the next Lay Pastor's meeting for the month of February. We haven't held a meeting in several months. We were just so preoccupied with the 40 Days of Purpose campaign that a lot of things kind of got pushed to the back burner. I finally pinned Dan down the other day and he penciled in the meeting for the 25th I think it was.

I think this will do it for today. I've no other news to share and it's after noon. I have my chores done (all but one, that is) so I can go right into my writing after I grab something to eat. So until tomorrow ...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

False Guilt

False guilt can be an impossible burden for any believer to carry. The shame that nags us can cause us to doubt our salvation and, even more, to doubt God's love and goodness. We start to wonder whether our salvation is real. Thankfully, though, there is some relief in the realization that it's false guilt.

It's helpful to clearly identify the root cause of our guilt. Is it caused by legalism or from listening to the criticism of others? (In my last blog I described several potential causes.) Now we need to affirm three truths:

I am special. Any reason we can possibly give to "justify" otherwise is a lie straight from Satan! Each one of us is a one-of-a-kind creation. The Lord chose to create us and endow us with one-of-a-kind talents and abilities meant to be used for His glory (Eph. 2:10). He knew what each of our days would bring even before we lived the first one (Psalm 139:16b).

I am loved. Our heavenly Father send His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins in our place so we could live with Him eternally. We don't have to do a single thing to earn His love; it has always been ours for the taking. All that is required of us is that we believe He died in our place, was buried, and then rose again.

I am forgiven. 1John 1:9 promises us, "if we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." The Bible promises the process as simple as that. Confess. Forgiven. Believe.

Since it is Satan, our enemy, who stimulates this sense of false guilt, our final step in the process is to renounce his lies. We must replace the guilt with the biblical promise in 1John. We must replace lies with truth. We must make a declaration to this effect: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I reject these feelings of guilt, because they have absolutely no scriptural basis. They are nothing but lies and I refuse to acknowledge them!" The result of this action will be the lifting of the heavy weight of false guilt from our hearts and minds. In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, stresses that we shouldn't argue with Satan. We should simply renounce him and move our minds onto something else.


I've been thinking about my blogs. They seem to be more and more impersonal and that is not what I intended for my blog to be. I intended for it to be a place for sharing ideas and coming to know and strengthen our relationships with our God. So I have been busy writing something else for a couple days now. I will continue on with the blogs I already have written (I think I have about 10 more) but then I will try switching over to something new. I have been reading and writing out my thoughts on death and dying and heaven and hell. Fun stuff!!! It is nowhere near ready to write in my blog so I'm glad I do have a supply of them already written ahead of time so I can now devote my time to writing and preparing these new writings. Hopefully by the time I finish with the ones I have now I will have my other writings in some form to put into new blogs. What these new ones will be, will be my thoughts on different subjects. I won't have all the answers to my own questions but maybe they will spur you on to do some thinking of your own. That, I think, is closer to what I had originally planned for my blog. One problem I may have when it comes to actually typing them into the system is knowing where to stop to make segments equal to enough for one day at a time. When I write I just write and don't worry about the length or whether there's a breaking point somewhere so I may have to write "continued tomorrow" on them or something as such that will allow you to break for the day. But I think that will allow me to return to my original plan for my blog.

I got onto the subject of death and dying because I got to thinking that if someone asked me what I believed about the subject, I wouldn't be able to articulate what it is I actually do believe. And I decided that there are probably other people out there who are in the same situation. As believers we quite often can't put into words what it is we believe in our hearts. And, of course, that will open the subject and myself to criticism. (Perhaps you won't agree with me on certain points and that is fine.) Maybe we can get a discussion going back and forth. I am always open to criticism. It may hurt sometimes but it allows us to firm up our personal beliefs and shows us where we need to better articulate our thoughts (or at least mine).

Also by changing the format, it will, I hope, bring a freshness back to my blog. I don't like the way these devotions have turned out. They're just too didactic, pedantic, and boring. (That's our vocabulary lesson for the day, LOL!) So I'm excited about making the change. I think it will be fun. It will be a lot more work on my part. Remember that I have to do all the research on these devotionals and do all the writing. These will be my own creations; I won't be borrowing from other writers and I like that a lot better. It may turn out to be more work and time consuming than I can afford to spare, but I'd nevertheless like to give it a try. I'll need to be aware of things to write about but theology gives me plenty of subjects to write on. This may not work, and if it doesn't I hope you will stick with me as I experiment. We can learn and grow together and maybe I'll get more comments if my readers understand that I'd really like feedback. I don't want people to disagree with me just to be argumentative but honest input will always be appreciated.

So I'm excited thinking about the change. A bit scared too because it will mean more work for me but hopefully I can do it. It's worth a try anyway. So look ahead with anticipation for something different and I hope better. I'm just not happy with my blog the ways it is now. It's boring and flat. So let's spice it up a little bit. The thing is, my dissatisfaction has caused me to contemplate discontinuing my blog and I think it deserves another chance before I do something so drastic. I will be giving you my personal take on things and hopefully you'll be giving me some of yours too. Enough for today (and that may be the exact way I have to continue my blog from day to day; just say that's enough until tomorrow!).

We're due for more rain today. It has been overcast and dark all morning with substantial wind gusts occasionally. We have a prayer meeting scheduled tonight at 6:30 and I just hope and pray that it isn't raining enough to keep people home. This is National Prayer Week and we need as many Christians praying as possible. There isn't enough prayer in the world as it is. And we have lots and lots of things to pray for so let's all crank it up a little! I'm still in my pjs and it's almost noon. (Guess you know now my chores aren't done either.) Oh well. But I do need to get busy. Give me your thoughts on the direction I hope to take my blog. Send me an email if you don't want, or can't, submit a comment to the blog itself. So until tomorrow...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Plagued by Doubt

[For the record, I have enjoyed my time away from my blog. That's pretty serious because I'm having thoughts about cashing in my blog for more spare time at home. I don't even know if I still have readers left out there. So all this could be such a big waste of time. But I will probably continue with it until I run out of the devotionals I've already written. Notice I said "probably." With me you can never be sure. I always have great plans. It's the execution of those plans that becomes the problem. My computer was down for most of the time I was away and I thought I was out of the blog business for reasons not left up to me. But it's working now (obviously) so I am committed to sending out a blog since it is Monday and I said I would be back on Monday the 7th.

Don't forget to check out because it's interesting. It's always interesting. (If I had a digital camera and knew how to do it, I would include photos too.) But, alas, all things are different at my blogsite. Anyway, check out her blog. I guarantee you will enjoy what you find! We had a big, big storm while I was away with lots of rain and wind. The wind wasn't too bad here (did a lot of damage other places especially down in the Valley) but we were lucky and didn't have it that bad. But we got over 3" of rain one day and then another 1.25" the next day. Yes, indeed, it literally poured off the roof at times. We did get a call from our daughter-in-law after we had gone to bed telling us that it was snowing outside. Being the weather nuts we are, we both got up out of bed and went outside to watch it snow for a little while. A very little while as it was cold and wet and we had just slipped out of a nice snugly warm bed.

I wanted to tell you ... I should have said this earlier in the message when I was talking about my computer, duh ... if I suddenly stop writing without saying that I've quit or am taking some days off, that will mean I've got computer problems again. My entire computer set up has been put together with cannibalized parts from other old systems whose previous owners have gone on to bigger and better systems. So, I don't exactly have the best there is to work with. Don't get me wrong, though, I am thrilled to have what I have and I enjoy it like the blessing it is.) I have a busy week this week. Meetings Tues., Wed., and Thurs. nights. And then a 6-hour womens' ministries come Saturday. Busy, busy, busy. I love it when I'm busy but then I get a little scared thinking I'll forget something or I'll go to something and get terribly bored because I can't hear what's going on around me. The last Women's Ministries I went to was that way. I only heard like every 12th word so I sat there for an hour and a half not having the slightest idea what was going on. That kills me!! Literally, I just fall over dead. (I wish!) Also our small group will pick up again next week I believe and that should be fun again. And on the 20th I have a Heart to Heart luncheon after church to go to. Meetings that follow our church services are difficult for me because it never fails but that I just want to go home and I end up getting all weird because I have to stay longer. I usually enjoy it, it's just hard for me to make myself stay longer. For some reason I just always want to go straight home and relax. Okay, I think I've gotten caught up with you so I'll get on to my devotional. But wait, do my devotionals seem boring to you? It seems like I have begun trying to "teach" instead of just sharing ideas and thoughts with you. Humm. I may have to analyze things and see what I come up with. I don't want my devotionals to end up just being a study lesson. I want them to be fresh and creative. But I'm beginning to think that over time I've kinda switched gears. Maybe gotten a bit lazy? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. That's it; off to my devotional for the day!]


What we do with our guilty feelings has a lot to do with what we believe about our guilt. The word "guilt" refers to a sense of wrongdoing ... an emotional condition arising from second thoughts about a particular action or event or even about a thought. The biblical remedy for such a situation and such feelings is called repentance.

However, some of us are plagued by guilt that is not actually rooted in sin. Such false guilt develops in several ways:
1. A church or group fellowship caught up in LEGALISM can breed this unhealthy feeling. Members may not be doing enough of what is "required" (such as praying, Bible reading, and witnessing). Or they may do something that the church or group categorize as wrong, even though there's no Scriptural basis for their opinion.
2. Painful MEMORIES OF ABUSE in childhood often lead an adult to believe she's somehow responsible for the sins that have been committed against her.
3. HEARING BELIEVERS' CRITICISMS of others can lead to low self-esteem within ourselves. Without clear discernment, we may get the feeling we can't measure up to God's standards.

Genuine, biblically-based guilt is an anxiety in the spirit over a definite, willful sin. The various causes of false guilt all have one thing in common: they are not the result of sinful conduct. Such feelings are Satan's tools for harassing God's people.

When we understand that true guilt is the Holy Spirit's loving pressure on our spirits to correct specific wrongs, we can reject Satan's attempts to distract us with lies. Whatever the cause of false guilt, it must be rooted out of the believer's lives.


[Well that sure seemed to be a short devotional, even for me. Actually it is very difficult to keep my devotionals short ... usually ... I didn't seem to have had that problem for this particular devotional. Oh well, maybe it's best to have a short one on the first day back. I forgot to tell you that while sitting in church yesterday I made kind of a New Year's resolution (I know it's a week late and I don't ever make resolutions, but I thought I'd give one a try.) A handout was available to pick up that would take you through the Bible in one year using a daily reading plan. It wasn't that long ago, I know, when I went through most of the "big books" in the Old Testament. But there are all those minor prophets that I tend to peter out on. And I read through the New Testament fairly regularly. But I thought it might be fun to start a new tradition. The reading plan is set up for a couple chapters of the OT and a few verses of the NT for every day of the year. So I thought it might be fun, every night just before going to bed, to turn off the TV and sit quietly and read my couple chapters. I will skip the reading for the NT altogether. (I think most of the NT should be read by reading each book all the way through at one sitting (especially the epistles since these were meant to be read that way). So I'll do the NT differently throughout the year. I'll see how it goes. But I thought it might be fun to have that daily reading time just before going to bed. (I don't want to read it in bed because when I read in bed, I get too sleepy and the next day I can't even remember what I read.) I may not carry this plan out but I thought it would be fun and beneficial to give it a try. Of course when our Ladies' Bible Study started up this past summer I went for the first few weeks and all we were doing was taking turns reading the Bible and I quickly grew tired of that. I could never remember what I read from week to week so it was genuinely wasted time for me. This will be every day so maybe I'll be able to remember what I read and it will be beneficial for me. I'll make it into one of my evening chores maybe. This week, being National Week of Prayer, I have a daily devotional, Scripture passage, and prayer guide to go through and then Tuesday night the entire church is invited to join together in the Sanctuary for a time of prayer. As I said, this is only for this week.
Speaking of chores, you know what? I got so excited about getting on my computer that I forgot to do my morning chores. My bed is still unmade and my face hasn't even been washed. Oops! Guess I'll settle back down after awhile and will remember to do all my morning chores BEFORE going to my computer.

My daytime project has been to read through One Minute After You Die and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm on my second read through (it's a small book). I will probably read it one or two more times before I get to the point where I feel I have learned all I'm going to learn. I struggle with my short attention span. When you're mostly deaf like I am, you tend to just let your mind drift constantly rather than struggle to hear and make sense of things. So you really do sort of establish a habit of "drifting" in your brain. It's an awful habit that developed unnoticed until one day it suddenly dawned on me that I had "read" entire paragraphs while day dreaming about something else, altogether. And, much to my chagrin, I have discovered it's an extremely difficult habit to break. But I'm working at it.

I also spent a couple of my days off writing a 9-page dissertation of what I believe about death and dying. It was a difficult thing to do. Try it sometime. Just sit down with pencil and paper and write out everything you believe about death and dying. You'll find it's not easy to do. I spent most of two days doing mine. Now I need to back up what I believe with Scripture but that's so much boring work I may skip it for the time being. All I wanted to do was to articulate what I believe happens when we die. What makes "us" us and what happens to that "us?" I intend to do the same thing with what I believe about heaven. You know it's so easy to say, "I believe in heaven and hell" but what do we mean by that? What is heaven going to be like? What will be do in heaven? Will we know our families and friends? Will we miss people on earth who haven't died yet? What about our bodies? What happens to them? These are very difficult tasks, writing everything out, as you'll discover if you decide to try it yourself. So I've got two more projects to do but I'm not sure what order I will do them. I just keep plugging away because there is so much to learn. And the only way we can know what we believe (which gives us the bonus of being able to tell others if they ask) is by writing it all out. Just how much of what we learn actually gets internalized and becomes our personal information? I challenge you to just do this yourself, at your own pace and see if you can't surprise yourself with what you know and don't know. I mean, if someone came up to you today and said, "can you tell me what happens when a person dies?" would you be able to effectively communicate your beliefs to that person? Could you back them up? It's time well spent so give it a try.

It's a beautiful day outside this morning. We have a chance for some showers today (there are patches of dark clouds casting shadows around sunny spots) but the air is clear and fresh. And everything is so clean looking! I should be doing outside things today. The sun is really a shock since we haven't had sunshine for nearly a week. Guess this will do it for Monday morning. Remember that I said our small group may be starting up next week so that will mean, if it does, I won't be writing my Monday blog until later in the day or I may even end up skipping Mondays entirely for awhile. We'll see how things go. But my chores await me now so until tomorrow...]