Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is that a cat on your head?

I was sitting on a friend's couch a couple of weeks ago and (unexpectedly) their cat jumped up (in that silent, stealth-like way) right where my head was occupying. I've had cats jump from kitchen counters directly onto my head - freestyle jumping. Again, stealth-like - I didn't even hear that the cat was in the room until it was on my head! Or, perhaps you'd like to hear about my sister's CRAZY A.D.D. cat who was racing all around the living room but stopped long enough to dance on my head (again, while I was sitting on the couch).

Yes, I am a dog person. Yes, I know that cats are smart and know if someone is not a fan - - - but really? Do they need to be on my head. No, I do not wear some cat-nip type hair product that they just can't resist. It's just a strange part of my life.

I've had many strange cat experiences. Too many to mention here.

What's my point? GOOD QUESTION!

Do I walk around, afraid every day? "Is THIS a day that another cat will dance on my head?" "I must stay far, far away from cats." "I will protect myself from ever being taken advantage of by a cat again!" "I think I'll stay in my house all day - no cat is ever going to hurt me again!" Do I now EXPECT a bad experience with cats?

What a fulfilling way to live! I've just let a POSSIBLE cat moment shut down my life.

Don't let fear or disappointment or self-pity ("no one else really knows what it's like to have cats jump on their heads like this") rule you! Don't let fear make your decisions for you. Tell the enemy where to get off. "RESIST him and he will flee from you."
We know that "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind."

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Thursday, November 24, 2011

With my whole heart...

“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.”
Psalms 103:1 (NLT)


It's Thanksgiving. It's not anything like what I would dream of. We were given some hours of reprieve from the hospital because of the generosity of some unbelievably kind friends. Thank you.

I am trying to SING LOUDER because it angers the enemy of my soul who delights in stealing, killing and destroying. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart....the God who breathes life and hope and healing and comfort.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Choose joy...


Come as a little child. What does that really mean?

24 hours ago I was sitting with a lovely sister as she passed from this life to the next. The process was intense but the actual moment was peaceful.

I have been pretty useless today. I did not attend a graveside service for someone I knew years ago at noon, and didn't go with Dennis to a memorial service tonight. I am absolutely thrilled for those who get to spend eternity with their Maker, but the lose on this side of heaven is hard.

These days I hear this call, "CHOOSE JOY!" Really? In the middle of my parents' struggle? In the middle of walking with a grieving family who have experienced several family members who have passed in recent months? When I read or hear people's comments about the one I'm one with? Really?

One thing that Maggie does is something I guess I need to do. Put on my butterfly wings, and choose joy. Trust my Father. Allow myself to be loved. Laugh outloud. Maggie's a good teacher.

The joy of the Lord is our strength....In His Presence is FULLNESS of joy....

So, I will intentionally seek Him out. His Word, His Presence, His Provision, His joy. "CHOOSE JOY." Ok.

(Someday I'll tell you how I learned that a person should ALWAYS check that the brakes are set on their mother's wheelchair, or, why the decision to eat a tootsie roll in the ICU room was such a hard one - even though my blood sugar was so low...but, for today the message is - CHOOSE JOY!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Evidently, I am not Nita Mehringer...



I'm wondering if I'm the only one that thought being a "grown up" would look and feel different than it does? Somehow I thought I'd be a combo of Mrs. Cannizaro , Nita Mehringer and my grandma. Mrs. Cannizaro could put out a fabulous meal for a dozen Bethany students at the drop of a hat. Everyone helped and was glad to do so! Nita was wonderful with kids - grew, canned and juiced her own...everything (I think), and had a wonderful, gentle spirit, faith, peace AND sense of humor. My Grandma Johnson - well, I MIGHT have a skewed memory of her because I can't think of anything about her I didn't like.

Now I'm older - grown up, I guess. I still have more questions than answers about this life. I do dorky things just about everytime I try to cook, even though I really try hard. I can't seem to be a good enough daughter, mother, wife, friend, pastor's wife, lead worshipper....and now, I really stink at learning to play golf!

Golf reminds me of real life. If I'm not in the perfect position I miss the ball, hit the ball on the top, hit the grass BEHIND the ball with great force, boing it to one side or the other. Today, we were hitting a bucket of balls and I was asked to stop for awhile because some guys came into range and we needed to watch out for their safety! Really? They were on the other side of TREES! I don't want to be too dramatic here, but that was discouraging!

But occasionally there's the ping of hitting the ball with the sweet spot on the club. The ball sails just like it's suppose to. I say to myself, "finally I kept my head down, my knees bent, my grip right - I'm finally getting the hang of this!" Usually I make the mistake of trying to hit again and watch it skip across the grass instead of fly in the air! And, yes, I want to make a face at someone just like my grandson did in this picture.

I not only have to work at taking every THOUGHT captive, I must take every FACIAL EXPRESSION captive before it manifests on my face! (Just ask anyone who chooses to look over my way while Dennis is preaching. Yep, I can feel you looking!!!)

What's heaven's response to all this that I'm processing tonight? GRACE. Undeserved favor. "Really?" (I ask Him..) "Really"! (He replies.) "Leave being Perfect to Me. As long as you are handing me who you are, and what you have in your hand (like the stones in David's pocket) it'll be ok. Because, it's not by might and not by power, but by My Spirit - says the Lord."

Want to join me in taking some deep breaths of the love and grace of Jesus? Want to choose with me that it's too hard to expect perfection? Want to hear Jesus say, "Amen" to that kind of prayer? Blessings...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Wanna Hold Your Hand...

Many years ago, Dennis and I tried to adopt a little 2 year girl. Because of the place of life that her mama was in at the time, that little girl was basically taking care of herself. A two year old - finding food, protecting herself, setting her own schedule. The thoughts that assail my mind right now still bring on the tears. One thing that stands out was her little voice saying, "me do it" - - - a lot. She grabbed my finger as we went upstairs to go to bed - never being game to have my hand hold HER hand. She wanted to be the one holding on. She didn't know how much safer she would be if she would LET ME HOLD HER HAND. From her perspective, I wasn't worth trusting. But the truth was - my strength was enormously more than her strength - my heart wanted to offer her everything I was - what would it take for her to trust me...especially on the stairs?

That roller coaster of an effort to adopt did not end successfully (from our view)...but, she will forever be in our hearts. And, I learned quite a bit from her - not the least was this 'let God hold your hand' principle. He wants to be the one with the firm grip on us, but we often respond to His request with our version of, "me do it".

He has a stronghold on me - - - and on you, if we let Him.

Is. 45: 1
THUS SAYS THE LORD TO HIS ANOINTED, TO CYRUS, (put your name in there), WHOSE RIGHT HAND I HAVE GRASPED...
Read this whole chapter - it is HUGE!

Ps. 27:1
THE LORD IS MY LIGHT AND MY SALVATION - WHOM SHALL I FEAR?
THE LORD IS THE STRONGHOLD OF MY LIFE - OF WHOM SHALL I BE AFRAID?

My Father,
Today, right now, will You show us Your delight in us. Will You show us Your strength and care - especially when we're climbing uphill. Help us let go of our need to be in control and let You hold on to us. Thank You for what You are doing at this very moment - speak, Lord, Your servants are listening....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'll Fly Away, Oh Glory?

Here's a crazy deal. On Monday, Dennis and I were coming home from a conference. After the plane took off and was trying to reach the desired altitude there was a very loud whooshing sound that happened - three times. We've flown a lot. I actually like to fly - but, this was a freaky deal. Both Dennis and I were not excited about whatever would cause such a sound. The flight attendant was....very concerned. The pilot was...not confidence building in his way of communicating what was going on. The plane stopped climbing and slowed in speed. We were cruising slow and low.

I've never really had a fear of dying in a plane crash before. This time I started to go over the safety procedures in my mind. Something about using my cushion as a flotation device - but we were flying over farms, so I don't know how that would help! I WANTED OFF THAT PLANE! No really. I wanted OFF! I thought about when my dear friend was facing radiation that was't going well with her body and I was responsible for getting her to the hospital - and she DID NOT want to get in that car. GET ME OUT OF THIS SITUATION. At some point in time, for some odd reason, I decided I didn't want to die all stressed out. If I was going to go to heaven that day, I was going to go in peace.

Eventually, the pilot communicated that they thought a hose had come loose from one of two air conditioning units. No big deal - right? The kicker came when we found out that those units also pressurize the cabin. The plan seemed to be that we would fly low and slow from Nashville to Denver. Evidently it takes more fuel to fly low and slow - so that was a concern. Would we have enough fuel?

Needless to say, when we landed in Denver we were very happy campers.

What I learned from this...or want to learn from this that actually changes my thought life...

It's actually harder to fly low and slow. The Word says that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. It also says that His ways are higher. Where is my perspective formed? Through the eyes and heart of Jesus or through my own perspective?

JW lesson number one: If I didn't want to die all stress out - I certainly don't want to live all stressed out!

JW lesson number two: Have heavenly perspective - fly higher! Flying low and slow takes a lot more work and energy. Low and slow for me is having to understand people/things, feeling like I'm responsible to fix people/things. Flying high for me means that I must know that God's the one that's in control. I don't even know how to fly (physically or spiritually)!!! He gets me, and He gets the situation(s) that are currently happening in everyone we're concerned with.

God give us heavenly perspective today, and the ability to take deep breathes! Blessings!

Monday, September 5, 2011

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

I seem to be given plenty of opportunities to learn about trust. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

In whatever situation you currently find yourself one thing is for sure - YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. The choice of attitude and response and focus and worship is up to us.

"I will NEVER leave you or forsake you."

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

In pain - in new responsibility that seems absolutely beyond what you are capable of - in confusion - YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. "Underneath are the everlasting arms."

I love these pictures because I know that these little Webbers feel confident to try new things because their daddies are there, and THAT gives them confidence. I'm repeating to you what is being repeated to me over and over and over again today.....You are massively loved by your Heavenly Father and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Blessings on your day, your heart, your body and your meditations...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Signs of my times...

Yesterday was a ... funny day. I went to bed feeling fine, I woke up with one eye absolutely glued shut. Strange. It was the last day of moving my parents from one home to another - and I REALLY needed to be there. So, I put on my really cool sun glasses, made a doctor appointment and headed out for the day. Got the peeps going that were helping with the final loads of the move, went to the doc and found out I had a bacterial infection - - - and continued on with the day.

At some point I looked down at my feet. I had similar but not matching flip-flops on, and hadn't noticed it till the afternoon. I'm not super sharp when it comes to accessorizing, but even I know that one should wear matching shoes.

Today, still can't wear make-up because of the infection. (Please understand that any make-up I wear only brings me up to the "she looks like she cares" level - never the "glamorous" level.) So now I don't look like I care AND I look super tired. Perfect. And, I forgot earrings (which seemed important today, for some reason) - and, I'm really thinking that this shirt doesn't go with my pants like I thought it did this morning when I was looking at it with my one good eye. But the day goes on!

I have a scripture hanging by my desk that says this - "She will have no fear of bad news; her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Her heart is secure, she will have no fear; in the end she will look in triumph on her foes." Ps. 112:7-8

I really and truly want to be the "she" in these verses... but ... when the phone rings, I find myself dreading what I'll hear...my heart feels torn up in little tiny pieces...and for the life of me I can't figure out what God is doing!

What I am praying at this very moment is that I WILL LOOK WITH TRIUMPH ON MY FOES - even if it's with my one good eye!

Love and blessing and peace and wisdom and a stirring of faith to you today!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wipe-Out

My life has felt like the tv show, "Wipe-Out" the last few months! (We happen to be watching a recording of that show at the moment!)

My heart stuff, grandkids stuff, elderly parent stuff....all very,very significant issues remind me of the unanticipated obstacles on "Wipe-Out". Obstacles intended to make the contestants fall off the course.

I'm thinking that the spiritual significance of this tv show could be a direct indication of my exhaustion- BUT - - - what I hear is, "NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU SHALL PROSPER". This round has involved all generations of our family.....but knock us down, and we're going to get back up. Some days a little slower than others, but get back up we will. He is able to make us stand.

How about you? To someone specifically I want to say - "don't give up, don't give in - GET BACK UP!" The Word doesn't say we won't have weapons formed against us - just that they WILL NOT PROSPER! We will 'reap a harvest if we don't give up'!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Helicopters

I don't like I.V.'s that don't go in right, or bedpans, or drugs that don't work on me so there's no "I don't care" place to occupy. Can you tell I was in a hospital yesterday? The project was to look at and fix my heart. The week of Mother's Day I had a conversation about the gravity of my possible heart problems that totally caught me off guard. The evidence from the test taken showed big problems, and yesterday was THE DAY. Check in at 5:30am. Groovy!

I LOVE the view from a helicopter. The beauty of waterfalls and canyons and landscape and glaciers from the sky has taken my breath away. It's my mind's "happy place". But, yesterday I struggled to occupy my happy place. The unknown people, the unknown equipment, the unknown future was a struggle for me.

I'm not sure you are going to like this, or even get what I'm trying to say right now but....here it goes....

God loves me even when I'm afraid. He loves me even when I don't have a huge testimony of faith to share with people. He loves me....not because I performed well but because He wants to.

The angiogram showed no blocks, showed working valves and no leaks, showed the bottom half of my heart functioning at 100% All of that was in question last week. My heart was, is and always will be in His hands. He holds my heart in His hands. He didn't let go because I was afraid.

Yesterday I had these moments...where a song would bubble up...."I feel the touch, of Hands so kind and tender....they're leading me through paths that I must cross...I'll have no fear, for Jesus walks beside me...and I'm sheltered in the arms of God."... they were good moments of the view from a different perspective. They were helicopter ride moments - like God was saying, "this will look really different when you see it from heaven's perspective".

So, today I say, "Thank You, LORD for Your love and Your patience and Your provision. Thank You, thank You, thank You for Your grace. Thank You."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pray Without Cussing...

The recent Women's Weekend that Parkway offered included a lovely special gift from God. Jody Detrick. She came and shared God's heart with us in so many ways.

It's funny what sticks with you, isn't it? She shared a story about a child who had worked on learning a memory verse in a church that she and her husband served. The verse was suppose to be, "Pray without ceasing." When this little one came up to recite it to Jody's husband he said, "Pray without cussing." SO CLOSE!

Really, this is not the only thing that I will remember that Jody said - BUT - in the craziness of the last 3 weeks, I will admit to have remembered (and applied) this new version of this verse to my own life!

Blessings on your day, your strength, your heart and your prayers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

I am thankful that I have a thoughtful, generous, caring husband who has not traded me in - even with all the weird stuff he's had to go through with me. In the middle of feeling pretty yucky this weekend, he managed to help me celebrate my birthday with such a sense of caring.

I am thankful for a friend who would call from Turkey to say happy birthday and say out loud his family's love on my behalf. (Even though he reminded me that it would cost hundreds of dollars and I only had 45 seconds to talk to him!!!) My heart felt - hugged.

I am thankful for the look on a person's face who has really heard from heaven! The joy, the awe, the pureness in the eyes of one who is so excited about what God is doing. Oh my stars...

I am thankful for the sound of the song of the Lord coming from His kids. Hearing the church family sing praise is my favorite instrument.

I love having kids, but I really love having grandkids. I am grateful for the hearts of our kids letting us into their lives to love on the grandkids. I am grateful for FaceTime and Skype so that I can see their little faces and watch their bodies run in circles and hear their little voices try to tell me big secrets!

I am thankful for genuine friends, for authentic hugs, for laughing that comes from the core of a person, for peace that comes when it shouldn't be there, for Promises that God has and will keep.

The struggle that Oscar is going through makes my heart literally hurt - and oddly enough, the response I hear from heaven is ... be grateful. So you have just read my attempt at being obedient. Thanks for listening to my heart...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I...WILL...SING...LOUDER...

Today is Saturday - tomorrow is Sunday! We're going to sing "Shout Unto God" tomorrow and I've been singing it a lot this week.
"The enemy has been defeated - death couldn't hold You down - I'm gonna lift my voice in victory - I'm gonna make Your praises loud!!!! Shout unto God with a voice of triumph - Shout unto God with a voice of praise - We lift YOUR NAME UP!!!!!"

I live with a motto - the harder the battle the louder I'll sing!

This week included taking my elderly parents to the lab for blood tests. Getting them (as well as their walkers) into and out of my Honda Civic is a skill I'm developing. It seems that I sang something out loud after getting one of the walkers freed from my back seat. A woman was walking by and laughed! She said it sounded lovely, but I think I scared her!

I'm just telling you this...I don't want to curse in the middle of battle, I want to sing. It's not in me to tell you about the rest of our week - it was bizarre. Next week one of our grandsons will go into OHSU for tests and yes, my heart breaks for what he and his family are going through - but I want to sing, even through the tears. God has never asked me to fake faith - He's asked me to trust Him and praise Hm in the middle of battle - - - so I sing.

I might sing so loud tomorrow that it bugs you.....your neighbor might sing so loud that you call it distracting! But, we have no idea what the battle looks like in the lives of those around us. "The enemy has been defeated - death couldn't hold You down - I'm gonna lift my voice in victory - I'm gonna make Your praises loud! Shout unto God with a voice of triumph - Shout unto God with a voice of praise - WE LIFT YOUR NAME UP!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Please lead the way...




If you were at Parkway today you already know that my heart is hungry for our children to know what true worship is, and that they become true worshipers. I long for them to know in their heart of hearts that the Song of the Lord is like no other!

I LOVE that the youth come down to the altar to lead the way in worship, with abandon and without shame. I love to see them take a position that will effect the realm we cannot see.

We have the elementary kids in the worship service. I LOVE that. I love the generations worshiping together. But, are the taller people leading the way in passion for Jesus?

We spent some time this week with our family. One day (while it was pouring down rain outside) we went to the gym to RUN and throw the balls and exercise. The pictures you see are of Maggie imitating Heidi's exercise moves. So cute, and so sobering to me.

I am in no way saying that anyone can be perfect. We are all on a journey. The Word asks us to worship in Spirit and in Truth. But, if people are imitating you what are they saying, what are they doing?

This is a blog to the taller people - please press in, for the sake of the generations that follow. Please don't become weary. Please don't sit when HE has asked you to take a stand. Please keep exercising your spiritual muscles of faith and trust and belief. Even if you need to be like Thomas and say, "Lord, I believe but help my unbelief...."

Oh God, my heart cries out to You tonight. Make us a Church who worships You - not a style of song, or a feeling of comfort. Help us crave Your Presence. Help us to press in with all that we are - You said You would be found by those who seek You with all their hearts.

Thank You that You inhabit the praise of Your people. Your Word is true. You are faithful and mighty in battle. Help us, oh God, to pick up effective weapons that bring freedom and healing.

Speak Lord, your servants are listening...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You HAVE to laugh...

So, here's the deal. I am a woman, I am a pastor's wife, I am over 50. All those things should add up to experience and expertise. I think I keep expecting the older woman who has been to a bizillion potlucks to be ABLE TO COOK!!!! Really, come ON!

Today's adventure...
I need to take a dessert to an event tonight. Let me remind you that last time I took a cake to care group I have managed to turn the 'glaze' into 'hard cement candy' (that doesn't melt if you try to melt it with your blow dryer, by the way).

SO, I'm going to try another cake. First, after adding 4 eggs to the mixing bowls, the rest of the eggs fell off the counter - that is not a pretty sight!

Next, cook the cake...seemed to do ok with that. Next - - - the dreaded FROSTING. Trying a different frosting this time. Only.....evidently one must wait for the cake to cool more than 15 minutes. Really? I have things to do.

The cake was cooked in a tube pan so it's very convenient for the icing to SLIDE OFF the cake into the hole. And then, something darkish started bubbling up from the hole through the fallen icing. (It was melted icing, I guess, acting like a little volcano!)

You're wondering if I'm going to take this beauty with us tonight, aren't you? You bet your booties, grannie! I am bringing something to a function besides my usual assignment - which is chips or bread or a drink. Will people stare at it like they're looking at an ugly baby and don't know what to say? I don't know, and I don't care.

It seems that God and I are continuing to work on the 'you don't have to perfect' part of life - again.

I know that has to be really disappointing to the person who keeps sending me Bon Appetite magazine. Yes, I AM trying!

In 15 minutes we'll be leaving - I'll carry my...creation into the fellowship hall...and Dennis will be entering from a different door! I bet we'll be having a 'look what happens when you try to bake' talk when we get home. (Not really - he's the kindest man in the universe, when it comes to my cooking!) At least I didn't severe any tendons this time. That's got to be worth something!

I know - this isn't very deep when it comes to spiritual truth. I just don't want to hear one more person say they won't try something because they are not good enough. Please. Thank you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What I learned from "Dirty Jobs"

Something has just stuck in my mind, so I"m going to share it with you!

By now you have figured out that God teaches me things in very strange ways - - so get ready - -

My husband really likes the TV show called "Dirty Jobs". It involves a host who goes and experiences people's occupations that are dirty or just down right strange.

One show involved something having to do with decaying animal meat. It evidently was very aromatic because Mike (the host) was struggling with nausea. The employees there suggested that if he smiled really big it would help with the nausea. Really?

Now, I don't know the science behind this - but, there might be a principle that I need to pay attention to. Do I smile when I'm walking through stinky circumstances? Or, do I frown and make sure that the people around me really understand how stinky my circumstances are?

I think the more I rehearse to myself or others how stinky life is, the more life increases in stinkiness! Honestly. It magnifies, it grows, it becomes bigger right before my very eyes.

James 1:2 says, "Count it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."

Why would a person smile in the middle of stinkiness? Because we know a secret....there's more going on than what we see or feel...there's a bigger picture, and more happening than we currently can understand. The pieces WILL all fit together someday.

James 1:3-4..."...because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything....!"

Yes, I have a clear picture of Mike Rowe with a huge grin on his face, trying not to gag - but it's been so good for me.

Lord, help me to use weapons of warfare that are mighty in battle. What thoughts am I meditating on, what words am I declaring? Effective weapons - the declaration of Your Word, joy, trust in You, rest, courage, joy (yep, worth saying twice), thanksgiving, praying in the Spirit - those kind of weapons that are strategic and powerful. Thank you for Your direction and Your bigger, higher perspective.

I love you, Jesus. Amen.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Where do I land???


I have been resistant to writing a blog entry these days. The days have been full of 'stuff' that takes your breath away. The memorial service for a 29 year old dad that we had a couple of days ago...my nephew's brain aneurism...our kids moving to central California...the ups and downs of our grandson's medical challenges and the weariness of our kids in that process as well...my parents 90th birthdays (finding out my mom really didn't want to turn 90 or be reminded that she's 90 and I have 90 birthday cards coming to celebrate!)...and I could actually go on about circumstances directly connected to my heart that have occurred over these last few weeks, but I won't (aren't you glad!!!) So, where do I land when it comes to sharing my heart with you?

My friend Kathleen gave me this picture years ago. It's a bird in a rain storm perched on a cactus! At the moment, that is a picture of me. But, what I'm waiting for, looking for, listening for is...."He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul..."

I have another picture in our living room that is a river running through a cathedral. It's calm, it's rich with Life, it's continual. And THAT'S where I've landed today. I love when we celebrate in His presence, but I also love that He is the Prince of Peace. He will never, ever run out of peace. As I drink every day from that River, from His presence I am comforted and strengthened.

Yes, I can have peace if I'm perched on a cactus in a storm - but that is a temporary part of my journey. I choose to DWELL with my roots running deep in the River of Life.