My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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The Best Brother in The World

me huging troy with mumps

Comforting my brother when he had the mumps .

As we celebrate National Sibling day I want to take time to honor my brother and only sibling Troy. He has hands down been the best brother a gal could ever have. His long list of virtues could circle the globe with patience and joy steering the helm. God knew Troy would need a heavy arsenal of patience to grapple with the likes of me. Whether I ate his chocolate Valentines heart while he was at school, or sang “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” repeatedly in the back seat of our Thunderbird, as he reminded a picture of calm. Rarely did I ruffle his feathers in the midst of my tomfoolery.

Like any good brother he brought protection and defense when situations proved dicey, even so far as telling my loving but frustrated mom when I was three, “Say something kind to her, she’s afraid of you”. Full of tenderhearted grace and laughter that simultaneously sparks a twinkle to his eyes. Troy has been a steady pillar of strength and unceasing joy to me and my family and undeniably his own as well.

Now that dementia has attacked his once strong body I reflect on God’s word that tells us, *“The rain falls on the just and unjust like”.  Becoming acutely aware we live in a fallen world where the excruciating truth is: bad things happen to good people; and no earthly umbrella is a worthy opponent against life’s blast of harsh realities.

My intentional steps move towards the cross laying the bitter blows of pain, loss and grief at the feet of Jesus. Solace found in the truth that You became, *” A man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief, surely you have borne our, sicknesses, weaknesses and carried our sorrows”. A trustworthy Father to see us through dark hours of our soul as we find rest in all His good promises. Reminding myself this life is a mere dress rehearsal as we await the glory of heaven where * sighing and sadness shall flee and You will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Today as I reminisce looking through copies of Troy’s baby book, I’m especially touched by what my mom recorded him telling her when I was two,  “I just love my sister, you got her because I wanted a sister “.  Heavenly Father, I want you to know, “I just love my brother, you got him because I wanted a brother” and I thank you that you picked the best one ever!

100_1044  “ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” –                                                                                                                                                                     Marc Brown

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Matthew 5:45

Isaiah 53:4 Amp Bible

Those the Lord has rescued will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11 NIV Bible


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Happy Feet

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Typically my morning ritual includes checking Facebook scrolling for updates and recent posts. Sparked and awakened more fully by reading witty quotes and glibs, or perhaps deep provoking thoughts to ponder. Since I’m not a coffee drinker this invigorates my senses rather nicely, while also keeping me abreast of joys and possible challenges my family or friends might be encountering. Presented with opportunities to bless and receive blessings… sharing words of encouragement and offered prayers for one another.
 
However, on one particular morning I was not greeted with a warm inviting cup of Joe replacement, but instead quite shaken by a cruel stinging attack which was written with malicious intent.  Even though this relationship had broken down recently, how could this person, someone I’ve loved and supported for many years want to tag me in a photo calling me a “liar, a cheat and a scam”? Reality hit like a  jolt of ice-cold water dousing my tender heart.  From this new vantage point my hope for redeeming love and mending the forlorn fence between us looked like it was the last thing on their mind.

Thankfully, before this rude awaking I spent time in God’s word reading Psalms 35:23-26;  pondering this scripture I decided to call a friend to share these verses… they were simply to good to keep to myself! 

 ”Please get up—wake up! Tend to my case.
    My God, my Lord—my life is on the line.
Do what you think is right, God, my God,
    but don’t make me pay for their good time.
Don’t let them say to themselves,
    “Ha-ha, we got what we wanted.”
Don’t let them say,
    “We’ve chewed him up and spit him out.”
Let those who are being hilarious
    at my expense
Be made to look ridiculous.
    Make them wear donkey’s ears;
Pin them with the donkey’s tail,
    who made themselves so high and mighty!” 

Upon finishing,  we both chuckled at how the Message’s Bible  interpreted  what Kind David wrote. My mind immediately flashed back to the Disney classic Pinocchio with it’s Pleasure Island’s Amusement Park. A place promising fun to young lads, yet unbeknownst to them lay  hidden entrapment … a spell cast on all who dared to partake in this magical land.  This mischievous entertainment would  cost them their true identity, producing donkey ears and tails burgeoning up on naive boys.  Rather fitting for the wrong choices that Lampwick, Pinocchio and all the other boys made landing them in such a foolish predicament.   

David knew first hand what it felt like to be relentlessly pursued by his enemies,  King Saul being his chief nemesis. David wrote throughout the Psalms his laments for God’s justice and deliverance from Saul’s unmerciful attacks. In Psalms 27:12-14 he cries;

“Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence.”
going on to make his bold declaration in verse  “I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

We serve a God that sees it all, the cruelty, injustice, false accusations and lies that have been waged against us. His truth will prevail and your character will one day be restored. You might not see it today or the day after, but you will see the goodness of the Lord on your behalf.

Our job in all this is to trust the Lord, ask forgiveness for any wrong doing we may have done and forgive those who have hurt us. I don’t know about you but taking the high road in an offense is never easy. My flesh wenches and craves to retaliate and seek justice…NOW.  Although Jesus tells us to  forgive someone 70X7 it is not a math equation I’m gleeful about. Yet if left unsolved produces far more heartache. The Sermon on the Mount that Jesus  taught His followers  encourages us  to be glad in our persecution, happy even when people revile you and say all kinds of false evil things against you. 

Confessing that as the day lingered I still did not find myself happily jumping up and down over this person’s mean-spirited maneuver. Determined to not let them rob anymore of my joy, choosing to take the high road in goofy merriment. Grabbing my high top purple canvas sneakers with plaid trim…my combat boots of joy. Confident they would surely put a smile on my face as I stepped into all God’s reliable and trustworthy promises.

Are you facing one of life’s zingers? May I encourage you in your movement forward with this hope,* “… shod your feet in preparation to face the enemy with firm footed stability the promptness, and the readiness, produced by the good news of the gospel of peace. Each new step bringing more freedom and victory.” Hey, you can even sport some goofy shoes while doing it… I say if the happy shoes fit… wear them!

*Ephesians 6…AMP version.


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God’s Lemon-Aid Stand

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Rolling up to the stop light, my eyes caught a sign to the left of me which cheerfully read “Lemonade $2 for a 16oz. cup”.followed by “First time stand has opened “. Though shocked by the price it was catchingly  framed with pastel colored balloons, a gentle persuasion, swaying in the breeze, wooing parched folks to acquire some refreshments.

It brought back fond memories from my first childhood entrepreneurial endeavor. Our home was  merely a hop, skip and jump away from the Standard T.V and Appliance store. This store was a virtual treasure trove of discarded refrigerator boxes. Providing unlimited fun for my brother and I to amuse away our summer.  Co laboring to lug their large and cumbersome frames home, which we would  then quickly transform these cardboard canvases  into new creations ignited by our  imagination .

One day while my brother was playing with his friends, I decided to  create a lemonade stand with the recent box we dragged home.  First order of business was to cut out a window to hand out these thirst quenching drinks to eager awaiting customers, not that I had a line of them, but in my minds eye I did; envisioning them clamoring to partake of the concocted nectar. Next, was to determine the selling price… happily deciding to set it at two cents per Dixie cup. Neatly stacking them strategically along side the pitcher of freshly made Kool Aid lemonade.

Words fall flat at how thrilled I was when my first customer, a young gentleman, moseyed down the dusty unpaved road, which upon arriving he ordered a cup and a refill to boot!  A whooping four cents right off the bat.  Even though I was in
a stuffy box and only leaving for short periods of time to cool down from the heat, my thoughts were of shear joy… not a word of complaining… this whole experience  was exhilarating!

Even though I never squeezed an actual zesty lemon in preparation, it  does makes me think of the saying, “When life gives you a lemon make lemonade”. Life can be good at handing us an unexpected lemon from time to time. Presented with these sour orbs we have a choice, to either allow ourselves to become soured and embittered, or to whip up a batch of sweet satisfying lemonade with these disappointments.  At times my attitude  puckers up to a surly disposition worthy of the bitter fruit I had just been served. Repugnant in my spirit, methodically slow to add sweetness in my thoughts that could change the outcome of this tart and testy intrusion.

Jesus shares a powerful truth in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Children are teachable, forgiving, good humored and full of wonder, while modeling Christ like humility.

How fitting that for many children their first entrepreneurial business is making a lemonade stand, turning the bitter into sweet and serving cups of contentment. One of countless lessons that can be learned through the eyes of a child.

Today I can choose to change my unfitting adult perspective that lacks trusting You with childlike faith. Making a stand to enter into your Kingdom promises that declare, ” You came that they would have life and have it in abundance ( to the full, till it overflows) ” John 10:10.  So when the next time life gives me a lemon… I’ll accept God’s transforming promises to turn this lemon into new life… something sweet indeed!

Thank you Lord for the power to make bitter waters sweet, to taste and see that you are good when life has left a bitter taste in our mouth’s….that what has been served to us, past or present, does not need to fuel our future. May today be all about the business of Heaven, where it can be lived out here on earth as it IS in Heaven as your word promises. Guide us to be people of integrity with simple hearts endeavoring  to love you and to love others as ourselves. Calling all those who are thirsty to come and drink from the wells of living water… NO money required!

Lord with your mercy and grace you continually bring to me the aid I need change my lemons into lemonade. Gathering trust and strength in knowing that the lemonade I enjoy today first came to me disguised as a lemon.

“If you can change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Wayne Dyer
Pocketful of promises ….
Exodus 15:22-27 , Psalms 19:9-10  , Psalms 119 -103


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Treasures of the Snow

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Earlier this year my husband  and I were blessed by our dear friends the Saint’s proving their namesake by taking us to  play in the snow at Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge. Though this majestic mountain is only hour away from home, it only took us 26 years to get there to enjoy it!  It was a delightful day from start to finish and a stunning reminder that God pulled out all the stops on showcasing His creation of Mt. Hood….the wow factor was simply off the charts.
 
My heart was taken back to a time I had pondered Job’s question regarding snow… here are a few of my thoughts about it.
 “Have you entered into the treasures of the Snow?”    Job 38:22
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God’s word speaks of it,  His glorious handiwork declaring  its’ beauty and wonder.
Snowflakes form around a speck of dust  that get carried up into the atmosphere by the wind.  A water crystal develops  becoming  His  unique  one-of-a kind  creation, as so with His  children–no two exactly alike.  
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This peaceful, tranquil,  fresh-fallen snow  that  quietly covers the dirt and soiled earth.  Dazzling it in a brilliant blanket of purity and innocent gleam.  Making God’s secret place of the snow  a storehouse of His truths and a flurry of His promises. 

Psalms 51:7  says, “Cleanse me with the hyssop and I will be clean, wash me and I shall  (in reality) be whiter then snow.”

Isaiah 55:10-11  states  “For as rain and snow come down from heaven …. so God’s word does not come back void but accomplishes that which it was sent to do.”

So, before the winter is past and  and spring has sprung, let us wrap up our winter  lingering in His treasures. 17 days of winter wonder still to go,  I say  Lord … Let it Snow,  Let it Snow,  Let it Snow!

 


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Lucky U

While anxiously waiting for my counseling appointment which I had extended an olive branch for a family member to attend, my hopes were high to come to a peaceful resolution.  It was time for the wise counseling of a professional to help  repair the severed relationship. Beginning the process of mending torn emotions to a place of strength and deeper healing.  Like tiny tears of muscle that pave the way to increased muscle mass, so too our relationship would optimistically be built up.  As my upcoming appointment drew near the prayer of King David in Psalms 139 :23-24 came to mind,  “Search me thoroughly O God, and know my heart ! Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there is any wicked or hurtful ways in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”   Longing that my heart would  stay on the  course of truth  joined hand and hand in love.

As the meeting came to a close, regretfully the outcome was not what we had hoped for. Deeply wrestling with discouragement the ride home was a somber one. Feeling an intensified and rather profound sense of loss, 2012 was closing its chapter to more sorrow then I had  ever bargained for. My mom’s congestive heart failure, increasing dementia, while also mourning  my only other sibling health challenges.  And now the golden thread of hope of restoration severed, swaying frayed and raw, making the approaching holidays more poignant with overwhelming sadness and grief.

Upon arriving safely at home I was greeted with a  rousing welcome from my loving husband, thoughtful son and two exuberant and lavishly affectionate dogs, Buddy and Buttons. My soul and body instantly sinking into a cozy place called home, their listening ears slowly warming my chilly spirits, thawing out the cold harsh situation. Shortly after our conversation the phone rang, it was Lawrence the husband of my dear friend Lisa from high school calling to plan a surprise for her birthday the following day. His cleverly devised plan was as follows….First, his limo driver would pick us up, then swing over to their house for the birthday girl, surprising her when she got inside with my unannounced presence.  After that, it was time to drive to the Chart House for Lawrence’s company party.  Photos were taken and hugs exchanged then off my husband and I went for over a two hour ride in the limo….all for free! Her husband’s generosity extending not only to his lovely wife but a gift to Kevin and I as well.

It’s safe to say that it’s been well over twenty six years since I have yearned to ride in a limousine with my husband. The odds never  looked good considering for twenty one of those years we have lived only on one income, while I stayed home, homeschooling our two boys, coupon clipping, bargain hunting and pinching pennies tell they squealed.  Honesty, that desire got placed so far on the back burner, I forgot it was still a simmering dream. However, God is mindful of our dormant dreams, His  word promising to give us the desires of our heart.  That same joy of watching my precious friend’s elation on her special day, so too God rejoices over us, watching our astonishment at His glorious celebration on our behalf. This was truly a magical night of sparkling cider toasts, birthday gifts and photos. Then the two of us riding in high style touring Christmas lights, gazing at twinkling stars and city lights from the heights of Rocky Butte. Finishing our glorious night eating at the same Denny’s where we first met after a college career church gathering… sharing french fries like we did thirty years ago. This wondrous adventure fulfilled in a Limo with the License plate,  “LUCKY  U”

Perhaps you too are struggling with a painful hurt or loss?  Do you feel like the chips are down and down on your luck?  May I encourage today with the promise of a God who knows your heart and heartache. He is a God that binds up the brokenhearted repairing and restoring them to wholeness.  His favor and grace resting on the broken and downtrodden. So, whether you find yourself in a luxury Limo ride or not, the Lord wants to bless you  knowing the secret petitions of your heart. This for sure, we serve a mighty God that daily loads His children with benefits.  With this profound  truth I lift my glass of sparkling cider with a toast in honor of a very highly favored and… LUCKY U