DWELL, REST AND TRUST

Don’t you  love it when God’s Word or a certain scripture keeps showing up from different sources?   God always amazes me when His Spirit is faithful in getting my attention.

I’ve been dwelling and chewing on these three words for a little while now:  Dwell, Trust, & Rest.  I don’t know about you, but these three words makes me want to pause and take in a deep breath and say ahhhhhhhhhhh.

In Psalm 91: 1-2, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”

My first thought was, what does it mean to dwell?  I looked it up in the dictionary and it says “to think, speak or write at length about.” Our minds are a battle field.   That’s why God tells us to renew our minds.   We do so when we memorize or familiarize ourselves with God’s Word.  His Word is Truth.

Colossians 2 says to “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

The Lord knows how easy it is for our minds to dwell on things that are negative and not true.  Especially when I’m extra tired and my pain is at it’s worst, I’m often tempted to become fearful or worry.  It becomes easier to dwell on the “what if’s”.  The “what if’s” rob me of my strength, peace, joy and my presence of today.

I’m learning, as it states in 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
“to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.

How about you?  Does it come easy for you to Dwell, Rest, & Trust in God?

Hopefully, one of my songs, My God In Whom I Trust, will encourage you today.

IN WHOM I TRUST   (CCLI #3356416)  Copyright 1993

05 Track 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not ToNight, not ToMorrow, ToNow!!!

Our sweet two year old granddaughter, Esther, coined a new word.  It’s now part of my vocabulary.  When she doesn’t want to wait for something, she will say ToNow.  She doesn’t want to wait for ToNight or ToMorrow, she wants it ToNow!!  Her innocent childlikeness makes me smile.  I can so relate.  If we are honest, don’t we want everything ToNow?

Technology is such that ToNow is becoming more expected in this world we live in.  With voice command on Echo you can tell Alexa what song to play and how loud to play it.  Drones can deliver meals or packages to our doorsteps.  Robots are beginning to take the place of baristas, making our expressos and lattes faster than ever before.

Waiting is a part of life but can feel like a waste of time.  We wait in grocery lines, post office lines, stop lights, lines for our expressos and lattes.  Without a Disneyland fast pass, you may wait an hour or two to go on a ride that lasts a few minutes.

Some waiting is exciting and hopeful: anticipating a baby or a grandchild to be born, a vacation you’ve been planning, to get together with family you love, or waiting for winter to be over and spring to arrive.

Waiting can be stressful and not always pleasant.   Like lingering in a waiting room at a doctor’s office, a surgery waiting room, or waiting for another procedure in the dreaded dental chair.

Some situations you are waiting in may be life altering:  Awaiting results from a pregnancy test, a loved ones cancer diagnosis or a job interview.

I used to hate to wait!  Like Esther, I’m a ToNow kind of girl.  God is teaching me to be more patient.  I’m learning to listen to His Spirit while waiting.  I’m learning to be present in that moment, not wishing or waiting for it to be over.  I am learning to rest in God’s waiting room.

Are you praying about something that you want God’s answer ToNow?   Be confident, God loves you. He is sovereign and knows the reason for making you wait to answer your prayer.  What will you do while waiting?  Look to Jesus and be encouraged.  Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him’.”

James 5:7 “Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Thankful For

dsc_0338

My beautiful wife, Karen and I
My beautiful wife, Karen and I

I’m going to take a one week break from my series on how to be a hero to your children.  Instead, I want to share with you all a few things I’m thankful for.

  1. First, I’m thankful for all of you who encourage Karen and I with our writing through your comments to our posts.  They are much appreciated.
  2. I’m so thankful for Camano Chapel and its staff.  Karen and I both accepted God’s free gift of salvation from the preaching and teaching we first heard at this church.  We have developed so many friendships and received so much support through the years, it’s hard to imagine what our lives would be like without our church family.
  3. I’m thankful for my Mom, my brother and sister.  I love you all.
  4. I’m thankful for Katie, Jaymi and Michael.  After all these years, I still have to pinch myself for how grateful I am for having had the opportunity to raise such kind, generous, compassionate, and loving children.  To top that off, they married three wonderful people in Jason, Matt and Signe.  Then when I thought it couldn’t get any better, they’re sharing ten fabulous grandchildren with Karen and I.
  5. Finally, I’m thankful for the love of my life and my best friend…my wife, Karen.  When she smiles, my heart still skips a beat.  When she laughs, my heart is overjoyed.  When she touches me, my heart melts.  I am truly blessed.

What are you thankful for?

I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

dsc_0335

Fall Has Arrived In The Northwest

DSC_0685mud puddle girlFall has arrived here in the Northwest.  You can see it on the trees and feel it in the air.

During the past couple of weeks, I have been changing my home décor to pumpkins, scarecrows, sunflowers and anything else that speaks fall to me.

I have been reflecting on why I enjoy fall décor.  My Dad had a huge influence on why I even decorate for fall.  His birthday was September 8 and he would have turned 98 this year.  Fall was his favorite season.  His and mom’s anniversary was September 22 and if they were still on earth, they would have been married 71 years this year.

I recently took a trip down “Reminiscing Lane”.   I pull into mom and dad’s driveway.  Dad is sitting outside on their deck in his flannel shirt, peeling pears while mom is busy preparing the canning jars.  A warm apple pie is cooling on their countertop.  Their blockhouse is full of wild blackberry sauce (which always cured a stomach ache), canned green beans from their garden,  canned applesauce fresh from their apple trees, and a huge mound of freshly dug potatoes.  My dad loved his garden.  He loved to share his bounty with anyone who would drop by.  During the fall season, no one left their home empty handed.

Oh, how I miss my mom and dad.   How I wish I could go back and visit them just one more time.  I knew one day they would pass away.  I have no regrets but, oh, for just one more visit.

My Dad loved kids.  He was a big kid, himself.  He was a school bus driver for many years and a favorite to many.  One day at a local grocery store he overheard a conversation take place between a child and her mom.  The little girl asked her mom for a pumpkin.  The mom said they didn’t have the money for one.  That troubled my Dad and he decided to plant pumpkins in his garden the following year.  He didn’t want any child, who wanted a pumpkin, to be without.  He contacted the local preschools and kindergarten teachers.  For over twenty-years it became an annual event to go to Pug’s Pumpkin Patch.  My Dad joyfully greeted each child as they arrived.  Off they ran to pick out their very own pumpkin.  He treasured the thank you cards and pictures he received from each child the next week.

My Dad lived and loved intentionally.  He loved his wife, his three daughters, his grandkids and his great grandkids and any kid he’d meet.

I remember one of my last conversations with my Dad before he passed.  His words were, “Everyone is just too busy”.  How painfully true those words were and still are.  He had a pile of pictures he had been going through in the living room on the table.  I think he knew his time was short.  He was reflecting on his family and how blessed he was.

I love the legacy my Dad left for our family.  He not only “Simply Lived” but he “Simply Loved”.

Who can you encourage this fall seasonAre you too busy?   Take the time to visit someone and let them know you care!

 

Heartfelt Words Intended For You And Me

Joshy's envelopemud puddle girlToday I received in the mail, a sweet picture that our grandson, Joshy, drew.  It was accompanied with a letter from his words that his mommy wrote for him.  (He’s three so he can’t write yet)

You can call me old school, but there is nothing like receiving a precious letter from a loved one in the mail.  It melts my heart.  I will read it over and over again just cherishing the heartfelt words that were intended for me. (And for Papa, too)

Joshy's LetterI think of the Bible in the same sort of way.  It was written by our Father  God through the Holy Spirit with a heart of unconditional love to each one of us.  But it’s saddens me, because many are deceived in thinking that the Bible is:

  • for radical religious people only
  • too hard to understand
  • a book of what you should not do in life
  • a book for hypocrits who attend church

Now, unfortunately, there is some truth to all of those things listed above.  But don’t get stuck there.

Yes, there are some wacky, radical religious people out there.  What can I say?

If you think the Bible is too hard to understand, don’t let that keep you from reading it.   Ask God to help you understand it and to bring someone into your life to help you get started.  A good place to begin to read is in the New Testament either Matthew, Mark, Luke or John…one of the four gospels.

Do you think the Bible is a list of do’s and do nots?   The Bible does warn us of things we shouldn’t participate in, or take part of in this world.  God knows and wants what’s best for us.  But the Bible is more about  relationships and how to live life to the fullest.   Jesus invites us to have a personal relationship with Him.

And lastly, the Bible is a book for hypocrits and non-hypocrits.  There will always be people who will talk the talk, but not walk the walk.  Let’s not focus on others and miss out on God’s best for us.  Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfector of our faith…”

What keeps you from reading the Bible?   Don’t miss God’s Heartfelt Word Intended For You.

 

 

We All Need Validation

DSC_0140 (1)DSC_0721Validation is a beautiful thing.  It’s a great feeling when your idea, project, belief, or cause produces the desired result.  Sometimes the process leading up to that discovery can be hard or even painful.

Our three grown children and nine grandchildren are scattered across the country….from Washington, to Arizona and to Florida (sad face).  This summer Karen and I will have them all together at home for the first time in several years (Happy Face).

Along with the joy of seeing them again comes the reality of preparing for it.  There has been weeks of planning, organizing, dusting, washing, drying, cleaning, food buying, and rubbing sore muscles.

The biggest project of all has been replacing the boards on our twenty-five, year-old deck.  Over the past year, several boards snapped under our feet.  There is an old saying:  If you see one bunny eating breakfast in your garden, there are fifty more waiting in line. I knew this probably applies to rotting deck boards as well.  A carpenter I am not, so I knew this was not only going to be a huge, time-consuming, often frustrating, project but a painful one as well (see the sore muscle reference above).

My prediction has been validated.  After having seventy-five boards of red cedar delivered, I discovered the boards needed preparing with a cleaner/brightner.  I was told to let the boards dry for three or four days before staining them.  The three to four days turned into a week because it sprinkled off and on for three days.  Finally, the boards dried enough to stain them….then it rained again for a few days, so instead of letting the boards dry quickly outside under a hot summer sun, Karen and I had to hastily clean out our garage and move the stained boards inside to dry.

Another three days passed before I was ready to lay down the new boards.  Do you know how many nails it takes to build a deck?  The answer:  TOO MANY!  Too many to pull and too many to nail.  Do know how many times I’ve measured wrong?  The answer:  TOO MANY!  Do you know how many times I’ve hit my hand with the hammer?  You guessed it: TOO MANY!

Well, I’m almost done and while the process has proven to be, time-consuming, often frustrating and yes….painful, the results truly are beautiful.

I want to share some exciting news with you about how the mission statement of Desire To Inspire is constantly being validated.  (Remember, our desire is to encourage each of you to use your God given gifts and talents).

In January of 2006, Karen and I started Muddy Water Ministries.  The business (or hobby as Karen would call it) was created, at the time, as a means to sell our products. The business name was created out of a poem Karen had written. Trust Me My Child described her fears after finding out her unborn child had a good chance of being born with birth defects caused by her taking a very strong antibiotic in the early stages of her pregnancy.

The poem tells the true story of when she took our daughter Jaymi out to stomp in mud puddles one rainy afternoon.  Jaymi was content to stay in a small puddle but Karen saw a much bigger one down the road.  When she took our daughter’s hand to lead her to that larger puddle, Jaymi threw a fit.  She couldn’t see the bigger puddle and wanted to stay in the small one.  Karen then relates this story to her struggle she was having with trusting God during the remaining nine months of pregnancy, not knowing whether her son would be born healthy.  We printed off the poem on fancy paper and it became our first product to sell.

For years Karen had gone through some extensive dental procedures and chewing her food had become painful.  After a lot of time in prayer over her predicament, she knew she had a choice; she could choose to become bitter over her circumstances or she could choose to trust Jesus.  Out of this painful affliction came an idea.  She pictured a mug displaying a sheep chewing on some grass with the words “Chews Jesus” beside it.  This became our second product.

I talked Karen into sending her poem to a book publisher.  It was accepted and soon both of us (mine was my fiction novel Chameleons of Truth) had our first books to sell.  Later, we would both publish another book (Because God Said “You Are Very Special”) and Wherever the Wind Blows).

We had a website, we had products to sell but in my heart I knew there was something missing….a message.  We both struggled to identify what that message was exactly.  In 2011 during lunch breaks at the job I had at the time, I wrote down ideas for a third book.  Curious co-workers sat at my table to ask what I was doing.  When I would tell them, many would respond with a similar story.  They had always wanted to either write a novel, take up painting, start their own band or some other dream they had long given up on.

These frequent discussions began to manifest into a vision for the message Karen and I had been searching and praying for.  We recently signed up for a series of podcasts hosted by Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas/Nelson Publishing.  He calls his podcasts, Platform University.  https://platformuniversity.com/

This training has helped clarify our message and shown us how much we don’t know about websites, social media and blogging.  (Remember, I’m a dinosaur when it comes to such things….but even dinosaurs can learn new tricks).  Although Karen was really enjoying the podcasts, she had a hard time seeing herself encouraging others to use their gifts when she often  struggles to acknowledge her own gifts and talents (silly girl).

The validation for this message has become crystal clear for Karen in the past few weeks because of conversations at:

  1. A garage sale.  When the person running the garage sale overheard Karen and I talking about our books, she told us that she wanted to write a story about her mother but was too busy to begin.  We encouraged her to record the conversations she has with her mother so all that knowledge is available when she does have the time to write.  She thought it was a great idea and I could see the light bulb go on above Karen’s head.
  2. The dentist.  (Her favorite place to be)  One of the employees asked her what she did and Karen told her she was an author.  A dentist overheard her and told Karen she had a story in mind she wants to write sometime and had questions about the publishing process.  (The lightbulb was getting brighter)
  3. Our home.  Karen sells items on a local buy/sell/swap Facebook site.  When a gal came to pick up something from Karen, she mentioned that she read on our website that Karen was an author and that she wanted to write books too.

I’m so thrilled to have my wife and best friend on the same page when it comes to sharing the same passion.  I respect her wisdom, her perspective and her companionship in this journey of sharing our lives with you.

Validation is a beautiful thing.

How do you feel when you are validated? 

How does it make you feel when you are not? 

Validate someone today and make them feel special and listened to.

 

 

 

 

 

Love is intentional–Not always a feeling

mud puddle girlDid you ever have any misconceptions as a child that you would just one day grow up and be an adult?  I am a Grandma (AMA) and I still wonder when that will be.  I’ve come to realize that we never truly stop learning and growing and hopefully maturing.  Our bodies definitely change and age with time.  But I think we make choices along the way that help determine our tomorrows.  Even little choices matter.  I don’t remember who penned this but I loved what she had to say:  Live less out of habit and more of intent.

When I was going away this last spring I mentioned to Terry before I left that I was sad that I wouldn’t be having a garden.  I was going to be gone for 5 weeks helping welcome our beautiful granddaughter on the East Coast.  When I was away, Terry had our two grandkids over and helped him weed the garden bed.  Then Terry seeded the garden with wildflowers, which I am totally enjoying today.   Those little seeds probably seemed a little insignificant back in April, but they are totally blessing me today!DSC_0073What can you do today out of love and intent for someone else’s tomorrow?  Love is action and intentional, not always a feeling!

SUMMER TIME BLUES….Part 2

DSC_0057DSC08863In my last post, http://desiretoinspire.life/avoiding-summer-vacation-blues/, I promised to share some ideas on how to build a legacy of stress free summer fun with your kids while still enjoying some time for yourself.  My mother had the right idea.  She loved to spend time with me, my sister and brother.  She also wanted to instill in each of us the value of learning how to work and save money.

We lived in the country on five acres.  She enjoyed taking care of her many flowerbeds and her vegetable garden.  After breakfast and an hour of watching cartoons on T.V., we would all go outside with her and help weed and pick out rocks (which seemed to magically grow faster than the weeds).  When the weeding was finally under control, the lawn needed mowing, sapling Alder trees needed to be chopped down, cows needed to be fed and manure needed to be shoveled into a  wheelbarrow and spread in the field (my least favorite job).

After helping her, she would fix us lunch and we were free to play.  She was a good basketball player and took great pleasure at beating me in  games of h-o-r-s-e (she was the master of the, back to the basket, toss the ball behind you and over your head, shot).  On rainy days, she would teach us card games and play Monopoly with us.  After dinner, we helped her with the dishes and then the evening was her time to relax (Dad was often available for a card game after dinner).

Once a week, we were paid an allowance for our services.  We put 1/2 into our savings and we could keep 1/2 to spend on whatever we wanted.

As each of us grew older we picked strawberries for farmers within bicycle riding distance.  Sometimes my mother would wrap a bandana around her head, drive to the strawberry field in the early afternoon, and help us fill our flats until it was time to go.  Our bicycles were shoved in the trunk and she would drive us home.  One time, she brought our dog, Fluffy, to the strawberry field and left him in the car while she helped us.  Unfortunately, Fluffy wasn’t too keen on being locked up in the car and proceeded to show his displeasure by ripping both the front and back seats to shreds.

Okay….Let’s transition from my visit down memory lane and jump ahead fifty-years.  My how things have changed:

  • 49% of mothers didn’t have a job outside the home in 1967.  Stay-at-home mothers hit an all time low at 29% in 1999 but has steadily risen to 39% in 2015.
  • Another fun fact:  From six men who identified themselves as truly stay-at-home fathers during the 1970’s http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/08/stay-at-home-dads_n_7234214.html   rose to 1.9 million in 2015.  Many of these men became stay-at-home fathers due to unemployment, sickness of a spouse, retirement, etc. but 20% made the choice to give up their careers to raise their children.
  • Interestingly even though most mothers had more time at home fifty-plus years ago statistics say that the modern mother and father spend more time with their children.

I believe because of the vast quantity of parenting material made readily available on the internet and social media over the past 35 years, parents are much more in tune with the needs of their children’s and their own needs.  All this information has created its own problem….FALSE GUILT.

Many working mothers still feel guilty about having to leave their children with others.  Some try to make up for it by spending their way out of guilt. They smother their children with every kind of indulgence hoping gifts and entertainment will quiet the self-condemnation they feel.  Others will pour every spare minute they have into their children, while neglecting their own needs and the needs of their husband.  This often leads to either burnout or resentment.

Stay-at-home mothers may also suffer from feelings of guilt.  They naturally have more time on their hands.  They often use this time with friends, for community service, hobbies and with their spouse.  Even though they spend time with their children, they wonder if the time spent was enough or if it was regarded as “quality time”.

Even fathers can fall into this trap.  How do I know?  Because the sharp teeth of this trap had clamped onto my leg one too many times as a young father.  You see…. my father drove a milk truck for a living.  Cows are notorious for not taking days off from giving milk.  That meant my father didn’t take many days off when I was young.

He tried his best to spend time with his kids, but he was often too tired to spend as much time as we all wanted from him.   When I became a father, I made an inner vow.  No matter what job I had, I would always make myself available to my children….no matter how tired I was.

My first mistake was making a noble but silly vow like that.  The second was actually trying to keep it.  I often failed and then felt guilty.  It’s crazy to feel bad about something you didn’t do.

So all of this is a lead up to how you can avoid the summer time blues.  Here are 10 things you can do to make this summer memorable for you and your kids.

  1. STOP FEELING GUILTY!  Enough said.
  2. No matter what age they are, teach them how to help you with the daily household chores.  No one is going to call the CPS on you for developing in them a good work ethic.  I know….I know; It’s easier just to do it yourself.  Well it is at first, for sure.  But don’t underestimate them. Start out with one task and when they master that, give them another.  Like my Mother did, offer them an incentive they will value more than the work.
  3. Organize your week ahead of time.  Include your kids in this and not only will they learn valuable planning skills but they will take ownership in the activities (including daily chores).  Unplanned things are bound to throw a monkey wrench into your detailed plans from time to time but again, use these as teachable moments to instill in them flexibility and to come up with creative solutions.
  4. Plan a special summer vacation with your children.  Planning a vacation often times is just as much fun as the vacation itself.  Young children don’t need much extra prodding to get excited….including your teenagers in the process is critical.  I have video footage of us packing our mini-van for a much-needed vacation; well, at least to my wife and I it was much-needed.  My two daughters were not too thrilled about hijacking them to a place they never heard of and were not shy about sharing their feelings at the crack of dawn.
  5. If you can’t afford a big summer vacation, give your kids day-trip options they can choose from.  Make sure they leave their cell phones at home, bring a picnic lunch or find a restaurant you have never eaten at and make memories at a local park or beach.
  6. Arrange time for your kids to play with their school friends.  Many children really miss their schoolmates.  Have a sleepover.  Put up a tent in the back yard, barbecue some hot dogs, make some smors, tell a ghost story and take pictures for show and tell once school starts back up.
  7. Be creative.  Make a movie.  Let your kids write a script, pull out your Halloween garb, help them build a simple set and record their epic adventure.
  8. Encourage them to read. Offer an incentive for reading a set amount of books throughout the summer.
  9. Encourage them to learn a new sport.  Give them swimming, tennis, golf, or martial arts lessons.  Teach them favorite sport or hobby.
  10. And finally….fill the kid’s pool, put on some sun screen, pour yourself some ice tea, grab that neglected novel and relax.  You deserve it.

You might also enjoy reading Cheryl Butler’s article on enjoying your summer vacation with your kids at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/parenting/school-age/how-to-enjoy-summer-vacation-without-losing-your-mind-part-1

Goodbye to Muddy Water Ministries

mud puddle girlA while ago I told you there would be changes to our MuddyWaterMinistry website and facebook.  You have seen some changes but there are more to come.  When I first got my Trust Me My Child book published, a children’s book about a little girl playing in mud puddles, Muddy Water Ministries came to mind–and we weren’t clear on what the Lord had in mind for us with publishing books, etc.  It seemed that Muddy Water Ministries fit well for us.

We are entering a new season with our four books that have been published, and Lord willing, for future ones.  As Terry and I prayed for a name that would define our hearts a bit clearer we decided on DESIRE TO INSPIRE.LIFE

So our website domain name is desiretoinspire.life  (.com was already taken but we actually love .life even more) and we will be phasing out of Muddy Water Ministries.  Our books remain the same but our hearts are continuing to be stretched and growing with desire to inspire others by our heartfelt stories and sharing snippets of our life.  We hope you will be inspired and will want to walk along this journey of life with us.

Make it an “AMA”zing Day!!!

I mud puddle girlwas reminded of this journal entry from June of 2010.  Had fun playing with Caleb & Jakey today.  I look for the simple things in playing with them; like turning a lawnmower box into a boat.  We ate popsicles in the boat and enjoyed the sunshine.  Didn’t think much about it until our neighbor drove by–I don’t think they could see Caleb or Jakey.  Just this crazy “AMA” sitting in a lawnmower box in my driveway eating a popsicle!  Oh well–who cares what the neighbors think!!  Don’t just have a good day!  Have a Great Day and it might end up being “AMA”zing!!!