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The Flag and The Cross

We celebrated the birth of our nation a few days ago.  On July 4th 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved by the 56 delegates of the Second Continental Congress.  Thirteen independent British Colonies pledged to rebel against the tyranny of the British Empire and joined together to become one sovereign nation…the United States of America.

Many of us celebrated the 4th of July by gathering with friends and family. We enjoyed delicious barbecued food, played games, watched parades and  gaped at magnificent fireworks shows. While we took pleasure in all the events of the day, I wonder how many of us even remember the sacrifice the signers of the document endured which paved the way for the many freedoms we now enjoy.

I found an article written by Gary Hildreth titled The Declaration of Independence…The Signers. http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/DOCUMENTS/the_signers.html  Read on to discover the sad truth behind the outcome for many of the brave men who dared to stand up against the evil actions of a bully nation.

“Have you ever wondered what happened to the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence? This is the price they paid:
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships resulting from the Revolutionary War.
These men signed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor!
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners. All were men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
Perhaps one of the most inspiring examples of “undaunted resolution” was at the Battle of Yorktown. Thomas Nelson, Jr. was returning from Philadelphia to become Governor of Virginia and joined General Washington just outside of Yorktown. He then noted that British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headqurt, but that the patriot’s were directing their artillery fire all over the town except for the vicinity of his own beautiful home. Nelson asked why they were not firing in that direction, and the soldiers replied, “Out of respect to you, Sir.” Nelson quietly urged General Washington to open fire, and stepping forward to the nearest cannon, aimed at his own house and fired. The other guns joined in, and the Nelson home was destroyed. Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis’s Long Island home was looted and gutted, his home and properties destroyed. His wife was thrown into a damp dark prison cell without a bed. Health ruined, Mrs. Lewis soon died from the effects of the confinement. The Lewis’s son would later die in British captivity, also.
“Honest John” Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she lay dying, when British and Hessian troops invaded New Jersey just months after he signed the Declaration. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid to waste. All winter, and for more than a year, Hart lived in forests and caves, finally returning home to find his wife dead, his chidrvanished and his farm destroyed. Rebuilding proved too be too great a task. A few weeks later, by the spring of 1779, John Hart was dead from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
New Jersey’s Richard Stockton, after rescuing his wife and children from advancing British troops, was betrayed by a loyalist, imprisoned, beaten and nearly starved. He returned an invalid to find his home gutted, and his library and papers burned. He, too, never recovered, dying in 1781 a broken man.
William Ellery of Rhode Island, who marveled that he had seen only “undaunted resolution” in the faces of his co-signers, also had his home burned.
Only days after Lewis Morris of New York signed the Declaration, British troops ravaged his 2,000-acre estate, butchered his cattle and drove his family off the land. Three of Morris’ sons fought the British.
When the British seized the New York houses of the wealthy Philip Livingston, he sold off everything else, and gave the money to the Revolution. He died in 1778.
Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge and Thomas Heyward Jr. went home to South Carolin tight. In the British invasion of the South, Heyward was wounded and all three were captured. As he rotted on a prison ship in St. Augustine, Heyward’s plantation was raided, buildings burned, and his wife, who witnessed it all, died. Other Southern signers suffered the same general fate.
Among the first to sign had been John Hancock, who wrote in big, bold script so George III “could read my name without spectacles and could now double his reward for 500 pounds for my head.” If the cause of the revolution commands it, roared Hancock, “Burn Boston and make John Hancock a beggar!”
Here were men who believed in a cause far beyond themselves.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the America revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

The Declaration of Independence is often considered the most important document ever written for the people of the United States.  The colonists no longer wanted to live their lives under the bondage of tyranny.  They were willing to risk their reputations, careers and even their lives for freedom.

Let’s remember to thank God for these men who risked it all for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  At the same time, let’s not forget to also thank God for providing His Son who willingly laid down His life as a substitute for ours.  He won the battle for our souls against the tyranny of death and Satan by dying on the cross for our sins.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, while you put your hand over your heart to pledge allegiance to the American flag, lift your eyes toward heaven and ask Jesus to enter your heart and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior.

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“Love Intentionally”

Papa (Terry) and I had the privilege of having our five grandchildren (ages 2-11) over for a couple of nights this last weekend.  I’m still recovering! Whew…it was fun and crazy…it kind of reminded me of going down a waterslide…at times a little overwhelming (thoughts were–yikes, why are we doing this?) but fun at the same time.

We played a lot of games: Old Maid, What’s Yours Like, Life, The Train Game, and Quick Cups to name a few.  Terry made his famous Papa’s Pancakes.   I made some yummy smoothies, molasses muffins, and popcorn.   We went to a country store and saw bunnies,  piglets, baby chicks, and a baby goat.   We bought a plant to begin a fairy garden.  But mainly we made memories.

I pray for and desire to intentionally love all of my grandchildren.   It  may be a phone call to just say “hello, I love you” to the ones who sadly live far away.  Sometimes it’s a surprise package to them in the mail or  spontaneous face time on the phone or computer.

This week, I called  my granddaughter, Brooklyn, who just graduated from kindergarten.  She lives in Washington so I wasn’t able to be there to cheer her on.  My daughter sent a video of her graduation, though.  The teacher asks each student as they graduate, what they want to be when they grow up.  Brooklyn stated “a hairdresser”.   I told her she could fix my hair when she became a hairdresser.  She said, “Ok!  Ama, what color do you want your hair?” I said hesitantly, “maybe white”?   She declared, ” I think pink, Ama!”.   Oh boy, I’m in trouble!!!!!

What memories are you making with your children or grandchildren?  Do they know you love them and actually delight in them?  What do you do to show them love?

ISV  Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God among you is powerful.  He will save and will take joyful delight in you.  In His love He will renew you with His love, He will celebrate with singing because of you.

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Small Talk Is A Seed Which, When Watered, Can Grow Into Something Beautiful

“Small talk is an informal type of discourse that does not cover any functional topics of conversation or any transactions that need to be addressed.  Small talk is conversation for it’s own sake.”

The author of the above definition appears to believe ‘small talk’ is overrated as a means of communication.  Ellen DeGeneres agrees.  She says, “I hate having to do small talk.  I’d rather talk about deep subjects.  I’d rather talk about meditation , or the world, or the trees, or animals rather than small, inane, you know, banter.”

I have to admit, for most of my life I agreed with Ellen.

My mother likes to tell the story of the conversation she tried having with me after my very first day of school.  She asked a series of the usual questions every mother asks their child like, “What did you learn?…Did you have fun?…Did you make any friends? and…Was the teacher nice?”   

I didn’t say a word so she asked why I wouldn’t tell her how my day went.  As she tells it, I answered her by saying, “If you’d quit asking so many questions, I might be able to tell you something.”

In high school I could have cared less about who was breaking up with whom, who won the beer chugging contest over the weekend and guessing who had recently lost their virginity.  It all seemed so childish and pointless.  Whenever I was in a group, I secretly longed for someone to carry on a deeper conversation with.  So instead of joining in on the current conversation, I often stood silently by, pretending to show interest.

Looking back on those days, at worst others thought I reeked of a giant superiority complex and at best thought I seemed aloof.  I fooled many though into believing I was a great listener but I was actually only bored out of my mind unless someone pulled me away from the crowd to share a meaningful, one-on-one conversation.  This rarely happened because I was waiting for someone else to make the first move.  It wasn’t until years later that I discovered it was up to me to make the first move and it often involved beginning with small talk.

My wife, Karen became my full-time instructor on the art of small talk.  I learned that small talk is often a warm up to deeper conversations.  Slowly but surely I bought into this way of thinking but still often found it uncomfortable around strangers.

They say “practice makes perfect” and driving for Lyft and Uber has proved to be fertile soil to plant my ‘small talk’ seeds.  Every day I drive, I pray for divine appointments…riders who I can share words of encouragement with.  These are opportunities to water my seeds and see what grows.

Some riders also feel the same amount of disdain for ‘small talk’ as Ellen and the seed I plant can’t penetrate the layer of  rocky soil they place over that seed.  Other’s are open to small talk but won’t allow it to grow so eventually the conversation withers and dies.  Then there are those who God has given to me as the answer to my daily prayer.  These conversations start out small, but continue to grow until they blossom into the most beautiful flower imaginable.

For example: I picked up a young woman recently who was open to carrying on a conversation.  She asked me how I liked driving for Uber and I answered by explaining how ordinary small talk often led to extraordinary conversations and I told her a story.

While driving in Seattle I picked up a young women who was crying as she sat in the passenger seat of my car.  I asked her if she was okay and she responded by telling me she had just broke up with her boy friend.  I understood her feelings having raised two daughters who each went through break-ups of their own.  I shared some stories which made her laugh but she then feel silent and began to cry once more.

I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to tell me.  Without looking my way she told me she found out earlier that day she was pregnant.  She told her boyfriend who responded by telling her she had to get an abortion or he would break up with her.  The girl finally looked at me and said, “I won’t get an abortion so I broke up with him.”

I asked her if she had told her parents yet and she slowly shook her head.  “I’m afraid to tell them,” she said.  “I have two older sisters who are both the black sheep of the family but I’m the ‘good’ girl.  My parents will be so disappointed in me.”

She told me she loved her parents and knew they loved her so I explained how they probably would feel disappointment but that their love for her would soon push away that feeling and be her biggest supporters.

After a few more minutes of asking me for advice, she asked if she could change her destination.

“Sure.” I answered.

Her new destination was her parents house.

The girl in the backseat was quiet for a few moments and then said, “I think I’m your ‘divine appointment’ for today.  I can’t believe you decided to share that particular story to me because I’m going through something very similar.”

For the next thirty-minutes she talked, asked questions and by the time she exited my car to go to work,  she was smiling while telling me she hoped  to be one of my divine appointments again.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communication Is The Key To Prevent Your Marriage Train From Derailing

 

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I enjoy driving for Lyft and Uber.  I enjoy the freedom of scheduling my own hours, listening to music and sports radio all day long (without driving Karen crazy) and talking with my rider’s.  Being able to hear and understand some of my customers though was difficult at times because I’m completely deaf in my right ear.  Karen may call my disability, “Selective Hearing Disorder” but I really have a hard time hearing people who talk to me from the right of me, especially in the car.  All the road noise will pummel my good left ear while drowning out the words spoken by anyone in the passenger seat.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy hearing aids.  They aren’t normal hearing aids though.  Sound coming from my right side is captured by a transmitter in my right ear and transmitted over to a hearing aid in my left ear by a wireless signal.  Hallelujah, the deaf can hear…at least that’s what I thought until this morning.

Most mornings, Karen and I have been getting up at 7:00 to go swimming in our community pool before I take off driving for Uber and Lyft.  This morning I woke up a little before seven.  Karen was sound asleep so I decided to let her rest while I powered up the computer, opened up EveryDollar (our monthly budgeting tool) https://www.everydollar.com/ and did some much needed tweaking.

Karen joined me at the computer around 8:30.  She was disappointed I hadn’t woken her at seven to go swimming.  She asked what I had been doing so I told her I was working on our budget.  The following is the short version of the conversation that ensued.

DISCLAIMER…The following conversation is presented to only state the facts, not as a vehicle to pass judgement or take sides.

Terry:  I was working on EveryDollar.

Karen:  When are you planning on actually doing it?

SIDE NOTE:  I had actually began EveryDollar in February but temporarily stopped in May because of all the craziness from the move to our new home.  I had told Karen numerous times I would resume the budget beginning June 1st.

Terry:  I’ve told you numerous times I’d start June 1st.

Karen:  I don’t remember you telling me that.

Terry, while vigorously scratching his head in frustration:  I’ve told you at least five times.

Karen:  When I’m in this much pain from my neck you know I don’t retain things.

Terry:  You seem very irritable this morning.

Karen:  It’s not just the pain I’m trying to deal with today.  Yesterday was four years since Mom died, I’m adjusting to living here without a car and….

Terry:  What does that have to do with EveryDollar?

Karen answers with tears welling up in her eyes:  Sometimes you need hearing aids for your heart instead of your ears.

Our marriage is like a powerful train chugging down tracks laid by our communication to each other.  Once in a while, like this morning, those tracks we lay are full of defects and our train derails.  When that happens, we both have to dig deep into our tool chests to begin repairing the damage done to our relationship.

What tools do you ask?  That’s a good question.  Let me tell you.  Our tool chest is the Bible and every tool needed to repair a damaged relationship can be found inside.

1.   The first tool is actually a lubricant for the prevention of a breakdown and is found in Ephesians 4:29.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”

2.   The second tool is listening.  We don’t listen when we concentrate on a snarky rebuttal or interrupt.  Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame.”

3.   The next tool is to share a response which is sincere and proper.  I may have heard what Karen said, but my heart had tuned her out.  I ignored the advice of Galatians 6:2.  “Share in each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”  Romans 12:15 gives further insight.  “Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.”

4.    The final tool is a sincere apology.  James 5:16 says to, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  And don’t wait to make amends.  “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27

So the next time your marriage train begins to wobble on poorly laid tracks of communication, grab your Bible and take out these tools before your locomotive derails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Belief Necessarily Make It True?

We had a wonderful week when our daughter Jaymi, son in law Matt  and three grandchildren, Logan, Maya and Brooklyn, came to visit us in Florida on Spring Break.  Katie, our oldest daughter, and Jaymi are great planners and had the whole week scheduled with fun activities.  My Ama heart was full!!

The day before they flew back to  Washington, Terry wanted to go out to lunch with them at his favorite restaurant, Cheddars.  The food is yummy and tastes homemade.  Their croissants  are worth going off a gluten free diet for.  Terry was most excited to share his favorite fudge cake with them at the end of our meal.  So when the waiter brought out the dessert, including seven spoons, everyone was eager to dive in.  Logan took the first bite and surprisingly said, “Yuck.” Brooklyn took the cherry on top and was happy.  Matt took the next bite and shockingly said “There’s something wrong with the sauce.” Terry  was enjoying every bite totally ignoring their negative reactions.

I decided to listen to their dismay and stuck my finger in the sauce…it tasted like barbecue sauce.  I  motioned for the waiter to come over and told him, there was something very wrong with the dessert.  The  chocolate sauce tasted more like barbecue sauce.  He politely corrected us and proudly said, “That’s our special caramel sauce.”  We all disagreed (except maybe Terry) but our waiter skeptically took it back to the kitchen and had it checked out.  We looked at the menu and the fudge cake pictured didn’t seem to show caramel sauce on it …. just chocolate.  Moments later the manager of the restaurant came to our table and apologized for the mistake.  The truth was the barbecue sauce was placed along side of the dessert toppings and the fudge cake was mistakenly doused with it instead.  The saddest part was, that the barbecued flavored slice was their last piece.  So the Lee’s are going to have to wait until their next visit to enjoy a piece of Terry’s favorite dessert.

Just because our waiter didn’t believe it was barbecue sauce, didn’t change the truth that it was.  Truth…What is truth?  The dictionary says it’s the quality or state of being true.  The waiter believed us once he and the chef tasted it for themselves.   That was a minor mistake (well, maybe not so minor to Terry) but it is a reminder to me, just because I don’t believe something, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

The Bible is the Word of God and is TRUTH.  Whether we believe it or not, doesn’t change the Truth.  Jesus says “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  And John 3:16-18 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.   For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

Matthew 24:35-42 ” Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.  That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

I for one, am looking forward to Christ’s return.  I pray for and  am burdened for  friends and family who haven’t put their trust in Jesus, yet.

If you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, may I encourage you today to seek the Truth, to CHEWS JESUS…Taste and See That the Lord is Good!

 

 

What Are You Waiting For?

WAIT!!!  I don’t know about you but I do not like this four letter word.  I’ve been told to “WAIT” a lot lately.  So I decided to look up it’s definition:
1) to remain inactive or in state of repose, as until something expected happens
2) to be available or in readiness
3 )to remain neglected for a time
4) to postpone or delay something or to be postponed for delayed
5) to look forward eagerly

Certain things we wait for with eager anticipation: the birth of a child, Christmas, birthdays, vacations and retirement.  Other things are not so fun to be waiting for: dental appointments, surgeries and serious test results.  Some things we wait for are significant life changers.  Terry and I have been praying for a precious man who was on the top of the waitlist for a set of lungs.  For him, waiting meant either life or death.

We sold our home in Washington and made a huge move to Florida, where our oldest daughter, Katie her husband Jason and five children live.  Our goal and intention was to stay with them for a short time while we get settled and find a home to buy. We found a couple of homes we like and are going through the process of getting preapproved for a mortgage loan. We have excellent credit and plan on putting over 60% toward a down payment.  We were not expecting to hear, “You will have to wait for two years because Terry is self-employed with Lyft and Uber.”

Really?  Wait?  Since then, we connected with another mortgage company and are now “waiting” for the house to close.  We were given April 12 as the original date to close.  Had a phone call from the lender and said it would be the 16th, then the 23rd and now the 30th.  WAIT!

God keeps reminding me in His Word I have a choice what my attitude will be while I wait.  “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31. Yikes– I still have a lot to learn. I desire that quiet confidence and faith.

Doesn’t waiting feel like a waste of time?  I don’t want to waste my time while waiting.   Like the definition #3 says, it feels like being neglected.  I don’t know your situation you may be waiting for, but in the meantime what are we to do while waiting?  The temptation for me is to be anxious while waiting — as if that changes anything at all.  Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious abut anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’m learning to trust the Lord in the waiting room of life.  In our situation, Terry’s applying for new jobs while still driving for Lyft and Uber.  I’m praying for the Lord to open doors and shut doors, leaning in on Him as I begin a new Bible study, meeting new people and focusing to get to know God and trust His purposes for me one day at a time.

Here is some Truth To Chew On:
Psalm 27:14 says, ” Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

What are you waiting for in life?  What is your focus while you wait?
Do you know that Lord Jesus Christ loves you and desires for you to receive Him personally as Lord and Savior?  Have you turned to Christ and decided to become a Christian and follow Him?
If not, why not?  What are you waiting for?

CHEWS JESUS…TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!!!

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A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Esther and Grandpa

It’s easy to become confused by appearances.  For example:  Instead of flying to Florida, Karen, Molly and I drove our 2014 silver Hybrid Toyota Camry 3,668 miles to Leesburg where our daughter, her husband and their five children live.  Fresno, California was one of our pit stops on the way.

We spent the night in a nice hotel and the next morning we checked out and brought the luggage to our car.  We both stopped abruptly.   A large dent and ugly scratch extended from the rear panel of our car up to the passenger door.  We stared at each other dumbfounded.   Karen ran her hand across the damaged surface of our car.

“Do you think a car sideswiped it while backing out?”  She asked me.

“It was a tree,” a voice answered from behind us.  We turned to see a short, middle-aged man walking toward us.  “Yes, it was a tree.  I saw the whole thing happen right before my eyes.”

Both Karen and quickly surveyed our surroundings.  We were in a paved parking lot without a single tree in sight.  He must have noticed the confused expression on our faces because he quickly added.  “Oh, it wasn’t the entire tree.  Just one it’s large branches hit it, so I suppose it could have been a whole lot worse.”

Neither one of us knew what to say.  We just stood there exchanging glances between each other, the car and the little man.  The air was thick with awkwardness so he added, “Yea, the damage to my car was bad enough but then I had to deal with my stupid insurance company….what a hassle.”

I quickly took a closer look at his car.  It was identical to our car except for the Toyota emblem on the trunk.  Mine is silver with a blue background identifying it as a hybrid; his didn’t have the blue background….ooops!!!

Karen and I let out a huge sigh of relief.  A large mini-van was parked between his car and ours blocking the view of our Camry.  We both told him how sorry we were about his car and then scampered over to ours.

Looks can be deceiving.  I worked for Seafirst National Bank when Karen and I were first married.  We had weekly meetings and at one of these meetings, a man brought some counterfeit money.  He passed out the fake bills so we could examine them.  They looked real to me.  I asked him if our bank could keep some of the bogus bills so the tellers had more time to study them.  Then we could better tell the difference between them and the originals.

He laughed and shook his head.  “You don’t study the counterfeit to recognize the original; you study the original to expose the counterfeit.”

“Why’s that,” another teller asked.

“Because counterfeit bills will often change slightly in appearance or texture depending on who is making them.  The originals stay consistent in both appearance and texture.”

The same principle applies to Jesus.  He is the original; the only true son of God.  Many have come or will come proclaiming to be Jesus, God, or a prophet who has the answers to life’s many questions concerning the afterlife, morality, good vs evil, what is truth and how to attain happiness.  But there is only one who was born of a virgin, performed miracles, was crucified to take all of humanities sins on His shoulders.   But He rose from the grave, defeating death so that we can have salvation if we believe He is who He says He is: He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

But there is a being in this world who is just like those counterfeit bills.    He hates us so he lies to us.  His aim is to deceive us from the truth and keep us from knowing Jesus.  He is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing looking to devour the flock…which is us.

So what can we do to keep us from being deceived?  We must study the original.  By reading the Bible, we can get to know Jesus.  By prayer we can communicate to the creator of the universe.  By attending a good church we can worship our Creator and have fellowship and be encouraged by other believers.  This is the only way to keep from being deceived.

On our travels, Karen and I stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel.  After a yummy dinner we paid for our meal, walked across the parking lot and climbed into our 2014 silver, Hybrid Toyota Camry.  Once inside, I noticed that the windshield mounted GPS holder was gone.  Then I noticed that the car seemed a lot messier than when left it to go eat.  Then I noticed the Honda emblem on the steering wheel.  We’d gotten into the wrong car!!!!

Either old age is taking its toll on Karen and I or we need to do a better job of studying the original.

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What Have You Been Learning Lately?

Have you ever prayed, Lord if you want us to move, please move us swiftly? I don’t recommend it unless you are up for the challenge. Wowza! These last four months have been a whirlwind. When Terry and I thought about selling our house I prayed that very prayer. I regretted praying it a few times but mostly I am thankful for the journey God has us on.

Sorry I have not blogged for quite a while, but we are living out of our suitcases, temporarily residing at our daughter and son-in-law’s home in Florida with our five precious grandchildren. As I’m typing this, the house is filled with five loud, competing voices and numerous interruptions…I’m not used to this level of chaos any more. Oh my goodness, I never thought I would forget how busy a mother of preschoolers is. It’s non-stop. It’s all good, but exhausting. Thankful to be making memories with the grandkids but we are looking forward to moving into our own home and having more control over the noise level.

I thought I would write this blog and update you on the journey this far…if I can concentrate long enough between the interruptions…

December 22 was the closing date on our home. Our house needed to be cleaned out and cleaned up by that date. The weeks before were crazy and surreal. We had a moving/garage sale, Terry put our Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving and celebrated Christmas early with our son and daughter-in-law and grandkids from Arizona. We then helped put on a surprise party for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday on Thanksgiving, celebrated Christmas again with our daughter Jaymi and her family by preparing another turkey dinner and all of the trimmings. I sold items on Buy, Sell & Swap, said goodbye to lifetime friends, cousins and family…and the list goes on and on. We couldn’t have done it without help: some of our sweet church ladies, my sister and brother-in -law, who helped pack up my kitchen, the day of the move, Terry’s brother, Garry, came over and helped him take a mountain of unwanted items to the dump. My mother-in-law helped me do one final mopping of a bedroom and living room that I hadn’t had time to get to. Jaymi, our daughter was a life saver and helped me organize my creative chaos. I purged 39 years of living into one moving POD. We stuffed our suitcases and personal items into our Camry, leaving only enough room for our sweet senior golden retriever, Molly…and said goodbye to Stanwood.
When I had some alone time, I took a few minutes the day of the move and reflected back on some of the memories and life we had experienced in our home. I think I was too exhausted to cry. I mostly reflected back on God’s faithfulness to us and I walked throughout each room singing Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Praising God for all of the life and blessings He bestowed upon us in the past 39 years and looking forward to what He had in store for us.

The first night of our journey began by staying with Terry’s sister and brother-in-law in the Castle Rock area. We loved visiting with them and seeing their beautiful, newly built
home. We were loved on and spoiled with their hospitality. Medford, Oregon was our destination for the next day. Fresno, California was next and we stayed two nights there because of Christmas. Our next stop: Surprise, Arizona where our dear friends, Marilu and Norm, invited us to stay with them. They also spoiled us with yummy homecooked meals and fun fellowship. Terry came down with a bad sinus infection and needed more rest more before driving on, so we stayed three nights at their home. I felt bad Terry was sick, but I sure enjoyed the extra time with Norm & Marilu.

Next we drove to Fort Stockton, Texas. When we arrived, I felt feverish, achy and had a sore throat. The next day, I felt sicker and went to a walk-in. My diagnosis—type A influenza. The doctor told me to go home and stay in bed. We drove to San Antonio and stayed a few days because influenza was not something I wanted to share with Katie, Jason and their family. The rest of the road trip was sort of a blur–Terry listened to a book on tape and I tried to ignore it–it was about lobotomies, of all things. My head felt like it just went through a lobotomy.

We arrived at Katie’s on Jason’s birthday on January 4. We were greeted with five happy grandkids throwing indoor snowballs at us.

So, what have I learned since leaving our home in Stanwood, Washington? Let me name a few very random things…

Our possessions are just temporary things. I dare you to purge your possessions into one 8 X 16 foot storage pod. It’s quite fun…NOT!!!

When, our golden retriever, Molly was intensely panting in the backseat of our car–she wasn’t going to die–it’s her way of calming her body down.

When driving in Florida, if your husband suddenly pulls in front of a large truck, do not wind down your window to listen to what the truck driver has to say.

When you have lived all of your life in one place and you are directionally challenged–do not expect to know North from South and East from West when you move.

I’ve also learned that when Terry gets too hot, he gets crabby. When I get too hot, I get easily annoyed. Not a great combo…And this is only winter time in Florida. The best is yet to come.

I’m learning that God never ceases to amaze me…the first Sunday we were in Florida, we attended our son-in-law’s church he is the pastor of, one of first hymns we sung was Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

Mostly, I’m thankful to God for this journey we are on. Thankful for family. Everyday we learn something new. I’m learning more of God’s Word and His love and grace for me.

What are you learning these days?

Until Next Time—I’m Chewsing To Trust the Lord!!! Hope you are too!

CHEWS JESUS–Taste and see that the Lord is good!.

When Our Best Laid Plans Are Not God’s Plans

Papa with Daniel and Maya

Do you ever make plans only to see them blown to smithereens before your very eyes?  Of course you have; everyone has unless you’re Jesus, which you’re not because you can’t walk on water, raise the dead and aren’t preparing for you own crucifixion.  Best laid plans have a tendency to go up in smoke faster than a book of matches in the hands of a curious five-year-old boy.

Case in point:  For a long time, Karen and I have wanted to put our house, which has been our home for 39 years, up for sale.  Oh, we tried selling  our home twice before, but it  garnered as much interest as a leper selling  hour-long massages for $5.00.   You see, we live in a flood plain.  The Stillaguamish River slithers through our neighborhood like a thirsty snake.  When el Nino decides to visit the Pacific Ocean, his jet stream carries a warm, atmospheric river of rain from Hawaii toward Washington.  The Stillaguamish gorges herself on all the melting snow until her sides burst open and flood the land with the contents of her swollen belly.

So over the years whenever we tried to sell our home, potential buyers would look at the snake coiled around three sides of our neighborhood and say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Twice, plans to sell our home were dampened by the specter of a snake with a leaky belly.  The list of reasons Karen and I wanted to move grew longer with each passing winter.  At first, Karen and I were mostly concerned about what would happen if the “Big One” shook our vulnerable house built on sand.  As we both have gone through physical affliction the past few years, we realize how much more difficult it’s going to get to take care of our home and continually walk up and down the two-flights of stairs.

Then this past year many of our friends are beginning to retire.  Over the years, I cashed in two 401 K’s to pay for medical and dental expenses and to pay the bills during three separate job loses.  Retirement for me was not going to happen any time soon.

Then our son-in-law Jason, half-jokingly suggested we move to Florida.  He pastors a church in a town called Leesburg, about 40 miles north of Orlando…home of the happiest place on earth.  He said the cost of living was much less than that of Washington, especially the housing.

So on a whim, Karen and I began to look on the internet for retirement communities in and around Leesburg.  Our jaws dropped when we saw beautiful  1,500 square foot homes selling for $110 to $140,000.  The 55 and over communities looked like vacation resorts sporting swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts and too many other amenities to mention here.

Wow!!!!  There were more retirement communities in Florida than Starbucks stores in Seattle.

What began as a fun way to pass time soon became a spark igniting a flame of passion for the idea of moving to Florida.  The passion grew every time we bundled up to take our Golden Retriever Molly for a walk in rain and 40 degree weather.  But just as the dreary gloom of a winter in Washington can drain the life out of many, the thought of leaving our family,  friends and the only town we’ve ever known would dampen our enthusiasm.  It was especially hard to think about leaving my aging mother and our Daughter Jaymi, her husband Matt and their three kids who we are very close to.

Like a  roller coaster, our emotions took us on a wild ride.  I’ve heard it said that the hardest part about making a decision is indecision.  Finally, Karen prayed that if we would put our house up for sale, we would know it was God’s will if it would sell in a week.  From past experience, I figured it would take a miracle for her prayer to be answered.  We called a real estate agent, put our home up for sale one morning and had six showings that day and had four offers the next morning.

Thank you God for your patience.  We sold our home for $270,000…$101,000 more than what we previously had asked for it twice before.  God knew to hold off the sale until the housing market was red hot in Western Washington.

I am writing this blog from a hotel room in Tallahassee, Florida.  Karen and I are on our last pit stop before arriving in Leesburg, Florida tomorrow afternoon where we will be greeted by our oldest Daughter Katie, her husband Jason and their 5 children.  It will be a bittersweet reunion because while we now will be able to enjoy the company of this family, we know the sadness of leaving other family members behind.

The journey leading up to today is worthy of a blog post all unto itself which I will write at a later time.  Until then remember this:  If God seems to be throwing a monkey wrench into some of your best laid out plans don’t get frustrated…He may just be saving you from a $100,000 mistake.

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This Dog With A Blog Needs Your Help

Molly here.  For those who don’t know, I’m a Golden Retriever and Terry & Karen’s only furry child.  Don’t get me confused with Kuma, that handsome, four-legged actor who played the part of Stan, that adorable canine who could talk,  in Dog With A Blog.  Everyone knows that dog’s can’t talk….but type out a blog on my Dad’s laptop–you know it baby!

I’m reaching out to all my parent’s friends for a little insight.  Something big is going on here at the old homestead.  Mom and Dad are trying to hide something from me.  How do I know?  I’m getting the same vibes I usually get when they haul out their suitcases, pay more attention to me than usual for a few days but then leave me with my dog-sitter Tasha for what seems like forever.

This is different though.  The suitcases are still tucked away in the upstairs closet but a bunch of weird stuff is happening which I can’t quite put my paw on it.  For example:  The other day, all these strangers came to our home and took away a lot of our things.  I didn’t mind the people.  Dad brushed me so I was looking adorable.  I got a lot of attention and received a ton of compliments but I couldn’t believe it when Mom just stood there while someone took my favorite couch.  What’s up with that?  I gave her the cold shoulder by not looking at her for a few hours and tried to make her feel guilty by constantly sniffing the sacred ground where my couch used to be, but in the end my favorite place to sleep is long gone….Grrrrrrr!

Now my parent’s are running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads chopped off, which is a very gruesome  and troubling word picture if you ask me but one I’ve heard them use from time to time.  Dad put together a bunch of boxes and stacked them up in the living room (where my favorite couch used to be….Grrrrrr……calm down Molly, take a deep breath.

Okay, where was I?  Oh yeah….boxes are everywhere and my parents are fighting more than usual.  Anger makes me nervous, so when I sense their frustration levels rising, I can usually diffuse the situation by smothering them with kisses and pretending to be very needy.  That usually does the trick but sometimes I have to resort to ringing the bell on the front door which I normally use for letting them know I have to go potty.  One of them has to stop arguing to open the door for me but instead of going outside, I just look up them with my big, brown puppy dog eyes, wag my tail and smile.  If nothing else works, that usually does.

Then there are all the phone calls to their oldest daughter in a place called Florida.  I can’t understand everything their talking about (remember, I’m only a dog) but they seem very excited when they talk.  And what’s up with this huge metal box sitting in our driveway with the letters….PODS written on the side of it.  I don’t get it.

Well, I hear my parent’s waking up so I’d better get off Dad’s laptop. For those of you who read my blog, please fill me in on what’s going on.   I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks.    Love Molly.