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Hello Everyone!

I haven’t written for a while.  But if you “like” my page on Facebook you’ll know I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth.  I’ve just been either busy or too tired to commit to writing.

Today is the five-week mark following my total knee replacement surgery.  I’m doing pretty well!  I’ve returned to a few normal activities, but have a long way yet to go.

Last Saturday I worked for a few hours.  And plan to stop in the office briefly again tomorrow.  It’s nice to go on Saturdays though because I can get the most work done and am tempted less to chat with friends.

Then on Sunday I actually went to church!  It hadn’t been since before my surgery.  It was so nice to see everyone and just BE at church.  Then we went out to lunch.  Another big deal! On Monday we spent a nice chunk of a beautiful Labor Day afternoon on the deck of our favorite restaurant in town.  It’s right on the Mississippi River.  Perfect weather for a leisurely day.

Physical Therapy is going well.  It’s not fun, but there’s a little more progress every week.  I even ride the stationary bike for a while.  Nice and slow, but it’s a great exercise for the knee.

Today I have all to myself.  Hubby is working.  Daughter who visits a lot is working.  No PT.  I have been able to do some work from home and write to you while sitting on my back porch.  There’s been a sweet little hummingbird buzzing and chirping around.  It ate from both our feeders, sitting briefly at one.  And it ate from both the hanging flower plants bought especially for it.  I think I held my breath the whole time it visited! haha

As the end of summer approaches, I look forward to getting back into an even BETTER than normal life.  “Normal” to me wasn’t all that great.  But now, with both knees replaced, things should get better.  I’m looking forward to our favorite fall activities that include a trip north to view fall foliage.

GARDEN UPDATE

How did your gardens do this summer?  Did you plant in ground, raised beds, or in containers?  Share pictures with us on my Facebook page.  Ours has done very well.  We’re buried in cucumbers right now.  And the tomatoes are amazing!  Hubby replanted some green bean and snap pea seeds several weeks ago in hopes that we would get another harvest before it gets cold.  They are doing very well!  The green beans are stretching skyward with all their might and should be just as good as the early plants.  I am so glad I planted a few sunflower seeds too.  They’ve been beautiful!  And the bees have been constant as they fly in and out of the flowers all covered in the yellow pollen.  We’ve done our part for the local ecosystem.  🙂

Well, have a great end of the week everyone.  I hope you can all get out this weekend and enjoy one of the last weekends of summer.  Be sure and visit me on Facebook for other news and brief updates.  And let me know WHAT’S NEW with you!

(Did I mention that I’m on Facebook? haha)

Our view on Labor Day afternoon.  So nice to visit this local favorite again.  Perfect weather.

Our view on Labor Day afternoon. So nice to visit this local favorite again. Perfect weather.

Our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tomatoes!

Our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tomatoes!

Garden Candy.

Garden Candy.

I know, you've seen them before.  But ain't they beautiful?! :)

I know, you’ve seen them before. But ain’t they beautiful?! 🙂

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Hello All!

This is one of those blogs that’s been rolling around in my head (plenty of room) since Sunday. So bear with me while I try to tell this story.

At our church we have a family who have been foster parents FOREVER. They have adopted the seven-year-old son of a former foster daughter. They’re the only family he’s ever had. He has many special needs and challenges. However, his physical appearance and bubbly personality are so much like his adopted family you’d think he was blood kin.

Nate (left) and his younger uncle peeking at me through my office window. You'd think they were blood kin!

Nate is known at our church for his loving personality. Whether you’ve known him all his life, or walking through our doors for the first time, you are going to hug Nate. No really…you’ll have no choice. Nate approaches every man and woman through the doors with a hug. Then he turns to his mother seated near by and tells you “hug my mom too”! And…if there’s any one else around you’ll hear “now hug him/her”. He genuinely has unconditional love for everyone who enters, whether stranger or long-time friend. As the family makes their way into the building and sanctuary the hugs will continue. It’s very common to see this little redhead hugging those already seated for the worship service. We share the vivid memory of him embracing our dear Grandma Ruth each week. They were best buddies and shared the unconditional-love spirit. Last Sunday his mother and I dubbed him our “Ambassador of Hugs”.

WHAT IF WE were more childlike and loving? WHAT IF WE hugged all who entered our church doors each Sunday (physically or verbally)? WHAT IF WE loved with such a pure and unconditional heart? Shame on us that we don’t.

A familiar verse:

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19: 13-14

Here’s another one you know:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Luke 13: 34-35

RIP to Bil Keane by the way! 1922-2011

My sincere hope for you is that you show someone UNCONDITIONAL LOVE today. Maybe a hug. Maybe a kind word. Use your imagination. Show this love to a dear friend or a complete stranger. Then come back here and share your story with us. I think you’ll find that in seeking to bless someone, you’ll be blessed yourself!

And, at the risk of being completely “corny”… here’s a big ol’ Internet (((HUG))) for you all. 😀

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Hello and welcome to all my new subscribers.  Thanks for sticking around as I took an extended break from blogging.  This little story has been stuck in my head for over a month now:

In early June my husband and I took a wonderful vacation to Colorado.  On our way there we stopped and visited a few days with dear friends in Kansas City.  They have been our friends for a long time and each time this military family of six moves we try to go visit them at their new home.  Whether we go there, or they come here, we manage to see each other at least once a year.  Social networking helps a lot.  Facebook allows us to “see” each other.

I’m almost to my point…I promise! 🙂

One early June evening as we sat visiting with our friends in their living room, she got out a box of photos.  You see, their oldest son had just graduated from high school and we did some reminiscing.  This story is based on one photo.

It is a picture of a little boy, maybe a year old, sitting on the floor with a big bunch of fallen balloons around him.  Got a visual?  Good.  Now, here’s why this is so special…

When this young family (of only three at the time) moved to my town they didn’t know anyone.  She was scared and away from “home” and her family.  She was sad and felt alone.  The church secretary from her home town knew this and called the church with the same name in our town.  (Good ol’ First Baptists!)  After that secretary talked to our secretary, our secretary ordered a bunch of “welcome” balloons and sent them to the little family of strangers on behalf of our church.  (Are you following me?)

Because of that simple gesture, that this now retired secretary of our church doesn’t even remember, this little family came to the new town’s First Baptist Church.  And, as God had planned all along, bonded and became an instant and forever part of our family!

There we sat, 17 years later, looking at this photo of a little boy surrounded by fallen balloons.  Deep sighs and hugs to express our love for each other and our gratitude to God for working His will through two church secretaries.  These ladies never hesitated to do a simple thing that made all the difference in many lives.  One made a phone call to a stranger.  The other sent balloons to strangers.

What simple thing can YOU do to make a difference?  You may never know if you have been a part of a long-term blessing.  Just knowing you’ve touched a life and done what God is telling you to do is your reward.

P.S.  I am now the secretary at our church.  My prayer is that when (not “if”) God tells me to do a simple thing, I will hear Him and do it!

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You’ll remember her because I’ve blogged about her before.  (Being Used and HE Did it Again)

We will remember her for the never-failing smiles, hugs, kind words and unconditional love.

This week our church family and community let go of a dear woman.  “Grandma” Ruth loved us like Jesus and went to be with Him on Saturday.  Thursday, April 21st would be her 96th birthday.  Instead, we will gather together without her physical presence to honor her memory and legacy.

There are so few words to express the amazing warmth and love this woman gave so freely to EVERYONE she met.  Little children, middle-agers like me and other older folks.  The little children would literally line up at her side on Sunday mornings for their “Grandma hug”!  So would we for that matter.

"Remember, God loves you unconditionally and so do I."

One of the things she was known for was the birthday and anniversary phone calls.  She’d call bright and early in the morning and usually wake you.  But what an awesome way to start a day!  Once in a while she’d call a wrong number.  Whether it was local or across the country, that person would be blessed like the rest of us and receive her signature “Remember, God loves you unconditionally, and so do I”.

“Grandma” Ruth will be missed like no other because she lived and loved like no other.  Today, I urge you to tell at least one person you meet that GOD LOVES THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!  Whether they be friend, family or stranger.  Then come back here and tell us about your experience.

Thank you “Grandma”, for loving us like Jesus…unconditionally.


But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Read a little more about RUTH L. WOODARD

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The Body of Christ… the Church as God designed it:

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12: 24b-28.

As many of you know, it’s been a very very stressful couple of years in our family.  (How many blogs have I prefaced that way?!  Sorry.)  This, and other physical issues, have taken a toll on me.  Tomorrow I have to go for a rather nerve-racking medical test. Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing!

You may also know that I work at my home church.  On Wednesday mornings the older crowd gathers for prayer and Bible study with the pastor.  Today he came to the office and told me that my “presence was requested” by the Bible study group.  I figured they needed something so off I went with pen and paper in hand.

However, when I got there the pastor sat me down and the entire group got up and gathered around me to pray!

Time out for tears, BRB, hard to type.  OK, composure regained…maybe.

I’m trying to think of how many people are in the group this morning.  Enough to fill a rectangle of six long tables.  Pretty good size group for us.  The sight of all those older church members getting up and gathering around me was so amazing!  As the pastor anointed me with oil and began to pray I cried.  God’s presence was so comforting and my emotions overwhelmed me.  Can you say “ugly cry”?

So let me ask you folks, if we ARE the Body of Christ, then what are we all doing with that gift?!  Let me give you this challenge:  The next time you find yourself telling someone “I’ll be praying for you”, stop and say instead “can I pray with you about this right now?” and then do it!  That’s a win-win!  The person receiving prayer is abundantly blessed and you have done what you said you’d do on the spot.  No thinking two days later “gee, I forgot to pray for so-and-so the other day”.  You know you’ve all done that! 🙂

Now, go out and BE THE BODY this week!  Then come back and let us know about your experience.

But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
– Casting Crowns

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It’s one of those days when the moment you wake up you feel the weight of sadness.  Sadness of Real Life circumstances that just feel heavier than usual.  You get on with your morning, but just can’t shake that feeling.  You think “maybe if I just have a good cry I’d feel better”.  When in reality what you need is to do that crying at the feet of Christ!

I got to work, late of course, and drank my coffee while checking email and Facebook messages.  I’d posted earlier that:

We are approaching the 6 month mark already. Not sure anyone else is counting. I probably shouldn’t be.

You see, next week it will be six months that my husband’s oldest daughter and her three little children have lived with us.  Shame on me for counting!  Shame on everyone else for NOT!  Yes, that’s me… whining again.

I was having private message Facebook conversation with a friend and had just said that I need to pull out my iPod and listen to some Joyce Meyer podcasts when my phone rang.  It was God calling me directly!

Yes, that’s what I said.  It was God calling.  As He has done many times before (Being Used).  Ever faithful “Grandma” Ruth called me at the very moment I was seeking God’s voice by way of Joyce Meyer.  The moment I heard her voice on the line tears came to my eyes.  After she had told me the reason for her call there was a pause and then she asked me, “How are you and your family doing?  Is your daughter still living with you?”  Oh maaannn!  The tears came, and this wise woman of God so understood my emotion.

God nudges her to call me at just the right moment time and time again and for that I continue to be grateful and amazed! I wouldn’t ever compare a person to Jesus, but she’s just got that certain Christ-like something.  Where she can just relate.  She understands.  She KNOWS!

Playing on KLOVE radio as I write this blog, the chorus of a new song, Blessings by Laura Story:

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Amen Sister!

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No, no, no… Being “used” in a GOOD WAY! 

At our church we are blessed to have a 95-year-old woman who calls herself “grandma” to us all.  She is truly a minister and an inspiration.  She seeks to live every moment for God and takes any chance He provides to share His love with everyone.  She’s the one who calls you bright and early in the morning on every birthday or anniversary.  Anyone who has ever met her knows her tag-line “God loves you unconditionally and so do I”.  She is a precious blessing.

Today she called the church (where I work as the secretary) asking for news of our pastor’s wife who had surgery yesterday.  I told her what I knew and she was glad to hear that Mrs. Pastor is home and recovering.  But then it happened…as it has so many times before…the real reason God meant for her to call.  She ministered to ME!

She began to share with me how one night recently she lay awake throughout the night, unable to sleep.  Thinking, as so many of us do, and worrying about things in the past.  I couldn’t imagine that this Angel of Love has the same problem I do!  Night after night I can lay awake worrying and rehashing things that happened 30 years ago.  As we talked she read from a booklet she keeps for scriptural support.  She read me the following:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand  your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

This is very familiar scripture to many of us and I’ve interpretted it in various ways over the years.  She then went on to read the author’s commentary and that it tells her that instead of laying awake in worry she should give her troubles over to God.  To understand that she has done all she can and to “after you have done everything”, to stand firm in the strength of God. 

As she read I began to cry.  It was such a beautiful precious moment as God spoke to me through this 95-year-old woman.  It’s not the first time this has happened and I hope it’s not the last.

Thank you God for speaking to me so clearly today.  I know that there are too many battles in this life for me to fight.  There is no way that I can.  Whether they are my battles or those of my children.  Thank you for taking on these battles for us.  You are our strength and our victor!  Amen.

When was the last time YOU WERE USED by God?  Please share with us.

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