Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Seeing Bright Spots...

No, I'm not drunk and I'm not on anything. ;o) LOL But after weeks of lows, today I got several "hugs" from God. First, just let me share a little of what we've been going through: 1) Both cars were in the shop 2) We just lost our renter 3) In the middle of winter, our AC/Heat pump dies and it will be 2 wks until we get a new one. 3) My man is out of town on business 4) We're nearly out of firewood. 5) We're flat BROKE and the holidays are coming up!
I'm not the kind that likes to wallow, I usually survey the damage done and move on. But lately, life just seems a bit overwhelming. I'm sure you've had those kind of days, weeks, months.... So here I am feeling pretty low and 3 good friends just call me out of the blue to connect. MADE MY WEEK! Went down to do my barn chores today and found a beautiful, shiny green egg- which means my Ameraucana hen's are laying now. A simple thing, I know, but it made me smile. Then, I received a notice about my blog and my spirits lifted a little more- click the link below if you're interested to see why:
This evening I got a call from some friends/fellow church-members who said they had a big load of firewood, so they brought it over & helped me stack it. Just in the nick of time too- only had 2 logs left. Very helpful, especially without my man here to help chop & stack. So, after weeks of life beating us up pretty hard, a few bright spots appeared today. I really needed that, Lord and I'm trusting You have the rest under control...

A New Day...

A line from one of my favorite movies says "Every new day is fresh with no mistakes." Today I awoke with determination that it would be a better day than yesterday. So far, so good.... It's amazing to think that each time I mess up & confess I can go to Jesus and receive forgiveness. In a sense, I get several new starts every day. God has given me so many chances! Now I want to flip the coin a little here- I talk a lot about how much Jesus loves sinners... I want to say how much He loves people who are caught up in legalism. Throughout the 4 Gospels, I see Jesus reaching out to the religious leaders of His day. They were often present as He spoke in different synagogues- though their ears heard what He said, their hearts didn't. Thinking themselves wise, they were spiritually blind. Jesus wants ALL to be saved. Why else would He say so many times, "He who has ears, let him hear" as He spoke to mixed crowds? The legal-minded pharisee was dead in trespasses- without knowing it. Jesus raised Lazerus from the dead in the very presence of these leaders in order to demonstrate that He can bring us to life spiritually. He had called them "white-washed tombs", but He did not leave them to feel hopeless. As a living, breathing Lazerus emerged from a tomb, Jesus proved again that He is Lord and offered an invitation to believe! Yet, for the sake of their traditions and because of wounded pride, they found reason to turn away. They weren't all out of reach though! Jesus & the religious leader Nicodemus got to know each other pretty well. They met under cover of darkness- Nicodemus would have been an outcast if anyone had seen him fraternizing with a rabble-rouser, that liberal Nazarite Jesus. Nicodemus was converted. Saul, merciless persecutor of Christians joined the ranks and suffered much because of the merciful Savior he met on the highway. I identify greatly with the pharisee- having been one- glad God didn't give up on me! A precious handful of people kept reaching out to me. So often after people find Grace, they are disgusted to the utmost by the legalism so prevalent in many people/churches. They close their hearts and turn from those who are bound by a focus on works- as if there is no hope for them. Who is to judge how long is the arm of Grace? Even as spikes were being driven into His hands & feet, Jesus' heart was holding the door of salvation wide open! "Father, forgive them... Father forgive- for they know not what they do". Do I ever have just cause to close my heart to any man? Jesus lived and died so that ALL could be saved. If the Grace we find in Him doesn't make us more understanding, more patient, more fervent to love- what good has it done? God offers a new day- a new way of life to everyone- tax collectors, whores, drug-dealers, alchoholics, liars, terrorists and yes even to pharisees. How can anyone turn their back on that kind of love?!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

We Never Really Forget- Do We?

Firsts- there are sooo many! My first cat was a fluffy orange tom named Garfield 'aka' "Bubby". First dog was my beloved Lab mix, 'Timber' (I'll write more about her later). First horse was a beautiful bay named 'Brownie'. First kiss- BAD memory- we won't go there. I failed my first driving test. But my first love was amazing! We basically grew up together. Girls didn't really like me. I was teased quite a bit for being such a Tomboy, but Pete was a great friend- it was sorta puppy love! At every function, we always ended up together. Many people expected we would grow up and marry- I think we kinda thought so too, but the relationship ended when I decided to go off to college and he stayed on the farm. I knew it couldn't work out when one kiss goodnight felt like kissing my Grandpa. No fireworks at all. It was all very innocent. After a rather embarrassing fiasco of me trying to apologize to him for the way I ended the relationship, I never had anything to do with him again. He has never attempted to contact me since and I've learned to live my life without my friend of 12 yrs in it. Most of the time life is so busy I don't think about it! I have tried to guilt myself into forgetting the great times we had together growing up. (nothing sexual in nature ever happened) We worked on his parents' dairy farm, went for motorcycle/3-wheeler rides, played hide & seek, did volleyball tournaments, splashed in the creek & shared a love for music, etc. Most of all, I miss the laughter and great conversations we used to have. I will forever associate him and our times together on Crooked Creek Road with the best of my childhood memories. Every so often, something will remind me of him- I sigh & say a prayer for him. Hope he is happy in his marriage, that his work is rewarding and his children bring him much joy. I think I've reached some peace about missing him- not by burying my feelings, but by accepting that a part of me will always care about him. You don't share that many years with someone and just forget about them- as if they never existed. Well, at least I can't, I'm not wired that way. Admitting I miss him doesn't mean I love my husband any less and I've been very open about this from the start of our marriage. (My man understands, since he also remembers his first love and we talk about her from time to time.) Anyway, the BEST first of all my life is my husband of 13 years! Love you, Boy!!

Square Dancing...

OK- call me corny, but I really enjoy Square-dancing. It's the official folk dance of our country. Fact is, most people have the misconception that it's about a bunch of toothless/barefoot hickabillies in overalls hootin' an hollerin'- WRONG. I like everything about it. Good people come together for the benefits of exercise and fellowship. Great music- my kids call it "bouncy". It's a nice way to get to know your community! It's also like stepping back in time to enjoy ladies, gentlemen, and good old fashioned courtesy. There are no sensual or hedonistic elements to Square-dancing- just clean FUN! My face hurts after an evening of it- from smiling/laughing so much! I've worn a blister on my heel a time or two from the shoes I wear, but it's worth it. The crowd is mostly older folks, but I don't care, we just get out there and have a wonderful time!! It takes me back to those magical years when I was 14 yrs old- my best friend, Pete and I were matched up as partners for the dances on Sat. nights. Those were wonderful times! Now I try to enjoy dancing with my husband, but he has a hard time cutting loose sometimes. More the serious type. You know, I think too often we're afraid to get to know our community or participate in any of it's activities for fear of being "contaminated". What a dull, sheltered life many of us impose upon ourselves! Me, I don't want to dip a toe in, I want to dive in and experience life more fully. I feel so alive when I move. I've rarely met such wonderful people and felt such a closeness as I do when we "join hands and circle left". I can just hear some people saying "How can you call yourself Christian and dance?" Well, Jesus attended a wedding feast. He was Jewish. Have YOU ever attended a Jewish wedding? There's a whole LOT of dancing involved in the celebration and I don't think the Savior sat solemnly frowning in a corner while everyone else had a nice time. In fact, he was so supportive of the newly married couple that He chose to bless their marriage celebration by performing His first miracle there. God created the body for movement, He designed the face for smiling. He also gave us ears for enjoying music and a built-in sense of timing and rhythm. The Bible says 'There is a time to mourn and a time to dance." Riddle me this... why would He then condemn all forms of it????

Thank God for Kids!

I love my kids- such a blessing to me! Yes, they create couch clutter & a huge pile of laundry for us to keep up with, but I love their honesty, innocence & open-heartedness. There's NOTHING cuter in this world to me than a chubby toddler in fuzzy footie-pajamas. (You know, the kind that zip up the front.) When my kids wore those, it was all I could do not to squeeze them to death! :o) I like their little feet & hands, but most of all I love to hear the things they say. If my hair is messed up, if my breath smells- they will let me know, but they are just as open with their compliments. 'That was yummy supper." "Mama, you are SO nice!" "I love it when you tuck me in." Boy, I need to hear that and they give me plenty of it!!
This morning, I woke late with a sore throat and headache, but my oldest 2 still have to get to school. I got myself up, put my WAY bad hair in a pony-tail, got them up, got dressed & drove them to school- and not very cheerfully I must say. Those poor kids! What a Mama bear I was, barking commands, rushing around... When we got to the school driveway, I tried to make up for it a little by giving them a half-hearted smile and making an effort to be enthusiastic. "Have a great day- I'll see you guys this afternoon!" The car door slammed before I could say, "I love you". I sat there watching them run toward the front door feeling awful. Just before they entered the building, my son suddenly turned to wave and blow a kiss to me! I didn't deserve that and why on earth he would be so sweet & spontaeneous after my terrible performance this morning, I do not know. What I do know is, it was a little reflection of grace. I've been smiling about it ever since. I can't wait to get a hold of that little guy this afternoon and love him up!

Taking Time...

Pure and simple, people just don't respond or invest in each other much anymore- either that or I'm just, plain jinxed. I've hosted home parties- several in fact where I invited over 20 people, made a bunch of food and 2 people came. (Thank God those 2 came or I would have been eating egg salad finger-sandwiches for a month!) Why is that I wonder? For over a decade, I actively pursued family & friends via e-mail. Most of them were on the fast-track to a career while I was a TERRIBLY lonely stay-at-home Mom. I followed my husband all over the country, trying to raise children with no family around & precious few friends to depend on for support. (Now I'm a social person- I'm all about people. Seclusion is very difficult for me, but I don't want someone else raising my kids, so I stayed home.) Very few people responded and/or reached out to me. (Those of you who did take time to keep in touch- I am eternally grateful!) After a while I was starving for updates on my friends, longing to be heard, to be appreciated by someone on the "outside". I was mostly ignored. (Now, I've never seen 'Desperate Housewives', but at times I guess I was one.) I don't harass & clog Inboxes with unwanted mail, but many times I get messages that my letters were deleted without being read. Ouch! I think it has less to do with SPAM filters and more to do with not being much of a priority in the lives of others. It has been tempting SO many times to turn my back on those who seem to take my friendship for granted and cut them off. Now, I'm not the only lonely person in this world so I'm not writing this to have a pity-party for myself... stick with me- there's a point... Could it be this experience is my wilderness? Perhaps I've been allowed to feel this way so I can better understand how big the heart of God is?? He is always reaching out, inviting, trying to let people know how much He cares. I wonder what percentage of the population at any given time responds? Jesus healed 10 lepers- literally ejecting them from the ranks of the living dead to vibrant life and 1 comes back to say thank you. He died on the cross- gave His all knowing that a vast majority would ignore His gift, but He did it anyway. Big difference between my reaction and His- eh?! Shows me I don't have enough of His heart in me yet. Contrary to what many believe, the Bible isn't the 'Chronicle of Condemnation', but an actual love-letter from God. How often do I get busy and let it go unread or fail to keep in touch with Him? I need to be more responsive. Now, I'm not a perfect friend by any means, but I try. If I stop reaching out to others because they don't respond or satisfy my need for companionship, what does that say about me and my motives? What impression would that give about God?? If you are feeling ignored and unappreciated, I encourage you to keep reaching out to the ones you love. It's what Jesus would do.

Dreams & Scars...

It is so difficult when I see the canyon between who I am and who I want to be. I have many dreams and goals, but as time passes and youth begins to fade- at times it is difficult to believe I will ever reach my goals. Does God give us gifts, then let them go unused? There is one dream in particular that I have been working toward for years, but it seems the winds of adversity are constantly blowing it away- just out of reach. Pray for me!
I want to be Christ-like, patient, long-suffering, gentle, meek and loving. But I seem to be SO off the mark. Romans 7 paraphrase puts it well "The things I want to do, I skip out on and instead I go head long into the things I don't want to do... Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
All of us have dreams & we all have scars. I'm convinced it's what we allow God to do with those 2 elements that will make a difference. I don't want to be content with mediocrity- I want excellence. I keep claiming "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Life is so short. The great tragedy here is there's not enough time, energy, resources to do everything worth doing, love & invest in everyone and develop all our God-given abilities. This is especially true when you have 4 children you are trying to nurture. So we have to pick and choose- narrowing the focus down to a few things we can manage and wait on The Lord..... God didn't bless Abraham & Sarah with a baby until it seemed virtually impossible and they had all but given up. Perhaps He is waiting to make my biggest dream come true? Will He hold out until I have given up all reasonable hope before He makes His move?? It would be much more fun if it could happen while I still have the energy to enjoy it! Oh well, patience is a virtue..... patience is a virtue.....

Monday, November 28, 2005

Goodbye Herman?

We bought our house nearly a year ago. It came with a rental cottage. The man in the hill cottage is a hermit named Herman. He's 84 yrs old. I've enjoyed getting to know him- though I was never really sure if I should go visit uninvited- he likes to sleep on the couch in his boxers. Herman is not & never was a Christian. He calls himself a Buddhist-Shintu. Like Grandpa B., he's also a WWII vet. Herman enjoys reading the Bible, but only for entertainment. He especially likes the story of Joshua when the sun stood still. He believes it was really the earth that stood still and thinks that it must have been very funny to see people flying all over the place when the world came to a screeching halt. Herman is one of the kindest, most gentle persons I have ever known. He has 2 very FAT dalmatians that he spoils rotten, also some game hens that run around his yard. (and mine) Nothing makes Herman happier than taking care of critters & doing yard work. The man has a green thumb like you wouldn't believe and knows how to get rid of all kinds of pests without killing them. Living near Herman has it's advantages- besides inheriting Romeo the Rooster. (See 'Raising Chickens' to learn more) He makes awesome jelly and loves to share it with us. Also, when his garden was in it's prime, he shared fruit & vegetables with us. It's amazing how Christ-like he is! Every so often when he gets lonely, he calls and says, "I could stand for some company. I have a glass with some ice ready- come up and have a Coke with me on the porch." I'm not much of a pop drinker, don't like bubbles in my drink, but for Herman, I make an exception. I go sit & sip with him. He loves to talk about his world travels, his knowledge of gardening, etc. Well one afternoon he said, "I'm not a Christian and never will be- here's why... I don't believe in any God that would take people who mess up for 60-70 yrs and burn them in Hell for eternity. Hell is just something they told us at Vacation Bible School to make us be good. Also, I don't believe in reincarnation or eternal life. I think it's too good to be true. You see, someday I'll die and be worm food to nourish the soil. I saw many men die on the battlefield- it was terrible! I didn't see any soul go up or down, they were just plain dead." I just listened as he continued, telling me why he loves clean, peaceful living. He's almost completely a vegetarian- simply because he loves animals too much to eat them. I had several nice visits with Herman, though it was clear his mind has been made up concerning Christianity. We enjoyed each other anyway. Sometimes God simply asks us to love- not to preach. Herman developed bone cancer, not long after we moved here. I took him food from time to time and saw him out in his yard less & less. Last night his dogs barked most of the night. Today we learned that Herman was moved to a retirement home where he's trying to get better, but according to his son-in-law they expect Herman to die in a few months. I went up to check on his dogs. As always, Herman has provided well for them. They have access to get in & out of the house to do their "neccessaries". I cried as I walked through the quiet house and tried to comfort the dogs. I checked the fridge to make sure nothing would rot. It was pretty much empty, except for a 6 pack of Cokes. Guess he left them for me, knowing I would be checking on the dogs for him. I've really gotten attached to Herman. I feel sad that he never accepted Jesus as his Savior. Herman will soon die without having the promise of life eternal, but I am SO glad we were friends!!

Shall We Dance?

How can we not? Hebrew slaves had just been set free from generations of terrible bondage and the government of Egypt- which ordained throwing innocent Hebrew babies in the Nile. The worn band of ex-slaves are now pursued by an enraged army of sword-wielding Egyptians. Now they are on the shores of the Red Sea with no place to go. They have no weapons, no shields, no hiding place. Nothing they can do to protect themselves from the attack- except rely completely on God. I can imagine them looking around at their defenseless children in helpless despair- crying out for deliverance. All of a sudden, God comes through for them BIGTIME- parts the Red Sea and makes a path for them to cross on dry land. He then sinks the fast-approaching Army- wipes them out! Can you imagine the shock & disbelief the Hebrews must have felt at this manifestation? Then, Miriam strikes up her tambourine and according to the Bible, they sing & dance to celebrate the goodness of God. There were no solemn "Amens" that day. They were laughing, raising their arms, clapping their hands & weeping. How is it we, who have been freed from slavery to sin/death can sit so formally, pray so unemotionally, speak so dispassionately? The Cross of Christ bridged the gap between our souls and Almighty God! Now, I'm not advocating chaos in the sanctuary here, but joy and freedom in worship. When people get up front and go through their ritual with business-like formality, tired eyes & monotone voices, I want to stand up and ask "Does your faith exhaust you so? Do you not know the wonderful God I know? Do you not feel the blessings of His love?" I'm real with God as I laugh, cry, shout & whisper to Him throughout the week. I raise my hands in prayer & worship openly in my home- I don't think I'm the only one who does this. Why then, must we conform to a certain "status quo" of worship behaviors in the name of "reverence"? Who decides what's acceptable? I have been up front singing "Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever, He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood..." while looking out on the congregation wondering if they even have a pulse! Few smile. When invited, few join us in the singing. My heart goes out to those who are so worn by the weight of their failures and the cares of this life that they can no longer celebrate what is good. As for me, I will join the dance as one of the redeemed.

Spiritual Abuse...

Who among us has the right to invade a soul uninvited? The spirit is the most sacred part of our being. I recently heard someone say that it's OK to be pushy if you're sharing truth, "After all, wouldn't you drag someone kicking and screaming from a burning building?" he asked. My answer is this, "Yes, I would drag someone from a burning building- NOT a good analogy. The beauty of our God is that He allows us the freedom to resist rescue & choose the burning." Christ was respectful, patient, never pushy or rude. The only ones He ever rebuked were those who acted like they had it all together. He was a humble servant, healing, restoring- always having time for the little ones. He taught in simple parables and asked thought-provoking questions. Jesus presented truth by living it, sharing insights and letting people come to their own conclusions about Him- as the Spirit led. If a man lies with a woman within a loving relationship, it is considered making love. If a man forces himself upon a woman outside a love-relationship it is rape. To penetrate the spiritual realm of any human being (including my children) is the equivalent of spiritual rape. Is it ever my place to "change" or convince someone else? How often have I rushed ahead of the Holy Spirit in my attempt to add another notch to my baptism belt? Are we seeking to make more Adventists or to nurture people in a love relationship with Jesus Christ? To try and motivate people by fear or guilt is nothing short of abuse. I remember growing up terrified of this thing called 'The Time of Trouble' after hearing such dramatic & detailed accounts of torture, starvation and death. I had a very hopeless view of the future growing up. Guilt-trips were laid on me by those who wanted to control my behavior. If I didn't feel like going Ingathering in the dead of winter, I endured looks of disappointment on the faces of those I looked up to- received the speech about the angels weeping because of my lack of charity. (BAD psychology) So I went along, but hated every minute of it. My Bible tells me that "anything not done in faith is sin." If I'm doing anything merely out of a sense of duty or guilt- is that proper motivation? I want love to be the motive behind my actions. My Heavenly Father agrees- as He is courting me on a daily basis. God is not so shallow as to be pleased with outward conformity- He wants our hearts! Do I prefer my children to obey me because they fear punishment, or because they love me? I could brainwash/beat them into submission, but as soon as they were old enough to choose for themselves, they would turn away and never look back! Perhaps the time has come to stop focusing on looking like perfect people and turn to The One who IS perfection. He wants to capture our hearts- to have an intimate connection! Doubt this? Read Song of Solomon. Contrary to the picture Satan has etched in our minds, we don't work hard to appease & win the favor of an angry God- He's not hard to please, but eager to connect. Drink the Living Water and good things will come from your life. "God is for us, who can be against us?" Who can resist such great love? "Do not be afraid little ones- it is Your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom of Heaven."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Facing Reality...

At times it has been so hard to believe God loves me- that Jesus came to this earth to die for me. What a concept! It is wonderful and overwhelming to know a God Who cares so much for His children as individuals. I have suffered much in this life, but I've never been subjected to a mock trial, scourged nearly to death, then forced to make a humiliating death march up a hill where I am stripped naked, nailed to a cross & killed. To know that Jesus did this for me brings me to tears. The thought that I was never really taught to focus on this precious truth growing up is heartbreaking. Instead I was taught what to wear, what to eat and how to proof-text people into accepting my beliefs. I was told that I was priviledged to be part of an elite Christian group called a "remnant' and that as such there were some pretty heavy behavioral obligations I must fulfill in order to be ready for Jesus' soon return. When I approached the cross of Calvary, it was with a proud heart which said, "See how much I've done for you, Jesus- how good I've been and how much I've given up? Of course You will have to let me into Heaven now!" Then reality set in... the harder I tried to be good, the deeper was my failure- it was humiliating. I was becoming a religious scrooge. (Bah-humbug on anyone who didn't exactly agree with me on the finer points of theology.) What was happening? The mantra "Get ready, Jesus is coming" always struck fear in my heart and I would once again dig in and try to be good. Then a ray of light broke through to me... As I studied the Gospels, I found myself in the 7 Woes of Matthew 23. I was heartbroken to realize I was the one frantically cleaning the outside of the cup & dish while the inside was filthy. I was a white-washed tomb that looked good on the outside, but inside was full of dry bones. I began to see in the parables Jesus taught that salvation is offered freely to those who see their need! His robe of righteousness is given to 'whosoever will come' to the wedding feast. He's not impressed with a vast amount of theological knowledge, spiritual heritage or a big checklist of good behaviors. We don't score higher in Heaven's eyes for being rigid or segregating ourselves from everyone else. The GOOD NEWS is, if I'm covered in the blood of The Lamb- I'm ready at any moment to meet my Savior when He comes. So many in the church carry heavy burdens. In my travels, I find few have any idea whether they are saved or not. There is NO good in any of us, we are sinful to the core. All have fallen short and are in need of repentence. ONLY the merits of Christ can atone for our fallen natures. Now, instead of coming to the Lord with prideful hearts, we come in brokenness, seeing our need for His Mercy- each saying "I see how much You've done for me, Jesus." (This may be old news to you, but it's just now becoming clear to me and has set my soul on fire!) The Mercy of God will be what we celebrate for eternity- don't miss out...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tail Waggers...

I love my dogs! I have 2 really great boys. River & Zephyr- both Lab mixes. Now, I don't mean any disrespect, but my dogs have taught me a lot about God and how to be a better Christian. First of all, if you spell dog backward, you get "god". In many ways, they are a reflection of His character. (Don't take this too far, because eventually the analogy breaks down...) Someone once referred to God as "The great hound of Heaven. Always pursuing those He loves- never giving up on them." My dogs are enthusiastic, loyal, good listeners, friendly, quick to forgive and willing to protect. I've not always been the best owner. Sometimes their feedings are late, or I forget to water them extra on a hot day- they love me anyway. I've lost my temper with them, spoken harshly and called them some ugly names when I'm frustrated- they are quick to show humility. When I go on trips- they don't understand where I've gone, or when I'll return, they must feel abandonment, but when I come home- there they are, wild with excitement to see me. Their love is unconditional, they respect me as their "pack leader". Either of them would die defending me or my children. My dogs have the uncanny ability to always see me in the best light. You know, I want to be more of the open-hearted, forgiving, tail-wagging type- not a critical tongue-wagger. I want to see the best in others. The boys think I'm WAY cool and love to hang out with me- as I type this, both dogs are resting at my feet. I'm so thankful for these furry creatures who bring me such happiness!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

On Thin Ice...

One winter weekend back when I was a teen, my family went for a hike that turned into an adventure. The PA snow was laying beautifully along the wooded paths. Following my Dad, we soon found ourselves at a dead end with a BIG frozen lake in front of us. My Dad didn't miss a stride- just kept walking... onto the ice. He got about 20 yards out when he realized none of us were following him. I guess we were all nervous that we might fall through. He called to us, promising the ice was strong enough to hold. I was really nervous about it. After several minutes, one by one we worked up the courage to attempt the crossing. My Step-mother was wary, but was first to follow, then my 2 brothers. After some persuasion from everyone else, my little sister and I finally held hands and stepped onto the ice together. (I wouldn't admit it, but I was scared silly- too many Rescue 911 episodes were chronicled in my brain!) I was sure at any moment, we'd go crashing through the groaning sheet of frozen lake to certain death, but I kept my eyes on my Dad- following him across what felt like miles of creaking glass. A couple of times, I looked down to see what appeared to be deep cracks in the ice. My sister and I even recited the 23rd Psalm... the part about, "...though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...." We weren't in much danger, but it was nerve-wracking. Dad reached the other shore, then stood there smiling & re-assuring the rest of us. The last 1/2 of the trek, I actually started to relax and enjoy myself a little- it was kinda cool! In a sense, we were walking on water. I was however, relieved when my feet were back on solid ground. I filed that experience away as one of my good memories. Experiencing the Grace of God is a faith walk- much like crossing that frozen lake. I've worked so hard in the past to "make myself good/acceptable" to my Heavenly Father. I wasted years of my life in self-centeredness, pacing back and forth on the shores of self-reliance where I felt safe- instead of stepping out onto the rich Grace of my Father- following Him to a better shore. He never gives up on me, but waits patiently. His Word assures me that His Grace is sufficient enough to bear the weight of my sinful nature. I held my breath, argued, made excuses, resisted, putting forth great human effort- 'til I was totally wasted and had NO other recourse than to trust my Father and step out in faith. The miracle is- despite the groanings of doubt I experience at times, Grace is holding me up! God IS big enough to answer my questions. His ability to save is greater than my ability to sin. We are never on thin ice when God is leading. He will never take me where His Grace cannot keep me. If you're tired of never feeling good enough, if you're ready for a grand adventure- I invite you to rest your soul in the marvelous love of God.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Empty Chair...

This year there was an empty chair in our family's Thanksgiving celebration. The last time we were all together as a family was a year ago today. Grandpa was dying of Pulmonary fibrosis. We sat him in his favorite chair and the family sang to him. My kids sang & played their hand-bells and we all just enjoyed being together. It was an emotional time. I have rarely felt such closeness. Grandpa B. was an optimist- full of spunk- a soldier till the end. Even though he was on oxygen- the slightest bit of activity would leave him panting for breath. He still made his way out to the living room to ride 3 miles a day on his stationary bike. He did this up until a few days before he died gasping for breath in his bed with Grandma by his side. (Ironically, he had never smoked) They were married over 60 yrs. My husband & I headed out as soon as we got the call that Grandpa was nearing the end, but he died just 15 mins after we got the first call. I cried all the way up to PA. I cried the entire viewing/funeral service. My heart was breaking! I love my blood family, but it isn't exactly close-knit. Grandpa B. was really the first Grandpa I ever had a chance to experience. He was the first to welcome me into the family when I was dating my husband-to-be. His smile and contagious laughter put me at ease. We were kindred spirits- loving to play pranks. He was a brave WWII vet, a hardworker and wonderful Christian man- the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. Family was top priority to him. He and Grandma often sent us money when we were still in college. They made their way out to us wherever we were living to help out after the birth of our babies. They came to help us paint when we built our new house. I never really got to know my blood Grandfathers much. Always felt I was out of sight- out of mind to them, but not so with Grandpa B. I KNEW he loved me and how I adored him! Today is hard as I remember one of the greatest men in my life. 13 yrs of knowing him wasn't long enough. I knew my husband was missing him today, but tonight as I sat typing this blog, my 5 yr. old daughter came and stood quietly beside me. She laid her hand on my arm, so I stopped typing & took her onto my lap. She began to cry softly saying, "Mama, I miss Grandpa. I remember rubbing his arm and covering him with my blanky at Thanksgiving last year. He died and now I don't remember him very much." We just sat rocking together and cried a little, then she was ready to go play again. It pains me to think of Grandma sleeping, eating, praying alone. Someday there will be two empty chairs. I don't ever want to take any person for granted... we pass away too quickly...

Spiritual Pride...

I think the biggest battle to fight in this life is that of spiritual pride. I've struggled with it quite a bit. Now it bothers me to sit in a prayer meeting and hear the same ol'- same ol'. You know, the kind of get-together where we take prayer requests for the infirmed & non-SDA family members, etc. It's like a dry routine- I've heard all this most of my life. Prayer is a powerful tool! Taking prayer requests is important- we need to pray, but why is it we only seem to feel comfortable asking for prayer for other people? Usually, the only prayer request people will ask for themselves is for illness or financial troubles. It rarely ever seems to reach a gut-level honesty on a spiritual plane. I want the kind of prayer-meeting where I can show up and say "Hey guys pray with/for ME- I'm dealing with ------" I struggle with real sin, I need a place where it's safe to be real- a place where I am fed spiritually. My soul is hungry and thirsty- I want more Jesus. He's the 'bread of life" and the "living water. Believe me, if it were possible to change ourselves, I would be at the head of the pack- I'm a hard worker. But trying to change myself is about as easy as trying to mow the lawn with toe-nail clippers. Jesus is my ONLY hope- how greatly I need Him! Sitting around tisk-tisking about other people's problems and gloating about how our denomination has it all together is the status quo in a lot of churches, but could there be more? Could a greater blessing be obtained?? It's like the two worshippers. The publican proudly says "Thank God I'm not as all those other sinful men" while the man who knew he was a sinner humbly and honestly prays, feeling his unworthiness. Guess which one went away blessed? I wonder if when Jesus said, "It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven"... was He speaking only of material wealth or perhaps of those who feel they have a wealth of spiritual knowledge/heritage and are in need of no new insights?? Jesus said prostitutes and tax-collectors were going into the kingdom ahead of the pharisees. Why? Because they saw their need for a Savior while pharisees dismissed Him in favor of their rituals and "high theology". Jesus said He came to help the sick. A doctor can do no good unless a person admits they're sick and receives help. As for me, well I had a bad heart that needed a transplant & Jesus was a willing donor. The do's and don'ts have no power to save- only Christ and His work in us- through the power of the Holy Spirit can redeem. I want to hear less of the world news- more of the Good News. Less rhetoric, more reality. Less about the church, more about Christ.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Raising Chickens...

We live on a small hobby farm. I enjoy keeping a flock of laying hens- they crack me up! They're fun to raise and are laying an abundance of beautiful brown eggs for us to sell/eat these days. After much searching, I obtained a beautiful Rooster for my girls and named him 'Rocky'. He has taken to my pretty bitties just fine- totally rules the roost.... Well, at least he did for a while. Then along came another rooster from the neighbor up the hill. Now they raise a totally different breed than the variety I have- they are fighting & game chickens that escaped from a local man who I suspect raises them for cock fights. Anyway, one morning I went down the hill to the barn and there was this other rooster making eyes at my hens. I wasn't too happy about it at first, so I picked up rocks and chased him off. (Never hitting him of course) Alas, he would just dodge & come right back. Then I tried chasing him back to his own property, but to no avail. No sooner would I run him up the hill than I'd turn my back and hear the sound of his little feet pitter-pattering for the barn area again and I'd turn just in time to see his tail-feathers disappear down the hill. Grrrr. Well, I didn't want a game cock romancing my hens, but one morning when I went down the hill to the barn- there he was again, only this time he was flirting with Ruby- my prized Rhode Island Red. I started to reach for a rock, but decided to watch for a minute and see what he would do. Well, turns out it's kinda neat to watch him. He stands at a distance, crows loudly to impress the girls, then he comes very slowly up to one of them. Ruby was checking out the handsome stranger. He sidled up to her and using his wings like a cape, he did a little dance around her. (Resembles a Mexican hat dance.) The sun was shining on his feathers- he actually looked quite beautiful. He danced until Ruby was all a-flutter, then he did his thing and ran off. She stood up, shook the dust off and went running after him- guess she forgot all about Rocky! Anyway, after weeks of trying to get rid of the love-sick intruder, he was sleeping in a tree near the barn every night & growing thin. (Guess doing 15 Mexican hat dances a day burns lots of calories.) I've finally accepted him as part of my flock and started feeding him. The neighbors say "Keep him". So, now Romeo has a name and a new home. My point is: there's a lot to be said for persistence- I'm applying this to my prayer life. Jacob wrestled with God- until he received a blessing. Maybe we should do the same?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Melancholy & Memories...

I get melancholy sometimes and that's when I start missing people. The ones who have been a part of my life are still very special to me. We change, grow and drift apart- I guess that's life, but it's hard for me to let go. I've been known to write to people for years with little or no reply. (After a while, I got the hint and stopped pestering them.) There are only so many people who have really let me be involved in their lives and once they do, I will always care. I especially miss friends from school days- good times- yes, even the ones I didn't really get along with. (I can count on one hand the number of people I haven't much cared for.) I have a broad range of interests and get along with just about anyone, but I don't mix well with critical, pessimistic people. Life is hard enough without a bunch of negativity- or as my younger brother once put it, "I don't need to eat anymore stress sandwiches." I could never be really close with people like that, but they are a part of every life story none-the-less. Guess we're all trying to get ahead in the rat race. Like most people, I'm busy and appreciate time-saving technology, but the downside is that as we become more automated, we seem to interact/connect less and less with each other. Used to be when you went to a gas station, a crew came out. One filled your gas tank, one washed your windshield, while another checked/filled your tires. I have a faint memory of visiting a gas station as a child and 3 people coming out to service the car. That doesn't happen anymore. Now I don't even interact with a cashier to buy gas, I just slide my card, fill up and leave. Things have become so disconnected. I've moved around most of my life- don't have any real solid roots. Deep inside I guess I have this need to be remembered and I want other people to know I still remember them too. I want to know somebody truly cares enough about me to honor the past and make an effort to keep the relationship alive in the present. Do you ever feel this way?

Monday, November 21, 2005


About a year ago, a nice young man and wife went through Bible studies. They were very eager to learn and went through baptismal classes at lightening speed. They were all excited and wanted to be baptized- however, the young man was struggling with smoking- because of this, he was refused baptism while his wife went ahead into the tank. Needless to say the man was hurt and confused and the couple hasn't attended church regularly since. This was a man who had experienced rejection most of his life and then he couldn't even come to God. Talk about pouring salt in a wound! How can we as a church teach "Come to Jesus, He loves you as you are", but when someone hears the message, believes and wants to be baptized, we tell them "no"? I asked a Pastor this question recently and was told that "We cannot baptize people in their sins- it would be irresponsible." Well, this creates a dilemma for me and one that has never been answered to my satisfaction. Because, in a sense he's saying that all those he has baptized are free of sin. I know that is not the case! We baptize people with all kinds of hidden sins, some even obvious- gluttons, liars, gossips, people who struggle with lust, etc. But we bar those with obvious "sins" like smoking or drinking because we view these as especially distasteful. So, we give a mixed message, "Come as you are, but you'd better be perfect before you get in our tank- at least on the outside." Is that fair? Who is to judge? Does this go in accordance with scripture?? There are some who even feel strongly that anyone who eats meat or wears wedding bands should be refused baptism. I highly doubt John the Baptist did a background check on those he baptized just to make sure it was "safe" to dunk them. Let us be reasonable- my husband didn't wait to marry me until I did everything exactly as he wanted. No, because he knew we would grow together in love. Jesus didn't wait until the disciples were converted men before calling them to service. He offered them acceptance, took them as they were- knowing that through a relationship with Him, the sin in their lives would fall away over time. Why wait? What if the young man is killed in a car accident before he is able to stop smoking and be baptized? I find the practice of refusing baptism most disturbing! What do you think?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why Trailady?

I've had several people inquire why I go by Trailady. This would be a good time to give the history behind the name. I worked with horses at summer camps. I started out as a dusty wrangler feeding, managing tack and shoveling meadow muffins. Gradually I worked my way up to Instructor and eventually I was Director of the equestrian programs. What FUN!! No job has ever measured up. I adore horses and I'm a western riding enthusiast. There's nothing like the smell of fresh air, horses and leather. Part of my job description every one of those 11 summers was to lead trail rides. There are few things I enjoy more than trail riding. Well, often as I was going through the woods with a string of riders behind me, one of them would call out "Hey Trailady, where are we going this time?" or "Hey Trailady, are we going to go fast?" My favorite place of all to work was in northern Idaho. Wow is it ever beautiful up there! Green, arrid and lots of game. Big deer, turkey, bobcat, elk, coyote, even an occasional moose. (Unfortunately, we did not see any moose) Now Turkey are neat to see from a distance, but if you startle one in the brush nearby, it sounds like a helicoptor when it takes flight- it's enough to make a wreck of your trail ride. That's when it's especially nice to have an experienced trail horse under you! I remember one day we came up on a big herd of deer grazing in a meadow. Rather than turn around, we just calmly & quietly rode through the herd. They parted non-chalantly as we passed, undisturbed. A friend of mine once told me that the scent of a horse is strong enough to cover that of a man and if you sit really still in the saddle and don't say anything, you can pull an adventure like this off. (I don't reccommend this to green riders- in the event the herd spooked, you may not be able to handle the situation.) Anyway, it was a neat experience. Every day as we rode out into the mountains, I really had church. I could almost hear God whispering "I love you" to me. And of course, every so often someone would call out, "Hey Trailady, can we stop for a minute?" Guess it kind of stuck with me....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rebirth- Becoming as Children...

It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful children are! Simple, yet complex beings, innocent, openly affectionate. I love my children! My husband & I have invested a lot of time and energy in them. Every once in a while there's a break-through moment when I realize we have gotten through to them. I remember being VERY sick last summer- lying in bed feeling awful and wondering how I would rouse the strength to get up & make breakfast. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and in came my smiling children with a tray. They had fixed eggs, toast & oatmeal for me! I was so touched by their thoughtfulness, I burst into tears. Bless them! In the past, I was drawn to "high theology". Delving into it made me feel like I was really something. I'd study it, then go around laying it on others- secretly feeling superior for my knowledge. However, there were a few things about my "high theology" that bothered me. The Bible says we are supposed to be as little children. The Bible says "My yoke is easy & My burden is light". My children are pretty bright, but I can't imagine them wrapping their minds around any of the heavy concepts I used to be pre-occupied with. (Antitypical Day of Atonement, etc.) Jesus taught in parables that simple people could understand. He didn't use jargon, scrolls or stories that only Jews could relate to- He was a lot more universal than that. There are many in the church today who dismiss the Gospel Message, calling it "milk" while uplifting prophecy & lifestyle issues as the "meat". Time and time again I've seen the church hold meetings and preach the Gospel for 1-2 nights and follow that up with a week or two of lifestyle and philosophical theology. If the Gospel is the "milk" why then did Jesus say, "Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you." It doesn't get much "meatier" than that, folks! The results of this faulty approach? We end up losing many new interests who feel overwhelmed by all the new concepts they must embrace in order to be baptized or accepted. Also, without a solid foundation in the Gospel of Christ, prophecy, lifestyle & fundamental beliefs will be of NO benefit. According to scripture, "Anything that is not done in faith is sin." Debates rage all around as to how to interpret prophecy and doctrines. At times, it's enough to make my head spin. Jesus told Nicodemus he needed to be born again. Why? Because having been a scholar/leader in the Jewish system, Nicodemus had too many pre-conceived theological ideas for the Holy Spirit to really reach him. Being reborn is like re-formatting a hard drive. You must let go of what you think you know & listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Like Paul, I simply must say "I know one thing only, Christ and Him crucified." Whatever good He chooses to work in me is His business. When casting myself upon Christ, I become His responsibility. I didn't have to try hard to convince my children God exists, or that He loves them. They simply accept it as fact and love Him back with a child-like faith. For them, it's all very simple. God is love, He sent His wonderful Son who lived a perfect life, died for our sins, rose again and someday He will come take His friends home. Lord, give me child-like faith in the simple elegance of Your Grace.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Approval Addiction...

I just finished reading 'Approval Addiction' by Joyce Meyer. Wonderful book! Made things very clear for me. You see, for most of my life I have based my decisions on what other people think. I largely fell into the trap of legalism because I wanted the approval of fellow churchmembers. (I also had a little co-dependency in the mix) I could not say 'No' to people without feeling like a terrible failure. If someone didn't like me or agree with me, it ruined my day and I would stew inside. Well, after years of doing what I was told and doing backbends for everyone, I got mega burn-out. The realization came to me that it really IS impossible to please everyone. I grew up feeling like I needed to work hard to be acceptable. For example, when I was a girl the tan/blonde look was in. Now I am a natural auburn with incredibly fair skin. I was teased a lot. They called me 'Paleface', 'Casper' and made jokes about having to wear sunglasses to look at me. I was humiliated by the disapproval so, what did I do? I baked in the sun, frying my skin & put blonde color/highlights in my hair. Guess what? They still found something to pick on- only this time it was my freckles & moles. This carried over into my spiritual life. I felt such disappointment with myself when I made mistakes- surely God must be disgusted with me. Are YOU a human-doing instead of a human-being? Working hard to prove your worthiness to God?? People withold affection when they're not happy with us, so I thought it was the same with God. Well, I am coming to learn there is nothing I can do to make God love me more and no mistake I make will ever cause Him to love me less. I sang 'Jesus Loves Me' most of my life, but it never really sank in- I was too intimidated by my own weaknesses. I don't think I'm alone in that struggle. I feel it's safe to say that a vast majority of people out there feel unworthy and unloveable. What's the fix? Well, now I go to my Heavenly Father & connect every day- just so He can tell me how much He loves me. The Bible is one BIG love letter from God. Once I have His assurance, I am more loving to others because I'm not feeling rejected and angry inside. When I see how much my God approves of me, the opinions of other people really don't matter as much and I am free to live out my own convictions. If people don't like my looks, my message or my music- I'm okay with that- I can try to love them anyway. PS. Guess what? Trends change! Blondes are still beautiful, but fair redheads are in these days.... Julianne Moore, Gillian Anderson, Nicole Kidman, Lindsey Lohan, etc. Oh yeah- life is good!!! :o)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Picture of Me

Trailady Posted by Picasa

The Importance of Balance

There's a ditch on either side of the road. You can be too rigid, you can be too lax- or you can be balanced. Some women are totally self-absorbed- all decked out, painted up and frilly. I know you've seen them at the mall, they walk around giggling loudly, glancing side-wise to see who is looking at them. Other women, in the name of Christian modesty go bare-faced with dull-flat hair and shapeless denim jumpers- comfortable yes, but about as attractive as wearing a potato sack. After being one of the latter kind of ladies, I can truly say that looking frumpy is just as wrong as over-doing it. God is in NO way glorified by ugly. I went this route because I feared being "prideful". For years I thought putting anything on my face or styling my hair was inappropriate for a Christian woman. "It's like telling God that what He made isn't good enough. It's vain and ungrateful to change your appearance" I was told. I bought into that whole song & dance for many years. Now I've come to see that God is glorified when we look and feel our best. I'm not talking distasteful gaudiness & vanity here. But if the barn needs painting girls, paint it! No need to be washed out and anemic looking. If your outfit is plain- assessorize- just don't overdo! Saying it's an insult to God to look nice is ridiculous! Sin & a harsh environment has degraded us a great deal. The devil-man hates our beauty, because he was once a beautiful angel. He does not like it when we feel like beautiful daughters of Eve & walk with confidence. We are born with certain genetic flaws. The perfect skin, body, hair just doesn't occur- it takes a little maintainence. Even the magazine models are touched up. Is it a sin to try and maximize what few assets we do have? Someone once said "A good way to judge how to dress is this: your clothes should fit well enough that people know you're a woman, but loose enough that people know you're a lady." I'll tell you something, one of the most beautiful things you will ever see is a smiling woman, but the plainer-than-jane holier-than-thou types are rarely ever smiling. Why? Because they feel ugly & unloved. Been there- done that- no thanks! As for me, my balance may be different than some. I keep working out, I will cover my gray hairs someday, I wear whatever make-up I need to maintain a good, healthy appearance and (gasp) I paint my toenails. (It makes me feel nice) I don't ever want MY husband feasting his eyes on other/younger women or internet pictures because I'm so incredibly boring to look at! Don't set your man up for temptation, ladies! We don't want to be vain as peacocks either. There's a ditch called 'Prissy' and a rut called 'Frumpy'. Sister, avoid these extremes, walk the balance and for Heaven's sake....... SMILE!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Radio Show...

You can join me as I co-host live every Friday at 12 Eastern time for a talk show called TGIF (Thank God it's Friday) During this show, we talk about blessings and what we are thankful for. You can listen via 'LifeTalk Radio' on your local station or tune in on the internet at: click on the 'Listen live' option to tune in. Great, balanced Christian programming 24/7.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thank You, Scott!

It's a cold day today. I have a fire roaring in the fireplace. You know, it's an interesting thing to try and build a fire. You have to do it just right. If you start with a little kindling and get a little fire started, you can smother it by piling too much wood on top and it will go out. Made me think....
Years ago, I was a total legalist. My passionate nature had latched onto the concept of "works" and I dove in head first. Before I even knew what was happening, I was weighed down with a lot of restrictions. Wearing dresses all the time, hair in a bun, and eating a super strict diet. My husband was along for the ride as we dumped $800 worth of our favorite music in the dumpster because it had drums in it and removed our wedding rings because we were accused of idolatry. We went nowhere & only saw other people in our little church clique. My heart was heavy and dull as if the weight of my own sins had settled onto my shoulders. As soon as I gave up something as fellow study-group members suggested, there was another thing they expected us to change. The list of requirements was never ending in my quest for holiness. One night, I cried out to God in total despair as Peter did, "Lord save me!"..."If you can't save me, then let me die, because I can't go on living like this. I'm totally worn out." Several weeks later we attended a concert by the Heritage Singers. During the concert, a certain young man named Scott Reed stepped forward and spoke very passionately about Jesus and how He IS the way, the life, the truth. Nothing theologically profound, but his words caught my attention and while other members of our study group indignantly stood up and left, my husband and I sat transfixed in our seats. The young man continued to share some simple, yet wonderful truths. He said we can't work our way to Heaven and that Jesus paid it all so we could be saved. Deep in my heart, buried beneath the scorched embers of my own efforts was a little flickering flame of faith. As I sat listening, something changed. As the days passed, I kept remembering the testimony I heard during the concert. I had to check it out in the Bible. Low and behold, I could not disprove the message of salvation I had heard. That little flame of faith was fanned by the winds of mercy and became a fire so hot, it began to consume the embers of works, the list of requirements was reduced to ashes. Today, my faith is still on fire, thanks to the simple testimony of a young man who loved Jesus. Jesus knew the Jews were tired. Their leaders had heaped so many requirements on them- they were spiritually burned out. Jesus came teaching freedom, rest and joyful living saying "Come unto me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest." When I turned away from my works and back to Jesus he took the weight of sin & guilt from my shoulders, carried that burden to the top of a hill where it was nailed to the cross. Thank you for sharing that truth, so long ago Scott! Check out his website at: He's an amazing vocalist/recording artist!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Value of Good Support

Good support is SO valuable. Some people appreciate the bridge, but when you really think about it, the bridge would be useless without the network of support underneath. A house with no foundation would be no good. They used to say behind every successful man is a good woman. Support.... what a neat concept. If you want to start a revival, I believe the best way is to find others who think along the same lines and support each other in promoting new thought, or in re-introducing an old thought. I am now at an age where I feel I am able to get out there and DO things. I'm young enough to have energy and optimism, but old enough to have some wisdom & experience under my belt. Christ began His ministry when He was around my age. I have found great joy in promoting and supporting other people of my generation who are involved in ministry and there are several that I'm particularly fond of. Faith First, Sitler-Strong Productions, Ripple Productions, etc. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Stepping outside your comfort zone to love people?? I'm all for it!! My husband has been my most faithful and valuable supporter over the years and I love him even more for it, but there is only so much he & I can do. We need a foundation of Grace to stand on and other people to work with. Networking with like-minded individuals in ministry in a smart move. We are so much stronger working together. I know a great God! He's awesome!! So many people are afraid of him, because they don't really know Him. I have such joy in my life- having come to know Him for myself instead of taking everybody else's opinions and forming a collage of ideas that were inaccurate. "Christ in you, the hope of glory." This is what I want to live for. How about you, do you have good support?

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I really enjoy Thanksgiving. I associate it with warm memories... the gathering of family & friends. I try to be thankful all year round, but it's especially nice this time of year. Life has always been a challenge, but I have SO much to be thankful for! My husband loves me, our children are healthy & growing. Family, friends, an active ministry, pets and a roof over my head are additional blessings.
I have been trying to pour myself more into things that can appreciate the investment. Money/material things cannot feel our love and will never appreciate us, but people and creatures may benefit greatly from an investment of time & energy. People change & friends move on, but there is always that core of friends & family who really make an effort to stay connected and I'm so happy to have them in my life!
I am grateful for that adventurous handful of people who came over here to start a new colony so long ago. The sacrifices made must have been enormous and the ride over? Well, it wasn't exactly a luxery cruise, but they made it. This country has been growing ever since- God is good. What are you most thankful for in 2005?