Monday, March 17, 2014

Abundant JOY!

I'm spending lots of time with God while my body recovers from my accident the morning of Ash Wednesday.  God certainly has my attention!  I don't recommend falling down steep, wooden basement stairs and breaking one's left pinky finger, breaking two ribs on one's right side and sustaining multiple abrasions and bruises all over one's body, but I am so very thankful for God's protection, provision and faithfulness during and after the accident.  The ER doc indicated that I should be all healed up around Easter time.  Lent 2014 shall be quite memorable for me (and typing with one hand when on the computer).

While I don't like being a burden to others, I am in need of assistance in getting my meals, glasses of water or a cup of hot tea, taking a shower, getting dressed and lifting things.  Coco and I were walking hilly routes up to 3 miles per day and yesterday I was able to walk just over 3 blocks for the first time in 10 day. Slowed down to focus on Him who is most important in my life (have I had Him my focus?).  So thankful for the lessons our Lord is teaching me as I sit at His feet…

Days are spent resting, stretching and slowly moving my body to encourage healing and a hopefully slightly longer walk outdoors each day.  Lots of time for prayer and being in God's Word.  I've been resting/sleeping in a recliner since my accident and hope to progress to our bed (at night) some time this week.  

God is good.  All the time.

Yesterday, God laid Psalm 126 on my heart and all I can say is Joy, Joy, JOY!

A great encouragement to me and I hope for you too.

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion's exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn't believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations -
"God was wonderful to them!"
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.

And now, God, do it again -
bring rains to our drought stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
Psalm 126, The Message

During this season of Lent, resting in the Lord's care, please let me know how I may pray for you - or even just that you need prayer (God knows your details).  

Abundant blessings of great JOY!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Actively waiting...

Click on the link above to read a powerful post shared with me (from a precious friend)

While I want to get up out of my chair and run to what I know is coming, God has told me to stay put and wait for Him…  

Waiting is so incredibly difficult, especially for a Martha like me.

Even so, I shall give thanks and declare, "God is good.  All the time."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living this life

Another "Take Time Tuesday" has arrived and Ephesians 4:17-32 are the verses I am meditating upon today.  I'm not going to say a lot; mostly share the verses and pray the Holy Spirit shares with each person what it is that He desires to share.  I, personally, feel these verses are a very timely and necessary message to us in the world today.

As Blaine and I continue our study, The Holy Spirit:  An Introduction by John Bevere MUCH is being revealed to us that we have not learned in our faith journey thus far.  We, personally, would like to recommend doing the study with another person or in a small group.  Not only purchase the workbook, but also get the DVD series or purchase the download video version.  This is the MOST POWERFUL teaching we have ever heard!  

Living as Children of Light

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:17-32 New Living Translation

…and the same verses from a different translation:  The Message ~

The Old Way Has to Go

And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Holy Spirit ~ thank you for your faithfulness in teaching us that we may continually grow in our knowledge of God's Word; understanding more about God the Father, Jesus and You!  Please help me be truly transformed to be more like God and to live the life that I am called to live. I don't want to stay as I am now for I know You have so much more for me.  I desire to fully live!  Thank you for walking and talking with me daily and being available to teach me continually.  I am so grateful.  In Jesus' name ~ Amen.

I am so thankful for each person that takes the time to stop by and read.  May our amazing Lord bless you and provide for your needs enabling all of us to also bless others.  


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Season of Winter

For the past several years, the holidays arrive with all their activities and then the New Year in which we celebrate a fresh start…  January.  The month of my birth, so another celebration to look forward too.  However, something has changed in me.  While I've battled ongoing health challenges for years, a new "phenomenon" has settled in.  By the end of the first week of the New Year, my body is exhausted, shaky, muscles extremely tight, my eyes weary. No matter what I do to support or encourage my body, winter settles in for a stretch and my body wants to be "dormant" or go into some type of "hibernation."   And, I don't like it one bit!  

But, getting frustrated or angry or ……….. doesn't help and likely puts increased pressure on my tired and weak body.  All I can do is embrace it and realize that REST becomes my #1 priority.  If I'm on the computer too long (and it's a very short time frame that my eyes will function on here), I feel woozy and my neck muscles tighten up and my throat feels a bit constricted.  Sleeping longer hours or naps are a must.  Today, I got up with Blaine for our morning devotions, ate some breakfast after he left and went back to bed (around 6:30 am) and while I woke up a few times through the morning, my body did not want to wake up until around 11:30.  And now, I'm heating up leftover red lentil cauliflower curry to bring warmth to my body…  I'll walk the dog and take a shower and rest again.  Short walk with Blaine (after work) and rest this evening.  And repeat this routine daily for who knows how long.  

But He (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Can't say I enjoy "boasting," as Paul did, but I am sharing the reality of my journey - but if I encourage or help one other person then so be it!  However, he does tell me that in sharing my weakness, Christ's power is made stronger in me and I welcome it! So should you.  During the winter season, I rest in Christ that His power is made all the more in me.  I don't want to journey through this life in my own strength, but in His.  And yet, I am so often reminded that the world tells us we must be useful and productive.  The world has little use for someone like me.  I have seasons where I can accomplish much.  I also have seasons where I can "accomplish" little by the world's standards. 

There is little time for rest, wouldn't you agree?  What if the world has it backward?  What if we're looking at the world and this life upside down?  Or through rose-colored glasses?  

One of my maple trees in dormancy last winter

We can look at the natural world.  Some would say that plants and trees are "dead" in the winter.  While they have no active growth happening on the surface (that most see with the naked eye, although signs of life may be there), much is happening below the surface and underground (in the soil).

This visual example brings much hope and excitement to me as I live in acceptance of this "weakened" season in my own life when January arrives.  Maybe it's SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and I need more light. Living in the Pacific Northwest (and I know of some people that leave for sunshine and the tropics for a time during our dreary winter months) can be very challenging.  I've had some professionals encourage me to move to a sunnier climate, but my Lord has not directed me to do so.  For today, I don't have answers.  I am thankful I have a Heavenly Father who does and that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper, our counselor, our teacher, our physician to help us here. 

And daily, I give thanks to God for Blaine.  My husband, my best friend, my supporter and encourager, my warrior.  I don't know how I'd make it through the winter season each year without his love and prayer support.  He is truly a priceless treasure and blessing from God to me!

And, come Spring, buds will burst forth and then tender, young leaves.  Soon, the tree will leaf out fully and eventually form seed pods.  When Autumn arrives once again, the tree will showcase great beauty…  Hope.  New life just below the surface.

Usually by mid-February, I begin to sense an increased level of energy in my body and I begin to come out of the weakened, fuzzy state that has been my existence for several weeks.  I feel alive once more.  

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  John 12:24

While, I don't consume wheat any longer - this example is not lost on me.  Sunflowers.  One seed produces countless seeds.  Trying planting one and experience it for yourself.

You could plant corn, amaranth, quinoa…  Plant a seed of a plant that produces seed and then count the number of seeds from that one plant.  
I continually stand amazed.

And this verse above, it's really teaching us that we must die to self in order for our lives to produce many seeds of blessing for others.  Our Lord works through our lives to touch others lives, if we allow Him to.

And in the midst of choosing Christ.  Trusting God.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide, direct and use my life for Kingdom purposes.  Learning Eucharisto.  Giving thanks. Seeking Joy. My heart is also greatly saddened by loss too.  Even in this, I choose God.

Today, I am reminded that we must carefully consider what choices we make.  Years ago, when I heard this song - I Surrender All by Clay Crosse - I chose to sing those words in a prayer to God.  Even though it has been costly in my life and I have often thought, "What did I do?," I just listened to the song again (and you can listen to it by clicking on the song link above) and while it brought tears to my eyes, I said YES once again…  God is so good.

Atti, Bo Peep, Little Red and Sussy enjoying a sugar pumpkin last January.  How I miss my girls.  They were a reason (a purpose) to get out of bed every morning, even when I was at my weakest….  

And, I believe.  I trust, that one day, God will restore Joy Bell Farm and chickens to our lives.

May our amazing and wonderful Lord bless you and keep you today.  May He make His face shine upon you…  You are loved.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Tuesday has arrived once again.  Oh great, I thought.  I don't have anything "laid on my heart" to share this week.  Just ordinary life happening; tasks, trials and time… passing by.  For the first time ever, I was not aware that my birthday was next week.  It seems as though time has gotten fuzzy since we moved last September. So I told myself, "It's not like Take Time Tuesdays is a requirement, set in stone; that I have to post something every Tuesday.  It's not a job.  I'm not getting paid.  Guess I'll let it go this week."  And then, the Spirit interrupts my plans and shows me that I do have something to share…


This word brings about a negative/defensive reaction in me.  My Dad was a strong disciplinarian and I feared him.  I am way passed judging my Dad or saying he was wrong. This is simply an observation.  It did affect me.  It did shape my life.  Others shaped my Dad's life.  It did cause a ripple effect in my life.  And because of how my father disciplined his children, I held the same image for God the Father.  Took me a really long time to learn that He is loving and gracious too.  Not having this revealed early to me and learning new skills, I was a crazy strict and "apologize after I got really mad" Mom.  Oh, how I love our children.  It still saddens my heart.  Grieves my heart.  Brings great sadness to me and tears fall...  Occasionally, I still am that person.  I cannot tell you how many times I have repented and sought God's forgiveness for not handling a situation properly (and being drawn into sin myself).  I am so humbled.  This is a major area for me that I deal with in feeling "unworthy" of good happening in my life. Thankfully, God's grace and Truth are continually teaching me and I am learning and growing even as our children are all adults now.  I am also learning how to forgive myself (but I digress, for this is not today's topic).  I pray God is able to bring healing and wholeness into their lives and healthy discipline to them when they raise their own children (if they have children).  I am not proud of my actions or their effects upon our children - but it is my reality and it is the background setting for today's post.  Discipline has always been a negative word to me.  Even typing it, I can feel my body cringe.

Definition according to the Oxford dictionary:


  • 1the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience:a lack of proper parental and school discipline
  •  the controlled behavior resulting from discipline:he was able to maintain discipline among his men
  •  activity or experience that provides mental or physical training:the tariqa offered spiritual disciplineKung fu is a discipline open to old and young
  •  a system of rules of conduct:he doesn’t have to submit to normal disciplines
  • 2a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education:sociology is a fairly new discipline


[with object]
  • train (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience:many parents have been afraid to discipline their children
  •  punish or rebuke (someone) formally for an offense:a member of the staff was to be disciplined by management
  •  (discipline oneself to do something) train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way:every month discipline yourself to go through the file

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  
Hebrews 12:11

For years, this verse confirmed my strict discipline and it stated that discipline would cause pain. (Along with teachings from others.)  And, it was my experience too.  It is what it is.  Justified, right?  No.  As I have grown, matured and God peels away the layers of my own experience, I understand that the "discipline" in this verse refers to discipline done in love and in a way that has a positive influence.  Still a tough one for me to understand exactly what this looks like, as I have disciplined in love - but I think it gets messed up when 'fear' and 'anger' are also thrown in.  The biggest difference I see…  Does the discipline actually bear fruit in the person's life?

Ugh.  I doesn't seem I learn very quickly either. I failed once again.  Just this past weekend, I really blew it with our adult son that lives with us.  A situation occurred that I felt needed discipline, but I handled it completely wrong and ended up causing hurt and pain.  The "specifics" are not important, but instead of going to him in love, fear was also included.  This choice could lead to this choice, to this consequence, the world's affect upon your life, etc.  I could go on, but I won't.  That fact is, I just made the whole situation worse through my "discipline" choice.  I brought in too many other factors from outside the situation that snowballed into creating a hurtful mess.  Oh, that I could have a "do-over," but that isn't an option in real life.  Words are said.  Actions speak volumes.  Pain is inflicted.  Forgiveness is sought.  The wounds take time to heal.  Repentance.  Prayer.  Seeking God's help, once again, to heal and restore. 

From Proverbs 15, I am reminded, "a harsh word stirs up anger."  Now, this does not mean discipline wasn't needed.  But it is how we deliver our words, our attitude and in what frame of mind we are.  And, we all have choices to make in this life.  We cannot make choices for others.  God did not make choices for us, but gave us the ability to choose.  There are consequences that comes with our choices, but we were still given a choice. This is an endless subject to study...

Discipline - in a positive light - is difficult and we humans would rather not go through the "hard stuff" in life.  We often envy those who take bigs risks and receive big payoffs. There are those who decide to get in shape and train for a marathon mid-life… Those who come from horrific environments and do amazing things.   Overachievers. That is often our initial human response.  If it's not us, we're so jealous.  Why?  Because discipline is hard.  Really hard.  Even knowing the end result - "a harvest of righteousness and peace."  It's still hard.  We don't like pain.  We are not patient.  We want immediate reward.

I've only talked about discipline in "raising children" and behavior or choices that we feel needs to be changed.  But let's take a broader look at this verse...

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  
Hebrews 12:11

 (discipline oneself to do something) train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way

This part of the definition is the "positive" area that is my focus for the rest of this post.  While correction is important (and often necessary - and if you've read my posts this past year, you know God has been disciplining our lives for which we give Him continual thanksgiving), I am learning new disciplines in my life and I am able to experience discipline in a new way to help change my reaction to that word.  I need to work on myself and not others.  Focusing on what I need to change about me often creates a ripple affect upon others…., although this is not my objective in doing so.  God is working in me and in everyone else too.  I don't need to worry about others.  I do need to focus on establishing good discipline in my own life.

Here is what I'm/we're working on in bringing discipline to our lives:

  • Morning devotion - Blaine and I have committed to getting up a little earlier each morning, so we can have coffee/tea together and read a devotion together and pray before he leaves for work. (I learned how to make his coffee for him too.) This also means we have to go to bed earlier… 3 days into it and it is a struggle each day.  We've been married for 28 years and this is our first real effort to make this happen.  Praying for perseverance.
  • Walking the dog daily - there are days when I just don't feel like taking the dog for a walk.  If you have a dog, perhaps you understand this.  She could just go out into the backyard and potty, couldn't she?  She needs specific exercise just as I do.  She needs social connection.  Living creatures are funny like that; needing to connect with other living creatures...  And, a smaller property means she need to get out and walk.  Every day.
  • After work walk with Blaine - we both need more exercise.  We find that in joining a gym, we fizzle out pretty quickly.  What could we do on a practical level to incorporate more exercise together?  Long term?  We could go for a walk once Blaine arrives home from work.  We've discovered it's more than just a walk too, we talk about our day, listen to each other - away from our house and all the demands that are there. Oh yes, no dog either.  Just the two of us.  It's been an unexpected gift in our life together.  And, it usually has me wearing my headlamp, because of winter darkness at an early hour, at least for now.  Dinner is a little later because of it, but so worth it!
  • A heart of thanksgiving:  Day….. ~ a year long project for me that I am recording daily on my Facebook page.  It began with 30 Days of Thanksgiving in November, but I felt prompted by the Spirit to continue until next Thanksgiving.  I feel awkward about it some days, as I know I've had a bad or challenging day, but I'm only posting those things that I am thankful for and I don't want people to get the idea that life is totally "peachy."  It's not.  I am learning to be more thankful and it is changing me.  In a good way.  I've also heard from a couple people that it is really helping and blessing them.  That makes my heart happy.  God is good.  All the time.
  • iPhone - Removed the Facebook app from my phone today.  I know I need to be a little less connected and more available to God.  Most days, I don't want to be so hooked into technology and yet, I find myself checking my fb, because it's easily accessible on my phone.
  • Less tv, more life - we don't watch nearly as much television (or stream stuff on our computer) as some people, BUT it still dominates our life.  We desire more "real living" and less watching.  We've reduced the number of shows we record and we are on the verge of getting rid of cable service too (after the Super Bowl).    

I am terrible in learning new disciplines.  I try for a while and then return to my old ways.  This not only effects my own life, but I did not raise our children with good disciplines or practices in their lives either.  Like going to bed to get plenty of rest, regular exercise, eating healthy (we do eat healthy, but I tended to eat on-the-go while they grew up or skip meals).  We home educated our children and I allowed our schedule to be flexible instead of being disciplined to get things done in a set amount of time.  I was not the example I wanted to be for them.  Yes, they learned a lot and we did a lot of volunteer work in their formative years, but learning discipline in their lives was not one of the things I taught well (or at all).  Hindsight.  sigh. And while I cannot undo what was done, I can pray that the Holy Spirit will help them develop discipline in their lives even as He is helping me…  Remember, God's not done with any of us yet!  Thank you, Lord, for hope.  

Click on the photo to read a beautiful post, Refinished and Restored.

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read my thoughts regarding what I am learning along life's journey.  This isn't the last post about discipline.  Oh no, it's just the beginning. 

Father God, thank you for this day and for this time to reflect on discipline in my life.  Thank you for disciplining me and helping me to see where I fall short and need correction and how you desire to teach me and transform me by Your Spirit.  Please help me to receive discipline in grace and love and to discipline others in the same manner.  No, it's not pleasant and often painful, but it will bear much fruit in my life as I embrace it and allow it to change me to be more like You.  In Jesus' name ~ Amen.

Abundant blessings on your day, precious reader.  May our amazing Lord bless you to be a blessing to others.

*Update ~ since posting this earlier today, the son involved in last weekend's situation arrived home.  We had an amazing chat and apologized to one another again for all that occurred.  In walking in obedience to God's leading, sharing what I'm learning, His healing balm was applied to us both.  Rejoicing and giving thanks to God!  He is good.  All the time.