I have thought a lot about “the voice” of the Lord.  I really can say at times, “the Lord said…”.  Certainly, in the Word, the Lord said, but I mean, to me.  I know there is controversy about it.  Do I hear Him audibly?  Nope.  But I really “hear” Him in my heart and spirit.  Not all the time, never about anyone else.  Only to me, about me.  He does prick my spirit about things at times.  I will hear, ‘go give her a hug”, “stay away”, “don’t say that”  kind of stuff. 

I was reading Psalm 29 today.  It is so interesting and made me think.  Verses 3-9 talks strong words, big words, big voice.  Verse3, “the voiceof the Lord is upon the waters…”the God of glory thunders.  The balance of that passage mentions that the voice of the Lord is powerful, majestic, breaks the cedars.  Verse 7, “the voice the Lord hews the flames of fire, shakes the wilderness.  Verse 9 “makes deer to calve and strips the forest bare; in His temple EVERYTHING, says “Glory”.  Isn’t that amazing?  His voice alone can do all those things.  Incredible.  The strength and power is indecribable.  Yet, He can use that powerful, amazing voice, to calm us, to encourage us and to make us know we are loved.  The same voice can be soft and quiet, just to let us know He is there.

I remember one of the first times that happened to me.  Mike, Erin and Brody and I were at Disneyland.  It was when the Indiana Jones ride was brand new.  The line was all the way from Frontierland to Main Street, USA.  We went everywhere else until the end of the evening and then the line was 4 hours long.  Standing at the end of the line, a couple came up and asked us how many were in our party.  We told them 4.  I was a little skeptical, thinking that they were scamming us a little.  They said that there had been a mistake of some sort and “Town Hall” had given them a pass for 6 people to “go to the front” of the line.  They asked us if we would join them.  We could not believe it.  We walked right past all those folks to the head of the line.  The ride, of course, was very fun and exciting.  We got off the ride before we even realized what had happened.  The kids were thrilled.  It all happened so fast.  Weird, but I immediately had to go to the bathroom, (sorry, but true).  I really needed a minute alone.  In the stall, I could not help but say, “Thank You, Lord.  Only You could have orchestrated that.”  In that still, soft voice, but true, I could even hear a smile, My Father said, ” you are wecome.”   I was a little stunned, but I knew it was Him.  The voice that had the power to raise Jesus from the dead.  The voice that is powerful and majestic cares about telling me that I was welcome, just so in that minute I knew He heard me.  He was there and heard me in the bathroom stall in Disneyland, Anaheim, CA.

There are many things I pray about and for that I have not had that immediate response.  What I learned right then was that my Father hears me wherever I am, whatever I am doing and in His timing He aswers His way.  I am grateful.

I have been asked before, what makes a “best friend”?  Throughout my 59+ years, I have had several good friends, close friends and many acquaintences.  Yet, I admit, I have been jealous of those women who could say, they had a true “best friend”.  Like, you know, Oprah and Gail.  I also wondered what that meant.  Not until I was in my 50’s was I priviledged enough to truly have one.  She didn’t just fit a mold that I had set.  She just morphed into the mold God had created for me.  I do not mean to boast in the least here.  I just want to acknowledge her and let others know that God hears and sees our desires, and cares.

When I was asked that question, it made me wonder.  What does make a best friend for me?  I realized that it just happened.  I learned “what” it was and “when” it happened.  When there was trust.  I know she would not listen or believe anything negative about me from anyone, nor I her.   Do I think that she is perfect, not really.  But any faults that we may have, I see as her charms, or part of her character.  I most times, think  they are funny and we laugh about them.  Here, I can only speak for my side of this.  She may hate my faults, I don’t know.  Of course, she has never mentioned it to me, we just laugh.

She has been a world traveler.  I am not.  Tennessee is about as far as I go.  She may even go on  adventures with other friends and I really think it is wonderful.  When she gets home, I get to here about what she saw, smelled, ate and experienced.  I love that.  She has brought me rocks from various places and I am completely happy with that.  Again, I am not tooting my own horn here.  It is more natural for me to be jealous, or feel left out.  It is not my human character to be this way.  Praise the Lord, it is His character and He allows this for me.  It is another thing that makes this relationship work.

She has only my best interest at heart and I hers.  I trust that.  I truly know, she would never, ever want anything but the best for me and mine.  And I for her.  When I needed to exercise for my health, she joined the gym and pushes me harder for my own good.  When I face heartache, she cries with me.  She allows me to be me, faults and all.  No judgements, no expectations.  I am accepted for who I am.

Of course, we do have many things in common, which adds to it.  First and formost, we share a love of our Lord.  We share a desire to walk, live and breathe and grow in Him.  We enjoy quiet times alone with our Father.  Another, our husbands each own businesses.  We are alone a lot, her more than me.  We like movies, food, tanning, worship music, reality shows, eating at Chevy’s and Chili’s.  We like books, shopping at Trader Joe’s and WalMart and flan.  We really enjoy people, whoever they are and love to love their differences.  She encourages me to be a better person and to “love well”, to look for the good in people and keep a distance from those who cause us to be negative.  We bounce off of each other that way.  We have gone to the “care home”, just to visit the folks there.  We can learn so much from them and they look happy.  We like to be together and pray for each others families, our church leaders. 

An enormous thing we have in common is our love of dogs.  Not just our dogs, but all dogs, well, with the exception of a few.  To us, our dogs are our children.  My Sookie and her Tahoe are best friends.  They love to be together.   They play,  run, share toys and beds and balls and couches.  They share bones and food.  They have play dates and sleepovers and we love to watch them and are completely delighted in their fun. 

To sum this all up, I think a “Best Friend” is about love, generosity, acceptance, similarities, sharing in pain and joy.  I think it is designed by the Creator of all and a precious gift from Him, whether human or canine. 

How about you and your “best friend”? What do you share.  What did the Lord do?

I love you, Bridge and I am grateful.

In The Silence….

Wow, Christmas is rapidly approaching.  I can physically and emotionally feel the stress and the anxiety.  I really don’t believe this is what God intended.

For my today, I want to stop, in silence and listen, remember, recall and consider…You.

As I look outside it is, in my world, a perfect day.  It is cloudy, foggy, crisp and drippy.  The leaves cover the ground and my car in the beauty of the autumn colors.   Sookie and Tahoe are happy in it also.  This weather, the feel, the silence gives me peace.

Psalm 8:1 and 3-4:  “Oh Lord, Oh Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.  Who have displayed Your splendor above the Heavens.”  Verses 3-4,”When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers which You ordained;  What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him.?”

“Your splendor”….that is today for me.  Sometimes, especially when I am driving and I am alone, I look around and see the beauty.  I have to tell the Lord, “What an amazing thing You did today.  the colors, the trees, the sky and clouds.”  To me it is artistry at its utmost finest.  In weather like this, there is also silence.  Nothing works better to clear my head.  Take a deep breath and really listen.  I have said this before, but I feel bares repeating…I tell the Lord, in silence, “I love You and He answers back, “I love you, too”  without a word.

Out my window right now, the wind is rustling the leaves on an old oak.  Immediately, my head hears that song from the Disney movie, “Pocahontas”. ” Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?”  and He answers back in silence…”Why yes, yes I can.”

  “I’ve got a story…”.  Anyone who has ever attending a Bible Study that I have led, knows I say this periodically.  I just want my sweet ladies there to know, our God is real and if I can tell them how real the Lord can be to them, I will.

We have been studying the book of Exodus  this year.  I have learned just how wonderful the Old Testament  gives us glimpses into what the Lord has in store for us.  It can speak right to our hearts and we can see the New Testament jump out from the pages.

Exodus 17:9, begins with Moses telling Joshua to choose men to go out and fight against the Amalekites.  

(Wait, let me say right here, this is my own interpretation, my own thoughts and of course, “just my opinion”). 

Ok, continuing, Moses then would station himself on top of a hill.  Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill and as long as Moses held up his hands, Israel would prevail, but when Moses let his hands down,  the Amalekites would previal.

In continuing in verse 12, Moses hands were heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him.  This struck me as the first symbol, not of the New Testament, but a symbol, nonetheless.  II Samuel 22:2 says, “The Lord is my Rock, and Fortress,”  That “rock” supported Moses.  Psalm 19:14, “my Rock and my Redeemer.”  Verse 12 continues, “Aaron and Hur supported his hands one on one side and one on the other.  “His hands were steady until the sun set”.  Ok, this really hit me…Galatians 6:2, the Lord tells us to “bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the Law of Christ.  My mind went immediately to our own Pastor Phil.  He not only is a great guy that we have known for over 25 years, but an excellent preacher and teacher.  Since our very own, “Generous Mr. Lovewell”, Pastor Jim went home to be with the Lord this summer, Phil has been missing that  “burden bearer”.  He was Phil’s “iron sharpens iron” .  Pastor Jim was the hospital going, marriage councelor, dispute negogiator kinda guy.  Our congregation has grown rapidly from approximately 200 to approximately 550.  Phil needs an Aaron and a Hur.  This started my little group of ladies to decide to pray for this help; a man of God’s choosing for Phil.  I am comforted that God will provide this for him.

Then I thought about myself.  How can I help? What can I do to “bear one another’s burdens’?  That very morning I was browsing my Facebook News.  There was that familiar “Generous Mr.Lovewell”  post reminding me to do something and “lovewell”.  So, once again, I mentioned that to my ladies and challenged them to “love someone well”  this week before Thanksgiving.

After Bible Study, Mike and I went to WalMart to shop for Thanksgiving.  There in front of us at the check-out, was a cute couple, a little older than Mike and I.  In their cart, I saw (okay, I am always curious when some people buy the things they do, nosey, I know).  In their cart, were “Apple Jacks”, Cocoa Krispies, popcorn, Junior Mint’s, and I thought, “that has to be for their grandkids”.  I wanted to ask, but I found a better way, (just incase they really did eat all those things).  As it were, they were expecting their grands from out of town– Idaho and Modesto.  For a minute,  I felt sorry for myself, since I will not be able to see my TN kids or grands for the holidays.  Then….God showed up !  As I spoke with them, I became really happy for them.  I could feel it, I knew it was the Lord, because I am way too selfish.  They went on their way.  The cashier asked, “Wow, how many people are you cooking for?”  We had 2 carts, (I know ridiculous).  I asked her if she was cooking and she told me she had never cooked a turkey before, her exhusband had always cooked it and he was gone now.  She told me her son was going to his girlfriends and she had to work until 12:30 p.m.  Well, guess where God showed up now….yep, my mouth.  Out He came.  “Come to our house” and I started writing my address and phone number down for her.   She looked so surprised, but happy and said, “really?”    “Yep”, and I hugged her and we left.  Now I had had no time to think about it, or ask Mike about it.  He asked me on the way out what all that was about.  I told him my story of that morning.  He agreed, he usually does.  I realized whether my new friend, “Donna” shows up or not, that God used me to “lovewell” and we are grateful.  We are privileged to be used by an Almighty Good, who “shows up” to do His work anytime, anywhere He chooses.

We are grateful.  Thank you, Lord.

This case is very special to Mike and I.  It’s old, it’s hand-painted and we love it.

This was Brody’s first guitar case.  Infact, it was our son, that painted it. It was given to Harold for a short time and now it holds Noah’s guitar.   This gives Mike and I great joy.  I know, not earth shattering, but nonetheless, important to us.  I had not seen this case in many years, then all of the suddent it showed up right there in the living room.  Noah had decided to take some guitar lessons from Evan and Papa was restringing the guitar for him.  I don’t really know who was more excited, Noah or Papa.

Another joy, this week, Noah is taking “golf lessons” with his friend, Hayden.  Okay, it’s cool, but you should see Mike’s face when he hides behind a tree, so he can see Noah with Noah seeing him.  His eyes are sparkling.  He has always loved golf, he started playing when he was really young and when he can’t sleep, his mind goes to a golf course and it gives him peace.  I know, go figure, but that is him.  He took Noah at 2 years old to this very course to play on the putting green, he cut down a putter for him.  On Noah’s 6th birthday, Noah received his first set of golf clubs.  Now, on his 12th birthday, lessons,  4 kids, one instructor, 5 days, 6 hour days.  Papa is thrilled.  Noah is excited.  Once again, I know he likes golf, my hope is that he REALLY likes golf and not just pleasing Papa.  Anyway, those are some of the joys we have this week.   There are more I am sure, today, though, is for Noah.

Lord, thank You so much for the blessings of our first-born grand.  How we love him.  Thank you for his quiet wisdom and his beautiful smile.

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I kinda knew something was up when Mike was frantic to get the downstairs room done.

When I asked him, he just said that “he had promised me before summer” it would be finished.  I believed him.  I always do.  So I bought it. I was there for him.  Excited and everything.

Then about 2 weeks before Easter, he told me.  It was a bad day I was having and he wanted to do something to cheer me up.  He also didn’t want to cheat me out of the fun of preparation for them to come.

MercyMe was coming to Sacramento, that meant Brody would be here for 5 days, so Kristin and the boys were to fly out early, go to the concert and Brody come home with all of us.  Yeah !!!!  I was very excited.  And Mike was right, preparing is part of the fun.

We would be together for the Concert,  for Easter at church, for Zion’s birthday that weekend.  I loved it.  Did we plan?!!!  I did !…

This is the back of Bridget’s car after the Wal-Mart run.  I wanted everything perfect.  Well, maybe not perfect,  but done.  I wanted to have every cereal, snack, towel and food they could possibly need.  Like I said, I was excited.

I made menu’s, calendars’, well really, I cleared the calendar so that nothing was going to interrupt the time I had with them.  I knew they would have a plan of things they needed to do,but I wanted nothing to effect it.

Erin, Mike, and the kids and I picked up Kristin and the boys at the airport.  All the way home, the kids were so fun.  The cousins had not seen each other in almost 2 years and it was like nothing had changed.  The love that is there, was incredible.  We could definitely see the family love and they giggled and wrestled all the way home.

We  even refinished some furniture that was my Mom’s for the room.  Erin did this entire project.  My mom had this in her kitchen.  When Erin and Brody were babies, they would take the canned food out and put it back in over and over in her kitchen.  We had it in our kitchen after Mom went home to be with the Lord.  It is now a book shelf.

It was entirely so much fun to prepare and be excited at the same time.

Later I will do Easter, but one really nice thing we did have planned was the Family Picture while everyone was here.  A very kind, and generous man from our church agreed to do the pictures at church.  We found a day when everyone could be there.  Matt is the only one missing.  That made me a little sad, but we did the best we could do.

These are all the kids, blood, in-loves, and heart doing some signs of some sort.  Joey brings this to the family.  It’s a tribute to him.

Can you believe it?  I am trying to do the best I can to enter these in, be patient…This is us.  Sookie and all.  I love it.   Wait, I’ll try another..

Ok, this is the us.  The bloods and the in-loves.  To me they are all bloods.  We are grateful, so thankful and humbled by what the Lord has done.

There will be more pictures of this precious, encouraging time later.  For now, I am so grateful for our kids, blood or not, grands and my husband.  Lord, you are kind and generous.

This week some awesome things happened in our family.  Almost, more than my mind can comprehend.

Our granddaughter, Trinity, decided when she was three years old that she wanted to do everything.  She wanted to be in parades, pageants, collect money for the Tsunami victims, make quilts for orphans and kids with cancer and she wanted to eat ” lingua” tacos…   is that the right spelling for “tongue”?  She has always surprised us.

She is talented and loving and this week she shot her first commercial.  Erin took her to 6 Flags in the coast and she was in a commercial for “Lunchables”. This is amazing to me.  Sometime in the beginning of summer, our baby will be on TV.  Weird, exciting all together.

Our prayer has always been for her, that if the Lord thinks this is a good thing for her, then let’s go with it.  If this will harm her in any way, or if He is not honored by it, then please stop it now.  So far, He seems to be guiding and encouraging her to do this.  We are incredibly proud, not only of what she is doing, but who she is.  She is a gift.

We love her very much and only want what the Lord wants for her.  For right now we again, are very grateful for who she is and what He is doing in her.  Thank you, so much Father.

Then, now today, this piece of art will be in stores all over the country.  We know what this is,  don’t we??? the cover the the new MercyMe single, out today !! Our daughter-in-law is the artist of this. Kristin is an amazing woman, Brody tells all of us all the time and it is true.  She does so many things well. It seems appropriate that this single is from the CD coming out in May 2010, “The Generous Mr. Lovewell”.  Because Kristin does.  This is also very exciting for our family.  We again, thank the Lord for His blessings, for His guidance and for His protection.  May this CD do well, may the Lord be honored by what MercyMe is doing. May He be honored by our girls as they go forth and “love well.”

“The Generous Mr. Lovewell”

January 22, 2010 – 11:10 am 3 Comments

Mercy Me is in the process of creating their next album, entitled “The Generous Mr. Lovewell.” The idea behind it is that this fictional character, Mr. Lovewell, gets up every day and does random acts of kindness, and that kindness creates a ripple effect. I love all the videos, and ideas, that they have for the album and the tour, and the way they are visualy and creatively conveying the message.

Brody is the Art Director for the album, and he has been working so hard, and doing such an amazing job! The cover turned out awesome…

…Also, Brody asked me to paint a heart that they could use as a prop in the photo shoots. Now the heart is also on the cover of the album! It is so fun, and surreal for me to see something that I painted, on the cover of a Mercy Me album! I am grateful for the opportunity, and happy to help in a small way. Follow Mr. Lovewell on twitter, and stay tuned on MrLovewell.com for more videos, and also mercyme.org for details, songs, and information! Most importantly, Love- Well!

Okay, How proud am I ???  A sweet gal commented on this on Brody’s blog, about making it “wall art”.  I plan to do exactly that.  I am proud of Kristin for her artistic ability and equally proud of Brody for his creativity and abilities.  All of that to say……Once again, THANK YOU, LORD, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW….

The Lord has impressed upon me greatly so far this year to consistently pray for our Children and Grands..

I asked my precious friend Rhoda, who is in her eighties how she prayed for each one of her grands and she gave me a book to borrow.  As I read this book, I realized I wanted one, so I could write in it and take notes and be able to use it as a reference tool as the kids grow.  Looking on line, I found it.  It was cheap, too cheap.  How could a book named, “Praying for Our Grandchildren” , only cost 1cent.  What !! Okay the postage was 3.99, but  $4.00 for reference material for such an important topic?  So, I began to look into THE book and realized its all right there.  I knew that, you know that.  I still want the book, but the Psalms are full of wonderful words to ask for these precious souls.  Again, I thank You Lord.

Psalm 25 1-15, paraphrased for my Kids and Grands.

To Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul, O my God, I put my trust in Thee.  Let us never be ashamed and let not our enemies triumph over any of our children or grandchildren.  Indeed, as we all wait for Thee, we will never be ashamed of our faith, or what You have done for us.

Make each one of our children and grands know Thy ways, O Lord.  Teach each one Thy path and Yours alone.  Please Father, lead them in Your truth and teach each of them.  For You alone are the God our their salvation and for you we wait.  Your lovingkindness and compassion are eternal, please forget  and forgive all their sins and transgressions.  Remember each by name in Your lovingkindness and goodness, O Lord.

You are good and upright, therefore, You will instruct them in the Way.  Let each one be humble and teachable as they follow You.  All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep Your covenants and testimonies.  For Your namesake, O Lord, pardon all their iniquities for they may be great.  Those who fear the Lord,  He will instruct in the way they choose, O Father, may they choose Your way and none other.  As You promise, then their souls will abide in prosperity and their descendants will inherit the land.

Help each one of them to know Your secrets and fear You  make known Your covenant to them.  Please, Father, let their eyes   on You and let them never be snarled and caught up in the lies of this world.

I thank You, Father for allowing me the privilege of being their mother and grandmother.  May each one walk in peace with You.