Category Archives: christianity

Reader request Friday

For 007 at https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/: I asked my son about the first birthday he ever planned and he laughed and said, “none , well maybe this one. ” We were sitting at the table eating pieces of a giant cake that his girlfriend had made for him. It was last Friday and he had called me on Tuesday to say he was coming home for his birthday. He brought his musical equipment and computer and his desire was for all the musicians in the family to make a birthday song together. That didn’t actually come together but good times were had.

For Rakellewrites  http://www.racquelwrites.com : Yes, 27 years is a lot of time spent with another human being and many compromises have been made on both sides to keep this ship afloat! While it’s easy for me to think of a long list of things I’ve given up for him, I must admit that he has an equally long list. Both of us are pretty easy-going , as long as we get our way. But , that only works if you both want the same thing! So over the years we’ve had to let go of some things. I think maybe he was the more generous one in the past and maybe I’m paying that back now . But who’s keeping track? Wink wink! One biggie for him was that in order to keep the growing family fed and bills paid he has had to sell some of his toys, as in cars, motorcycles, and other wheeled objects . Not always without some resentment and unhappiness, but we got past it. Another one is he’s been very flexible with me as far as giving me a lot of freedom, as long as all my work is done. In my case, I’ve had to learn to be patient when I want to go and do things and we just can’t afford it. In the past I’ve found ways to make travel and races happen , but it’s getting harder and harder . I have a strong belief in God and I rely on the Bible as my standard of right and wrong, therefore, even in some very trying periods of marriage, I have not felt that quitting was an option . I believe that Satan is real and he wants to destroy relationships. When things get rough , I pray harder! I also avoid people, authors, and other media that do not value the marriage vow. I know how easy it is to get sucked into that way of thinking. I think my husband and I are a good match and we usually enjoy the same things , but not always. And that’s okay. We are both independent and opinionated as well. We don’t always agree on politics but we agree on values and religion. Somehow it has worked for 27 years. When I hear that a couple is struggling, I try to encourage them to 1)remember their spouses good points and 2)remember their own faults. No one is perfect. I’ll finish with an example from real life. The weather is perfect today and I really wanted to go hiking . But I discovered my husband had other plans . Since I’m going trail running tomorrow, I opted to not push for the hike, even though he was willing to try to fit in both activities. There was not enough time in my opinion for both. I’m sorry to miss a day hiking in fall weather, but I had to be honest that I would do better to stay home and do chores. So I guess I’ve gotten better at not getting my way. I want to give God the credit for helping me mature and not be so selfish and stubborn. I have prayed specifically that he would make me a better wife and mother and I trust that he is at work .

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I wasn’t expecting that! Or: Churches are made up of People

I think I mentioned that after years of being away from attending Sunday worship services, I had started visiting a local church and really enjoying the peaceful low-key , fairly anonymous time with other believers. I’ve been going for a couple of months I guess . I kept thinking I’d like to make an appointment to chat with the pastor , just to learn more about the Lutheran church since it’s not my usual Baptist denomination.

Well today I got a shock when I sat down and they began the announcements and I heard the pastor say that he had tendered his resignation that week. I can still hardly believe this . Why? Because I really liked him! He preaches good Biblical sermons and he’s a nice guy. I’m sure God has a reason for this and it has nothing to do with me. I just feel sad that he and his family are leaving and that the church is about to go through a transition. I’ve been through that before and don’t look forward to it . But maybe this church needs that . It had a split a few years ago and I guess things never really healed so attendance and offerings are way down. I can see how a pastor might decide it’s time to move on if he feels unwanted.

The sun came out today after weeks of gloomy rain and clouds.

As in everything, I will keep trusting God to show me the way. If he wants me to keep going there , I’ll know. If I start seeing an ugly side of this church , I’ll move on. But I’ve been asking him to show me how I can serve so maybe something will come up .

Do you attend church? Have you ever been part of a church that split ? Have you ever left a church that you had been a longtime member of?

A Beautiful, Rugged Hike at Lost Maples State Park

I had trouble choosing a title. I wanted to say that God answered my prayers again, gave me the desires of my heart, showed up in a big way as always, because He did! But I’ve become more hesitant about saying that only because I know many people are praying for important , urgent, and much desired interventions and sometimes God waits a long time to answer, but always in His perfect timing. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad that God answers my prayers so often. Believe me, I am still praying, waiting and trusting for many things. Keep trusting and praying! But, it’s true, this time I was praying for the rain that was falling Saturday morning to stop , not flood the roads, not close the trails and for us to have a great day hiking, which was my chosen birthday activity. It all worked out! Here are the photos. Thanks be to God who blessed me once again!

This video is what got me so fired up to go here. Lost Maples SNA Part 1 of 2

 

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We drove through heavy rain to the park.

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Finally we came into view of the mountains!

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Ready or not! Let’s go!

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The trail was wet and rocky all the way.

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And easy section that was NOT in the creek bed.

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Taking a break from climbing up.

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A little more to go to the top.

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This is the trail.

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Octopus tree?!

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We were mostly alone but there was a young couple with two kids following us.

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Clear, clean water!

 

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A lovely pond  in which my husband took a quick dip .

How the day went: Left the house at 7:00. Hit rain about 9:00. Called the park and they said they were still open. Kept driving. Got to park at 11:00. About 80 degrees, breezy and not raining! Drove through some water on the road to get to the park. I started feeling emotional and excited when I spotted the mountains rising up ahead of us. The route is a very scenic road along a river through hunting leases, farms and ranches.  The area is a favorite place for motorcycle riders. We stopped for a quick photo in the town of Utopia. Who could resist?
Parked, got our gear, headed to trail head . We immediately had to cross over water on some large rocks. Looking across to the other side we saw a group of middle aged women ( like myself) laughing and talking and looking our way. We got to them and discovered that one of them had lost her balance crossing the rocks and fallen into the water. She had taken off her wet pants and was just wearing a rain poncho. They thought it was hilarious. We laughed with them,  wished them well and kept going. A little later we came to another crossing of the same creek but no dry way across , so that was the first of many times we got our feet wet.

Another group was heading out in the opposite direction at this point in the loop. I had heard that the clockwise direction was the more difficult way and I picked that . I thought it might be easier to go up the “hard side” and  down the other side. But in reality, I think it may have been just as hard either direction. But going clockwise you do get the hardest parts over with first and then finish on the easy trail, which I liked. There is one relatively big climb  and then you come to a flat spot on the top where we took a lunch break. There’s a chemical bathroom up there as well and primitive camping. Then you go back down which was very technical, but doable, and we were glad we had hiking poles. Then once again you are in the canyon, mostly hiking through or next to the creek bed with canyon walls on both sides. The trail was hard to follow due to a recent flood and leftover debris which made it hard to see a way through in many places. So that added a level of adventure which made it more interesting than your typical groomed trails. You can’t really get lost unless you scramble up the side of the canyon , which would not be easy or wise! We enjoyed the sounds of the bubbling, gurgling creek, the occasional breezes, and lovely variety of trees and rocks.

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I had hoped to hike a little further but we were taking our time and not covering distance very quickly, so we decided at one point in an out and back section to turn around and finish the main loop, knowing we still had a two hour drive back to our hotel. Happily for our tired, sore feet, we found some less rocky trails ahead. My husband took a dip in a lovely pond while I had a snack of Skittles and took in the natural beauty of the canyon. We passed more hikers in this easier section of trail. Finally we made it back to the car ,covering just under 6 miles.  We took the time to visit a small motorcycle museum, where we met a very friendly lady and saw about 50 very cool bikes from all over the world,  before driving back to San Antonio. All told, a wonderful day!

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By the clear pond. Those are green rocks in the water.

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The rocks that the lady fell on. I would have hurt myself if I’d fallen! Glad she didn’t.

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Utopia, Texas, where everything is perfect!

Me-No-Pause: Staying Young at Heart

I started worrying about menopause years ago because I have always suffered in various and often severe ways when my hormones go UP and DOWN. What does the future hold, I worried! Will I go crazy? Will I get a divorce? Will I get fat and lose all my hair? I had those thoughts because I’ve seen women do all of the above.  I know so many women who have become extremely intolerant of their husbands and gotten divorced, been put on anti-depressants after telling their doctors they had no energy and no motivation, gained a lot of weight even though they weren’t eating more and still exercising regularly, quit attending to their appearance because they quit caring what their husbands thought of them, stopped doing anything fun and just stay home ,and just generally changed in many negative ways. This all scared me !

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Knowing of the risks and causes of these life changes, I have been fighting hard to maintain those areas of my life. It’s not easy! I’ve had some very bad weeks and months where I was very focused on everything negative in my life, especially little things that my husband does that annoy me. As a Christian, I prayed hard and asked God to protect me and my marriage, and change my thoughts. It wasn’t instant, but I do see how God has been at work! I believe he used the race training as one means to keep us from going downhill, which I appreciate. As for the other stuff, it’s a daily battle to keep from gaining even more weight. I’ve gained about 10 pounds in the past year. That is a lot for a short person, but I’m still wearing the same clothes, although they feel tight . I recently caved and bought some bigger clothes. It was depressing, but necessary. My husband loves my rounder, softer body, so I guess that’s something. My mood swings and other bodily changes, have been rough to say the least. I don’t have hot flashes but I have long periods. It’s not fun.

But I know this is part of life and I am trying to maintain my sense of self while accepting the inevitable changes. I attempted the Keto diet but I just didn’t feel good . My sister has done great on that diet, lost a lot of weight, has tons of energy.  She is 7 years older than me and now weighs less than me. I was looking at some old photos of us hiking in Moab and she was chubby and I was skinny. The tables have turned! But she gives me hope that I can regain my body eventually. And my 77 year old mother is very petite, although I recall her going through a stage when she gained a few pounds when she had a hysterectomy. Now , my mom eats less than a bird, so that might be one reason she weighs 100 pounds. I know that all of this is vanity, worrying about my weight, but I worked hard to lose those 50 pounds in 2010 and I really don’t want them back! And I want to be healthy and strong enough to run and hike all day long, as well as take care of my family and whatever else needs doing.

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THAT is my awesome 61 year old sister in Moab! I admire her so much. 

 

So I guess I just want to encourage all you 40s to 50s women who are struggling like I am to stay young, vibrant,  and beautiful. I can’t say that I am really embracing this age, but I will say I am trying to accept what I have to and work at the rest. I just started taking a Maca supplement after reading that it is good for menopause. I’ll let you know how it goes. We need to support each other and share information about what helps with these issues. One thing I see happening that really bothers me is women encouraging other women to leave their husbands. I’m talking about women who say they ‘just aren’t happy’ , but their husbands are not abusive or cheating or anything like that.  I’d rather try to help her through her irritable times and get her to the other side of these changes, THEN let her make up her mind. Do not encourage selfish, short-sighted, impulsive behavior that may have serious consequences for them and their families.  I know at least one couple who divorced when she got a hysterectomy and had instant menopause, then they remarried a few years later. Save yourself the money and trouble by staying together! One thing I do is go hiking or running or go read a book if my husband is on my last nerve. Remember, you are probably annoying at times as well. Men tend to be pretty forgiving of (or oblivious to) our grouchy moods, so let’s cut them some slack when they won’t stop talking about sports or politics or whatever their annoying habit is. Last of all, I am trying to remember that selfishness never leads to joy. Joy comes from showing love and kindness, serving, helping, honoring, and giving ourselves to others. Protect your heart and soul from the worldly ideas that are constantly shared in social media, and please don’t LIKE or Share them. We older women are setting examples for the younger ones whether we like it or not. I’m thankful for my mother’s example.

God bless you in your journey! He will keep you safe as you trust Him

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Got the Seven Year Itch?

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If you’ve read the Bible at all, or seen movies, you’ve heard how God used Moses to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and was leading them to the land God had promised until God got so frustrated by their constant bad behavior that  he punished them by keeping them in the desert for 40 years until all the originally freed people were dead. Then he used Joshua and Caleb to finally take the people until the land. They were allowed to go in after the 40 years because they had trusted God when he sent them to spy out the land, but the other spies were afraid and said it was a bad idea to go into the land.  The other spies scared the people with stories of giant soldiers and gave them bad advice and the people didn’t want to go. Even after God repeatedly proved his ability to save them from every calamity, they still did not trust him or want to serve him. This lack of faith and wandering off to worship other gods became a well-established pattern for the Israelites.

In the New Testament Christians are sometimes referred to as the ‘bride’ of Christ and other words such as marriage, adultery, marriage ceremony,  are used to compare our interactions and the intimate relationship a believer has with the LORD. It occurred to me that what happened over and over with the people of Israel is the 7 year itch. The 7 year itch is a phrase meaning that after seven years of marriage, one or both partners might get a little bored and start looking around at other people for the excitement and intimacy that has dwindled in their relationship. The ”honeymoon is over” is a common saying during the years when people start get over the infatuation and lust stage and move into the more routine days of living with someone who has faults and wants things their way.

It’s the same with how many people treat their faith and relationship with their Lord. Most people are pretty excited when they first believe and have their sins forgiven and realize how blessed they are to saved. They usually read the Bible, go to church and tell others about what God has done for them. But over the years, they may let the busyness of life creep in, stress, old habits, old sins and before they know it, they are not following God at all!  They might still do some of that or none, but they don’t listen to the Holy Spirit, they ignore it and they put themselves back in the driver’s seat of life instead of relying on God’s wisdom and commandments. No time for Bible study or fellowship or prayer other than in time of crisis, if that.

The spiritual closeness and power they once had is so low they can’t even feel it. They come to depend on other things when they feel anxious. We all know what those things are.  Booze, drugs, prescriptions, caffeine, exercise, food, shopping, internet, porn, drama, power, work, video games,  and other idols that do nothing to truly love us and care for us like God does, like our LORD will if we turn back to him. Most of these can be used in moderation without being harmful, but when we NEED them to get through a stressful day, we have become dependent. As Christians, we are to depend on God. (I’m not taking about never using medication.)

Why did the Israelites turn to idols? Well , remember that in those days Jesus had no come. Every person did not have access to God directly through Jesus and the Holy Spirit like we do now. They were dependent on their leaders, namely the priests, prophets and later the kings, to guide them and keep then on track with the Law. But over and over, even after they left the wilderness, the leaders went astray in their own lives and the people followed right after them up to the hills to sacrifice to idols, even placing their live children on the altars. Humans of other cultures have done the same but these were God’s chosen people. If even these people could not maintain their faithfulness, how could anyone? If people who had been privileged to have GOD living among them, showing them his great power, performing miracles and wonders , could not keep that in their puny minds for a lifetime, how can we? We have seen and heard it all in the Scriptures, yet we fail.

But, God! Praise God that he knows our weakness and he sent his only son Jesus to take our punishment and to cover  us  with his righteousness and bridge the gap. Praise Him for his mercy and grace on our  failure as humans. Praise Him for his patience and kindness in sending us Jesus and his disciples and giving us the written Word . He will be coming back and he will be executing his plan to redeem his chosen people at the proper time along with the Gentiles that have been grafted in. The judgment will also come in which those who have rejected his Son will be eternally punished. Pray that you will be ready. Pray that you will be found doing the Lord’s will. Pray that you will be counted a good and faithful servant.

Throw it away!

Skillets don’t last long in my kitchen. Since I’m on a special diet, I cook fried or scrambled eggs almost every day. I also cook skillet dinners pretty regularly. I usually don’t spend more than $20 for a non-stick skillet, the big ones, or $10 for the smaller ones. So, after many uses, the Teflon gets worn away and the eggs, bacon, sausage, and other yummy stuff starts to stick to the pan causing wasted food and frustration. I know some of you love cast-iron skillets and I do like them for certain recipes, but they are just such a pain to clean!

Today I was in a hurry to get out of the house, and since I was only cooking for myself,  I grabbed an old 10 inch skillet from the bottom of my cabinet. I put about 7 slices of bacon in the pan and after a few minutes realized I’d picked a bad pan. It was cooking very unevenly, burning the middle and raw on the ends. Horrors! I love bacon and hate to see it poorly cooked. After frequent turns , I got it cooked. Then I cracked three eggs into the grease, sadly aware that they were going to stick the formerly non-stick pan. And yes, they did, but I still ate them.

But while I was cooking I was asking myself why I still had this stupid pan that was ruining my breakfast? The answer is that I have trouble throwing away useful items. I thought it still had some life left in it, but nope. It should have been thrown out when I bought the new pan that I’ve already been using for a few months.  I kept it as a backup or maybe I thought I’d use it on a camping trip. But the truth is it had outlived its usefulness. It’s in the trashcan outside now. Thanks for the good times!

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That’s me having a blast in my race last weekend, before I fell. I’d never have started running if I hadn’t thrown out my fear of looking like an idiot and failing horribly. 

I know I have other things in my house and in my life that are no longer useful to me or anyone and should be thrown out. Like old phone chargers, dead 10 year old laptops, stained and worn children’s clothes, old curriculum that has been written in or is just so old the information is no longer worth teaching.  I can’t donate that stuff to a thrift store. That’s just passing along my junk and they will have to pay to dispose of it.

In my life I have old habits, irrational beliefs, and invalid prejudices that I am working to throw out. God has really been working on me for the past 10 years or so and I feel like he and I have been able to clear out a lot of old junk. For example, I have overcome a lot of fears and insecurities and my faith in God has grown exponentially. However I still have to work on my habit of forgetting to consider the other person’s perspective before speaking,  right from the start. I usually get around to doing it but sometimes I say stupid things first. Conversely, I have to work on my old habit of being too easily swayed to the other side out of fear of making the other person mad. I have to stick to my beliefs when I know I am right, but do it without anger or rudeness. When I first got on Facebook I’m ashamed to admit I was too often guilty of ‘hiding behind a keyboard’ and saying whatever I wanted without  thinking about how those are ( for the most part) real people out there in Facebook land. Social media has actually helped me to be more understanding of people who are different than me.

Today in Bible study we learned about how in the Old Testament various kings would lead the people away from God and then a good king would come in and bring them back. He would throw out all the idols that the people had been worshiping and restore them back to following God’s commandments and worshiping Him.  Then he would die and a bad king would come in and bring back the idolatry. This happened  over and over. The people were very influenced by the faith practices of their king. If the king feared and knew God, the people did well. Even though all this happened , God did not abandon his people or the covenant he made with them. In the future all the bad stuff will be thrown out and everyone will worship the true King, Jesus Christ.  You can learn about the gospel here.

Why am I so excited?

I’m excited because today is the first day of the 2018-2019 year for Community Bible Study! My two youngest sons and I have been attending the class since 2008. They were just preschoolers then and now they’re taller than me. We skipped one year because I decided to put my race training before studying God’s Word. Bad move! He brought me back the next year with renewed commitment to try not to miss a weekly class.

What is it? It’s a non-denominational , in depth , verse by verse , book by book, study of the Bible . We meet once a week for two hours in a local church . Our class is in the daytime so it is perfect for homeschool moms and kids . The children’s classes start at infants and go through high school. My class is women and children only and our director is an amazing , godly, educated woman.

My favorite part besides learning SO much , is the fellowship of like minded women. That can be hard to find these days. I live in a rural area so these women come from different towns and have all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles, but we all want to know God and serve Him. I love singing , praying, discussing the lesson, and eating a meal with them. The leadership team is made up of women who are fully dedicated to their role . They’re all volunteers but they put so much time and effort into it you’d think they were paid . Weare truly blessed.

Maybe you are looking for a weekly Bible Study. Here’s a link to see if there’s one in your area. There are classes worldwide and for all ages , men and women . If you’re my local friend, it’s not too late to join!

https://www.communitybiblestudy.org/get-connected/find-a-class/