Thinking It Would Be Smooth Sailing

We looked out the window to a black sky. The streetlights turned on as if it were night. The wind was blowing leaves and dirt through the air.

We clutched our purchases and hurried around the corner to the car. We were facing the wind. It pelted our eyes with sand and drove dirt into our scalps.

We debated going to the lumberyard to wait out the storm but decided to press on to my house.

I directed her to the side streets with the fewest stop signs. By then the rain was coming down in sheets. We had to slow down to see. The lovely side streets are tree-lined and we kept our eyes peeled for falling branches.

Since we took her car, I didn’t have a garage door opener. Taking only my keys, I opened the car door. The fronts of my jeans were immediately drenched.

I hurried to the door but the rain doused the back of my shirt and my head. I ran through the house and hit the garage door opener. My sister pulled her car in.

This was not how she planned on spending her last day of vacation!

Acts 27:13-14, “When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. (14) But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter struck.” The Message

God warned me about the storm.

* * * * * * *

Cheryl took 3 vacation days to spend with our brother. He left today. I told her we could do lunch and shop.

It was hot and sunny. I tried “falafel” and “jasmine rice” for the first time!

I had a list of 7 consignment stores – but only 2 were still in business. We decided to check out the “Bargain Box” which is run by the Hospital Auxiliary. I found a hurricane lamp and a huge cloche! I didn’t notice the storm brewing outside.

When the volunteers pointed out the black sky, Cheryl calmly stated, “I’m not afraid of storms.”

Back at the house, we dried off, drank sweet tea, and waited out the storm. When the sun came back out, we headed to Goodwill!

July 16, 2019: Acts 26-27.

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Work Away…Filling the Air with Praise

I wrote my post about “the tree” yesterday. I wasn’t going to go into detail about it. I thought I would add a link to my earlier posts. But, then…

Philippians 3:1, “… I don’t mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don’t mind hearing it again.” The Message

I went back and added the story of “the tree” to my post.

* * * * * * * *

I spent the day in limbo. We were to meet with my brother’s family but no plans were set. I received calls and texts all day long.

I did my work in between texts. I used praise to fight discouragement and frustration.

Philippians 3:3, “The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. …” The Message

We decided to meet at Mom’s for dessert and games at seven. I sang on the way there, on the way home, and as I was climbing into bed…

“This is how I fight my battles…”

David burst out laughing.

July 16, 2019: Philippians 3-4; Acts 25.

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How Am I to Respond?

“Father, forgive me. I resorted to blackmail.”

We met with my sibling’s families for dinner. My brother from Virginia is here for a few days. He doesn’t come to Iowa often.

We ordered pizzas and caught up. He wasn’t here for Derek and Rachel’s wedding. Rachel had to work late. When she arrived, Derek walked across the restaurant to meet her.

Jon quipped, “That had better be his wife, he just kissed her.”

After he met her, we talked about their wedding. Someone mentioned my sister falling down while dancing the “Chicken Dance” at the reception. I just happened to have a video and passed it around.

There were several embarrassing stories shared with Jon. I sat at a side table and avoided the spotlight – until Derek brought up “the tree.”

Philippians 1:18, “So how am I to respond? …” The Message

(Jon bought my sisters, Mom, and I small evergreen trees at Christmas. My tree budded in February and we had 2 more months of winter! I tried moving it around, watering it more, and it still just got worse and worse.

When it warmed up, I moved it outside. Then I moved it to the front stoop for more light. Finally, in desperation, David repotted it into a larger pot. It only had one green branch left on it. At some point, David moved it to the backyard.)

Jon didn’t hear him.

I told Derek, “If you tell Jon about “the tree,” I will call in sick for the next two months of Sundays. And Rachel, (the other keyboard player), is in the nursery this week!”

I thought it worked.

Then a random relative asked, “Where is your tree?”

David wisely answered, “In the back yard.”

It’s deader than a doornail but it is in the back yard. Jon didn’t ask if it was alive!

(Jon doesn’t read my blog. Only my readers know the story about “the tree!”)

July 15, 2019: Philippians 1-2.

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Lost in the Presence of God

Last night was a “Night of Worship – Set Ablaze to Sing His Praise.” They flew in a worship band and I had the night off. I shut my eyes and got lost in worship.

Why would I do that? Because that is where you see Jesus!

Acts 22:17-18, “…After I was back in Jerusalem and praying one day in the Temple, lost in the presence of God, (18) I saw Him, saw God’s Righteous Innocent…” The Message

It was a glorious night! Everyone wore their free tee shirts and glow stick necklaces. Afterward, we were treated to strawberry shortcakes and whipped cream.

The band borrowed a keyboard and Derek’s cymbals and snare drum. We went backstage after the concert to pack up our equipment. Then we visited with the band.

The keyboard player found out I also played. She asked, “When was the last time you got to just worship.”

“It’s been years,” I replied.

“I hear you sister!” she said, “I’ve been there.”

We forget the band members do not have many opportunities to “get lost in the presence of God.” Take advantage of every opportunity you get!

July 14, 2019: Acts 22-24.

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Hello to Mary

“A lot of good it does to write your last name on your dishes at a family reunion! Everyone has the same last name!” Cousin Brenda

The reunion was for David’s mothers’ family. We ate, visited, played “Corn Hole” and “Dutch Blitz.” We even exchanged a few recipes.

“Laura, what did you bring to the potluck?”


“What’s in it?”

“Water, rice, cream of chicken soup, …Derek, you didn’t get my casserole!”

“I wasn’t thirsty.”

“Mom, you didn’t either!”

“I’m allergic to water.”

All joking aside – we caught up on each other’s lives and sent greetings to those who could not attend.

Romans 16:6, “Hello to Mary. What a worker she has turned out to be!” The Message

* * * * * * * *

“Six persons are known by this name in the New Testament. This one is unknown apart from this reference.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

We think of Mary as the one who sat at Jesus’ feet and Martha as the worker. Here is another “Mary” who was known for being a worker.

July 13, 2019: Romans 15-16; Acts 21.

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Tend to Your Knitting

It’s Friday – the day I watch a movie while ironing or sewing. I also had 2 extra loads of laundry. I opened my Bible for guidance.

Romans 14:12, “So tend to your knitting. …” The Message

Well, I’m not currently knitting anything. But I am making a tee-shirt quilt. It is not going well.

I pinned it twice. I tried putting it on the quilt rack twice. It’s too large. I even tried putting it on sideways – no luck.

I pulled up Wednesday night’s sermon on my phone. Pastor Monte preached on Romans 10:17. (I wish I had listened to it yesterday because that was my verse!) I listened as I worked on the quilt.

I unpinned it from the rack. My new plan is to center it on the dining room table. I will pin the center squares and work my way out – like you would lay floor tiles. I tried pinning the corners but those blocks are stretched out.

After I pin all three layers together, I will fold one-third over and pin it down while it is on the table. Then I will pin towels to the bottom of the quilt. They will offset the double layer on one side as I roll it on the quilt rack. Otherwise, it will shift and be skewed.

I will quilt one half and repeat the process to quilt the other side. It will be done by Christmas! (I just don’t know what year. Sigh.)

July 12, 2019: Romans 12-14.

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The Point Is…

I started a new column on my prayer list. I am recording blessings! After reading “The Prayer of Jabez for Women,” by Darlene Wilkinson, I added it to my prayer list.

“Bless me, indeed!!!!! Enlarge my territory. Keep your hand on me. Keep me from evil to not cause pain.”

The Prayer of Jabez – 2 Chronicles 4:10.

We went out to eat for David’s birthday. Our bill shocked us! The owner of a small Italian restaurant gave David his entree for free! We told him the bill was wrong. He waved us off and said, “Happy Birthday!”

When I went to add that blessing to my list, I realized I didn’t write anything down for July 10th. I reread my journal. On my “Gratitude List,” (ten things I’m thankful for), I wrote – chili, tomatoes, and cream cheese. They were leftovers from “Gourmet Hot Dog Night” at E3. I will throw that chili on torn lettuce and make a Taco Salad for 2!

God chided me, “Free food is free food.”

I added them to my blessing list. I’m learning to trust God to bless me every day.

Romans 10:17, “The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen.” The Message

July 11, 2019: Romans 9-11.

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“What’s Next, Papa?”

David’s birthday is tomorrow. I’ve been turning the game room into a sports-themed “Man Cave.” I wasn’t sure I would finish in time.

My list today was twice as long. But my verse showed me exactly what to do.

Romans 8:15, “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?'” The Message

I didn’t get through my list. Some regular items will have to wait until next week. But as I finished each project, I said, “What’s next, Papa?”

God guided me and the room is ready for the big reveal!

July 10, 2019: Romans 7-8.

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He Trusted God to Set Him Right

I was having a bad day. Everything seemed to go wrong. When David came home for lunch, I took the van to the library.

I ran into a friend who was looking for “Battlefield of the Mind,” by Joyce Meyer. I went to the correct shelf and found it for her.

Right next to it was “Managing Your Emotions.” I checked it out.

“…That is the way true emotional healing works. It is initiated by the Holy Spirit, not by anything that is conjured up by the one seeking help. …He [the Holy Spirit] leads us one step at a time. He knows when we are ready and able to face certain things. …”

“Managing Your Emotions” by Joyce Meyer

* * * * * * *

Romans 4:3, “What we read in scripture is, ‘Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.'” The Message

It’s not what I do, but what God does.

July 9, 2019: Romans 4-6.

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Get in Step with God

I thought I found the perfect routine:

  • Get up early
  • Dress and make coffee
  • Sing a worship song
  • Pray and ask God for the words
  • Write a post about yesterday’s verse
  • Read today’s chapters out loud
  • Write down my verse(s) for today
  • Read my devotionals
  • Read the cross-references and notes on a few verses
  • Exercise
  • Eat

Then I slept in. I didn’t have the house to myself. David was up.

“Hey, do you want me to fry you an egg?”

I looked at the phrase I had just written down – “…letting Him set the pace…”

“Sure,” I replied.

After I ate and he went to work, I finished my devotions.

Romans 3:27-28, “…God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. (28) We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting Him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.” The Message

It’s not what I do – following a perfect routine – but what God does as I follow His steps and let Him set the pace.

July 8, 2019: Romans 1-3.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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