Started Fresh Again

I entered the most important years of my life. In 2011, I received the title “Grandmother!” My children watch everything I say and do – so does my granddaughter, Olivia! We think our influence ends when our children are grown. It never ends.

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They recorded every deed a king did, good or evil, in “The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel,” (2 Chronicles 33:18 The Message). The Modern English Version calls it “The Annals of the Kings.” They read this book to each new king, who learned the stories of their ancestors.

Manasseh and Amon were evil kings. How did Josiah turn out so well? He looked back 16 generations and followed the steps of King David.

These are the 16 generations between King David and Josiah:

  1. King David – 2 Samuel 5:1-4.
  2. Solomon – 1 Kings 1:39.
  3. Rehoboam – 1 Kings 14:21.
  4. Abijah – 1 Kings 15:1.
  5. Asa – 1 Kings 15:9.
  6. Jehoshaphat – 1 Kings 23:41.
  7. Jehoram – 2 Kings 8:16.
  8. Ahaziah – 1 Kings 8:25.
  9. Joash (or Jehoash) – 2 Kings 11:12.
  10. Amaziah – 2 Kings 14:1.
  11. Azariah (or Uzziah) – 2 Kings 15:1; 2 Chronicles 26:3.
  12. Jotham – 2 Kings 15:32.
  13. Ahaz – 2 Kings 16:1.
  14. Hezekiah – 2 Kings 18:1.
  15. Manasseh – 2 Kings 21:1.
  16. Amon – 2 Kings 21:19.

2 Chronicles 34:2, “He behaved well before God. He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to the left or right.” The Message

God Gives Second Chances!

Manasseh was a grandfather when he repented and turned his life around. Chronicles 33 adds to his story.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13, “When God spoke to Manasseh, …they ignored Him. (11) Then God directed…the king of Assyria to come after Manasseh. They put a hook in his nose, shackles on his feet, and took him off to Babylon. (12) Now that he was in trouble, he went to his knees in prayer asking for help – total repentance before the God of his ancestors. (13) As he prayed, God was touched, God listened and brought him back to Jerusalem as king. That convinced Manasseh that God was in control.” The Message

His conversion was real. His deeds proved it, (2 Chronicles 33:15-16).

  • Did a good spring cleaning of the Temple.
  • Carted out the pagan idols and goddess statues.
  • Dumped the altars he had set up outside the city.
  • Put the altar of God back in working order.
  • Restored worship and sacrifices.
  • Ordered the people to serve and worship the God of Israel.

Josiah went further in his “spring cleaning.” He went throughout the Israelite territory, (2 Chronicles 34:3-31).

  • Sought the God of David his ancestor.
  • Got rid of the sex-and-religion shrines, Asherah groves, god and goddess figurines.
  • Wrecked the Baal shrines and tore down their altars.
  • Scrubbed Judah and Jerusalem clean – inside and out.
  • Cleaned up the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Repaired God’s Temple.
  • Read publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant.
  • Committed himself to the Covenant.

My children picked up good things from my parents: love of God, attending Bible School, playing guitar for worship, a leader in the church. They also inherited both my grandfather’s love of farming. I pray they stay on the “straight and narrow path.”

2 Chronicles 34:33, “Josiah did a thorough job of cleaning up the pollution that had spread throughout Israelite territory and got everyone started fresh again, serving and worshipping their God. All through Josiah’s life the people kept to the straight and narrow, obediently following God, the God of their ancestors.” The Message

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“I Own All This!” God’s Decree

I just finished making supper when David called, “Practice is canceled. Tornadoes struck Pella, Marshalltown, and Bondurant. They are headed this way. I’m going to the bank and Wal-Mart.”

I took supper, water, crackers, and bananas downstairs. Then I grabbed the computers, my DayTimer, purse, and flashlights. The candles and kerosene lanterns were already down there. (Don’t tell Joe, but I also grabbed the guitar and mandolin. I looked longingly at the piano – but it was too heavy.)

Iowa was hit with 27 tornadoes yesterday. The warehouse at headquarters where my husband works was hit. The tornado peeled off the back wall and part of the roof. Then it blew rain in soaking everything inside.

David put on his work shirt and drove down to help out. (He works at the site here in town.) On the way home, he checked on our daughter.

“The dog was acting funny. He kept going to his kennel. I noticed the tree laying down in the front yard. When the hail started, I decided to go to the basement.” (The tree got back up on its own.)

Two large trees blew over, taking out power lines. My sister lives in the same town. She was canning green beans. When the power went out, she finished the job by flashlight.

After the storm passed through, I called to check on my mom.

“Did you go to the basement?”

“I opened the door.”

My friend was in Pella when the tornado hit. She posted a picture of her car underneath a roof!

Vermeer in Pella was celebrating 70 years of business. They had 4000 people from all over the world at their open house. The tornado decimated their business. Miraculously, there were only minor injuries. People were treated and released.

The Van Buren County Fair was in full swing. They closed it down and sent everyone to the basement of the community building. Several stock trailers were rolled over. One was upside down by the lumberyard. The historic Galloway barn built in 1826 was leveled.

27 Tornados – 0 Fatalities! God is good!!!!

Isaiah 66:1-2, “God’s Message: ‘Heaven’s my throne, earth is my footstool. What sort of house could you build for Me? What holiday spot reserve for Me? (2) I made all this! I own all this!’ God’s Decree. ‘But there is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say.’ ” The Message

I want to be that person! Simple and plain, reverently responsive to God. As scheduled, I studied the cross-reference verses to Proverbs 12:6-7.

Proverbs 10:25, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” New International Version

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No One Was There to Help Me

I’m posting this today before God asks me any more embarrassing questions!

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This summer has been difficult for our worship team. After our bass player died, we found a young man to help out. He lives an hour away and cannot commit to every Sunday.

Our guitar player finished college and started his career in Des Moines. Joe came back, but his schedule makes him unavailable for many weeks. Rachel, our synth player, was unavailable for 4 out of the last 5 weeks.

That left me.

Between the 2 keyboards, I can cover the synth and the bass. I learned a few “lead lines” for when we didn’t have a guitar player. But I’m tired.

Isaiah 63:3, 5, 6, “I’ve been treading the winepress alone. No one was there to help me. Angrily, I stomped the grapes;… (5) I went ahead and did it myself, fed and fueled by my rage. (6) I trampled people in my anger…” The Message

After my devotions today, God nudged me to finish watching a movie. I thought, “That can’t be God!” 

I argued with Him, “I don’t watch TV during the day!” He persisted and I gave in.

I got out a jacket from which I plan to remove the lining. I turned on the movie and started basting the edges of the jacket. (I don’t want it to lose its structure. I will use an invisible stitch after the lining is gone.)

There were only 5 minutes left of the movie. It was a classic fight scene. After the hero knocked the bad guy out, his wife entered the room.

“Steve, you look awful! We’ve got to get the wagons through the pass today. What about our schedule?”

“Come ‘ere, you,” Steve replied. THE END.

from the movie “Bullwhip”

The movie ended but I was only partway around the jacket. I shut off the DVR and listened to regular TV.

“You’ve got to tell him!” said Barney Fife.

“I have to wait for the right time,” replied Andy Griffin.

from “The Andy Griffin Show”

* * * * * * *

“We enjoy the blessings of change, but not the process of change. We’re creatures of habit. We form our habits, and our habits form us. …The truth is, without change there is no growth. When you have the right attitude every experience – positive or negative – becomes an opportunity for progress.” The Word for You Today, July 19, 2018

When I finished basting my jacket, God asked me some hard questions:

  • Do you run over people?
  • Do you stick to your schedule instead of following God’s leading?
  • Do your relationships trump your tasks?
  • Do you wait for God’s timing before you speak?
  • Are you forming good habits?
  • How is your attitude?

I see room for improvement.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Get Your Prayers Off the Ground

I’ll just leave this here…it hit way to close to home.

Isaiah 58:2-4, “They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people – law-abiding, God-honoring. They ask Me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having Me on their side. (3) But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and You don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and You don’t even notice?’ …(4) You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. …The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.” The Message

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“In Isaiah 58:1-4, the prophet most likely described the situation in Jerusalem soon after the exiles returned…Not only did the community have to reclaim the land for farming and reconstruct the city; they had to rebuild all their economic institutions from the ground up. …religious devotion had become a substitute for ethical behavior. …No matter how properly ‘religious’ their behavior was, it did not address the real need of the community: the need to share the scarce resources that were available to the returnees. …did not see the necessity of relating their religious devotion to their social and economic practice. God thought that they should.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

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“Prayers are not wishes; prayers are conversations. God does not grant but God gives, God is not summoned, but God speaks. …There is no one right way to speak to God, no guarantee of answers or outcomes, but the words themselves will take on life as they leave your lips, they will find their way to Jesus, they will be heard.” “Forgiving God,” Hilary Yancey in “You + Hard Thing = Not Talking to God (or the Silence Where God Speaks),” Ann Voskamp

(Note to self: Things to overcome – complaining and bickering. Enough said.)

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

A Ripe Fruit Each Month

We met Luke’s family for dinner on Monday night. They had a conflict when we celebrated David’s birthday last week. We came back to the house for ice cream cake. (Yes, I made another one!)

I was struggling at bedtime and took 2 Benadryl. That’s no big deal to most people. But, I took them after taking Allegra 180 in the morning and a Singulair. (The alternative was Prednisone.) I woke up in a Benadryl fog.

The best way to explain a Benadryl fog is to give you an example. I washed my bedding – sheets, mattress pad, cotton blanket, pillowcases, and allergy covers. When I made my bed, I was short one allergy cover. I retraced my steps.

After looking for 10 minutes, I checked the pillows. I found 2 allergy covers on my pillow!

A Benadryl fog makes you want to sleep. I tried napping on the couch but my eyes popped open after a few minutes.

If you can’t sleep – eat! Of course, the thing you want most is sugar.

Jonathan Roche, of Boot Camp Hub, recommends one 1 dessert a week. I had a piece of ice cream cake the night before. He suggests yogurt in place of dessert. That didn’t sound appealing until I added fresh strawberries. Fruit is God’s candy!

Revelation 22:2, “…The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month.” The Message

My assignment for the day was to record the fruits available each month. That is the only way I can stick to 1 dessert a week!

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

His Judgments are Just

Reading the chapter on vegetables in “52 Small Changes” I felt pretty confident. Brett Blumenthal recommends 4-6 servings a day and suggests you measure them.

“One serving = 1/2 cup of non-leafy vegetables or 1 cup of leafy vegetables.” Brett Blumenthal

Lunch every day is a salad because I love them. I decided to measure the ingredients yesterday. What an eye-opener!

In my food journal, I recorded my salads as 2 servings. But it is 4 servings and a 1/2 a serving a fruit!

Eating 6 servings a day seemed difficult but dinner at Pizza Ranch made it easy! Their salad bar in the summer is the best!

My standard is now 6 servings each day. Measuring makes judging the number of servings easy.

Revelations 19:2, “His judgments are true, His judgments are just.” The Message

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“…You’re looking to celebrities for your standard? Really? Them? The ones who are so miserable they can only be happy when they have attention? …The battle that I’m in is too real for me to play around and live my life with exposed places and low standards?” “Who Set Your Standards?” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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None of What They’ve Done is Wasted

My “To Do” list on Sunday is for rejuvenation, rest, and relaxation:

  1. Worship practice.
  2. Play for the church service.
  3. Take a nap.
  4. Watch a movie.
  5. Read a book.

Yesterday, I watched an old war movie, “The Naked and the Dead.” I am not a fan of violence and gore. In fact, I refuse to watch “R” rated movies for that reason. The older movies use a little ketchup for blood and the scenes are not graphic.

The thing that draws me to those movies is the indomitable human spirit. You see flowers on the table in a house abandoned because the front line turned. You see men and women overcoming impossible odds and obstacles. You see men following orders they disagree with or don’t understand.

One lieutenant served as a general’s aide. He didn’t agree with him and defied him. The general assigned him to lead a dangerous patrol.

“…rejection is nothing more than redirection,…some of the heartbreak in your life was really God moving you into postition for some of the blessings that He desires to bring…” “When Somebody Rejects You,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

On this patrol was a soldier whose wife died giving birth. Grieving, he agreed with the soldier that saw the futility of everything. They lost a lot of soldiers along the way. The lieutenant was gravely injured. The sargeant assigned 3 men to carry him back 18 miles to the boat.

There were only 5 left when they reached their objective. Then their sargeant was killed. One soldier peeked over the ridge and saw thousands of enemy soldiers pulling out. They radioed in the coordinates and their comrades started a major offensive.

The 4 soldiers sat in the woods listening to the explosions. The pessimistic soldier thought it didn’t matter what they did because they would die anyway. The new father stood up.

“I’m going back! I have a motherless baby that needs me.”

The 4 men climbed down the mountain, swam across a river, and marched to the beach. They reached the boat before it left with the wounded lieutenant.

When the general came to the hospital, the lieutenant said,

“There’s a spirit in man that’ll survive all the reigns of terror and all the hardships. Man cannot achieve the authority of God. …The spirit in man is godlike – eternal, indestructible.” The Naked and the Dead

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Genesis 1:27, “God created human beings, He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature…” The Message

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Revelation 14:13, “…’Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘and blessed rest from their hard, hard work. None of what they’ve done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end.’ ” The Message

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A Sign of a Change of Heart

The thuds were rhythmic and ground shaking. From the basement, it sounded like someone was trying to chop down my house! Who does construction on Saturday?

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Derek left mid-morning to attend a wedding with Rachel. In 10 weeks it will be their turn!

Revelation 9:15, “…all prepared for the exact year, month, day, and even hour…” The Message

Last week was Rachel’s bridal shower. When I arrived home, I found David had cut down the bushes out front. They were a type of cedar that caused a rash when you brushed by them.

This week he attacked the stumps. He cut the roots with several blows from an ax. It took hours:

  • Digging the dirt out around them.
  • Cutting the smaller roots with a hatchet.
  • Attacking the tap-root with an ax.
  • Prying the stump up with a pry bar.
  • Disconnecting the stump from the tap-root.
  • Filling in the hole with dirt.

David wisely paced himself. He attacked the roots for several minutes and then took a break. He drank water and Powerade to replace fluids lost in the 80° weather.

He was persistent and determined. By suppertime, all three stumps were gone and the area was level and smooth.

Revelation 9:20-21, “The remaining men and women…went on their merry way – didn’t change their way of life, didn’t quit worshipping demons, didn’t quit centering their lives around lumps of gold… (21) There wasn’t a sign of a change of heart. They plunged right on in their murderous, occult, promiscuous, and thieving ways.” The Message

Changing our ways is never easy. Old habits have roots that go deep. It takes a lot of digging, chopping, and prying to remove them. We have to replace them with something else or they will grow back. It takes persistence and determination. We need sharp tools.

* * * * * * *

I spent the day sewing. I decorated my white jeans with ribbon and mended towels. We use large bath sheets for towels. I folded over frayed edges and hemmed them. Then I used a zigzag stitch on the areas that were starting to separate. (I know, who mends towels? Right?)

“Paul said, ‘Do your own work well…don’t compare yourself’ (Galatians 6:4 Contemporary English Version). …Avoid comparisons, resist exaggerations, and seek only God’s commendation.” “Find Contentment by Killing Comparisons” by Anne Peterson posted 1-31-11 in

When I finished mending, I moved to the couch and watched David work. (It’s not like I could go outside and help him.) Twice I handed him Powerade and twice I cringed when the ax hit the house!

Revelation 12:6, “The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1260 days.” The Message

Being stuck in the house is as appealing as a vacation in the desert! But God designed me to enjoy the view without experiencing nature. He provided all the comforts and I have everything I need.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Stars Falling Out of the Sky

To get more exercise – I moved my library book!

“One big change takes many small changes. …Extremes don’t work. …Easing into change helps make it seem less overwhelming. …Small changes feed our need to succeed.” Brett Blumenthal in “52 Small Changes – 1 Year to a Happier, Healthier You”

Working my way through this book, I started drinking water every hour until 7:00 p.m. I made small changes for more restful sleep but got stuck on the chapter about walking.

I’m in my house 90% of the time. I leave a few times a week for 4 hours to play the keyboard. We live in a modest, ranch house.

Many suggestions are not an option for me:

  • Taking a walk before breakfast and after dinner.
  • Walking to work.
  • Walking the dog. (We don’t have pets.)
  • Walking or riding a bike on errands.
  • Parking far from the door.
  • Walking on my lunch hour.
  • Taking the stairs.

Wait! I could make more trips to the basement! I’m drinking more water and that means more trips to the bathroom. Using the basement bathroom would mean more trips up and down the stairs.

But I need an incentive or a reward. There are magazines in the girl’s bathroom upstairs. I’ll take my library book down to the boy’s bathroom. I can read a page every time I’m there.

I decided to record my trips up and down the stairs. I had several loads of laundry and ironing to do. The result?

21 trips!

As I brought the ironing board upstairs, I noticed it was darker outside. (I watch a movie while I iron.) A soft rain had started – a relief after several hot, sunny days! I opened the door to smell the clean air.

My plan was to sew after ironing. I finished and carried the ironing board downstairs. When I came back up, it was a lot darker outside. I had to turn on a light and it was only 3:00 p.m.

A storm rolling in can turn daytime into nightfall. I understand John saying “the sky snapped shut like a book.”

Revelation 6:12-14, “I watched while he ripped off the sixth seal: a bone-jarring earthquake, sun turned black as ink, moon all bloody, (13) stars falling out of the sky like figs shaken from a tree in a high wind, (14) sky snapped shut like a book, islands and mountains sliding this way and that.” The Message

Verse 13 really stuck out to me. Tornadoes are common in Iowa as are hail storms. “Stars falling like figs shaken from the tree” remind me of hail.

Hail can destroy a crop and severely damage a car or roof. I cannot imagine the damage falling stars will do! What an extreme meteor shower!

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Gem Hues – Amber, Flame, Emerald

In the ’80’s, our home had wall-to-wall gray carpet in all the rooms. (Gray and pink were trendy.) The bathroom and kitchen had the original white linoleum. We replaced the carpets in the living room and hall.

The carpet in my office has a basketball court, drawn on it in permanent marker. No, our daughter did not do that. But she left a golf ball sized hole in the center of the room.

We replaced the linoleum in the kitchen with laminate. And put linoleum squares in the bathroom. Later, some pieces popped up and cracked and mold developed.

I removed the damaged pieces and the nails in the sub-floor that worked loose. I glued them back down and spread grout over the entire floor.

The mold is back.

I don’t particularly care for my floors but I don’t compare them to magazines. As my chair rolls over that hole, I think of John and Jenny Maxwell.

The Maxwell’s attended Elim Bible Institute with my parents. They served in Kenya for over 40 years.

Many Christians in Africa do not have floors. One tribe mixes blood and urine to put on their dirt floors. It is the only way to keep the bugs away.

On Fridays, I pray over our personal requests and finances. I pray for wisdom, understanding, and revelation knowledge, (James 1:5). I ask Him to show us, lead us, and teach us, (Proverbs 25:45). Then I list my needs, wants, and desires. One item on my list is – hardwood floors!

I end the prayer like Priscilla Shirer does, “And if you have a better plan – do that.” I know I can trust God. Whatever he provides will be gorgeous!

Revelation 4:2-3, “A Throne set in Heaven with One seated on the Throne, (3) suffused in gem hues of amber and flame with a nimbus of emerald.” The Message

A nimbus is a luminous cloud or a halo surrounding a supernatural being. Artists paint a white halo around the head of Jesus. But this verse shows us God has yellows and reds with a green halo. He is not boring. He is Beauty.

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