Taking A Leap Of Faith

"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd."  Hebrews 11:1-2

Last night The Princess, Z2 and I were having a conversation about taking a leap of faith.  The Princess is ready to do something different, and take a new course in her life.

Her practical sister Z2 cautioned her about being too hasty with her decisions.

The Princess believes God is leading her in a certain direction.  I told her, "Take a leap of faith.  You are never going to know if God wants you to do this or not unleass you take that leap of faith."

Then it reminded me of PKR and I about 20 years ago.  We were living in Eastern Montana, and The Princess was about 8 months old.  PKR was the Associate Pastor at our Church and also substitute teaching at the high school.  I worked as a radio announcer at the Christian/Agriculture station in town.  We felt like God was telling us it was time to move.

Our two options were either around Kellogg, where both our parents lived, or to Meridian, where some of Paul's family lived.  It came down to moving to Meridian, because Paul's grandpa, who was the Pastor of the church, said Paul could get a small stipend for being the Youth Pastor if we moved to Meridian.  So, with no job prospects, an 8 month old baby, and our faith in God, we took a leap of faith and moved to Meridian.

Well, actually, Paul moved to Meridian.  The Princess and I went to Kellogg for a while.  Paul's parents and my mom came to help us move.  As we headed west, PKR and his parents drove the U-Haul truck to Meridian.  Mom and I and The Princess drove our car to Kellogg.

Eventually PKR got a job with his cousin Verl building houses.  When I moved down to Meridian, we moved in with Paul's brother and his wife until we could find a place to rent.  (As I recall, finding a place to rent in Meridian was a very frustrating exercise.  Eventually, though, God blessed us with an apartment right across the street from the church.  It was perfect!!)

As I spent my days taking care of The Princess, and looking for a place to rent that would take a baby and two cats, PKR worked construction, and also applied for a job in the Meridian School District.  He eventually got an interview, and was hired by the principal of Meridian Academy, the newly formed Alternative High School in the Meridian School District. 

Through this summer, God met our every need.  We always had a place to live.  We always had food on the table. And PKR always had a job.  Our faith grew, and we knew that God would always provide for our needs.  But we needed to take that leap of faith.

When we hear that still small voice speaking to us, and leading us in a certain direction, we need to respond.  We need to say, okay, I'm stepping out in the unknown, but You are walking right alongside me Lord, and I know it is going to be okay.  And as He provides for us, our love for Him and our faith in Him grows by leaps and bounds. 

So Princess, it is time to spread your wings, put that foot forward, and see where God is leading you.  Remember, He is walking beside you every step of the way.


Caleb's Crossing: A Book Review

Yesterday I finished the book "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks.  It was the book I chose this month for my Book Group to read.  It is an historical fiction story about the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College.

The book is very interesting, and gives you a glimpse into life in the latter part of the 1600's.  It is always fascinating to me to be swept up into another time and another place as I read books.  This book first takes you to Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusets.  You learn about the Native people who first inhabited the island, and how and why the English made their way to the island.

Then you meet the narrator Bethia and how she met Caleb, and their relationship throughout the book, and she is the one who tells Caleb's story.

This will be a fun book to discuss, because there are some various themes running through the book, such as light and darkness.

I would recommend this book because of what you learn about the culture of that time, and because it is a good story. 

It seems like I don't have a very good track record for the books I choose for our Book Group, so I'm glad I finally chose a good one!!


Simple Delights

Sometimes I catch myself enjoying little things in life, and today I want to write some of those down.  I refer to them as "Simple Delights".  I hope to make a list occasionally to remember the little things that bring me joy. Because today is January 12th, I am going to share 12 Simple Delights.

A warm, soft bed to lie on
Soft sheets on my bare feet
A cat cuddled on my head
Our dog Peaches laying down beside my bed
A purring cat on my lap
Our dog Sadie snuggled at my feet
Thick socks to keep my feet warm
Flannel pajamas
A warm cup of coffee
My daughter's enthusiasm
Talking with my husband
Praying with my husband

What are your Simple Delights?


Priority Number One

I'm home tonight enjoying some alone time.  I had some work to do to get ready for being in class with sophomores tomorrow, so I came home after my senior parent meeting instead of attending the boys basketball games with PKR, Z2 and KikiAru.  The Princess went to visit a friend, then off to Coeur d'Alene to see a movie with AA. 

This has been an interesting week.  I am now back to working full-time.  It has been a long time since I have had a 40 hour work week.  But I am so thankful to be able to have this job, and work with the students I get to work with each day.  And right now, the seniors are busy filling out FAFSA applications and applying to colleges, and filling out scholarship information.  So it is a busy time.

At the end of the month I start working at Kellogg Middle School again with seventh graders.  That will be fun, getting to know a new group of students and parents.

So, with this new schedule, setting my priorities is even that much more important.  I am slowly working into my new focus.  Part of my problem is I have way too many priorities.  I even combined and wittled down some, but I just have too many things in my life.  Which makes having a plan and goals for each week even that much more important.

I loved the verses in my quiet time this morning with the Lord.  I want Matthew 22:37-39 to be my Number One Priority every day..."Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it.  "Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

If I keep this my daily focus, all other priorities should fall into place.

One of my goals this year is to read our book club book each month.  This month the book I chose for book group is "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks.  It is a historical fiction story about the first Native American to attend Harvard.  One of my book club members just sent me a text about how the ending made her cry, and only one other book has done so, (and she blamed that on pregnancy hormones), so now I am very motivated to finish the book before I host our book club next week.  I can always use a good cry!!


Priorities in Order...Goals Have Been Established...Time to Refine Goals

Today was a good day.  No one in our house had to be anywhere until 12:30 p.m. today, so we all got to sleep in and relax today.  I had a wonderful time of quiet this morning.  Raymond Pert came over to say goodbye before he headed to Spokane to have dinner with IEG and her husband.  RP heads back to Eugene tomorrow.

I spent some time organizing the Christmas stuff in our basement storage room.  Then we put it all away, and it is in order and ready for next year.  It felt good to have that done.

Goodbye Santa Claus, hello Snowmen.  Now the living room is full of cute smiling snowmen.  I guess if there isn't snow outside, there is a little bit of winter wonderland inside the house.

PKR and I made a "date" at 6 p.m. to work on our priorities and goal setting.  For about 2 hours we sat and went through our lists, refining them, and discussing them, and putting things on a calendar.  We now have our Priorities and Goals set.  Tomorrow, we meet again at 6 p.m. to break the goals down even more and set some deadlines or put some timelines to them.

It has taken us 25 years of marriage, but maybe we are finally on to something!!  Who says you can't teach an old dog (or perhaps a couple of middle-aged dogs) new tricks?  I think we may be learning something from this!!

One of my goals is to write in my blog at least once a week.  Well, it is January 7th and I've already written three times this week.  Let's hope the ball keeps rolling!!

I mentioned earlier that PKR and I were also doing a Daniel Fast, a time to fast and pray about our lives, our church, and whatever else God seems to want to show us.  I found a book online that is titled "The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast" by Kristen Feola.  I bought it for my new Nook Color, and it has been a wonderful resource this week.  Each day is a different devotional reading, plus it explains what a Daniel Fast is, and also gives some great recipes.  What a blessing!!

I'm looking forward to church tomorrow.  We had a good Worship Team time last week.  It seems like renewal is in the air in many areas of my life, and Worship Team is one of them.  I can't wait to see how God uses our team this year. 

Another goal is to get to bed by 10 p.m. each night, so I had better start getting ready for bed.  Can't wait to see what is ahead tomorrow!!


New Years Are For New Beginnings...Changes...New Challenges...Renewing Our Faith and Hope

I love new years.  New years are a chance for new beginnings, for changes, for new challenges, for renewing our faith and hope. 

This year is already starting off with changes.  Personally, a big change in my life is going from working part-time to working full-time.  This will be a change.  I will be finishing up a grant at Kellogg High School, and beginning a new grant at Kellogg Middle School with the federal grant program I work with, Gear Up.  But I am looking forward to the challenge.

Another change is PKR becoming the president of the board of directors of the community theater we are involved with, the Sixth Street Theater.  This brings on a new challenge for him as well, and I am also on the board, and I am the board's secretary.  This will be a new aspect of theater life for us.

The Princess has decided to return to college next fall and pursue a degree in Communications with a minor in Business.  She has applied to return to NIC, and will take some classes here in Kellogg and online.  She is welcoming a change in her life, and also welcoming the new challenge.

Z2 is a senior this year, and has been accepted to the College of Idaho in Caldwell.  She is looking forward to attending this college, and starting a new chapter in her life. And, as with all college experiences, it will be a challenge.

Kiki Aru is a sophomore this year.  She is hoping to take Drivers Ed and get her license.  That is the challenge she is most looking forward to this year.  And she really wants here sisters to move on so she can have the house to herself with Mom and Dad!!

I am looking forward to the new year, and looking forward to seeing how all our changes and challenges play out.  I have evaluated my priorities, and set some goals that hopefully will make this a very purposeful year ahead. 

Happy New Year one and all!!


Breaking Down The Walls in 2011

The Walls of Jericho

I spent some time this morning reading some things I wrote down at the beginning of 2011.  I'm glad I wrote those things down, because I see how far God has brought us this year.

As PKR and I began 2011, we were in a very dark place.  We both felt very lonely, and we felt we had spent a lot of time building up walls and not letting people into our lives.  We had cut ourselves off from people, and it wasn't good.  So we made a concerted effort to break down those walls, and reach out to people, and start building back relationships.  And, as I look back over the year, God was faithful.

One of my first moves was to start meeting regularly with my friend CM for Bible Study.  What a good choice that was for me.  Through the year, we were able to lift each other up, and learn about our loving God.  Part way through the year we started reading Eugenia Price's book, "Woman to Woman", a book that focuses on the importance of having your personality under Christ's control.  Even though this book was written in 1959, it is such a timely message, over 50 years later.

Next PKR and I hosted and lead a Bible Study through our church in our home.  I can't begin to describe how these members of our church family helped PKR and I through some very difficult times.  The study was called "Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God", by Henry Blackaby.  We learned so much through that study, and the fellowship with our group was amazing.  We were very blessed.

I also made some reconnections with people I hadn't talked to in a while.  It made me realize how important relationships are in our lives, and to not take them for granted, or close ourselves off from people.

As I sat down to write out my prayer list for the year, it was so exciting as God revealed to me all the people to put on my prayer list, and the abundance of people who are in my life that I have the priviledge to pray for each day.  I am surrounded by some very wonderful people.  And many of these are people we have opened up to this year, and developed or renewed a relationship with through 2011.

Last year was about "breaking down the walls", as Joshua did to the town of Jericho.  I am so thankful our hearts were opened and the walls were broken down in 2011.

This year is the year of focusing on priorities.  Each day I want to ask myself, "What are my priorities today?"    That is my task today.  To sit down, write out my priorities for the year, and set goals based on those priorities. 

Part of this process of developing these goals is doing something for 21 days called "The Daniel Fast".  This is a time when you fast from certain foods, and focus on what God has for you for the upcoming year.  We were fortunate to learn about this practice while we were under Pastors Ralph and Susie Lowe at Christian Life Center, and it was carried on by Pastor Carey Schram. 

Yesterday, at our current church, Mountain View Congregational Church, Pastor David Langer gave a wonderful message on how the Magi are our model in seeking after Jesus.  They prepared for their journey and then followed the start in search of the King.  The Magi found more than they anticipated.  And that is the same with us.  As we seek the Lord, we will find more than we anticipate.  Often when we seek after the Lord, we get bored and give up on the seeking.  But the Magi would not be deterred.  They did not give up.  They continued their journey until they found Jesus.  Like the Magi, we can bring find someone who can bring more into our lives than we will ever know.

Jesus is inviting us into a relationship with Him.  Jesus takes care of us in the journey of this life.  Jesus will move us beyond our lowly expectations and dreams and move us beyond all that we ask or think.  Then Pastor Dave asked us these questions..."Are we truly seeking him?  Am I seeking Jesus Christ day by day?  Do I want to give Him my all?  He can do more with our lives than we can ever imagine."

Where am I today and where do I wish to be?  If I am weary and heavy laden, He will be there for me.

What a wonderful message to begin the new year with, and to be like the Magi, daily seeking after Jesus, and finding more than I could ask or think.

I look forward to the year ahead, and seeing what 2012 will bring.