Thursday, August 31, 2006

Frozen Stuff

Are you ever forced to do something you knew needed to be done? Like washing clothes so you’d have something clean to wear, or studying because of a final exam?

I’ve been thinking about cleaning out our freezer for a long time now. Sort of planning to get to it one of these days. Lately I’ve grown so sincere about this task, that I’ve even declared to whoever was nearby that, “I’m going to have to clean out the freezer, someday soon.”

I don’t know why this type of confession always makes me feel less guilty. I guess acknowledging my lack of industry and my good intentions to correct the situation somehow give me the excuse to put things off a little bit longer.

But tonight, during dinner a package arrived. A gift for my husband from a friend. It arrived in a Styrofoam cooler from Omaha Steak Company. When we opened it, every box inside was labeled, “Keep Frozen.”

Everyone around the table was smiling, at the steaks and burger and pork chops. I didn’t see any reason smile. No, I knew my time had come—all my fine excuses vanished along with my hopes of a relaxing evening.

Now—after the deed is done, I’m smiling. It feels good to complete a task that I’ve put off doing. It didn’t actually take that long and there is something nice about a clean freezer with extra space. Besides, I found a bunch of stuff I didn’t even know I had and can’t remember ever cooking. Much of it was put down the garbage disposal. There’s a thought, all that stuff I’d never use, taking up space I needed. There a lesson there somewhere. Can’t figure it out right now, I’m worn out and ready for bed.

Maybe one day I’ll grow up and just do what needs to be done without putting it off, I hope so, for Jesus said that if I am faithful in little I’ll be faithful in much. I want to be like that, don’t you?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Eric, Amy and I with my dad and Alice.

My husband and son are pilots which means we have the pleasure of taking weekend trips by air in a small plane. Last weekend we flew to San Diego and stayed with Craig’s parents and got to see his sisters. We also checked out possible wedding sites for Amy and Eric. It was a fun time.

On Sunday, we decided that instead of flying straight home, we’d fly over to Bullhead City, AZ where my dad and his wife live, so we could have lunch with them. It was a very nice visit, long overdue, since I have not seen my dad for years. That sounds awful, doesn’t it? We don’t live all that far apart, but our lives seem very distant from each other.

Even flesh and blood drift if not connected by a rope of on going communication. I’m learning that this is vital with my kids who are far away. I tend to avoid the phone and sure prefer blogs and emails. But today I talked to my very dear friend, Kelly, after way too long, and it was wonderful. She’s another one who I have neglected. I’ve always assumed that since we’re friends, we’re friends for life. But I see now that a growing relationship requires more than that.

It’s got me thinking about how much work it take to establish and maintain relationships. Since relating is key to having a relationship an effort needs to be made to relate. This is true with people and with Jesus. If I really want to know more of Him and who He is, to discover and uncover His heart and know Him fully, I need to spend time every single day relating to Him. My relationship with Him can’t be based on what we shared in the past but on what we are sharing today.

Sounds awfully basic for someone who has walked with the Lord for as many years as I, but it’s coming home to me in new ways. Effort is always involved. Jesus is available to each of us, but we need to make the effort to go to Him and meet with Him and to listen.

“Lord help me to nurture the wonderful relationships you’ve given me, most especially the one you and I share. Help me, this year, to make this a priority. Amen.”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

the taste of new discoveries

Here is a picture of Ethne giving me a flower she picked in our front yard.

My granddaughter, Ethne, rubbed her tongue against her gums and proclaimed, “Tooth!” Her mother, Aimee, peeked into her mouth and sure enough, there was a new molar.

I feel a bit like that in my life right now, that there might something just under the surface pushing, straining, trying to break through. Like I’m a clay pot on the wheel and the fist of the Potter is firmly applying gentle pressure to the shape of my life.

This process, as toddlers know, can cause pain, confusion and discomfort. It always brings change, something that wasn’t a part of your life before. You have to learn to adjust. Even once you get used to the change, you still might bite your tongue now and then, but the trade off is that you’re enabled to chew up many delicious items.

Faith is about believing God ordains the timing of the eruptions in my life. Each one is necessary in my process of maturing and even though change requires adjustments which can be hard, in the end I find that I really do love the taste of new discoveries!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


(Here is our youngest grandchild, Kayla Rose who is about 8 weeks old)

Someone I love is having a hard time, which means I’m having a hard time. Love it like that, it makes you care, it causes you to long for the best for them, and strain with all you heart that they will make good and wise and godly decisions and that each choice will take them on down the path of righteousness.

But the intensity of my passion will not control their free will. Freewill is one of the most mysterious and greatest of all the paradoxes—ever. After all, if the Lord had given us only the ability to do good and to choose good all would be good, right? In one way, yes but not really. The thing is the Lord is after our freely given obedience flowing from a surrendered heart of love. Me, choosing to do that which pleases Him because I love Him. Sometimes it hurts, it usually hard and often means I have to let go of myself and my own self-focused desires.

Yet, the Only Wise God has given each person free will so we can chose to love and follow Him or go our own way. The thing is we may really love Him and still make choices that take us down the path away from the Great Lover of our Souls.

I’m rambling. Sorry. So, back to it, have you noticed that you can’t make choices for others? Some of us spend a lot of energy trying to control what others do, it never works. At the same time, it is so easy to refuse to take responsibility for our own choices! If I’m worrying, I can choose to pray and to give my concerns to God and not worry, that’s freewill. If I wish I didn’t ache, I can go for a walk or to the gym, that’s free will. If I wish this world was full of God’s love being expressed, I can get involved in the doing instead of spending my energy trying to control what I can’t and controlling what I can.

After all one day, when we take our last breath, the Lord will ask us about OUR life, only ours, and how we choose to freely live. “Lord make me faithful. Show me how to live a life in the fullness of your love. Please help me and those in my inner circle to love you with all their heart and mind and soul and strength. To the praise of your glory. Amen”

Here is our youngest grandchild, Kayla Rose.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Flowers

I've been feeling a little guilty about my blogs concerning the beautiful flowers in Scotland. You see, another thing about beauty, is that it surrounds us but we need to take time to notice it. My very own yard has beautiful flowers. They are the type that can withstand extreme heat and it helped so much when my husband put drippers on them so they would get enough water. So this blog is an apology to my flowers and a photo declaration that I really do enjoy them!
As an extra special bonus, a butterfly came along to enjoy my flowers when I was shooting pictures, isn't that wonderful? There were two butterflies, I feel very
fortunate to have had the camera in my hand and been able to catch a shot of one of these lovely creatures. Blessings to all. Sue

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Water From Heaven

I live in the high desert. Recently we’ve had a lot of rain—flooding, streets that looked like rivers, homes destroyed.

They say it’s a 250 year cycle. It’s bizarre. It’s also surprising.

When I look around now, I see green. It startles me and I always take a second look just to see if I really saw what I saw. The hills near my home has been brown and barren since we moved here. Shrubs and cactus grow there but the ground in a hard crusty layer of sun baked sand. Not anymore. Green plants, grasses, and flowers now cover the ground. It looks like someone Big with a huge can of paint has sprayed the soil with green paint, except it’s not fake looking like those lawns in California that were painted during the drought.

This is real. Living. Things are growing. It’s made me realize that all a desert lacks for beauty is water. That may be a no brainier for most of you, but for me it is amazing. Underneath that baked earth, seeds just waited for water. Some maybe waited 250 years (if seeds stay viable that long). When enough moisture finally touched them, they responded by growing.

The Bible talks of the Lord bringing streams to the desert. Here’s one verse from Isaiah 35:6 “Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the desert.”

Before, I thought verses like these were an allegory for God quenching the thirst of people by giving them water in a place that was dry. Now I’m wondering if it isn’t a wonderful promise of change and growth! Things do not have to stay hard, all we need is a touch of God’s grace flowing down from heaven to water our souls and then we can begin to grow!

Another word from growing is changing! Our lives don’t look the same, they gain color, when He has touched us with healing rain. What type of little dormant seeds do I harbor deep in my soul? What is hidden there, just needing, longing for, asking for, God to pour out His streams. We can not will our dreams or potential to grow, no, like seeds, they are responders. What I need is an outpouring from the Life Giver, the One who sends rain, and provides streams in the desert.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The notes rise to heaven

I have a friend named Nancy who is going through a really hard time. They bought a huge house and each day since they moved in they have discovered more and more problems with the house. The worst is an illegal septic system. It seems the previous owners simply pumped their raw sewage into the irrigation canals (they live in the valley where they have irrigation rights from the Rio Grande.)

In their haste they didn’t have an inspection preformed. Now they are stuck with mounting bills and the stress of deciding if they should take legal action for non-disclosure. As you can imagine this is very stressful on their family and marriage. I’m telling you this for two reasons, first to ask you to join me in praying for her. Also, I thought you’d be encouraged by what she told me. “When I get too discouraged I get out my Clarinet and play, "I surrender all" on the porch. I can just picture her there, playing, pouring out her heart to the Lord through music and the notes forming prayers that rise to the heavens and push back the injustice and suffering in her world, allowing the grace of God to fill her heart.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hike up the mountain

One day, a group of us decided to hike in Scotland. We wanted to see the view of the lake from the top of the mountain. The periodic rain turned into a downpour, complete with a howling wind.

That hike held some lessons for me. I was so thankful to the person who went to the trouble to draw a map of the hike. That reminded me of how the Lord has provided the Bible to help us navigate safely through life.

I was very grateful to those who had gone before us, years ago, to clear trees and form a path for us to walk. I gave silent thanks for those unknown souls who had carefully positioned flat rocks to form steps so we could safely maneuver the sharp decent down the mountain in the pouring rain. Like the people of faith who preceded us, leaving stepping stone of wisdom and experience to help us in the hard places when the storms rage.

I had help from those around me. Words of encouragement and hands extended to steady my step. And I was especially thankful that my husband had decided to buy me a raincoat just before we left the states. When the wind was at it’s strongest, I lowered my umbrella and tightened the hood of my raincoat. Craig had provided me with just what I needed. Like Jesus, who makes sure we have all we need in our life journey, including friends to help us along the way.

“Thank you Lord, for your provision of your Word, and members of your body to help us climb up to high places in our life so we see the view despite the storm. Amen.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More thoughts on beauty

The Lord made beauty that is unseen and undiscovered. Crystals silently forming in rocks. Lakes glistening in hidden valleys. Flowers growing where only He sees. The fact that beauty draws, feeds and nurtures us, reveals something of who God is. For we are made like Him. Any emotion we experience doesn’t begin with us, but with Him. We simply reflect His image as we enjoy, create, and celebrate beauty.

I tend to be practical. This is shown in the gifts I give. If they are useful, I think they are good. If a church building is a simple warehouse structure that can be used in a multitude of ways, this makes sense to me. Beauty challenges this thinking, for loveliness it isn’t usually utilitarian. The stained glass windows I admired in Scotland must have been costly to create and are no more functional than ordinary windows, which surely would have cost less. Couldn’t that money have been saved and used to feed the poor? It is the same argument raised when the woman poured perfume lavishly over the feet of Jesus. He said, Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” (Mark 14:6)

So here we see that the Lord doesn’t measure acts of service or love or any activity by its usefulness or by its practicality. Any ideas on why? What does this show us about Him?

For me, beauty is useful in one way. It reminds me that the Lord God delights to create and share beauty and He Himself is beautiful in ways I can’t begin to comprehend.

Here are more pictures that are full of beauty.

Blessings to all! Sue

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Scotland is full of flowers! They are every where! Growing wild along the train tracks, grouped together in planters on balconies or beside front doors. The variety of colors and types are endless. Flowers show me that God cares about beauty. I'm sure some flowers are eatable but mostly, flowers are not functional except to feed the soul. Shades of color to brighten a mundane world. Each of us is a special creation who brings beauty into the lives of those around us. Where ever we find ourselves, that is the place to be who God made us to be. Flowers know this. They don't uproot themselves, they just grow where they are, right where God has planted them, and show forth His beauty. I want to do that too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another Daughter!

I've missed talking to you! Just got back from Great Britain it was a wonderful trip. More on that later.
The big news around here is that our youngest son, Eric, has found his soulmate and has proposed. Thankfully she loves him too and said "Yes!"
Here is a picture of the two of them. Her name is Amy Belivns. So, we have another Amy joining the family, to keep them separate we call here, Maimme (this is how Ethne pronounces her name!).I'll post a more
official engagement picture soon.
Rejoice with us in this happy news.