Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time, Time, and Time

I am leading our ladies group tonight, and our text is 1 Peter 4:1-11.  It is in some ways a difficult passage, yet really speaks to our culture.  It is all about time on this earth. . .

There is the *believer's time* (verses 1-2) -- this is where Peter urges us to no longer live for the will of men but the will of God.  Our time on this earth is limited; therefore, we must make the most of it.  We know that we will suffer persecution for taking a stand for Christ, just as He suffered when He was on this earth.  But, that should not deter us. . . our reward will be heavenly!

Then there is the *unbeliever's time* (verses 3-5) -- Peter warns us that there will come a day when the unbeliever's time is up.  Today is the day of salvation.  There is NO time to waste!  There should be a sense of urgency for us to share Christ with those whose time is short.

And then there is the *end of time* (verse 7) -- This will be when all time as we know it on this earth comes to an end, and we will see the new heaven and new earth.  We should be praying, so that we are constantly connected to God.  We should be loving one another (even the unbelievers) because LOVE can cover a multitude of sins. And we should be bringing God glory by using our gifts to build up one another.

Just a snippet, but worth sharing.  Our world needs Him now more than ever before.  The church needs to realize our time is shorter and shorter... are we asleep in the Light?  Let's be FERVENT in our love for Him and for one another!!

As always with my original scripture images, you are free to use this graphic by right clicking and copying or saving.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Welcome Autumn!

There is so much pain and sorrow in this life. . .  this past week has shown clear evidence of that.  But, there is also so much beauty.  As a "romantic realist" I know that we must live in this world of pain and tragedy... but at the same time we can still find exquisite beauty.   Whether it is in the faces of people who are suffering or who are trying to alleviate the suffering... or in the prayers lifted before the throne of God on behalf of those who are suffering... or in the beauty of God's creation and plan unfolding yet again in the changing of the seasons... or in the faces of your own family and friends who bring light, love, and laughter to your life... there is beauty in midst of pain and there is light in the darkness.

After some weeks away with family (and also currently recovering from a nasty cold), I am ready to embrace the beauty that Autumn brings. The HOPE that I have does not come from government to give me things, law enforcement to protect me, or even from the love of my family.  My Hope is the LORD, the Maker of  heaven and earth.

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare NOT trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name!
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand."
- Edward Mote 

Hebrews 6:19-20 
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, 
firm and secure. 
It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,  
where our forerunner, Jesus, 
has entered on our behalf. 
He has become a high priest forever, 
in the order of Melchizedek."

As always with my original scripture images, you are free to use this graphic by right clicking and copying or saving.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Home with the Father and His Dad

Riley is healed and whole, safe in the arms of Jesus and greeted by his earthly father and a grandmother he never met.  Just five days ago we celebrated Riley's life with a beautiful memorial service. Those of you who have prayed for our family may wish to view the short video his mom made with pictures and hear the message given by his dad's brother.


We are just beginning to fully realize all that has happened, and yet the peace of God truly does pass all understanding. We have not "lost" Riley, for we know exactly where he is! For Riley's mom, the days ahead will be difficult. . .  no husband, no eldest son. Thankfully, she is surrounded by loved ones and an amazing community of faith.  Their church has gathered around them like nothing I have ever seen.  Though they don't have their dad, the little brothers have men who really, really love them.  For me. . .  I have to think that the boys may be wondering, "First my dad, then my brother. . .  am I next?"  They will really need those in the family and the faith community to come around them and hold them up.  God has a much bigger plan than we can possibly know.  As incredibly hard as this road has been, it has not been without purpose.  Thousands have been touched by Jonathan's and Riley's testimonies of faith and assurance that the Lord of all the universe had them in the palm of His hand.

While giong through this devastation/rejoicing, we are of course witnessing the devastation in our country from hurricane Harvey.  It is almost impossible to get my mind around that much water... it is utterly heartbreaking.  It is also heartening to see people working and helping and loving their neighbors.  God has a plan even in those situations.  We may not know what it is until we see Jesus face to face... but then we will know fully.

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Clinging to hope...

So sorry for the lack of communication about Riley... several of you have asked about him privately. (You know who you are and that means the world to me!)  Really, there is nothing new to report.  After two weeks in the hospital where his condition did not improve, his mom chose to take him home to die unless the Lord answers our prayers for a miracle of healing.  My step-father spent a good deal of time with him yesterday and said that his communication was at a minimum, with "yes" "no" and "I don't know."  When he asked him what his name was, he said, "I don't know." It is heartbreaking and yet the family still continues to be so thankful that there is a sense of the nearness of the Lord's presence as they walk this difficult valley.  Clinging to these words and taking hold of the sure and steadfast hope, "In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil..."

Psalm 23
(beautiful words of truth for dark times)

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters. 
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trust His Heart

These are lyrics to a song that has been playing in my head today...

Trust His Heart
by Babbie Mason

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don't see 
How they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just don't see Him,
Remember you're never alone

He sees the master plan
And he holds our future in His hand,
So don't live as those who have no hope,
All our hope is found in Him

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His Heart

(Apparently the lyrics above are based on a C.H. Spurgeon quote.)

I got news this morning that breaks my heart. . .  the heartbreak in my step-father's family is overwhelming.  My step nephew (whose father passed away last July) has been bravely battling brain tumors for 18 months. This week he has been experiencing headaches, disorientation, forgetfulness, lack of motor control. . .  and now his mom has been told by doctors that she should call hospice.  She has looked at her son fighting this dreadful disease, and she knows just how tired of fighting he is. . .  she has walked with him (as she did with her husband) every step of the way.  I don't know how she is holding it together (she is, at least for now).  I don't know how my stepfather is holding it together (he's not.)  His wife also passed away from cancer at 36.  Then his son at 43.  Now he sees his grandson slipping away at 13. . .  and then there are the 3 younger brothers who lost their dad last year and now face losing their brother.  

So, I just have to say. . .  I DON'T understand how this family can be asked endure so much suffering. I don't understand God's purpose in this.  But, I have to continue to place my trust and faith in Him. He is too wise to be mistaken.  He is too good to be unkind. I must continue to trust His heart. Even when it is hard and doesn't make sense. . .  trust.  Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. . .  more than once. . .  we continue to trust. He is with us. He will never leave nor forsake us.  

This is one of my favorite pics of the six of them, as it perfectly captures their family pre-cancer... happy and so creative... the Waldos.  Two artist/graphic designer parents and four high-energy boys! (The dad who passed away last summer is the big guy in the back, the 13 y-o is right beside him to the right.)

Would you lift up this precious family in the coming days?  

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th!

I hope, for those of you who are a US citizens, that you are having a happy 4th surrounded by family and friends! I am very thankful for the freedoms we have in this nation, including the ability to live, work, and worship as we choose.  Our nation is so far from perfect, but at least for now we are able to still do these without fear of retribution.  Our family celebrated yesterday with my husband grilling out (accompanied by potato salad, stuffed eggs, and homemade Butterfinger ice cream) and ending the day with fireworks in our neighborhood.


Today (the actual 4th) we are just watching historical movies and eating leftovers!  What a great blessing it is to have been born here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  May I never take it for granted. And I do pray for God to continue to bless America because, ultimately, freedom can only come from knowing Him.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back...

I thought I would share these baby animals I did (in Prismacolor) for my sweet baby nephew one year ago. It is really hard for me to believe that he is about to be one year old!  I don't get to see him nearly often enough.

Well, my eyes have had a pretty good day today.  But, Tuesday and Wednesday... not so much!  After feeling great on Monday once the bandage lens was removed (I suppose the numbing drops they put in probably gave me a false sense of "everything's great"), the pain and sensitivity returned with a vengeance on Tuesday.  Yesterday (Wednesday) was not much better, but today has been a pretty good day.  I kept a diary with the first surgery, so I should have realized that I was not quite out of the woods with the pain on Monday.  I also probably overdid it reading everything I could on the computer.  Ups and downs with this kind of thing are to be expected.  I am still very thankful it is done and am sure that once the healing is complete, I'll be seeing much better.

I have a blogging friend, Cheryl, who is also going through some real challenges with her eyes.  She had surgery on them today.  If you think of her, would you please say a prayer for her healing.  It is amazing how we can take something for granted (eyes, teeth, etc.) until they begin to fail us.  Then we know JUST how valuable they are.  When it hurts just to blink, well ... just think of how many times you blink!

Along with the surgery, I have found that I am quite allergic to the cleansing wipes they use before various procedures.  After having broken out at the dentist after oral surgery, the eye doctor after eye surgery, and even a very bad rash down my forearm after having blood drawn at my yearly endocrinologist visit (photo at right from that), I finally narrowed it down to the brand of wipes they were using to cleanse my arm before drawing the blood.  The eye doctor and the oral surgeon all used the same ones.  Now, trying to convince your doctor not to wipe down a machine with that wipe before you stick your forehead and chin on it, well that is another thing, not to mention not wiping down your face with it before surgery.  Today I have this same rash on my forehead, chin, eyebrows, undereye area, and even my eyelids!  Hopefully it won't last long, but boy is it uncomfortable!

As always with my original scripture images, you are free to use this graphic by right clicking and copying or saving.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world. I have enjoyed catching up with a number of you this week! And if you're having a holiday over the coming week, I hope you have a wonderful and safe one!

Monday, June 26, 2017

New eyes... and God's goodness

I don't think I have shared about my eye condition with you here, but I have a corneal condition called Salzmann's Nodular Degeneration.  This is a pretty a rare condition for which they cannot really pinpoint a cause, but what it means in practical terms is that I have little white deposits or tissues all over my corneas.  They actually float as well as spread and grow larger over time.  Ten years ago I had surgery to remove them, which was really painful and tough to recover from.  It made me not want to have the surgery again.  However, I finally got to a place with my vision -- particularly with the detailed artwork I do and the computer work -- that I knew it was (past) TIME. 

Because of the white circular tissues/scarring, I was seeing hazes and four, six, eight images/halos of what I was looking at. One morning I wake up being able to see okay, and the next not very well at all, then the next day fine. Knowing it was time to address this, I decided to have the surgeries done one at a time so that if anything went wrong I would still have one (not very) good eye.  I just had my second of the two surgeries this past Tuesday, and I must say that in 10 years they certainly have improved the recovery process.

I am still recovering sight-wise, but the pain management is much better now than 10 years ago. I also had my husband videotape the surgery -- I won't share it here, as it is really difficult to watch.  Amazing to see the doctor working on my eye with those tools and not be able to feel it. He painstakingly removed every bit of scar tissue on my eye. It was pretty rough the day after the surgery, as I was in a LOT of pain.  I was able to manage with 3-4 ibuprofen every 4 hours.  But the next day I was much better - no ibuprofen needed - and the next even better.   For these surgeries, I was fitted with a "bandage" lens which protected my eye after the surgery and was especially helpful when I needed to blink. This "bandage lens" was not used after the surgerical scraping 10 years ago, and every time I blinked it felt as if I were scraping my eyeball with sand.  These kinds of improvements in tools and technology are amazing to me, and I am truly thankful.  

I went back today for the doctor to remove the recovery lens, and I am seeing okay.  I can see really well now in the first eye that he worked on. (Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone back for the second surgery!) So, I pray/believe it will only be a matter of time before I am seeing really well in the second eye. One amazing improvement with the new surgeries is in the type of "bandage" contact lens they used for my healing process. It is called an amniolens and was developed by a Christian doctor who believed that there was a way to develop a process for more rapid and full healing using young tissues, but who was not willing to use fetal tissue.  Through much research and experimentation, he discovered that the amniotic membrane of the placenta has many of the same healing properties that stem cells from fetal tissue would.  This is harvested from the placenta after birth and freeze dried for use in many types of healing for eye tissues.  You can learn more about that here:

"Ming Wang vs. Science vs. Faith" — Film Competition sponsored by The Veritas Forum from Veritas [1] on Vimeo.

I am thankful to God for science and those who persevere in hope of helping people through new discoveries.  Part of Dr. Wang's story is in the film "God's Not Dead."  I am constantly amazed that though I have this condition, God knows how intricately he has crafted my eye and has given me hope through this new discovery that my eyes will heal and in some ways be in even better shape than before.  And, I am seeing well enough to use the computer again... and hope to soon be holding a paintbrush or pencil and doing some new artwork.  Hope all of you are well.  Now that I can read, I'll be making the rounds!! 😊👁👁🙂

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

milestones in life

What a great month it has been! (unfortunately, it has left little time/energy for blogging!) As a pastor’s wife, and worship leader, the Palm Sunday/Easter season carry a lot of responsibility.  It fills me with joy to know that HE LIVES not just on Resurrection Day, but EVERY day.  As a board member of our art association (but thankfully no longer president!), we have made it through another Spring Show without major incident or cancellation.  It was a gorgeous weather day, even though the sales were down quite a bit this year.


Another new website is up and this one is for a local chef who is starting his own restaurant!


I just love getting to birth new babies like this one.  If you ever think it is too late for you to try a new thing, let this inspire you.  This man has been a chef for years always working for others… but he has always dreamed of having a restaurant of his own.  At 60+ years-old, he is now seeing that dream come true!!  So exciting to be a small part of that.

And this happened last weekend…

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Another tremendous milestone in our lives …our middle son graduated from College with Summa Cum Laude honors!  We couldn’t have been prouder of his hard work and attention to excellence.  He wants to teach on the college level, so he has quite a bit of school ahead of him – next on the docket is his master’s degree and then doctoral thesis after that.  A lot of prayer went into homeschooling him and his brother and sister. God has answered every prayer above and beyond what we could’ve asked or thought.  We are grateful for all the blessings in our lives!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A little post-Easter, pre-Easter reflecting...

I have been meditating on and mulling over exactly what Good Friday is and means in our lives today. And I cannot escape the fact that the CROSS is the great equalizer. We are all equal at the foot of the cross. We are all sinners. We all deserve to be up on that cross. Jesus knew that about us... He knew how despicable we are, and He willingly went to the cross and took our place. Every. One. Of. Us. All we have to do is acknowledge we need saving and accept His sacrifice freely. That's it... so easy anyone can attain it. The great equalizer. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

(As always with my original scripture images, feel free to use this graphic!)