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LLord of the Ringless Audio Editionove is the greatest gift in life. Discovering how to love God and love others daily, as Jesus instructed, continues to be the marathon hurdle Dee can only clear by His amazing grace.

Lord of the Ringless, 40 devotions and Bible studies,  fueled by years of desiring marriage, was written to encourage singles to wait hopeful and trusting that a loving Heavenly Father hears every prayer. Despite delay, single’s learn to live without pity or pining. Dee had no idea the birthing of the book would propel her to the husband who produced her Audie-nominated audiobook. Marriage became her miracle, a common feeling to those who have waited decades to find their helpmate. The wait over, the delight abounded. Sammy and Benji, Dee’s faithful companions, also walked the aisle at the wedding they approved 0f… inspiring more doggy devotions.

Dee is a writer, speaker, coach and author of Lord of the Ringless,  40 devotions and Bible studies inspiring faith. Dee has worked in singles groups, prayer, and juvenile justice chaplaincy ministries over 25 years. Newly married, she and Steve find great joy in dogs.dgsp n 3 min devos dogcat

dogSpirations, Little Life Lessons, Big God Moments, 58 devotions that span a decade of humor and inspiration from Dee’s schnauzers and Lab, Sammy. Released October 2015. A paperback (ebook) Dee launched dogSpirations as a joint

Reviews:

I have read a doggie devo (Dogspirations) each morning. It begins my devo time and has blessed me immensely. I look forward to the next one each time…It is very very special. I’m going to give it as gifts whenever possible.”     Nancy Broadhurst, financial officer

“This book has touched my heart in so many ways. It will make you laugh and cry as it teaches God’s lessons from beginning to end through Sam’s journey.Without reservation I heartily recommend this book. A real treat to all you Dog Lovers out there!!!”                    Donna Cardazone, CT technician

fundraiser with Canine Companions.

3 Minute Devotions for a Dog Lover’s Heart, and a companion gift book, 3 Minute Devotions for a Cat Lover’s Heart, were newly released May 2016. Both Barbour Books are mini-devo compilations; 25 inspirational stories contributed by Dee.

Dee has written devotions for CBN.com,  Crabgrass-in-the-garden (June 2016), Barbour Books, Heavenly Humor for the Dog Lover’s Soul, Heavenly Humor for the Cat Lover’s Soul. She’s also written stories that ignite faith for Revel, The Dog Next Door, Guideposts, Christian Reader and Inspire Press. Her poetry is featured in Glimpses, an Inspire Press book (2014) as well as story contributions to Inspire anthologies, Inspire Promise (Dec. 2014), Inspire Forgiveness (Dec. 2015), and to be released Inspire Joy (Nov 12, 2016)

  

2010 Audio Publishers Association (APA) Audies Awards Finalist

 

 

 

Speedboat , Shortcut to Sex Pt 1 How to Date with Integrity

SPEEDBOAT, Shortcut to Sex    

lusty lake

      Forget the rowboat…

            Let’s climb in the  Speedboat…                                                                                                                           Motors are great if you are looking for speed and intensity and a shorter trip.

But speedboats need fuel to move forward. They can run out of gas.

                                                                                       

Relationship boats depend on the skill of the oarsmen and communication to propel forward. People who have the skills to communicate, develop the perseverance to work together and adapt to the extreme adventure of difficult challenges.

A friend stated, “When I was young, if things got crazy and we would start arguing, I would just kiss him real hard. It would distract him and the problem would go away for a while.”

  • Sex is powerful and created by God as a beautiful expression of faithful love and intimacy reserved for marriage, even though the temptation exists.
  • Outside of marriage, sex is a speedboat. For some, it is a comfortable delusion to skip the rowing stuff. Far from shore if the boat runs out of fuel—it is stuck without oars. God is not the pilot. The sensual smokescreen down, it may be a shock when we face each other in deep water—the boat is vulnerable to changing weather conditions and an unprepared crew.

Once I boarded a sailboat in the Santa Cruz harbor with a good friend. We had been invited for a sail around the bay. We cautiously stepped down rickety steps into a knotty pine cabin and a sign greeted us below deck. “On this vessel, all marriages are conducted by the captain and limited to the duration of the voyage.” We left after a brief visit.

The Decision … to reserve the gift of intimacy for your mate                                                                                                                                      … is made before the date.

You are gifting your future mate with the privilege of knowing you intimately, as God intended. The past behind you, your decision now will plant seeds for a new future and reap benefits. As you initiate self-control and overcome temptation through God’s strength as a single, you will build confidence in your ability to remain faithful in your marriage.

         It is God’s will you should be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. (I Thes 4:3, 4)

God’s manual for relationships, the Bible, is loaded with tools to relate to each other as God intended. From the wisdom and insights of Proverbs in the Old Testament, to Jesus and the New Testament, invitation to believe and receive His Spirit, born-again children of God (John 3:7)…loved, forgiven and free… we are encouraged to love others wisely and unselfishly.

  • What are the Biblical actions of love as described in the definition of love from,              I Corinthians 13

The will to follow Jesus, and draw upon His strength to live as He intended in our relationships, is possible as we trust and obey Him. We can trust He knows us because He loves us and made us. Romance was His idea since He created man and woman, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden.

Next week we will talk about how lines of respect drawn while dating sets the tone for respect in marriage, and more…

                                                                      Copyright  © 2017 DeeAspin

sketches by Erin Bambery-Veliquette  erinwriter.com

Unhinged- Signs of a Sick Laptop…and the Remedy

When my laptop unhinged this morning, I unhinged.

4 days before a conference, the screen once connected by metal screws to the plastic strip base…is hanging on for dear life.

So, I ran over to the urgent care at Frye’s, with the purchase receipt from 2014.

Gently, I lifted my little writing companion, my R2D2, from the pink carrier pouch and placed it on the counter. I shook the pink sleeve upside down…a small black piece fell out. The young serviceman stared.

“Little black pieces have been breaking off every time I put my laptop down. It started last week. Yesterday I lifted it up from the couch where I worked…and a cascade of black chips clustered behind. The attachment piece is basically crumbling before me.”

“Where is the strip?”

I looked at space hinges and …no strip. “It must be laying on my desk when I picked it up to come here…I didn’t even notice.”

He listened, picked it up again and examined it every direction. Then he looked up parts at his desk PC …after a few minutes gave me a prognosis.

“No? You can’t fix it?” I asked incredulously.

“No, because the strip the screen is attached to is gone.”

“You mean I have to get a new computer. I bought this two and a half years ago! Never had a PC break like this. Have you seen this before.”

“A couple times. It’s best to open laptops from the middle top and not from both sides…”

“Really? I open it from both sides all the time. But I’ve never dropped it and it’s usually hooked at my desk. I don’t carry it around much.

He shook his head.

“You mean it can’t be fixed and I spent almost a K on this two years ago? He nodded no. I needed a second opinion. So, I headed over to Best Buy.

The young man at Best Buy shook his head too—but offered hope.

“Yes, we see this sometimes with laptops. It starts with malalignment.”

“A few weeks ago my husband noticed that when he opened it up. At first, it was a few pieces and then it just crumbled apart this week,”

“My Toshiba is starting to misalign too,” he gave me a knowing look.

“It would take us 2-3 weeks to order the parts and have it fixed for around $300 the screen ($150) and the hinges ($40-60).

“If you need it quick turnaround go to a mom and pop store.”

 “I need my documents from the PC for the conference…and I will have to use my IPad, which I only use for fun. Ugg. How do I transfer docs to it?”

He ran off and returned with a small box containing a cord that transfer documents to an iPad for around $40.

“Wow, I didn’t even know they made that….if I have google drive can I use the cloud?”

“Oh yeah, that’s a good idea.”

In the meantime, he told me how to download my docs, pics, and videos from the OS drive and I purchased a 64 GB flash drive to save my important content.

“Even if the screen goes out at any time, you can hook it to a monitor and still use the PC part.”

“Oh yes. My husband hooked it up to a monitor for me…Could you walk me through how to save the docs I need onto the flash drive?”

“Sure. Plug in flash 64 gigs. Open yellow folder. OSC drive (flash drive is under OSC)

Users will pop up on the right side column. Click and drop Users to Flash drive.”

Before I left he gave me the # to customer service # of my ASUS. (1-877-339-2787)  “You can call them but don’t expect to get anyone to answer on the other end. If you send it to them, they first send you a box and you send it back. It will take 6-8 weeks turnaround time.”

I headed over to the closest mom and pop, Core Tech, hoping my R2D2 might still be able to attend the conference with me.

After pulling out my sick friend from the pink pouch, along with the black crumble, the slim man in the polo shirt shifted his eyes from the counter to me.

“We only fix Apple”

Silence.

“Oh. Okay.” Pause. “Since I’m here could I ask what you would recommend as the best app to download my docs from this to my iPad on google docs?”

“Do you use Word?”

“Yes”

“Pages is the app they use.”

I began to peruse the app in my iPhone. He noticed.

“You will need your iPad to download the app because it is different for the iPhone, the iPad, and the Macintosh. The apps are all different”

“OH. I’ll wait until I get home to use my iPad.”

I turned the a/c higher to beat the triple digits in my mMazdaand headed over to Tech2U, a franchise computer repair shop.

“The guy at Best Buy said you might be able to fix this in a quicker turnaround than they can.”

I showed him the little black crumble and cradled the screen as it flailed on it’s base.

“Yes we see this all the time.”

“Really? Which computers?”

“All of them. See, they use metal screws and metal hinges. But most laptops use plastic strips to connect them to the screen. Over time the metal screws wear into the plastic holes and what is stronger. Metal is stronger than the strip. So the up and down motion over time…”

“Why don’t they make a metal strip? Stupid. Is my laptop generally a good one?”

“Yes, most laptops are the same. Plastic strips. Except Apple. They use metal.”

He looked at the ASUS logo. “We recommend ASUS and Lenovo for laptops”

“What would it cost to fix it?”

He scanned his work pc. “$150 for the screen. $120 labor, $4 plastic strip.

We order it from SoCal. It takes two business days to get here, then 2 days for us to fix it.”

I felt shaky. “’This feels similar to a car decision. Is this a total or should I put the money in to fix it?”

The man with the pukka necklace smiled. “I get asked that all the time…It’s a personal decision. Are you happy with it? Does it do everything you need it to? Or have there been things you would like it to do, but it doesn’t?”

“It does everything I need it to. I am fond of my R2 and don’t want to learn a new one—it will be hinged. We will work together again—after I return from the conference.”

 

 

 

Wartime Stories from the South Pacific – 91 year old vet

Dad invited his friend, Ray, to our Memorial Day gathering last night. Then, he sent his Boomer kids another email this morning… more memoirs from the WWII War in the Pacific. Together, they’ve been harvesting freshwater pearls embedded in their minds each time they talk. Dad joined the Merchant Marines at eighteen—while Ray stationed for island combat in the Pacific.  At 91 and 93 years young their favorite topic?  Here’s the newest catch for those of you who do not have the privilege to hear these stories rolling fresh off active thinkers, God bless them!

 

I’ve told of my meeting a 93 yr. old Wartime Marine, Ray, who left that duty he’d volunteered for in 1942 after coming to California from the Midwest. A Missouri farm boy he was trained in Camp Pendleton and went on from there in a hurriedly leased Dutch flag tramp steamer quartered in the cargo hold with 300 other Marines.  They were new replacements to the 2nd Division in camp 30 miles outside of Wellington, New Zealand.

The 2nd DIVISION along with the 1st had retired there after their bruising hard won victory in the vicious battle over the last stop in the Solomon Islands – GUADALCANAL.  That named legendary jungle Island is still remembered as the 1st American assault on the seasoned Japanese forces. The enemy protected by a superior battle fleet, had been readying in that steaming equatorial island for their coming invasion of Australia.

Our friend among the fresh Marines arrived in New Zealand in August of ’43 aboard the escorted merchant ship to beef up the battle worn 2nd division after R&R stationed in tent camps near the Coast.

After 3 months of training and practicing landings they took off in November for the yet unknown South Pacific island of TARAWA.  Theirs was an initiating trial by fire since it didn’t go easy.  In the annals of Corp history it went down as a damaged reminder of the fickle tides of war.  The tides and a reef were against them besides a waiting well-fortified enemy’s machine guns and 1,500 of those that slipped down from cargo nets onto waiting landing craft were casualties overnight.

But last night on the phone while inviting him to a BBQ he was remembering how much he loved his M1 rifle with him constantly for over 2 years. He slept and ate with it. He kept it clean and shiny. He felt sadness recalling giving it up at wars end. He went on to stay and marry in California, worked for the State starting with Board of Equalization and then transferred for his remaining working career to the state Dept of Real estate.

Yet, he returns to thoughts now of his fellow Marines of 70 years past – the half American Indian guy on Saipan who carried 25 pounds of dynamite on his backpack for blowing up caves. He got a Navy Cross for personally attacking a group of small Japanese tanks and his use of the dynamite without any thought of personal destruction.  And, he thought of the BAR GUYS WHO WENT OVER THE SIDE heading for the beach WITH THAT 17 1/2 lbs. of firepower strapped to their backs plus ammo. He exclaimed we couldn’t have beaten the enemy and taken those mean places without the mobile BROWNING Automatic Rifle.

Anyway Ray has some physical challenges this week and won’t probably make the Memorial Day BBQ – but said “Have a good one.”

A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor    Proverbs 29:23

A good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.    Proverbs 22:1

The Value of a Tree, You and Me

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Recently, the news reported those who live among trees will breathe air up to 25%  richer with oxygen. Trees nourish us and remain a daily reminder of God’s love for people. Even in the midst of cement city, a tree refreshes weary eyes and lifts our spirit.                                                                         A tree that may in summer wear,                                                                            A nest of robins in her hair…    

House hunting in the suburb sprawl, my second time around, I became obsessed with finding a home with a view- of trees.  Trees above the roofs.  I wasn’t alone.

Walking down the old Sac T street area after work one day, a young man sat on the porch steps stroking a cat sprawled across his back.

“I love to look at all the beautiful trees and little homes on your street,” I smiled.

“We all moved here for the tree-lined streets.” He didn’t skip a beat. I understood.

                         I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree…

For me, the love of trees really burst into my psyche with the lovely stanzas by American poet, Joyce Kilmer. My 4th grade class was required to memorize his poem and recite it aloud… a tree who looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray. (Yes, public school.)

Living ten years in my first house, a new development where none on our cul-de-sac could grow trees, appreciation for nature heightened with each neighborly conversation. We’d  scope our barren fencelines and commiserate. “My three birch trees died”…”My maple couldn’t grow. I’ve tried multiple types–they all die.” And remember, no trees, no birds.

One afternoon relocated in my second home, I pulled up to my shady haven to construction crews and whirring sounds. A large truck blocked my driveway. Suddenly my stomach felt empty as I looked up at the large hot blue sky, once laced by pine branches from my vantage point. Two large stumps remained on my neighbor’s front lawn where once stood gorgeous Redwoods I adored.

“Why did you cut them down?”  I later asked my new neighbor in the midst of mass remodeling. “Oh, they were making cracks in the cement.  And they were old nasty trees anyway.  We knew you wouldn’t like it.”

“I used to covet those trees and wished they were mine.”

“Well, we wish we could have moved them over to your property.”

Sometimes I don’t understand how we all have such different values of beauty and nature.  Why am I so upset! ?

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Working with incarcerated youth, one summer day a young woman showed me her wrists,  slashed and healing. The scar lines reflected her self-esteem. I pointed out the window to the graceful branches of a  tree dangling its leaves like a beautiful fringed blouse.

“See that tree? Isn’t it a beauty?” Together we gazed at its weighted limbs and peaceful presence. “Would you cut a branch off that tree?”  She silently stared as it’s shadows silhouetted and cooled the walls.

“No. It brings us shade and pleasure, just by being near it. You are far more beautiful and complex a creation of God? Cut yourself? Your worth is priceless.”

Her face relaxed. A word of truth, conviction. An added positive to overcome the negative messages in her head, her past, one few of us encounter.

Senseless, difficult things happen in life. And we ask God to help us all live together and continue to value each other even when the things we value may be so different.

The  Psalmist in Psalm 73 had been plagued all day long in his attempts to live above the evil he saw around him, the things that didn’t make sense. Sometimes there is no place to go here where our feet are grounded in dirt. But then we found relief in simple beautiful ways.

I stop writing and just gaze at the sunshine beaming off the ash leaves dancing in the wind. Or the heavier pine branches swaying nearby, their pinecones positioned to please the squirrels scampering busy at work and play. Gazing at the beauty of nature is always one simple way of escape to dwell on the positive in spite of the political and business news, the drama, the illness, and troubles that court us from all sides.

Times with God affords peace and a time to offer to Him all the situations only He can control or tend. Times spent sharing life and praying with those we love relieves burdens. Reading the Word brings stability. Gratefulness, from seeking to be thankful for the goodness and beauty we do possess and know of, acts as branches blocking the ugly and senseless people and acts beyond our mental and emotional capacity to comprehend. Thanking God for nature and resting our eyes, our soul and spirit from too much bombardment from every direction, political, social, business, medical….

Today I thank God for the intrinsic value of a tree, free for all socioeconomic groups. Trees that provide nesting places for the songbirds, food for the squirrels and a haven for our soul and spirit.

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, until I entered the sanctuary of God….” verse 17

“Yet, I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward, you will take me into glory…My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ”  v 26

Tree Dancer…One Arborist Story

tree dancerFearless and hanging from trees with the greatest of ease, the agile man dangled high from a branch of our 70-foot heritage ash tree, rigged in some form of human pulley sytem.

Feeling angst and admiration, I cupped my hands like a megaphone. “As a nurse I saw many patients in the trauma unit who fell out of trees attempting to trim them.”

“My wife says I dance in the trees.” He grinned down at me as he stabilized the unpowered chainsaw against the thigh of his saggy blue jeans. This was his second visit to finish trimming the massive sentry poised in our front yard.

“Don’t worry.” The tree dancer wiped his free hand across his blue polo shirt. “I started trimming redwoods in Northern California when I was eighteen and now I’m thirty-four.”

“I guess it’s OK because you have a harness and ropes.” I tried to convince myself.

“I won’t fall…I’ve only fallen once. My buddy had called me one evening to come trim his tree. He was in the middle of it and needed help.” My wife had pleaded, “Don’t go! We’re just sitting down to eat dinner.”

Now, he shook his head and continued the story from the heart of our ash.

“So I went over… and ended up falling twenty-five feet.” He held up a loose section of rope…“The rope snapped. I hit the roof, my neck bent and then I fell to the ground, mangling my hand. I had to go to the ER and then trauma unit for four days.” He sighed deeply. “It was my fault… I know never to use another man’s equipment.”

“I don’t really know anything about tree cutting,” I said. “What do you mean?”

“I always buy good rope,” he pushed the rope he clenched toward me. ‘This rope can hold 5000 lbs per square inch.’ He pulled the bright fuschia colored cord taut between his greasy hands and re-braced himself against the tree. ‘My friend’s equipment was some cheap rope he got at Home Depot that holds 250lbs per square inch.”

“Really? I would never have known the difference.”

“I buy rope every six months, it’s very important.” He dangled his leg over a small branch ready to pull out and cut. Other rope was around a larger branch and some went through his harness.

“Is that limb large enough to hold your weight?” The thin branch gave me the jeevies…it was hard to hold back my apprehension.

“Even though it looks like I’m sitting on this smaller limb, it’s actually only taking about twenty pounds of my weight!” He pushed his feet against the trunk. “Actually,
the heavier portions are spread by the ropes to the other larger branches.”

I followed the crisscrossing lines, not really sure how it all worked, but amazed at how he rigged it all up.

Minutes later, after the whirring sound stopped, he lowered a huge limb slowly to the ground by rope beside a chainsaw, now swinging slightly on a rope from another branch adjacent to his dangling legs. It looked like a juggling act.

“You like your work don’t you?” I yelled toward him.

“Oh, I love it!” And, I like working for my boss because he sets the price so I can just do the work. When I had my own business I lost money because I just couldn’t charge these little old people who hardly had anything… I ended up doing it free.”

“Then, when I worked for Smud it was terrible. People hated me. They would get so upset that I was coming to cut their trees because they were near the power lines.”

“You’re kidding?” I felt truly surprised.

“No, I’m serious.” I had ladies crying and men would get angry. People even threatened some SMUD workers with guns.

“Why?” I asked incredulous.

“Because people are very emotional about their trees.”

An hour later, grounded and off the tree, he sawed wood and stuffed it in his SUV while I raked around the front yard. Sammy and Benji both chewed on a couple nice bare branches they had found.

He continued to teach me how important it is to cut a tree correctly, “People can kill a tree if they cut it in the wrong spot. For instance, just cutting a branch, even a small one in the wrong way at the wrong time of year, can lead to infection and a sick tree.”

“People can kill a tree if they cut it in the wrong spot. For instance, just cutting a branch, even a small one in the wrong way at the wrong time of year, can lead to infection and a sick tree.”
Stilled by wonder for a moment, I studied the long lanky branches as the sun shone through my special tree. I felt really, really good, like I did something special for something that deserved it.

“Your tree will be happy now,” he said positively. “It will grow and fill in the gaps and balance itself out. And, it saves you a lot of money by shading your house—it really makes a difference.”

“You know, I bought this house mainly because of this tree and the trees in the backyard.” I felt sentimental recalling the difficult search to buy a home, and the joy when I first sighted leaves dangling in the breeze above the modest suburb roof coupled with a for sale sign on the front lawn.

“I know what you mean,” the tree dancer smiled.

And so, we love our trees just like Adam and Eve did in the garden. God created them for our pleasure, to enhance our life. They remind us of our beginnings, the roots of our past. They represent shelter and relief, and the steadfastness and endurance of their Creator…and ours.

And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. Genesis 2:9 

 

The Light of Christmas

 

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“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

What does this mean to you? I love this quote, yet without a light how does it work?

By thirteen, my parents war-zone marriage and divorce left my Mom’s emotions shattered.  I was her primary support.  Burnt out at fifteen, I journaled, “I feel like a candle that has not been lit.”

After I left my religious upbringing, I bumped into a believing neighbor and inhaled the gospels with young people who loved Jesus. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 

I read Jesus’ words and they drew me to His light, Biblical truth and insight into behavior from human feelings. “The flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh…” Galatians 5:17.

Who doesn’t struggle with the effects of their own and others vices and destructive choices? We have all succumbed to anger or withdrawal and control instead of humility, courage and love. The battle inside wages war—daily actions, rational choices, guided by our limited selfish and torn human nature or by the divine Spirit of a loving, just, and merciful God clarified in the book of Romans.

Drawn to Jesus’ truth, His wisdom and kindness as evidenced in the gospels, as His warnings and insight to deceit and fear, I asked Him into my heart. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in…” (Revelations 3:20 NIV)

Peace settled in my mind and spirit, sleep ensued, and I experienced harmony with others closest to me. I woke daily and read my Bible like a first cup of coffee in the morning. I couldn’t start the day without it.

 “For you Lord will light my candle. The Lord my God will lighten my darkness,” a young King David sang in Psalm 18:28 (NKJV)

The music in my soul stirred. With unexpected wonder. I read these words, aware of the new song rising inside me. I met the same Wonderful and wise God to follow into forever, who loved me and everyone in my world with forgiveness, healing and hope. He pierced my darkness and continued to do so. Through the darkest nights, I have always known His light.

Candles bring comfort even in death, as we note at vigils surrounding grief.

As you curse the darkness know there is a Light. He made the stars, including one that shone over His birthplace 2000 years ago—wise men followed that star to find Him.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

 

 

December Blues – When Single and Waiting

The yearning to build our own family is as natural as the birds gathering twigs building their nests for spring in anticipation of their brood coming.

It can feel futile in fall anticipating holidays that represent the presence of family and loved ones—if we are single and waiting to meet someone and start our own family, it can feel like it is happening again—a Christmas without the mate we have praye

December, a long time ago I journaled the difficulties of my heart. Though time has passed and I now enjoy the daily presence of my faithful mate, I still remember the dead-end dating situation at the time and how I tried to guard my heart and stay open! Looking back how I journaled it was a constant meditation of good thoughts and quips that buttressed my hope to not settle and waited for or hoped to meet and share life…and these significant family times.

“Lord, I’m so tired of men liking me for what I can give them. Prayers, spiritual support. Let this man’s intentions be revealed

Isaiah 62:12 “and you will be called sought after, the city no longer deserted”

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “the enemy will play tricks on you while you wait. “You see, it’s not worth the wait! “

Remember, God is not accidentally late. His delays are intended. Never does He forget. He definitely delays the fulfillment. He knows what He’s about.

“Be Still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” Psalm 37:7

“There is no God beside you who acts on behalf of those who wait patiently for Him.” Isaiah 64:3

Wait to let God act on our behalf.

After a night shift at the hospital, I listened to lyrics from a song from the radio on the drive home. “Breaking my heart again, I needed to cry.” It paralleled my current situaion, “Yes, I am back in the same place again. The same song with this man.”

I had been in a vicious cycle. Making men my trust and then disappointment. Despair facing me again. Only God can be the One I lean on. And yet I had to believe there were men of integrity I could trust. God used Chuck Swindoll, who is still on Christian radio KFIA. “God doesn’t like to see us squirm. He’s waiting to fulfill those desires He put there.”

And my Each New Day devotional by Corrie ten Boom. “Keep constant guard over your heart and mind as they Rest in Christ Jesus. Worries carry responsibility that belong to God, not to you. Worry does not enable us to escape evil. It makes us unfit to cope with it when it comes. You may see all the reasons for failure, but God sees all the reasons for success. CTBoom

When Abraham was given the promise of children, he waited with Sarah.for years. He tired in the process and as customary took his wife’s maidservant to have his first child. Abraham should have told Sarah when she tired of waiting. “Wait. Let’s not walk out on our own. Let’s get on our knees and tell God how hard it is to wait. Let’s take it to God.”

The prayer with that devotion from Each New Day, hit the nail again. “Give us willingness to wait. Quiet our spirits. Grant us faith. Bring us to our knees in trust. You make all things beautiful in your time. Helps us to wait. Not try to hurry the process. Trust God more than our own understanding with a ruthless trust.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that by (our steadfast and patient) endurance and the encouragement drawn from Scripture we might hold fast to and cherish hopeRomans 15:4

Prepare-Enrich Conflict Resolution

             Today’s class on resolving conflict at our church really punched a pack. Hard to believe I do not remember learning these stages of conflict resolution when my husband and I attended our pre-marital counseling, Prepare-Enrich. It was refreshing to hear couples married a decade or two or three say they have revolving issues, and to see them practice some of these stages also. No doubt, we will all be able to practice these better in the weeks to come… and maybe some of you may want to try also.

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Notes from Prepare- Enrich Marriage Mentoring course 

CONFLICT- RESOLUTION

All couples have disagreements.

Studies show they are not related to marital happiness as much as how they are handled. Happy couples do not avoid disagreements, they resolve them while remaining respectful of each other, therefore strengthening their relationship. The first person sets the scenario for the other person’s response by the tone of their voice. ( if accusatory, sarcastic, derogatory)

The following stages provide an effective way to resolve conflict: Step by step.

1  Set aside a time and place. Agree to a time and place for discussion.                                                             Ie. “Can we find some time to talk about this?”

2  Define the issue/situation -be specific                                                                                 “I know you get a lot of enjoyment from watching sports, but I have felt we’re not                     connecting enough lately. I miss quality time with you.”

3  List the ways you both contribute to the problem.  This was the most difficult step for most in our class. To take the time and see how each contributes. i.e. The upset person contributes by not being open and honest, if, instead, they are seething inside…allowing thoughts like “he doesn’t even care about me.”

4  List Past Attempts (if any) to resolve the issue that were not successful.

5  Brainstorm possible solutions. Try to come up with 10 possible solutions to the situation. Do not judge or criticize any suggestions by each other. Don’t shut down brainstorming before it’s done. Write List.

6  Discuss and evaluate possible solutions. (be objective and give useful, constructive feedback)

7  Agree on one solution to try, and agree how you will work toward the solution. Sometimes it takes many attempts to find something that works and these problems repeat themselves.

8  Set up a meeting to follow up: Date , time, location. How is it working?

9  Be intentional– plan to meet again in a week or a month for follow-up.

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How to Use Time Out’s

Even with great communication, we still have conflict- because we can disagree. The point is it doesn’t have to be heated. Great communication is listening to understand. Avoid you statements, use I statements.  No you always, you never statements.  Start with affirmation. “I appreciate how you groom yourself and keep a nice appearance but I feel resentful when I have to pick up your clothes, feel I am the only one doing the laundry, etc.”

TIME-OUTs are from 20” to calm down up to a day… It takes 15 minutes for an anxiety attack to pass.

Recognize the need for time-out if : Face red. Breathing fast. Tears streaming. Fists clenched. Feel like screaming or throwing something. Afraid of partner’s intensity. Feel emotionally closed off.

Request a time-out–  for yourself. “I’m just too angry to talk right now. Please give me time to calm down and gather my thoughts”

Relax and Calm down. Deep breathing. Go for a jog or drive. Journal. Read. Pray. Don’t use the time to gather ammunition to come back and use against your partner!

Remember what’s important– identify what you’re thinking and feeling that became difficult to discuss.

Restate you are both a team. Your relationship wins when you both work toward solutions both of you feel good about!

 

The Pearl and the Worm. Five Wisdoms When Working Faster isn’t Helping

Have you ever sped up to accomplish tasks only to find you’re even more behind? Has the inefficiency of hurry led to greater worry? One frustrated 9 am hour God used two phone calls and uncomfortable questions to convince me to stop, step out of the chaotic current, and get still before God. I grabbed my Bible, a cup of coffee and let the story of a beautiful pearl and a worm–reorder my day to reasonable.Oahu water

1) Drivers feel guilty when timetables we set up are moved. We easily give into feelings that a day is ruined by our wastefulness, bad choices, etc.

Amy Carmichael talks about a marine worm that bore a hole from the outside of a shell into the heart of what would have been a great pearl, ruining it. A ruined pearl is worthless. That hole is wrought by a single tiny worm. She explained the moment we feel a worm crawling on our shell we can get rid of it. Ask God to sweep it off the moment it is there.

In the book Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis wrote about an elderly devil’s advice to his young nephew,Wormwood, in the business of shipwrecking Christians. We can all plain forget our enemy plants lies to worm his way into our psyche. The antidote is to stop dwelling on our shortcomings, which magnify the more we continue, but to dwell on the Word of God. He would rather we live at peace with Him and the acceptance His love produces, than chide ourselves for not checking off a list of unrealistic goals. It begins with simple prayer.

 

2) Recommit the day to the Lord with a Surrender of Time. “In Your time, in Your will now God. I offer my expectation for when these goals are completed. Do what You want through a restful spirit, a spirit whole in Christ not bore with frenzy and nothing-being-good enough—because I’m already behind schedule.” In this surrender of time we can experience what God wants us to have above all, the peace of Christ.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… (Col.3:16), not the voice of Wormwood, but the voice of God.

 

3) Question what is the work God has given? What is it, really?

It’s easy to feel we’re not doing enough if we are overachievers, especially if there are times in our life we have seemingly stretched time to the 25th hour… and God has been gracious and allowed it. Now with an unrealistic picture, negativity and feeling inadequate, can pervade everything. Everyone around us is affected also. It’s the worm conjuring up the unrest of underachievement.

Paul wrote to Archipus, See to it that you complete the work you have been given (Colossians 4:17)  Would God give me more than I can handle? He knows my body aches, the child’s sick…or the dog, the paper’s due, the car light’s out. Would He give grace? Does he know me better than me? Does he love me, more than me?  Could it be possible that the work God has given to me to do today is only 2 out of the 7 things I wrote on my list the night before? Could  I go about my day a bit more unburdened without the pressure of those 5 things on that piece of paper I planned to finish.

Do we overload ourselves? (Imperfect pearl created and infinitely loved and cherished by  Creator God)  If His grace is not keeping up with these burdens—maybe it’s time to Let Go. Let go of burdens too heavy to carry. His grace is not sufficient for my goals. Who is in the driver’s seat?

As one mother of seven explained in her Letting Go moment, “We don’t have to have it altogether. It was an illusion to think we were that perfect pearl anyway,”

 

4) Give the power back to God. Acknowledge anything that happens today is because of God’s power, will and intervention—not by my abilities or strength.

Even the worm is bigger than us… without God. His ability to invade our mind with doubt, unbelief and all the self thoughts: self-will, self-centered, self-pity, self-loathing are endless and persistent. Amy Carmichael talked about the flood of God.

Isaiah 59:19  For he (God) will come like a pent up flood, that the breath of the Lord drives along.(KIV)  God’s flood sweeps the worm off; he disengages that sticky stubborn worm by His command. His power wash can blast that worm from our shell much more effective than our tedious scraping or pathetic poking in our own efforts.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Paul addresses our enemy’s undoing; “Our Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” It is Christ in us now, the one greater than us, who is greater and able to overcome the worm crawling on our shell.

My mother-ship friend mused, “How horrible we start to feel about ourselves if we engage in that battle. If we tend to go, go, go with our own agenda and think it’s us (ordering our days) and then we crash… and it’s not us. We don’t have to do it in our power, like 2Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. It’s always His power anyway, His ability to work through our inability, His grace in our weakness.”

The whole message of our Christian life is I can’t do this. Living outside of Christ  lacks life—the eternal values of living in His love and loving myself and others. Of  acting and living by faith that He is working and moving with me in completing the tasks given, and the feeling of hope, that hope does not disappoint.

 

5) Trust in the Lord and Lean not on our own Understanding

As reasonable and rational creatures we think, OK, so if I give up this time here, then there goes that time there. And if this doesn’t happen, how will that happen God?

So God reminds us He is the All-Wise God. He lives in a Higher place and sees the broad perspective that defines wisdom. His mind is not stuck, clogged with dirt or corrosion over time when we have piled up unconfessed sin and clogged our mental filter. Who is better equipped to make decisions for the day, the week… this season?

When we download our mess and confess. When we can offer Him a cleansed heart and opened Mind again as He restores us and renews us. Then we give Him the worth of His Crown, Lord of Lord, and King of our life. We are re-instated to the vital fellowship and connection to Him above the daily connections we think we must make before we can freely accept the gift of His love. We cast our cares on God. If He rearranges our week, what an adventure it will be. Corrie ten Boom says that the life of faith, is a Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him.

We live in trust all things, even convoluted days, will work together for good in some way by His power and grace. It is a daily release of our plans. A release of our weakness. A trust His Might and love are enough to cover everything that happens in a day committed to Him. Trust all things work together for good to those who love God… and who are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28

 

No little worm can mess with God’s pearl of great price. His mind and His Words are too strong. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb 4:12,13