Toes Up!

IMG_8887

I am sooo loving the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer! And here is why…

After being so sick this winter that I had to quit my job, thus bringing in no income to defray the winter bills for the motel. I felt like I failed.

So fatigued from this mystery illness that has twice had me in the ER. Add to that what seems like a million tests ($$$), and still no definitive answers. Which quite frankly was making me feel a bit like a hypochondriac. I attended more doctors’ appointments in the last months than in the 10 years previously combined.

I spent money we couldn’t afford to go to Mexico to finally get my teeth, and the last implant fell out minutes before my new dentures were to go in. 😞 I came home with no new teeth and no money.  (I took Tetracycline as a child A LOT because I was allergic to Penicillin and had persistent strep, so all my teeth had to come out).

I didn’t even complete any home fix up projects (we are so behind on those) or set up my new studio to paint or write the book I am so excited to write…on and on it goes.

Because of the stress of not producing, I was not even feeling rested and ready to pick up where I left off. In fact, I was feeling a bit (okay a lot) like a failure.

I have been praying A LOT. Begging for wisdom, asking God to show me what He wants me to do and how to handle EVERYTHING.

In the wake of this HARD, SNOWY, DARK WINTER this is what I learned:

MY VALUE IS NOT DETERMINED BY WHAT I DO OR DO NOT PRODUCE.

God is our provider, not Liz or even Dave. We have seen His hand of provision in miraculous ways this winter. Ways that even a non-believer in my best friend Jesus would have a hard time writing off as a coincidence. I could tell you stories!

A long time ago, a dear wise friend, (Janice York) cautioned me to slow down. She said if we don’t take time to rest and seek His wisdom for what He would have us do; He has a way of getting our attention by getting us “Toes Up” for a while.

So here I have been, TOES UP this long, bleak winter seeking Him for what He would have me do.

I am hopeful:

that this coming season at the motel I will work smarter not harder;

that He will send good help to aid me in my quest to achieve this goal;

that I will remember to put my relationship with Him first, before any tasks I may “need” to do;

that He will send the business we need to be successful this year, so that we can even more than usual, reward our employees as they deserve for their hard work;

that Dave and I will be wise in all, and that we will be together in every decision;

that we will make All the guests that comes to the Inn feel the love of Christ through each of us;

that my love for Jesus will shine through to every person I meet, both in Dubois, and to each of our guests and friends;

that my hope in Him will be revealed at every opportunity, to all I meet.

Usually, my to do list for the motel season is chocked full of tasks, and we of course have those too, we have to “run the business”. But this year my focus is a bit different.

This year, I want my witness to be of someone who Loves Jesus unashamedly, boldly, with the evidence of this relationship to be that of a changed life, one that honors Him and everyone I am honored to “make s’mores around the campfire with”.

How about you? What are your goals for this upcoming summer? I entreat you to take the advice of my friend Janice (and virtual friend Priscilla Shirer) to seek Him first so you can learn from my mistakes and avoid a TOES UP episode. 😉

fullsizeoutput_3bd1

From Fervent by Priscilla Shirer Page 141

Advertisements

When Women Wonder If They Can

black bear front

Dawn Wilson asked me to be a guest on her blog; Upgrade with Dawn. Here is the link to the article that resulted from that invitation.

If you have ever wondered if you can do something God has called you to do, this ones for you!

 

http://www.upgradewithdawn.com/blog/2015/5/19/when-women-wonder-if-they-can.html

What I didn’t have time to log in her interview was how many times we failed at so many things before we succeeded. We were several years in the red, endless improvements that I didn’t know how to fix had us so discouraged at times. But what we learned is that perseverance pays off.

We were determined to make it work. Author Andy Andrews said that a person who doesn’t have a decided heart finds a way out when the going gets tough but a person who has a decided heart finds a way where there is no way.

So the thing that really matters is that we never give up!

 

black bear 2014 3

 

We leave at dark thirty in the morning tomorrow to Dubois to open the motel, the thought of it makes me excited…and tired. We WILL perservere, will you?

That Empty Nest

july 2006 109

Seems minutes ago we were on family adventures.

Just home from our family motel, near Yellowstone (www.theblackbearinn.com; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Bear-Inn/110109045742245?ref=bookmarks ) where there is hardly time to go to the bathroom, let alone mourn an empty nest. But now I am home and an empty nest is what I am feeling.

Even tho two of ours are still under our roof, for a few more months anyway, everything is different. They are different. I am different.
 *
I miss all the fun we had, but I also know that a new kind of sharing and fun is on the horizon.
This article (http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2014/08/16/was-sun-and-kids-were-planets/CuFppWNVG6fqJFFmfYMi8J/story.html) sent to me by my friend Cindy Walker pretty much nailed it, with a few  exceptions.
  *
For their whole lives I have prayed over and wondered how God would use them and now as they strike out on their own, we are getting closer to finding the answer to that and several other questions. Will they put into practice all we tried to impart to them? Will they be happy, will they be men of honor? Will they love God and live for Him? Will they marry, have babies of their own? What career path will they choose?
 *
While I am sitting here at the computer on my second full day home from Dubois, I am feeling bitter-sweet.
  *
A long time ago, a dear friend shared with me that every morning she gives her kids to God and thanks Him for the time she has shared with them knowing full well that they are on loan from above. After the initial shock of that thought, I also gave mine to Him in my prayers.
 *
I am in prayer daily that He will lead, guide protect and direct our kids as they head out into this big, scary world that seems to be spinning out of control lately. I am giving them to the One who made them and am trusting that He has their backs.
  *
Still, even with that full knowledge in my mind, my heart grieves as the weather turns and home and hearth goes front and center. Things, as odd as it seems, that I will miss…giving them rides home from practices, games and everywhere; dinners around our table with all the boys, Grammie, Dave and me; the fun interactions with the parents of their friends at games and activities; hysterical laughter pouring from rooms in our house; the noise that accompanies three boys and that feeling when they are all tucked in their beds, safe under our roof.
  *
When we had 3 in diapers my dear Mom-in-Love cautioned me  “Enjoy every minute you have with them Liz, because once they go to school it is a snap and they will be off to college.” It didn’t seem possible then, but someone must have snapped because they are all in college now.
  *
If you have, like us, taken your last kid on a college tour, hang in there. While this is the end to one chapter, it is also the beginning of another. I don’t believe it is the end of the book, just another chapter. We will adjust. We will adapt and we will all find that God has jobs for us to do that we couldn’t while parenting all those wonderful kids in our charge.
 *
Actually, it is exciting to have them as friends, still in our lives, and time to be used otherwise.

This is the Year!

100_6268

Happy New Year!

On New Year’s Eve, I woke with a start after having an intense dream, whose details have departed my consciousness. For the first time in months, maybe even a couple years, I felt excited for the New Year. I couldn’t say why exactly, I don’t remember the dream I just had this incredible feeling that 2013 was the year that will start a revival in our country.
The very next morning, New Year’s Day, I woke again from a powerful dream so vivid I was sure I would remember the details, but I can’t. All I remember, or know, is that 2013 will start a revival in our country and that it is going to get darker before we see it happen. I was so excited as I believed I would have a part in it somehow.
The last few years I have resided in the valley of wait and sometimes despair. Now I see how God was working but at the time, I was frustrated, sad and upset at the circumstances. Kids heading off to college in faraway lands, elections that disappoint, personal and family issues abounding. We were under attack.
Another example, a few years ago, because of my Bible Study pals at Mardel I wrote a Bible Study about Trusting GOD for us to use. The research and writing of it changed my life. I knew once and for all that GOD is trustworthy. That he is in control, and everything He does or allows has a purpose. I believed I trusted Him completely. Several groups that used the study loved it and reported back to me that I should definitely get it published. I presented it at CCWC and several editors took it saying they liked the format and content. None has rejected or contracted it yet. Wait.
By several miraculous events too numerous to detail today, I was invited and provided the resources to go to the Christian Communicator’s Conference fall 2010. The week changed my whole outlook. Taught by remarkable ladies and attended by amazing women who became sisters that week, I came away from South Carolina convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am to be a speaker and writer for Him and His glory. I believe I am to teach woman about the trustworthiness of our amazing SAVIOR and my best friend JESUS. When I returned I did everything I learned. I started this blog, redid my website, created a “one sheet”, marketed my speaking topics to several hundred churches in our area and several other activities they suggested. Yet, save a very few speaking engagements…the valley of wait.
Then there was the melancholy, family strife and seemingly unending attacks on us by satan and his minions over the past year.
So on New Year’s Day when I was given this vision of revival I felt compelled to get myself on the radio and tell everyone who would listen that we as believers need to do everything we can to become solid in our faith. So solid that nothing will be able to shake us. We need to be ready, so that when the light dims, His light will shine brightly through us. We need to solidify our trust in a SAVIOR so amazing that we can be a vehicle He uses to propel our country into the next great awakening!
Then to all who will hear. Get Ready. Get Solid, Rock Solid. Let’s stand on the ROCK and be ready to stand firm no matter how dark it gets!
Happy New Year 2013

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks for Amazing Blessings!
The Crew (part of it)Unbelievable but when I went to post today’s blog I realized that this post never hit the wall. So late as it might be here is the Thanksgiving Post…
Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year! 
Such a sensory rich experience; the smells of turkey roasting, stuffing baking, pies browning; the tastes of pumpkin, dips with assorted edible spoons to nibble; the sights of happy reunions of much loved ones and colorful autumn leaves around; but most of all the sounds of laughter and happy chatter. 
Last Thanksgiving we had our two oldest boys who are in college home with many of their friends and many beloved family and friends join us.
After dinner and dessert about half of the guests had to leave but 15 or so stayed and we played Apples to Apples. At one particularly hysterical moment I leaned over to my oldest sons friend and said “Look at that Adam.” As I pointed to the guests around our big table. “Don’t you just love seeing all of them laughing and having such fun?” He smiled back at me and answered with a grin, “It’s what keeps me coming back every year.” 
I was stunned, I thought it was my cooking-ha ha-and everyone else’s as everyone brings such amazing dishes every year, that kept all those teens feet under our table. Later after everyone had gone home I mused over Adam’s observation. 
We are social creatures, created to be in relationships with others and with our creator. In Hebrews 10:25 it says “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 
I believe it would be safe to say the day is definitely approaching. Let us not forsake the meeting together as the verse encourages. Let us rather rejoice in every opportunity that presents itself to reach out especially to those who have not met their Savior yet. Happy Thanksgiving.

Vote!

 

On this eve of Election Day 2012 in our great land, I beseech you to turn out and vote. Vote your values. Vote for those you think most closely share yours. Even if you think neither of the candidates match your values, then choose the ones that most closely do.

My dear husband pointed out that if GOD’s word clearly states things He values, like life and honesty, and it clearly does, then will we followers of Christ be held accountable to Him for shirking our responsibility in holding our leaders to the Biblical values we were founded on? Sobering thought.

I don’t want to stand before my Best Friend Jesus and say, “Sorry I didn’t stand up for You. I was too tired or too lazy or too anything.”

As we head to the polls, please pray for our country, pray that we will honor GOD in all we do and all we say. I am praying for a revival that rivals any the USA have ever seen. Join me?

And GOD SPEED!

Guest Author Interview with Mary Englund Murphy

 Greetings! My Women’s Bible Study is currently studying Joseph, Beyond the Coat of Many Colors, written by my writer friend Mary Englund Murphy. We are loving it!

Below is an interview with her regarding the study. Check it out if you are looking for a Bible Study for your group. Leave a comment and one blessed person will receive a free copy. 

  • Joseph is such a well known Biblical figure; there must be numerous books and Bible studies on him. What prompted you to write this study?

There are a many books, but few Bible studies devoted entirely to his story. Several authors include a “Joseph” chapter, but few studies are entirely devoted to him.

  • Your title is intriguing “Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors”. What does your subtitle suggest?

I spent four years studying and writing about Joseph and I was amazed at the new insights I gained when I put my preconceived ideas aside. Many of us who were raised in church have what I call a Sunday school or flannel graph view of Joseph and therefore we miss many of the treasures that are found in a deeper study of his life. We often visualize him as a little boy dressed in a multi-colored striped bathrobe. This Bible study goes way beyond all the preconceived notions about Joseph.

  • Give us a brief overview of Joseph’s story for those who may not be familiar with the Bible?

Joseph’s story is found in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. He was the eleventh, and favorite, of the twelve sons of Jacob and was literally despised and hated by his brothers. When Joseph was seventeen years old, his father gave him the famous coat. The brothers plotted to murder Joseph but ended up selling him to slave traders. He spent thirteen years as a slave and a prisoner in Egypt until Pharaoh heard that he could interpret dreams. When Joseph gave Pharaoh God’s interpretation he was promoted to second in command of the nation. Joseph saved the country from famine and eventually was reunited with his family and brought them to Egypt.

  • Okay, so Joseph had a few very trying years, but look how it all turned out for him – wealth, prestige, honor, a wife and children, and he was restored to his family. Anyone could make it through a few difficulties with all that in their future, right?

That’s exactly what I was referring to previously. We tend to view Joseph from an overall perspective – the favored child, the multi-colored coat, some conflict with his brothers, a few rough years in Egypt, then promotion to wealth and prosperity. Sometimes we think he persevered with virtually no emotional issues, but the Scriptures indicate that he did he have challenges with the same things we struggle with like shattered hopes and depression. Joseph was a great man but he had feelings just like the rest of us.

  • The term “blended family” is used to describe families that have step-children and step-parents or half-siblings or step-siblings. How do you see Joseph fitting into those categories?

Joseph’s father Jacob simultaneously had two wives and two concubines, and all four women produced children. Though culturally acceptable, there were jealousies and conflict galore. Joseph’s family gave new meaning to the blended and dysfunctional family. This Bible study addresses many of those issues.

  • In this area, you can relate to Joseph. Tell us a little about your family background.

I was born into a broken/blended home. My parents were married a total of 10 times. I’ve had 3 stepfathers, two stepmothers, and 21 step, half and adopted brothers and sisters. In fact, my own family background is one of the primary reasons I decided to write about Joseph; I can relate to him in so many areas.

  • You recently received some good news in regard to your Joseph Bible study. Can you share that with us?

“Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors” won the 2012 SELAH award for best Bible study. This book is my heart of hearts so it was especially meaningful and a true honor.

  • Many of the books and studies about Joseph focus on grace and forgiveness. Can you talk about some of the other things we can learn from his life?

His story is a wealth of information on raising children, dealing with jealousy, disappointments, peer pressure, sexual purity, employee/employer relationships, and what to do when you feel like God doesn’t care.

  • Is this study just for women?

Definitely not! It can be used for individuals, group Bible studies, and Sunday school. I recently heard of a couple who co-taught it in their couple’s class. You can do the study in eight weeks but I recommend taking it slow and more in-depth.

  • What primary message do you want people to take away from this study?

To understand God knows the end of your story just as He knew the end of Joseph’s. Don’t give up; remember God is working in your life with purpose just as He did in Joseph’s. God isn’t finished with you yet.

  • Where is the study available?

At your local book store or http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Beyond-Following-Through-Character/dp/0899573339/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1