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When Women Wonder If They Can

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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!

 

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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?

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That Empty Nest

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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.
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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.
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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?
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While I am sitting here at the computer on my second full day home from Dubois, I am feeling bitter-sweet.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Actually, it is exciting to have them as friends, still in our lives, and time to be used otherwise.

This is the Year!

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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

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

A New Chapter

Glorious Autumn in the Mountains

Unbelievable that a whole summer has passed by and we are once again looking into the face of autumn. What a face it is this year, glorious russets, reds and yellows splashed against the dark emerald of evergreens. Several times in the last weeks, my breath was taken away by the views on my daily drives. However, this year the autumn is more meaningful to me for some reason.

We recently took son #2 to college (http://www.calbaptist.edu/about/) in California, a LONG ways from home. It was an emotional ride and I am just now beginning to see the reason it was so hard.

When we took our first son to college we took him to the first university I attended, just paces from the dorm I stayed in and loved 30 years ago. His choice in a college was just an hour or so from home.  (http://www.colostate.edu/). So, I did not feel like he was really leaving, just getting a new room in my “other” home. Also, Ft. Collins is on the way to our little motel so I would stop and visit as I went by often.

On the other hand, California is a fer piece from family and hearth. And, it is California, with earthquakes and so many people, twelve lane highways careening at a break neck speeds, and, and…well you get the idea.

In the weeks after we returned from the drop off, I was at our motel alone. Micah (son #3) and Mom-in-love Muff had gone home for school to start and Dave was holding down that fort (poor guy) while I finished the busiest month of the motel and closed her down for winter. I had some time to think and muse on the last 20+ years with my family. The weather was turning to fall, which for some reason always makes me long for home and the days when our kids were young.

Satan attacked with a vengeance, whispering in my ear the lines any mother post launch of a child dreads to hear. Questioning my parenting, our home environment and how we raised them up. For two weeks, I was devastated. I listened to those lies; because in every lie of the enemy there is a thread of truth dating clear back to the garden with Eve. He brought events to mind that I regret over the years and a parade of things I wish I had done differently flashed in my mind, even in my dreams.

Finally, my good friend Charlene called to check on me. I shared with her what was happening. She was there for most of those years and knew the inside story of most all the stories. She immediately identified it as an attack from the enemy. She pointed out that our boys had parents who love them and cared for them. She said we provided all we could and reminded me that GOD will use anything that we did wrong to grow them into the men He will call them to be. She reminded me that GOD is in control not me. She pointed out that most importantly we introduced each of them to JESUS, lover of their souls. What a gift that conversation was. We prayed, and after she hung up, I prayed again. I asked GOD to use any of the things we did wrong, any generational curse we kept going to stop with this generation. I was exhausted, not just from the 16-hour workdays at the motel, but from the emotional roller coaster I had just ridden for weeks.

Autumn is in full swing here and I am back at home. Seeing the beauty GOD creates, I noticed that the backdrop of the dark colored evergreens makes it more beautiful. I am praying as I have for years that our boys remember the good things about their childhoods. I remembered that hidden in the colors of fall and death of the season is the promise of spring and a new chapter in our lives.

The truth that life is but a breath and we are here for such a short ride is becoming more and more obvious to me these days. I am thankful for friends He has placed in my life to help me ride the waves and for the dear children He entrusted to our care so many years ago. AND- I am in constant prayer for ALL OUR CHILDREN, yours too. :0)

Check out this video by Trace Adkins and if you still have babies at home…enjoy every minute. These are the memories you will cherish in years to come.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBDN8yWyNYU

Life is Short

On Friday we attended the funeral of a new friend. He came to our church a little over a year ago, and we had the pleasure of being in a Small Group Study of The Prodigal GOD (an excellent book by the way) with he and his wife for several lessons a few weeks before his passing. He was by all accounts in excellent health, and only 63 years young.

On Easter Sunday we had a house full of friends and family. Soon after we finished dinner our pastor received the call that this dear man had passed. We all joined together at that moment and prayed for his family. It was the oddest thing; he seemed so healthy and alive. He was in the service that morning thrilled that his whole family was with them for Easter. His wife told me he was beaming all day, so happy to be all together. And then…gone.

The whole week before the service I couldn’t get out of my head how minuscule our life here on the planet really is. We go along acting as if we have endless days and time to do all the things we want and feel called to do. But it is not so. Even if we live to a ripe old age, it’s not enough time. I want to resolve to live as if I had only a week left all the time. Because you never know.

At the funeral several of his former pastors, who had traveled far to be there, got up and shared what an impact this dear one had on them, their lives and ministries. One shared that on the property behind his home there are wooded acres. In the middle is a clearing and in the middle of that clearing is an enormous old oak tree. An ancient tree over 6 feet in girth and huge, with limbs stretching for a long ways.  The canopy rises above the other trees and gives much shade. It is a strong, deep rooted tree that has stood the test of many storms.

He said that is how he saw Dave, the same deep rooted, strength that comes when one has trusted his Savior for all. Storms had come and gone and he only grew in his faith and wisdom. Wow! To be a canopy for others, to be strong and deep rooted and to point all we meet to the Savior who has everything under control. I was moved, and sad that I had only known Dave for such a short time.

Let us resolve to know JESUS more; to trust Him more and to point all we meet to the One who has all under His control. In the easy times and in those weak moments of dark, earthly distress and discomfort I want to point all I meet to my JESUS, the lover of our souls.