Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring?

It snowed today, but may be 79 degrees this week-end. That has gOt to be confusing to the birds! 



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vision Beyond Borders - Saturday Volunteers



This picture hangs in the entry of the warehouse and offices at Vision Beyond Borders. I thought you would like it.

As I have told you before, Vision Beyond Border's main mission is to deliver Bibles to places where they are not freely available. Often, this means someone has to put their own safety and freedom at risk in order to do it.

When carrying out their mission they so often became aware of needs of the people they are meeting.  This led to them taking on many challenges as they try to help in other ways. They help with orphanages. They have safe houses and work to rescue women from the sex trade. They deliver clothes, shoes, seeds and more, depending on the needs. 

Saturday morning a group of us from our church gathered at the Vision Beyond Borders Warehouse to work once again on repackaging seeds to donate to people who are deprived of the ability to purchase their own seeds.  We are repackaging them so they take up less room for shipping or delivering via someone's suitcase. It also demonstrates they are not being taken in to sell in stores. The bottom line is, there are thousands and thousands of seed packets. We are stubborn people who want to finish this project we started, even though it turned out to be a much bigger project than we expected.



These are all people with busy lives. These are people who could surely find things they need to do for themselves on their fee Saturday. Yet, they came. Once again, they stayed longer than they meant too as well. 



These people, these friends from church, are the cream of the crop.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Does Dad Know Where We Are?





We seem to be people who acquire quirky dogs.  Maybe all dogs are quirky. Maybe that is the second best thing about a dog. The first, of course, is their extreme loyalty all wrapped up in pure joy.

I have told you a lot about Bode's ability to chew and eat pretty much anything. He started right off by eating our plastic vertical blinds.  That wasn't a good idea. He ended up with a partial bowel obstruction, which leads to all kinds of messy. A month or so after that, he did it all over again. We now have curtains.

Our last dog, Grady, was a wonderful family pet.  He had one giant flaw, though, which caused us a lot of worry. He was a gentle boy with us but he seemed to think all other dogs were a threat to his territory or his people. He was extremely protective. That is a good thing if you have a dangerous invader situation. It is a bad thing if you order a pizza. He also thought most people were a threat, at least at first. He thought WE were scary as well, if we wore hats! 

Anyway, with Bode, we really, really wanted to socialize him and keep him from being aggressive. Well, mission accomplished. Bode loves everyone!  A lot!  Sure, he will act protective with a stranger entering our home, but once he has met someone, they are soon his BFF.

Bode started out loving other dogs as well. He is crazy when our granddogs, Bumblebee and Betty come to visit. Early on, when out walking him, he wanted to greet all dogs and thought they would all be thrilled to play with him. Sadly, they sometimes had a different plan. 

We often encounter loose dogs when out walking, even though we have a leash law.  With our last dog, he would strain on the leash to get a fight started. He was fearless. Bode... Not so much. Bode may be playing it smarter, though. He simply freezes when approached by another dog. He lets them smell what they want. He does not make eye contact.  It usually works out ok for him but it is sad too see him so terrified.

Mike takes Bode for a daily walk. They have a route they enjoy and they know which yards have scary dogs.  Bode enjoy that walk.

Yesterday, I was off work early and we had a lovely day happening. I decided to treat myself and Bode to an afternoon walk. I upset him right away because I started off going the wrong way. He kept trying to explain to me that I was doing it wrong. It reminded me of a story about our daughter, Maria. 

When Maria was 2 years old we moved to the Seattle area for two years while Mike was in college out there. One day, I was driving Maria somewhere and decided to explore just a bit. When she realized we were off the route she knew, she became worried and was questioning my navigational skills. Finally, the loud little two year old voice from the car seat  behind me inquired, "Does Dad know where we are? "

Yesterday, I could tell Bode was wishing Mike was on the other end of the leash so he didn't have to be so worried.

I kept trying to walk with Bode on my left. He kept diving behind me, trying to get on my right. He was so adamant about it, I thought maybe Mike now walked him that way. I gave in to having him on my right and we continued on. He was fine for awhile. 

When we crossed the street and my right side was on the inside of the street, Bode then scrambled to my left side. It kind of felt like he wanted to protect me from the street traffic.

Wrong! 

I started to notice Bode's reaction each time we heard a dog bark. Thankfully most were behind a fence but Bode cringed and pulled away each time. It soon became apparent he wanted to keep me between him and the yards with dogs in them! Whatever, Dude!  


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sleepover Gone Awry

It has been a weird few days in these parts. I went to have a sleepover with Maria and her girls Friday night while their Daddy was out of town.


It was a beautiful evening so I took a few photos. I have been so lax lately, I feared I would be kicked out of the Grandma Club! 








At home Elise added a pretty new rock to the nature table at the end of their hall. I love that idea. They are always on the lookout for pretty things in nature.


I had a snuggly night with the girls. We watched little girl things on Netflix, enjoyed snacks and simply had a lovely time. At bedtime Cordelia wanted to go to sleep quickly so she could get up and enjoy more time together in the morning. Elise was a different story. She held my hand and chatted. And chatted. And chatted, pretty much up to the moment she dozed off. Sweet.

Maria and I enjoyed mother-daughter time the rest of the evening. It was wonderful. We just don't get enough of that anymore.

In the wee hours, though, things went awry. Elise woke up sick. I don't think she or Maria got much sleep.

In the morning Elise rallied a bit and tried to play outside with the glitter chalk but it soon became apparent she was not yet recovered.

We weren't outside long, though. The wind was bad enough we started worrying about tree limbs falling. I had read predictions of up to 60 mph winds, although I don't know if that really happened. It was really windy


I ended up staying another night. Eric want returning until today and Elise was pretty sick so I just stayed. I was glad I did as Elise needed all of her Mommy's attention as well as a little trip to the ER. (She is much better now. Maria may tell you more about that adventure in a day or so at littlethingsarebig.blogspot.com so check it out then. It isn't my story to tell.

Cordelia went to church with me this morning, even sat up front with the Worship Team. She was so sweet and cute and absolutely angelic. By our last song though, she was really scratching her tummy. As soon as we were done I took a peek at her tummy. Hives!

Yep. She was having a reaction to the antibiotic she was on for an ear infection. Good grief! Instead of going to Sunday School, she and I made a hurried trip to Walgreens for Children's Benadryl.  I dreaded telling Maria, with all she'd already dealt with.  Thankfully, Cordelia asked me to let her tell her Mommy about this herself. 

About noon today I left and came home. Their Daddy was on his way and things were looking up. The girls weren't yet well but all was under control. Still, it felt weird to leave. That is one of the crazy things about being a Grandma. I still feel very much like a mother and as a mother, would not leave my children when sick. But these are my grandchildren and they have a mother who is nearly super human in her ability to stay strong for them. It was time for this sleepover too end.

Get well soon, sweet girls.









Sunday, March 08, 2015

Today in Sunday School

Laura and I have been team teaching the High School Sunday School Class for a few years now. I think our original plan was to trade off every other Sunday but we rather enjoy teaching together so we are usually both there. We have such great discussions with the kids. They have a lot of deep thoughts and insights.

Today we were focusing on Philippians 4:6-7: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses a'll understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


These two verses are loaded with conversation starters! We talked about the kinds of things they were afraid of as children as well as currently. I will not betray their confidences, but they were very thoughtful with their answers. What would you list as childhood fears?  Adult fears?  

Both Laura and I had to admit we had not quite mastered that part about not worrying. We are trying, though. How about you? 

We discussed how scary things are made less frightening when we have someone with us. We talked about the fact that we really are never alone and can always call on God to envelope us in his love, cry out to Jesus for protection or to help us endure what we must.

And then there is that part about the peace of God. Peace can sometimes seem so elusive, yet we are promised a peace that surpasses our understanding. What do you think that means, exactly?  

I am especially fond of that last part. Our hearts AND our minds will be guarded?... In Christ Jesus?  I don'think I fully understand that concept, yet it makes me feel very loved, protected even.

Do you want to share any thoughts on these verses?

One thing I really enjoyed today was seeing the boys (the girls were all on a trip to Montana) encourage one another to share their fears. It was something to witness. We have had a front row seat to see these guys mature from squirrelly Jr High boys to young men of the church. I find that very encouraging for the future of the church.

Monday, March 02, 2015

I Love/Hate Snow



This is what it looked like at 5:00 pm tonight as I left work. Soon, there were flakes falling that were so big they almost qualified as snowballs. Really! It was a very wet snow and now and then I big cluster of flakes would plop down near me as I cleaned it off my vehicle. 

It was slow going on the way home. I saw people sliding around and as I entered our neighborhood the fire truck was heading out to help someone, probably someone who couldn't stop when they wanted to. I hope everyone is ok. I was glad to know "my people" were all safely tucked in at home.

I hate how ice and snow can make it so difficult (and scary) to travel, but I have to admit, It makes everything look so fresh and pretty. It is a kind of beauty many people in this world will never see. I'm going to focus on the beauty for now, because tomorrow we get to throw winds into the mix!

How is the weather where you are?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A Word From Pastor Mike

My computer is not healthy and it sometimes takes a lot of patience for me to type out a post on it. Today it is working fine, though, so I want to share an excerpt from Mike's Ash Wednesday Sermon. Lent is a time when we examine ourselves and it serves as a time to remind ourselves that we are sinners. His sermon also reminded us that there is HOPE!


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Lutherans teach that the Word of God is divided into two parts - Law and Gospel.

  •      The Law tells us that we have sinned and our sin means a penalty must be paid. The wages of sin is      death.
  •      The Gospel tells us that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin when we died on the cross. By grace you      have been saved, through faith, and this is not your own doing. It's the gift of God.

Christians live with tension. We are saints - We are sinners. We are capable of the greatest dreams and the worst nightmares. The Christian life is a balancing act. We need both law and gospel to keep us on the tightrope.

The Law has two uses.                                    

  •    To restrain us from wrong doing such as you shall not kill.
  •    The law is a mirror to show us that we have sinned. It also shows our need for a savior.

The Gospel is all about God acting for us. God forgives repentant sinners through Christ's death on the cross. Jesus opens the way to eternal life for all who will believe.

A new word that is being used quite a bit now is compartmentalize. That is, we have different compartments, or rooms of our lives. Some of the rooms in our lives need cleaning. Some of the rooms contain bitterness or gossip. In other rooms of our lives there is unforgiveness or selfishness. In still other rooms there is pride and arrogance. Who's going to clean up that mess? Or, are we just going to shut the door and pretend it isn't there?

Thank goodness we have a good maid. His name is Jesus. he can make the rooms of our lives clean and we can have a fresh start. Daily repentance, daily turning from sin, daily confession are all ways to stay in right relationship with God.

But, then we need to believe the Gospel.

  •    Believe that God forgives your sins for Jesus' sake.
  •    Believe that you are a believer.
  •    Believe that heaven is your home.
  •    Believe that God is not mad at you. Believe that God loves you.
  •    Believe that you are God's good creation.
  •    Believe that you can begin again even though you've sinned today.
  •    Believe that you are not bound by your past, your weaknesses, your failures, your negative thoughts.
  •    Believe that God is working in your life right now. God is making a new creation. God has good     plans for your life. You are forgiven and when your life here is done, you are going to live a new life with God and your loved ones in heaven forever.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Visiting Vision Beyond Borders


Yesterday Mike and I joined others for a tour of the newest Vision Beyond Borders facility. I am excited that it is right here in our town. I look forward to learning more about their work and having opportunities to volunteer on occasion. I am just so impressed wth this group and their "can do" attitude.  

I thought it quite appropriate that they had this huge map in their warehouse. There doesn't seem to be any place they won't go to be of service.


Yesterday we saw volunteers helping sort donated clothing that will be going to various countries to help people in need. They check for stains or missing buttons. I learned they have to sort in ways I would not have considered. For instance, they deliver clothing to Burma (Myanmar). There, the Karen people and other tribes face a military leaders who intend to exterminate them. Click on the link to learn more. This is a place where children have to hide in the forest for their own safety. They do not take bright colored clothing there because that would make them easier targets for bullets.  I am telling you, they are serving those in dire situations.


Their main focus is providing Bibles, free of charge, in the language of the recipients. That certainly isn't the end of it, though. Besides clothing, we saw them packaging health and hygiene kits. I know they do things for orphanages as well as helping women get out of sex trafficking.


Patrick, in the blue shirt, was telling us a story of answered prayer. He is often approached regarding unmet needs. Someone asked him if he could acquire 1,000 cassette tapes. That is an unusual request now days!  About 3 hours later he received a call from a woman in another town. She had 1,500 cassette tapes and wondered if he had any use for them!  I don't know, I just feel God is watching over these caring people.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Coming!

We have been having lots of snow and ice and WIND, always wind. Last night it was difficult even to get around town because of the ice and the emergency vehicles aiding those who slid into each other. But, there is hope. I saw it in my flower bed this week between snow storms.



Yes! Spring will come soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vision beyond borders - Seeds!

If you didn't already watch the YouTube video I posted yesterday, I hope you will go back and do that. It is about Vision Beyond Borders, a remarkable organization.

Our congregation has become increasingly active this year and many of the things we do, we do as a group of all ages. It has been really quite wonderful! I love it most when we are doing something for the good of others. Our congregation helps many organizations and our last project was to help Vision Beyond Borders.



Vision Beyond Border's main mission  is to deliver Bibles to countries around the world where people do not have access to Bibles. They deliver Bibles in the native language and in some instances that means hand-wind tape players to deliver the Gospel message to those who can not read.  They are often putting themselves in danger in order to do this! They have already delivered over 1 million Bibles!

They are often witness to many great needs and because of this, they have taken on other tasks as well. They partner along side Christians in other countries to accomplish many goals. One is to help women and children escape from the slave trade. Patrick Klein, founder, was telling me yesterday about an owner of a large brothel becoming a Christian and freeing those enslaved under her. They help provide safe houses as well as training for other ways to earn money.

One of their projects that we were able to be a part of this week-end is their seed project.



They have found that many are in need of seeds to use to grow things for their own food as well as to sell. When I went to church Saturday to package seeds, I really didn't understand what a big deal this is. Our church had stacks and stacks of boxes (54 of them) and each box was loaded with unsold seeds donated by seed companies.  Each box was stuffed with seed packets...80,000 of them!  Due to customs restrictions they are not able to take those packets into all countries. Our seeds were bound for Cuba. So, we had to repackage them into baggies.







Here's how that is accomplished...



We each had a cup and we'd line it with a baggie. We'd then open 10 matching seed packets and cut out the label from one of those packets to include in the baggie, seal and repeat. They were then grouped with like seeds and boxed up for delivery to Cubans in need. A large group of us worked on that all day Saturday and still did not quite complete our task!









Sunday after church Patrick Klein was telling me a story
about visiting a man some time after he'd received seeds
from Vision Beyond Borders. The man was standing proudly by his rows of carrots that were just coming up and he was
so happy, he was crying.

I can go to the store and buy seeds anytime I want.  It was
a good reminder to appreciate all that we have.

Vision Beyond Borders is an amazing organization. If you are interested in learning more, maybe even want to be a small part of it, please click here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vision Beyond Borders

We've been doing something important this week-end. It was not a big thing, really, but we felt we were a part of something huge. Actually, we were! I will tell you more about it tomorrow but for now, watch this video and you'll learn more about Vision Beyond Borders. Check back tomorrow to hear our small part in helping this group.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ballet With Elise


Our local rec center offers ballet classes for Cordelia's age, 5 year olds.  They do NOT offer ballet classes for 2 year olds but don't tell Elise. She is actually in a class that is about movement and tumbling and music. Parents are actively involved as well. Elise loves it and today I got to slip out of work to attend. Maria sat this one out and let me participate with Elise.  It was a sweet time with my youngest granddaughter!



On a side note, the teacher referred to me as Elise's mom... Twice.  I didn't correct her... Twice. Was that wrong?

When Eric arrived Elise called out, "Look, Daddy, I'm doing ballet!" She followed up with some little girl twirls.

Like I said, don't tell Elise there are no ballet classes for two year olds!



Thank you, Maria, for the photos.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday Dinner


How was your day yesterday? We had a lot to be thankful for, including a dinner out with family from out of town.  Having people to love and who love us is not something we should ever take for granted.