Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New life

Today, I'm on vacation and I've had the wonderful opportunity to see professional photographs of our new little grandson, Matthew David.
Now, I know that I'm a proud grandma, but if you want to see God's marvelous handiwork take a look at these photos:
There are photos of a closet project at the top of this file and then down below are photographs of Matt and his mommy and daddy.
I'm amazed as a look at the tiny fingers and toes and at his wide-eyed expression. He has the whole world ahead of him now. As he grows and learns about the world around him, I pray that I'll be a good grandma who will help point him toward a relationship with God.
I'm looking forward to many fun days.
At the same time, I'm reading about the death of schoolteacher Jill Richardson. She lost a tough battle with cancer. She was a lovely Christian woman and we know she's in a better place, but my heart goes out to her husband and three young children.
Life is short and fragile.
We are so blessed to have our God, who is faithful and guides us through all the phases of our lives. He is true to his word. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is our comfort and strength.
So as we navigate through this obstacle course we call life, we should hold tight to the hand and listen for the voice of the only one who really can get us through - and take us to our eternal home.
I think I know one thing I will need to make sure and help teach little Matthew: About how very important it will be for him to love and trust his God.
"All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.



Friday, September 24, 2010

Fathers and Sons

Read my latest Spiritual Spinach column in the Fremont Tribune

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fears and furnaces

These men stood strong even amid trials

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our new grandson

After what seemed like a very long time (well ... 9 months) our first grandchild, Matthew David, was born on Sept. 14.
Naturally, I think he's absolutely adorable! He's got the cutest little upturned nose and brown hair that's as soft as peach fuzz. He's a good baby. Doesn't cry much. Makes cute, funny little faces when he's sleeping.
He was born at the new Methodist Women's Hospital and I'm just amazed by all the technology and monitors. We're so blessed to be in a country with so many medical advances.
And did I tell you how much this baby is loved?
He has two sets of grandparents and three sets of great-grandparents and three uncles and an aunt. Our kids also have lots of friends.
I don't think this child is going to want for much - which is wonderful!
But then I think about all the little children born into the world without hardly anyone to care for them. It makes me sad.
One thing I know - God loves them dearly. They are precious in his sight.
After all, he made them.
Which reminds me of something else: Bible verses in the Old Testament book of Psalms. They're found in chapter 139, starting with verse 13.
They read:
"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Welcome to the world, little Matthew.
Your grandma loves you!
Dear Lord,
Please guard and guide and protect my grandson, Matthew. Lord help him to grow up to be a Godly man who loves you with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Please let him be a happy child with a great sense of humor and a sunny disposition. Let him be a thankful and joyful person who loves to walk with you - pray to you, read and study your word and who listens to your voice. May he be an obedient person who loves to do your will.
Lord please let him marry a Godly woman and let them have Godly children and grandchildren who will love and serve you all the days of their lives.
May Matthew David - your beloved gift to us - serve you all of his days and may he dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Standing firm

It wasn't the assignment I asked for.
Not really.
Years ago, I opted to be an editor - perhaps more out of pride than anything. But when I started in journalism, I figured I'd stay a reporter until I retired.
Anyway, I've certainly discovered the ups and downs of being an editor. It can mean really long hours, stress and lots of responsibility.
I've often said that much of my character has been formed in the fiery furnace that is a newsroom.
Now, it's not that a newsroom can't be a fun place. Reporters and editors are well-read, knowledgeable, fun, smart people. But there are deadlines and pressure and equipment that doesn't always work and sources who don't call back when you need them to.
And when you're working with people, you're working with different temperaments, backgrounds, philosophies and stress-tolerance levels.
Sometimes there are fireworks in a newsroom even when you have the best people to work with and managing a group of intelligent, talented people can be a challenge at best.
Trust me when I tell you that the long hours, larger workload and potential for all kinds of "stuff" isn't something I look forward to when my boss is gone and I'm in charge.
I've been in charge for the last two weeks and after my boss was injured in a fall, it looks like I'm going to be at the helm for a while.
Knowing this, I've been doing a little reading.
The other day I paused to re-read a segment in "Front Line - A Daily Devotional Guide for Christian Leaders" by Carolyn Tennant, a teacher, preacher, administrator and writer.
The segment is called "Tea Bags."
In this segment, she compares leaders to tea bags and says that their true strength comes out under hot water. She basically says that we don't know how strong we are until a crisis occurs and then we find inner strength from God who gives us what we need to lead people.
She directs her readers to the story of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea. It's found in the book of Exodus, chapter 14. In this account, the Israelites and their leader are in a really tough spot. On one side of them is a sea and on the other is the Egyptian army which is bearing down hard on them. The Israelites become terrified and start asking Moses the "What have you done to us" question.
But our God-following leader stays steady and tells his people to do the same.
"Do not be afraid," he says. "Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring to you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14: 13-14.)
Carolyn talks about what a brave promise this was. At this point, Moses didn't know what God was going to do.
Just continue reading the passage. It's after Moses makes his brave statement - and not before - that God tells him to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea and then it will part so the Israelites can go through on dry ground to the other side.
Carolyn says how leaders often stand by themselves against incredible odds.
And like Moses, they don't have all the answers.
Yet she encourages us to stand firm (like Moses) and not give up. She also urges us not to forget God's power, creativity and ability "to perform the impossible in the face of unbelievable odds." She states how critical it is that we take a stand and know that what we need will be there in the midst of pressure - and that the people will place their trust in God and their leader.
I love Carolyn's writing and I think I need to start reading more of her devotional and to review what I've already read.
Carolyn has a great way of reminding me that leaders like Esther, David and Nehemiah faced great odds, but overcame them.
Because God was their strength.
And he's our strength today, too.
We just need to lean on the God who parts seas and commands us to stand firm and trust him.



Songs of Grief & Songs of Praise

Here's my Spiritual Spinach from this week.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I've been caught!
I recently wrote this on my Facebook and Twitter:
"Ask God for peace and then let him give it to you. Quit rehearsing those worries in your mind. Concentrate instead on his love and goodness."
My pastor then asked if I was preaching to myself.
He sure caught me.
When I wrote that I think I was talking to myself as much as anybody. I have a habit of praying for peace and then worrying afterward. It's not that I can't feel the peace that God gives, but then sometimes I really have to work hard to keep other thoughts from creeping in. I have to make a conscious decision - sometimes more than once - that I'm not going to worry about something that "could" happen in the future.
Lately I'm having to remind myself to concentrate on Jesus (certainly to pray to him) and then not to lose that focus and start looking at whatever storm may - or may not - be brewing around me.
I need help with this, because it doesn't come naturally. So I need to pray:
"Dear Lord,
Please help me to keep my focus on you and your word. Help me to concentrate on you. Help me to pray BEFORE I let myself get caught up in a whirlwind of worry. Please give me the peace that passes all understanding and guard my heart and mind in you."
Thank you Lord for your many blessings!
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:2.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7.