Saturday, October 24, 2015

Faces of Fall

More beautiful pics by Joe Coker

Joe Coker

After unseasonably hot and dry days of October, it finally is beginning to feel like fall. It is cooler and we are finally getting much needed rain.  We have two neighbors that are moving into their homes this weekend.  The thought may have occurred they are responsible for the rain. Children are excited about fall festivals, costumes and candy.
Photo sent by our friend Marianne. Too cute!
And my favorite "pumpkin" Dan !

It is taking us less time to walk our usual three miles without the scorching heat.  We are enjoying the cooler breeze. Sadly, the wind and rain are developing into leaf and acorn storms.  I don’t mind fall. It is the dreaded dark days of winter barreling towards me that cause me some anxiety.
Neighborhood "Tea Party"
So, I will try to embrace these few days of fall.  The sky is beautiful. The colors of the trees are mixed with gold and crimson. The waters of the lake glisten peacefully. We enjoy the humor of our neighbors fall décor on our walks through the neighborhood. Geese are headed to warmer parts unknown.The herds of deer we have unsuccessfully battled all summer to keep from our vegetation graze confidently near our windows at sunset. Little is left to haggle over. They forage for food through sparse greenery and acorns. They too have winter on their minds.
Hungry Deer
I am making my list of projects now that cooler weather has arrived. We must hurry to get them done in this small window of weather opportunity.  But perhaps today is not a good day to begin. The list lies still on the counter.  The rain is gently falling. It is too perfect a day not to be lazy. So, I will add to the top of the list and scratch it off, “rest”.  After all, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We must properly prepare.

"Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of In gathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.  Exodus 23:16

Saturday, October 17, 2015

For His Good Pleasure

Painting by Artist Joanne Kunath

This week I celebrated another birthday. I have passed through my 63rd year on this earth and embarked on 64. As always, I reflect on how quickly time passes. What have I accomplished? Am I using my brief time on this earth wisely?
Birthday Roses from Dan 

I chose to celebrate my birthday with 80 friends raising funds for a local crisis center. We ate, bid on silent auction items, played games and listened to an awesome speaker. You will notice I mentioned food firstly. This is of course in keeping with the tradition; if we meet we must eat so bring a treat.

Our speaker was our dear friend Brenda Stark Miles. She is an author, Bible teacher, comical storyteller and an awesome friend. She did a great job in sharing the pain of losing her only grandchild to abortion. We pray her words will comfort and heal as He restores her heart.

There is a lot of hard work in putting these events together. Truly it would be easier to write a check if it were just about funding. Just to be clear, funding is imperative. However, the healing message and sharing information about life ministries is the focus of fund raising events.

Many women gave all their hearts and hands in preparing for this event. I am blessed by you. We all admit at times it was frustrating and nerves were frayed. Dan and I laughed together as pondered over how His good pleasures can offend or annoy us. As irritating and frustrating as we can be to each other, God created us with special gifts and personalities to be used for and be enjoyed by Him.

So Lord, remind me in this year 64, to respect and appreciate all things and persons to whom He has created for His pleasure!

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 4:11

Friday, October 9, 2015

Kids Today!

Recently I find more days I am mad at the world than happy.  The constant bickering and hate mongering amongst us breaks my heart.  A friend said today, "We no longer see each other as fellow human beings." Sadly I find that to be true.
Groups of young people praying at Veterans Memorial

Then there are those moments that make you proud.  Moments that give you hope for the future of our country.  Groups of youth gather huddled together in  hugs and prayers in still reverence to those who have sacrificed for our freedom.  Our faith is renewed when a young person still acknowledges there is honor in military service to our country.
Our grandchild Megan in her ROTC uniform

The next time we start to shake our heads and bemoan what we are to do with kids today----respect would be a great place to start I think!

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our Beautiful Boy

On September 10, 2014 the heavens opened and an angel was sent to dwell among us. This precious gift came wrapped with the name tag Brayden.  He has so many physical struggles. This precious one has been through more painful procedures and surgeries in his short life than any one person should in their entire life. 
Birthday Boy Brayden

Still, he smiles intertwining his heart with the hearts of all he meets.  He is such a joy. Pure love is this beautiful boy!  Why he has to suffer so much, I do not know.

All of us, myself included would love to take all his pain and troubles from him.  We would love to keep him protected and sheltered all the days of his life.  He has gifted us with so much, it seems little sacrifice.  If only.

We cannot.  We do know the One who can do all things.  We pray each day for another miracle for our beautiful boy.  He has had many.  No doubt more miracles are on the way to him.  He IS a miracle this beautiful boy of ours.
Brayden and Sister Marley
I pray God will continue to place the desire in me to seek the gift of Grace. Grace to uplift, encourage his care givers in every way. I pray to build up and not to tear down. I pray that angels be encamped around both Brayden all love and are responsible for his health care decisions.  I pray for wisdom, patience and strength for his parents. I pray they will know when to hold tightly and when to let go.

May we be reminded daily and give thanks to the Creator for our beautiful, BEAUTIFUL boy!

Every good and perfect gift is from above....James 1:17

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

March for Life DC 2015
Courtesy of Congressman Bruce Westerman

With the “Sanctity of Human Life” events added to our usual schedule, January is typically a very busy month for us.

Happy faces after hearing

We traveled overnight to St. Louis for the Heartbeat Bill hearing in appellate court. It was extremely cold but we did manage to get a long brisk walk in before meeting colleagues for dinner. It felt good to get some exercise after traveling all day. Dan had never toured the St. Louis arch.  Since it didn’t appear too far from the hotel and the hotel staff confirmed this, we decided to walk there.  It really wasn’t too far, but a mile in the cold seems a lot further. We walked it in record time.
Dan inside of St. Louis arch
The hearing went very well.  We were especially pleased to discover a group of young people were gathered outside in the 15 degree weather praying for the hearing.  Thank you God this is truly the pro-life generation!

Linda, Paul ,Amber,Heather,Denise,Carrie,MaryAnne,Millie,Fr. Ed and Dr. Jon Stubblefield

Several precious souls shared their abortion healing journey at our annual press conference at the Capitol.  It was one of the best attended and media coverage we have had.  The legislators were out for a long holiday weekend.  In spite of their absence, several church members came in support.  This was very encouraging to all of us.  Another special thanks goes to Father Ed Graves and our pastor Dr. Jon Stubblefield for standing with us.
The Duggar clan always support LIFE!
"Rock Star" at Little Rock Walk For Life
Followed by the press conference on Friday, we had a beautiful testimony from our friend and neighbor during our Sunday morning worship hour.  Thank you, precious friend Sonja McCaleb. Thank you to your husband and friends for accompanying and supporting you.  Immediately following Sunday worship, we headed back to the capitol in Little Rock for the annual March for Life.  Again, we were much encouraged as numbers of legislators stood publicly for life.

Sonja and John McCaleb

After a few days to regroup and repack, we headed to Washington DC for the March for Life.  Traveling with our good friends John and Nancy Emmons made the trip fun and the travel time pass quickly. Next year we hope to take several participants for the Silent No More Awareness campaign at the Supreme Court.

Dan in DC

We have had a few bad weather days here in the Village recently.  I hasten to add it has been nothing as severe as last year’s weather.  From November through March we were constantly bombarded with ice and or snow. It keeps our minds and prayers focused on the folks enduring horrific weather on the East coast.
Linda on steps of Supreme Court Building
(I must look dangerous!)

Dan and John navigating before dawn. DC bound!

Arriving in DC

In between these trips, events and few inclement weather days I had another eye surgery. Dan finally gave in to rotator cuff surgery repair.  All things considered, he has done well.  The most difficult for him is being confined indoors.  He was overly optimistic in dressing for work today. I pointed out the roads looked clear because they were ice covered.  When the snow began to fall on top of the ice, I excitedly proclaimed its beauty to Dan.  He did not share my enthusiasm.  He simply responded with a silent glare.

As the New Year begins, we try to evaluate and consider what direction we should go. The thoughts of the annual trip to New York for UN Women lay heavily upon me. We always want to be good stewards of all our resources. The wise use of God’s time, money and productivity are key points of prayer. Our first desire is to be faithful but we must also be credible and effective in our service.

As the younger generation steps up, I considered my approaching birthday.  This fall I will be 64. I was surprised at this number.  I don’t know when or how this crept up on me.  I struggled to decide if it were time to step aside. Was there another way I could better serve? I expressed my concerns to my dear friend and prayer partner Pat. She immediately began to intercede. 

The UN trip is always expensive, but with the opportunities this year, even more so.  I struggled with the decision to go, stay or help otherwise. When I felt a sense of urgency not to step aside but to actually step up the pace, I made plane reservations. I pray the Lord will bless the labor of our hands and feet as we share His Love and Restoration power to the nations. He is in a hurry. Time grows short. Really, what else can we do? It is always through our weakness that He is made strong. As once again I step out of the boat, I pray to keep my eyes on Him!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yield seed from the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’  Isaiah 55:8-11