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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On Call for God

I am happy to share a glimpse into the experience of our most recent pastor at Community Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Meridian, MS. I have really enjoyed getting to know Sharon Leukert, our pastor's wife, and will miss her and her family, now that God has called her to a new adventure in three southern Alabama churches. Thank-you, Sharon! 😉 

Being a pastoral family is being on call for God. You never know when, where, or even exactly how He will say "go!" But when God says "Go!" we go. A wise friend years ago told me that the people are always the same, it is only the names that are different. Over the years I've found there to be a bit of truth to it now and then. For instance, our first church in Texas had a couple that couldn't have children for years. They decided to adopt. Just when all of the adoption process was near completion, they discovered they were pregnant! That was one special baby to us all. It was a joy watching him grow into a delightful toddler. Moving away from Texas to Mississippi, we missed that little guy and his family. But sure enough, there was another little guy almost the exact same age and personality here. It sometimes helps to ease the pain of losing friends, when you see that there are similar people to know and love in the new congregation. God fills your heart with so much love for His people, it is truly His miracle.

 the Meridian house on loading day

When God told us to come to Mississippi, it wasn't a surprise. We knew He was going to move us soon, and so did our conference leadership. In fact, they were trying to move us somewhere else in Texas, but Mississippi happened first. God's call to go to Alabama came as a surprise. We weren't expecting it, but it's still God's call, we still go. In the previous case, sensing the move beforehand actually helped us be better prepared. Not expecting this current move, we were a little caught off guard. God pricked my "get ready" senses, but perhaps I needed a little more time, or I didn't act passionately enough to HIs promptings to get ready. This was a more challenging move, because we had a very tight time frame. An evangelistic series starting in the new district demanded that we move as quick as possible. Evangelism is exciting, but the tight time frame was extremely stressful. One important thing to remember is that even though God calls us to go somewhere else, He doesn't always make every path smooth. He worked a housing miracle for us in Meridian.

In Mobile, Alabama, we struggled, commuting back and forth from Meridian to Mobile for a few weeks until we were able to find a place and get moved in. The extra stress and challenges only made us more thankful for church family and friends willing to help, and caused us to lean on God even more. We knew He would give us the strength to get through the challenges of the move. Moving a family is like throwing a pebble in a pond - it has many, many ripples. The timing of our move impacted everything. Matthew ended up giving up going to teen summer camp, because he knew the family would need the money for the move, and he knew we would need his help packing. Both Matthew and Greta are getting ready to go to Bass Memorial Academy. Because of how long it took us to find a place to live, they will barely have adjusted to their rooms in the new house, before it's time to move into the dorms at Bass for the school year. I had to quit my job, and unfortunately there wasn't a sister organization nearby that I could just transfer to, so I will have to start all over in looking for a job. Needing time off to search for housing and all, and doing our best to "guess" what time frame the move would actually take place, I decided to quit my job at a certain time, but it was weeks later that we actually moved. That means several weeks without my paycheck helping out the family. But God is faithful, and has been blessing as only He can.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Snow Hopes

Hello! How has your Christmas been? Please share your experience with me in the comments below.

 Raul was gifted with an entire Christmas tree and some very spiffy ornaments and lights from a house he worked on where renters moved out. Sophie dug in and decorated these three beautiful Christmas trees.

My dad took us to the zoo, right after Christmas.
We enjoyed eating at Outback Steakhouse for the first time.

Click on this to see our pics: Thursday Afternoon in Jackson

If you live in Mississippi, you know that my Christmas included t-shirts and flip-flops. I turned on the air-conditioner in my car on Christmas day! Such are the blessings and exasperation of my life.

This morning, sloppy, fat raindrops banged down on the metal roof of our gambol barn home, just like the weather channel predicted, but when I checked the 10-day weather forecast again to prove to you that it might snow on Friday, my snow hopes were dashed again.            

Click here to see my weather forecast.

     However, I am not going to let this Friday's rain 🌧🌧🌧🌧 on my parade. Sophie, Elena and I will cut paper snowflakes and draw winter pictures.
Click here for a quick tutorial on snowflake creation.

Maybe I will learn to crochet a snowflake. Does anyone have any favorite winter crafts?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Artsy Whimsy Day

My dad wanted to see the dolphins in Gulf port, but who does that in December?! (Comment below, if you go see the dolphins now, and I am the silly one.)

So, being the great sport that he is, he said, "o.k., where do you want to go?

Have you ever visited The Mississippi Museum of Art?
  Well, no one in my family had ever been and so that is where we spent three artsy hours yesterday.
We saw the Bethlehem Tree exhibit and learned from a Cafe associate that the nativity figurines date back to the 1800's. The kids really liked the animals and the tree. The PreColumbian pottery and the mixed media sculpture about Jackson crime fascinated me. Sophie also liked the mirrors and clay mixed media piece that we jumped in front of to see many versions of ourselves do the same.  Elena and Levi liked the copper hound dog statue a lot. We sat on many different kinds of benches and interesting chairs, except the flowery lamp chair that said, "Do not Touch". I wanted to touch it, but the children didn't allow me to. We found the perfect Christmas present for my dad in the Museum Store. The cashier made Sophie happy by changing out her change for paper dollars.
         The Cafe is called the Palette Cafe. The Chef created black bean veggie patties from scratch for our vegetarian burgers and suggested Grill Cheese sandwiches, not on their menu, for the children. The ketchup and fries were also from scratch. I have seldom been treated to such thoughtfulness during a dining experience. After lunch, the kids and I played follow the leader and tag in the garden outside.
         I was delighted to realize that I our visit coincided with a Creative Healing Studio session. This is a bi-weekly art expression experience for Cancer patients and survivors. I am happy that I am in the latter group.
I am five years cancer free. My dad enjoyed creating a clay ax head and I painted. The art director gave Sophie, Elena and Levi an impromptu tour of the 2016 Mississippi Invitational Exhibit and then they drew pictures with markers. This was another example of the friendly thoughtfulness we found at MMOA and we will definitely return there again. Maybe, we will head over there for Third Thirsday next month.

Monday, October 17, 2016

What should you eliminate from your diet?

             This weekend, every time I have been eating, someone starts talking about food and nutrition. That bugs me, because, most of the time, discussions about eating healthy end with someone pushing their beliefs on the other person. That is not what I want to do, so, if you read this, please understand that I know that you are a smart person who can think for yourself. I am sharing my ideas here, in the hope that I may help you on your health journey, but I am totally against forcing you to eat the way I do.
             Eating is a very personal, preference-guided activity,because if you don't enjoy your breakfasts, lunches and dinners, then you will not feel as happy. If you only eat foods, because they are healthy, you will not keep eating healthy. Eating healthy will make you healthy and more happy, but only if you find foods that you love and want to continue eating.
            When people go on diets, they eat exactly what the diet tells them to and then they start cheating, because they are forcing themselves to eat healthy without finding healthy foods that they love. They end up returning to the unhealthy foods that they are used to, because they didn't replace them with new favorites.               So, here is my philosophy.

1. I do not eat pork or seafood, because I believe that God loves everyone and wants us to live the way he teaches us to in the Bible.

Here are some verses that help me decide how to eat.

     2. I don't drink, do street drugs and try to avoid needing medicine, because they have side effects that can be worse that what you are taking the medicine for. If I am sick enough to go to the doctor and he says that I need a prescription, I will take it though.

Here are some other Bible verses about staying healthy

    3.God gave Adam and Eve the best diet to eat and I know that this is the healthiest way to eat,because God loves us and wants the best for us.The way this pastor eats is ideal. Yet, it is not how most of us know how to eat. I would love to eat mostly raw veggies, fruits, grains, nuts and seed and only 15% cooked foods(because some foods do need to be cooked, in order to digest them.) We get so busy and then we have to scramble and we end up eating anything we find. I think that it is important to learn to eat healthy and fit it in your schedule in the best way that you know.

 4. Eating is an activity that looks extremely different, depending on where you live and how you believe. For example, if you were John the Baptist, you would be eating only grasshoppers and honey and apparently, he was eating healthy. So, just be honest with yourself and eat the best way you know how. Most of all, don't beat yourself up, because you love ice cream and french fries, just know that they should not be the main staples in your pantry and eat healthy again, tomorrow.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The End is not the End

         The ball is over and my horses have turned into mice again. Now, I have to clean the house and pay the bills again. The beans have been picked and the friends went home. Those fairy tales that end with "and they lived happily ever after", well, Clifford Goldstein has pointed out to me that the writers of those are not giving the full story.

Who is Clifford Goldstein?

     After Cinderella and her Prince rode off in their carriage, they went home to dealing with the everyday issues of running a country. They went through the ups and downs of marriage. They dealt with discontent and war. They got old and died. How do the rest of the fairy tales and real people's lives end?They died.
        Do you know anyone who had a different ending? Only Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

We are in the thick of the battle, but the war is already over and won.

My treasures are in heaven.

         Jesus will come back and take us home.  I want to invite you to come home with me.

This is why I am here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nostalgia and Falling Leaves

Fall is harvest time, and a time to make new memories with friends and family and this time I am associating it with fairy tales.

( I love the sweet, pretty side to them at the same time that I am relieved that I don't have any need to rely on any earthly "magic". I am happy to trust in Jesus, who died to save us. He is no fairy tale.)

I thought of Jack and the bean stalk as some friends helped us pick beans in our backyard. The bean supports created a maze through our back yard. The chill in the air made all day today something mystical and new. It looked like little fairies had been picking the beans, since only the beans close to the ground were picked before I arrived to help. We slaved away so hard to prep and cook our big pumpkin, that we felt like Cinderella. We made it to our own tea party to eat the pumpkin muffins and we left our shoes behind and had to search for the right shoes many times.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Fly your Kite

Yesterday, I found a rainbow colored kite at a second-hand store called Aslane's in Meridian, MS.  Today, After church, we flew our kite at Lake Tom Bailey.  The exhilaration of feeling the tug of the wind on the string and seeing the kite lift high and higher in the bright blue sky lifted our spirits with it. I highly recommend kite-flying with a friend or family member or all alone. April is national kite month and so this is the time to fall in love with this inspiring hobby. Check out the link in the previous sentence and learn more about the festivals happening this month all over the United States.