Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Are you at all like me and don't spend enough time giving thanks?
Just finished reading for the 2nd time, 1000 Gifts and have been contemplating so much that I have to be grateful for.

In No Particular Order:
My relationship with Jesus-without this, I am Nothing. Really.
Scud-the BEST man EVER
Kristi and Adam, Katie and Nate, Todd and Ryan...great kids...I mean GREAT kids.
Kellen and Jax. Those sweet boys who make me smile and bring me countless joy.
Time with 2 of my besties yesterday...laughing, crying (alot) and praying-along with a lunchtime margarita!!
MaryKay- the BEST friend who lets me crash at her house on a moment's notice.
LIFELONG FRIENDS....You know who you are!!
My first cup of coffee every morning.
Yummy food that's available to me most anytime.   
Those YLC girls who have stolen my heart....Year after Year.
Vacations to Kauai.
The Woodleaf family-it changes often, but love the people and love their hearts and willlingnes to sacrifice for God's kingdom.    
Those rainy and snowy days where I can sit and read by the woodburning stove.
Reading....LOVE to READ.
Gardening....pleasure to my soul.
The OCEAN...anywhere, anytime.
Memories...oh such memories.
Those very hard times....and how I grow during them.
My daily Prayer list-what a privilege to pray for People I love dearly.
Celebrating Kellen yesterday-the sweetest , kind hearted little boy.
Getting to read a newspaper while in San Jose...I miss that.

Those just were typed within 3 minutes. I have so many more. But I'm gonna make a habit of writing down things I am so thankful for on Thursdays and try and spend each day developing a grateful heart.
Encourage you to do the same.        

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mondays are for Mowing and thought Mulling.

Its that time of year again. Time to start cutting the grass weekly.
At Woodleaf we stop mowing in October and pick it up again in April or May depending on the amount of snowfall we have each year.
This year was a mild winter so a few weeks ago, I noticed that our grass was growing- I mean it looked like we had weeds; some of it was so high. So I got out the mower, filled it with gas and began the work of cutting our half acre of lawn. Six emptyings of grass clippings later, it looked green and wonderful.

Mondays will now be my day to mow. It works well with my Young Life College schedule in Chico as Mondays are my day at home to prepare my studies for the week, and looking forward to our summer schedule, most Mondays will be day 3 of the week, which fits into my weekly schedule as well.

So today, was the third week in a row that I got out my lawn mower to begin the weekly chore. I've realized that I ponder alot as I mow and use this time to think on things.

Today my heart was flooded with memories of a young beautiful woman whose life ended way too soon on Saturday. 
I first met Karen when she was three years old and we car pooled with her to pre-school three times each week. She became my son Todd's first  friend who was a girl. They remained friends for years and years and i have photos of her with Todd thru the years.

When they entered middle school, I was leading Wyldlife and Karen became one of my Wyldlife girls for all  three years of middle school. I was the leader of a group of friends all of their awkward, silly middle school years.
I took them to two weekend camps and they made me laugh and asked great questions. I led a bible study at my home with six girls and Karen faithfully attneded.

How is it that I am still alive and much older and she lost her life within 5 months of her cancer diagnosis? How is it that her mom and my friend, Gloria, and her husband Russ, are now bereft of their youngest daughter?
Karen became engaged last September and because of this devastating disease, will never have experienced marriage. Her fiance has lost his love. 
Her sister, Michelle has lost the little sister she adored.

Life isn't fair. Sometimes-often way too often, life is cut short far too early.
Karen is one of those people who should have lived many more years.
I talked to a few of my old Wyldlife girls yesterday and they are all wrestling with unbelief, shock and sadness.

Why her, why now?

I have no answers.
All I do know is that this was not God's plan. 
Thousands of years ago, when Eve chose her plan over God's, sin entered the world. And with sin, came sickness and death. Never part of God's original plan, but one we have had to live with ever since. 
Makes me wonder, what God had planned. I guess we will find out when we meet Him face to face.

I was sad today and over the weekend realizing that I will not see Karen again in this life. The last time I saw her was at her friend Stephanie's wedding, and had a great time chatting with her and the other Wyldlife girls.
What brings me comfort today is that because I knew her and had the privilege of being her Wyldlife leader and friend, i know that she began a relationship with the LORD and I will see  her again.

Psalm 115:15 says:
Precious in the sight of the LORD, is the death of His saints.

I know God welcomed Karen to her eternal home on Saturday morning.
This temporal home we know, will miss her.
Until we meet again Karen, thank you for the joy of being your friend.             

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I know way too much about purging.

Webster's dictionary defines purge as the follows:

1. to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify.

2. to rid, clear, or free (usually followed by of  or from  ): to purge a political party of disloyal members.

3. to clear of imputed guilt or ritual uncleanliness.

4. to clear away or wipe out legally (an offense, accusation, etc.) by atonement or other suitable action.

5. to remove by cleansing or purifying (often followed by away, off,  or out  ). 
To a person with an eating disorder, Purging is getting rid of the food or liquids in your body by vomiting, so that you won't gain any weight. It is a vile process that eventually can burn your throat, making it almost impossible to eat or drink certain items that normally one would enjoy.
To a person suffering from addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, or food, it means denying oneself these items so that your body is clear and clean.  And begins an opportunity to become whole again and making the steps necessary for restoration with anybody that might have been hurt or harmed by your addiction.
For clarity's sake, I have never had an eating disorder or am not an addict, but I have had people I love the most in this world, beset by these awful diseases.
For me, I want to purge the weight off me-to be free and clear of all this excess poundage. It is not an easy task.
In Dueteronomy, in the last chapters of this book, God repeatedly tells the Israelites: 
"Purge the evil from you".
I think he says this to us today as well.
What is evil? 
There are so many examples: just yesterday the attack at the Boston Marathon, obviously September 11,2001. 
What about all the atrocities committed world wide? The genocides, the slavery of women and children either for sex or as soldiers. Guerilla warfare is another. Anything that is morally wrong and hurts others is evil. Child abuse, sexual assault, robbery, murder are some more.
But what about us? What is evil in your life? Something that is morally wrong or that hurts others. Something that hurts your relationship with God has to be bad.
Is it when we are disobedient to what He asks of us?
Is it evil when we gossip about someone or spread bad reports of others?
Is it when we cheat or lie for our own benefit?
Is it evil when we overlook someone else's misfortune and we have the power to help but don't.
For me, evil is being selfish.
This might not be true for everyone, but I know that the LORD has shown me when I am selfish and thinking of myself first, that its then, when evil or ugly thoughts come .
I know that to purge oneself of evil requires introspection. It is something individual between us and the LORD.  
It is something He asks us to do-actually because He states it so often , it is something He commands us to do.
I want to follow Christ. I want to be obedient. I want to be who He sees me to be, the person He envisions. To do that, I need to keep in constant communication with Him. I need to take the time to listen for Him. I need to self examine my life and see what needs to go. To see what is evil in my life.
Everyone's evil may look something different. All I know is that the LORD has commanded us "to purge the evil from you."
Will you begin to take those steps? I hope you will join me in ridding our lives of that what is harmful to us and to others .          

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Very Precious Friendship

It was almost 31 years ago. Really? Where has the time gone? 
We met because of our husbands workOh all right, YES it was in Young Life. But that's not why we have stayed friends. We spent a month together, mostly without our husbands around, and we got to know each other.

It was uncanny how much of our lives intersected. How similar our backgrounds were, how we shared some of the same "sins".  Those things that you don't really want others to know, but somehow feel "safe" telling a few. We bonded in a hallway and would be forever linked together through our bond in Christ.

We have shared so much together. From having and raising our children and wondering how on earth they made it to adulthood with us as their mothers, to rejoicing in the births of grandchildren 

There has been joy and heartache and we have prayed for each other and our families. And we have laughed and cried together.
Somehow God helped us understand each other. She gets me and loves me in spite of who I am and I do the same for her. We have learned from our mistakes and shared deeply where God has touched us, taught us and disciplined us.

This friend is one I have gone to repeatedly over the years for prayer because I know that when I ask her to pray, she will. And then she shares her deep insightful thoughts God reveals to her and always will be honest with me.
We don't always have people who will be totally honest with us. This sweet friend is because you always get brutal honesty from her.

We haven't gone without our struggles but because of our love for Jesus and our love for each other, we have forged ahead and kept our friendship intact. We have forgiven each other and been better because of it.

So yesterday, during a very hard time of self-doubt and being attacked, I texted her and asked for prayer. Immediately  she responded and I knew that she would keep praying. Oh I am so indebted to her for how she has prayed for me.

And this morning I had the privilege of having almost a 2 hour conversation with my friend where I laid my soul out and she encouraged me and affirmed me. This is what she has done faithfully to me for 31 years.

I have been incredibly blessed by her friendship for over half my life. 
To me, she is so very dear and precious and I truly thank God for her.
I only hope that I can be half as good a friend to her as she is to me.

I pray that we each would be blessed with those forever type friends who rally for us, rejoice with us, cry with us and keep loving us, even amidst the pain and sin in our lives.

Truly friendship is God's gracious gift to us. THANK YOU LORD.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times.          

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I had the tremendous privilege and blessing of being a nurse consistently for 31 years.
I absolutely loved being a nurse. I had so many different types of positions from staff nurse in a hospital, to being a home health nurse, working for the County Medi-Cal program and for being a clinic RN at Packard Children's Hospital.

I didn't realize until I moved to Woodleaf how much nursing was a part of me.
 I mean, I knew I loved nursing, but I had no concept of how much being a nurse played into my life. I worked hard, was always learning new things, took the best care of my patients that I possibly could. I was thanked every single day by someone-whether it be my patient or a family member or by a doctor. I was fortunate that I always had above average reviews. But I never quite got it that so much of who I was, how I viewed myself was  because of how people reacted to me as a nurse. Way too much of my self esteem came from my nursing.

Everyday I was appreciated for what I did to make someone more comfortable, or how I might have saved a life.
God had given me such a blessing in my nursing career and too often, I thought it was me. How I cared for people, instead of how God gifted me with empathy and a caring heart.  Sometimes, I'm just such a slow learner.

In all my years of nursing, I had the privilege of praying for my patients and many times with my patients. It was so beneficial to know that God always is about a spiritual healing as well as the physical, and to have been given the opportunity to share Jesus with a scared patient or parent was an incredible bonus.

Without a doubt, my least favorite activity in all my years of nursing, was being the nurse that was needed to assist a doctor in the circumcision of a baby boy. If you haven't seen one, I would never advise it.
First of all, you must put a baby in an infant seat type device, then you strap them in, with both their arms and legs. Then you watch the MD anesthetize the babe and put a pacifier in their mouth so they will suck, which helps soothe them for what comes next. The doctor then puts a bell type thing on the babys penis and begins to cut away the top of the foreskin. So for me to watch this is absolutely agonizing. I know the baby isn't completely anesthesized and there has to be pain. It is painful to watch. After the procedure is over, I quickly clean up and take the poor little guy to his mom and teach circumcision care and tell her to feed him for comfort.

I was reminded yesterday of how much I DID NOT LIKE circumcisions when I read in Dueteronomy that the LORD tells us :

Circumcise your hearts.


God wants to cut away the bad parts of our hearts.
Just as the doctor wants to remove the foreskin of a little boys penis, God wants to remove the foreskin of what He sees to be detrimental to our lives.

I want those parts of me to be cut away.
I don't like them either.
In fact, I know all the parts I want cut out of my life.

I want my selfishness gone.
I don't want to be judgemental.
I want those thoughts that aren't nice to be gone, and am grateful that God doesn't let anyone else know them.
I want to be rid of the part of me that is jealous for what others might have that I don't. I know I don't really need more, its just that I think sometimes I should have what others possess.
I want to permanently obliterate any pride that resides in me.
I don't want to have that part of me that thinks I have the right answers always.
I desire to be rid of those words that come out of my mouth that hurt others.

Just thinking about what needs to be gone in my life is even more painful than watching a baby's circumcision.

Already today, God is cutting away parts of me He wants gone. It isn't fun and I am hurting inside.
I know it needs to be done and I am thankful right now that my GOD loves me so much that He won't let me stay the way I am. That He wants to get rid of those parts that don't look like His Son. I want that too.
Just wish there was an easier way.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Do I say only what I should?

If you know me, you know that

.  I Love my family with all my heart. They are the BEST and BIGGEST          Blessings God has given me on this planet.
I have the MOST INCREDIBLE friends.
I have 2 lovable labs that I am crazy about.
.  I have an absolutely gorgeous view out of front window.
I love the ocean-and would rather vacation at a beach than anywhere.
.  I Love to swim (kind of goes with the ocean!!)
.  That Tommy, Kelly and Robby are our other kids
.  That Scud and I have grown to love so many of our kids friends over the 
   years that many of them are like our extra kids.
.  I have had the privilege of having two of the most amazing jobs ever: 
   being an RN for over 30 years and loving on college kids for the past 5.  
.  That number #1 on my bucket list is to go to Ireland.
.  That number #2 on my bucket list is to serve at an AIDS orphanage in 
. That number #3 on my bucket list was crossed out last October when I went    to the World Series and saw my Giants win.

If you knew me really well, you would know that:

.  Ice cream is my favorite food-most especially mint chocolate chip.
In college for one week I ate only ice cream and lost 5 lbs!! if only 
   I could do that today!
.  I have a a few friends that I could call on in a heartbeat and they would be 
   there for me-and they have been so many times. THANK YOU.
.  My maiden name was Bluett-yep just like it sounds!
.   I have a bleeding disorder that I inherited from my dad.
.  My secret desire is to write a book, but don't know if I have anything to say
   that anyone would want to read.
.   I LOVE to read-and now have the opportunity given where I live.  
.  Kellen and Jax -my sweet little grandsons are the apple of this Grammy's 
.  I really really LOVE college kids and recent college grads.
.  I gained alot of weight after my hysterectomy 20 years ago that I still 
   struggle to get off.
. And that I am MOST PASSIONATE about THE WORD OF GOD.   

So this morning in my time with God I was in the book of Numbers. When you read thru the Bible every year, sometimes you just have to read Leviticus, Numbers and Ezekiel, which can be hard to read. But if you ask God to give you new insights, HE ALWAYS DOES. And usually for me, He wants to say something to me and teach me or whack me over the head by my stupidity.

In Numbers 22 you have the story of Balak,  the King of  Moab who had heard about the Israelites and summoned a magician named Balaam to call down a curse on the Israelites so that Balak could overtake and rule them. Somehow Balaam knew of God and asked Him what to do. The LORD told Balaam not to go and not to put a curse on the Israelites. As Balak kept asking for Balaam to come, he would inquire of the LORD. One time, Balaam told the LORD he would do as he said but let it be known that he really wanted to go, so the LORD relented and said he could go but only do what God had told him to do.
Meanwhile the LORD was unhappy with Balaam over his real desire to go to Balak (he probably wanted some reward-even tho he said he didn't, but God always knows our heart) To stop him and get him to think, God used a talking donkey to teach Balaam about the need to obey. You can read about this story in Numbers 22 if you don't believe me.

Eventually Balaam does meet up with Balak, who again asks him to put a curse on the Israelites, which he refuses to do and instead blesses them. 
Balak in turn becomes angry and Balaam's response is found in verse 38

           “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts 
             in my mouth."

This verse stopped me in my tracks. Spot on.

How many times reckless words have come out of my mouth in anger and frustration. Words that were spoken without really thinking. Words that had the power to hurt and crush another. Words that should never have been said.

What if in a conversation, I only spoke what God wanted me to say? You know those times when someone is confiding in you or asking for advice and you just don't know what to say. What if we prayed for God's guidance in ALL THOSE TIMES and only spoke what He told us to say?     
In many times with friends, I do pray. I do ask God for His wisdom. I don't want to say ANYTHING that would be against God's will.
But I don't do this all the time. And I should.

I know I am not the only one whose words have pierced another's heart, because words spoken freely and without thinking have hurt me too.
But what if we, as followers of Jesus really prayed and asked Him for the wisdom to say only what "God puts in my mouth"?
What if we just listened more and spoke less. 
What if our silence helped our friend draw into Jesus more to listen to Him too?

I am asking God to help me put this into practice starting this day. You might hear way less more of me as I wait to hear what God wants me to say!!