Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Impressions

I believe in first impression but most importantly I believe in God’s impression. ~Bernard Kelvin Clive

The Princess has had her first real impressions, that is, she had her ears pierced on Saturday.

My husband asked me some days ago how old I was when I had my ears pierced. I think I was 12 or 13 years old. I had them done by a doctor for $10. He numbed them with a spray coolant and used a gun. The studs he put in were surgical stainless steel and considered hypo-allergic...and that probably would have been true for anyone without a nickel allergy. Back then such metal allergies where not well recognized, so I did not know why it took so long for my ears to heal, and since I only bought cheap earrings most with stainless steel posts, I just thought that itchy, red, irritated ear lobes after wearing earrings for as little as 30 minutes was just the way of it for me. My mother could wear earrings for days, but my sister and I could not. Not until I met my husband, who gave me a set of 14K gold earrings, did I learn I could wear earrings for days on end without any problems. I even forgot I had earrings in my ears!

Being concerned that the Princess could have inherited my allergy, we decided we would get her gold earrings for the piercing and after they are healed, she could try the few earrings I still have that are not gold. We went to a well respected jewelry store from where my husband has bought jewelry for me now and then over the years (not in the last five years, but I am not in any need for more). The Princess wanted a deep pink stone, but she approved of a pink tourmaline, which is a light pink. The back screws on with a gold insert into what looks to be a silicone disc: it will be comfortable and not as easy to lose. They cost around $60. Although company had the earrings, they were at the warehouse and not in the store, so I picked them up on Thursday at the end of our errands.

My husband had also asked me where we should get the piercing done. I suggested going to a tattoo and piercing place where people do it for a living and not going to the mall or Wallmart where someone could have been hired just last week. I also thought it would be good for the Princess to go to such a place because of some of the things she has said in regards to people who have piercings and tats. Her first impressions of such things has turned a bit judgmental. We did not want her to have piercings and tats, but we also tried not to allow her to develop preconceived ideas about people who had them either.

My husband and I have never desired any permanent body art, but I can appreciate the art itself, as a artist and face painter. My husband picked a place nearby that would charge $20 per piercing. We dropped off the earrings for sterilizing at a very clean office. It could have been the reception area of a chiropractor or dentist. They had a screen that showed slides of body art and a few notebooks with samples, but nothing terribly objectionable. When we returned, the earrings had not yet been sterilized and there was a crowd of people!

My husband had talked to the man who does the piercings on the phone to make the appointment and told me he was nice. At our first impression, he had tats all over his arms, a few small white ones near his eyes, and stretched earlobes, but his heart left the greater impression; he was very sweet to the Princess. He told her that he had just pierced the ears of his six year old niece last week and had the smaller needle for children's ears. He told us it was good that we came to a professional as the guns used nowadays are more damaging to the skin. He was careful to make sure everything was sterile and marked her lobes to get them even, saying she had the most even lobes he had seen.

I held her hair back out of the way. There would be no numbing, but he assured her that it would feel just like a pinch. The first ear was done and she mentioned it hurt, but there were no tears. The second one hurt more, she said, but still no tears. He told us we picked well with gold earrings and excellent backs. He also told us how to care for them to keep them from getting infected.

When all was done, the conversation turned. The Princess mentioned that the church had told her that tattoos were bad. I reminded her that it was not the church that taught that, but that these were the sentiments of some of the members. We also reminded her that one of the former woman pastors had a tat. She seemed confused and said she had never seen it. Well, it was on her low back where it would not be seen unless she was wearing a bikini. You see, the pastor was stationed in Hawaii when she was in the Navy, so she chose a traditional Hawaiian design--that tat was the talk of the district, she told me. Anyway, my husband mentioned that we no longer go to that church and the man started telling us about his pastor having tats. His church is just a few months old and small but growing and we have added it to our list of churches to visit.

We had a talk with the Princess about how tats and piercings are not important and we cannot judge people by them or any other outward appearance; God looks at the heart. The man who did her piercing obviously loved the Lord even with all his tats. These are the people that Jesus loves and went out to meet.

We might have passed some of our former prejudices onto her when what we meant to do was steer her away from certain desires, but now she (and we) needs to mature into be lovingly accepting of all people, who need the Lord, as He was.

~ My Lord, this was such a good lesson for the Princess. Thank you for guiding us to a Christian man for her piercing, even when we had not asked. It was a good teaching moment for her and reminder for us about loving people with Your heart rather than with our eyes. ~

Monday, June 24, 2013

Woman Needing Rewound

It is impossible to get exhausted in work for God. We get exhausted because we try to do God’s work in our own way. ~Oswald Chambers

Have you been wondering where I have been? Lots of things have been going on. My husband, my daughter, and I have cluttered our home and our lives so much with things that are really unimportant and not necessary for the plans God has for us, so we have plans to clean out some things and rearrange some others. My husband finally had a week off, this week. We had big plans...and some of them actually did get done or at least worked on. Unfortunately, I had far more work to do than energy to do it. I need to be rewound!

We all went to the Open House at Home Study Center two Tuesdays ago. I have known about this school for some years and have heard only good things. They teach science from a creation viewpoint and the teacher, Miss Penney, is energetic and enthusiastic with an English accent that reminds me of someone dear to me (Hi, Ganeida!) although she was originally from Southern Africa. My husband and I both feel that a science class with a teacher, peers, and lots of lab work and projects would be very good for the Princess at this point. Yesterday, the Princess and I dropped off her paperwork and the check for the application fee. Today we agreed on an appointment time for an informal interview in July. The Princess will take the 7th grade Life Science for 2½ hours weekly on Wednesdays.

Yes, Wednesdays are usually my fasting days, but come September when the class starts, my weekly fasting day will be Tuesday. It has been arranged to move her piano lessons to be after the science class as the two are only about 15-20 minutes apart. I will have a chunk of time to go shopping alone or something. I have not thought it all out completely with my errands, but I am confident that it will work out well.

One of our outside cats, Midnight, we did not see for three days. She finally came home a bit thin with a cold-like symptoms and has been staying close to home ever since, and she gave me another tick. I am wondering if she gets a tick on her and then is out of commission for a day or so, because she tends to go off for a day or two now and then, but does not come to the bell we have used since she was a kitten to call her for food. You can hear that thing throughout the entire neighborhood!

While we were on errands yesterday, my husband stayed home to watch the installment of our new roof. We found a company that quoted us $1,000 less than the others around and it looks as if they did a very good job--we shall see when it rains next.

My husband worked on fixing his ATV and built a new cage for the breeding does when they are kindling. He also started cleaning up his work bench in the garage and replaced the broken part on our Bowflex. The Princess is now at a size where she can use our workout equipment and she has been pressing me to add "Phys Ed" to our homeschool schedule since she read about the class in schools in a book.

I have been working on some of the gardens, not the ones next to the house as I knew it would be messy after the roof work was done. I also removed the Princess' kid easel, which was sold on Craigslist, and a bin storage item that was for toys was moved out of the room but I am not sure what to do with it yet, and my husband cleaned up around his desk, so I then had some space to move some things around in the homeschool/office room. I also worked some in the art/craft room but we just need to sell get rid of some things and get some other things to make it work better in there. We are several steps closer but it is far from done.

It seems I should have got more done but I was extremely tired much of this week and today my indoor cat, Jamie, has my attention. He is sixteen years old. Lately, he has been hiding away in strange places and does not seem to hear us anymore or does not want to come to us because he rather not move--it is difficult to tell--because he is having some pain. Perhaps some of the extra tiredness and pain I have been having is from him--it happens with the gift of empathy that the illnesses of the living beings around me sneak up on me and I cannot shake the problems. My husband wanted me to rest on Saturday after he saw how extremely tired I had gotten Friday for the amount of work I did, so I spent some time with Jamie, who is currently confined to the office/homeschool room with his box and food and only about three good hiding places. He would not come for his breakfast nibbles and it took us half the morning searching to find him under the stairs and then take out enough stuff so I could get to him as he would not come to me. He currently is on my lap, but that gets uncomfortable for him in time and then he looks for a good hiding place.

Life is change. Some are welcome, some are hard work, some are sad, some are just plain inevitable, some are exhausting, and some are refreshing. I wonder often if heaven will have changes and what they will be like.

~ My Lord, thank you so much for the week my husband was home to get work done and rest from work. Please, energize me to finish the work we have yet to do so that my daughter and I will finally have the art studio we need.~

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Lord, My Guide

Your spiritual gifts were not given for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as other people were given gifts for your benefit. ~Rick Warren

My Lord has been guiding me to the most interesting places, not places of geography but spiritual places, and the more steps I have taken on this guided path the more I find that what I have believed, what I have held back in my heart because I knew so many fellow Christians could not accept those things, was exactly what my Lord wanted me to believe and put into action.

This part is so clear to me now. My Lord called me out of my former church because it so terribly limited the workings of Holy Spirit to the point the church seemed almost spiritually neglected, even abandoned and dying off. People want to believe but are afraid to believe...actually, afraid to put into practice what they believe would be more accurate. I wanted to be a healer and God made me a healer, not because I am holier than anyone else, but because I desired it or it was His desire that I would desire it (such things always mess with my head); I asked for it, I actually sought the gift because I did not want anyone to suffer; and He knew that my desire to take away suffering and heal people was so strong that I would use the gift for His glory. What good would it be to have the gift of healing and not heal anyone?

There is no place in the Bible were it is written that God would stop giving spiritual gifts or that they were meant only for prophets and disciples or that people to whom God had given spiritual gifts were to resist using them. Just how did this doctrine leak into the churches and taught if not from the pulpit then in practice? How did it become believable that God's power through believers was turned off long ago and how did this falsehood get ingrained in me? This has been my internal battle: believing it, yet not at the same time. I mean I had this gift so how could I really not believe in spiritual gifts?

Let me ask you this: If God had given you a gift like healing or visions or seeing the spiritual realm or words of knowledge or prophecy, do you think He then would say not to use it? Now, you might be one of the believers who do not believe in gifts because you are unaware of having one or perhaps one has not been given to you, but have you ever asked for a gift or would you use it as God directed you it if you had one? Would your church's doctrine or fellow Christians' fear hold you back from using it?

That is where I have been for about eighteen years, hiding a gift yet still using it...cautiously. That was so wrong. This is God's world. We are to be fearless, courageous, and joyful Kingdom dwellers right here and right now. My Lord has always told me He has given me far more than I have used...probably every Christian has the same condition!

I came across another interesting man of God. The first video tells about him and his gift for discerning spirits as a seer. This is an amazing gift. The second is a sermon/seminar he gave, one of many on YouTube, that is so very powerful and resonated so much with my spirit. It is long but so worth it.

~ My Lord, let those who read here be blessed and see that which You wish them to see. ~

Monday, June 10, 2013

Visiting the Churches

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God. ~Lenny Bruce

It has been six months since God called us out from our former church and, yes, we are still without a church home. Yet, it really is so amazing how God has been guiding our spiritual growth outside of the church box and to what churches He has been guiding us. We have visited six non-denominational churches with contemporary Christian music and having a "come as you are" dress code. All of them seem to be Spirit-led and Spirit-filled to differing degrees or at least some are more outwardly expressive than others. Most of the sermons really touched us, saying what the Lord had been laying on our hearts for nearly a year, which was really cool considering we rarely have gone to the same church two Sundays in a row. We have visited all of them at least twice with the exception of Church #6 so far and we have visited Church #4 the most, six times. Here is a summary of their services or things we have learned during a service with "Interesting" being neither a Pro or Con or is a bit of both from the viewpoint of what we would prefer, but it is not about what we prefer, just where my Lord wishes us to be.

Church #1
  • Vision for planting churches vs. growing a mega church.
  • Family integrated service.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Many homeschoolers.
  • Male-only church leadership. 
  • Praise and worship is after the sermon.
  • Two morning services.
  • Communion available every Sunday.
  • Mostly young families, none over 40 years of age.

Church #2
  • Strongly seeking to be led by Holy Spirit.
  • Prophetic preacher.
  • Encouragement to use the gifts of the Spirit.
  • Much freedom in various forms of worship, like using worship flags.
  • No church membership. (They see no Biblical basis for formal membership.)
  • Strong in ministering to people in ministry in other churches.
  • Has a Messianic bent and celebrates the Jewish holidays.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Very small.
  • No children's programs.
  • Meets on Sunday evenings.
  • Highly Charismatic.

Church #3
  • Energetic service.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not too big and not too small. 
  • Much freedom in various forms of worship, like using worship flags. 
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Highly Pentecostal. (Stresses that the gift of tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit.)
  • Not as welcoming to new visitors as others.
  • Long praise and worship time.

Church #4
  • Energetic service.
  • Equal opportunity church leadership.
  • Very welcoming to new visitors as well as members.
  • Strong in music, artistic forms of worship, and has a worship flag group.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not too big and not too small.
  • Vision for planting churches.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Some homeschoolers.
  • Good variety of ages, skin colors, and sub cultures, like a motorcycle ministry.
  • God pointed out the building for the new campus and then the county approved it even though it was not in compliance with zoning. (God is clearly blessing this church.)
  • Probably the furthest of all the churches, but only about 20 minutes going away from town.
  • Black stage sanctuary.
  • Two morning services.
  • Just beginning another campus. (We are in between them, so the new one is not any closer.)

Church #5
  • Very close to home, only 5 minutes away.
  • Energetic service.
  • Welcoming to new visitors.
  • Strong in music and visual arts.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not too big and not too small.
  • No passing the offering plate.
  • Communion available every Sunday.
  • Male only leadership. (Noticed when the elders were introduced on our second visit.)
  • Seems to be geared towards mega church attitude.
  • Typical traditional format for services, with contemporary atmosphere. 
  • Black stage sanctuary.

Church #6
  • Energetic service.
  • Strong in music and visual arts.
  • Children's programs.
  • Not as friendly as some, but it was a very stormy day when we visited.
  • Passing of the offering plate.
  • Seems to be geared towards mega church attitude.
  • May be male only leadership.
  • Typical traditional format for services and more traditional sermon.
  • Black stage sanctuary.

We are being very cautious and careful about the idea of adopting a church. My husband favors churches #4 and #5 with #2 for Jewish festivals since it meets at night only, but I feel the leadership according to gender thing is a huge stumbling block for Church #5. I like Church #4 also with #2 for the same reasons as my husband. Like us, the Princess likes all of them for differing reasons, but she favors the worship flag churches #2 and #3 at times and the ones with the most children at other times. I am wondering which my Lord has chosen for us or if we are to add to the list of churches to visit.

~ My Lord, we are waiting for You to make known to us where we are to serve and be served. I do thank you for the experience of visiting these churches and meeting with those we will be spending eternity--such a variety of people with so many gifts and such love for You. Please bless each of these churches in their fulfillment of Your purpose for them. ~

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Lord is My Healer

Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Yesterday I was gardening, mostly pulling weeds and moving a few plants so that I could lay down a barrier and cover it with mulch. I was enjoying the warmth of the day, even the salty sweat that stung my eyes. I was moving a bag of mulch from the upper level of the front garden to the lower and that is when I felt the weight of the rock. It had been pulled off hidden under the bag to fall on my little toe.

I remembered thinking that I was so thankful that this rock had not hit my leg as it is one of the few that with jagged edges and could have done considerably more damage on my bare lower legs than smashing a toe protected by my shoe. I went on working a bit longer, which is really odd for me because I have many stories of how smashed toes and fingers--or any injury, really--gives me only about one to two minutes of clear thinking before I start going into shock and have to lie down. It is embarrassing, but that is how it usually works with me.

This time, however, I began praying immediately and continued working. Then it occurred to me that the odd combination of numbness and pain from my toe was reminiscent of when I had fractured it once before, so I took a look. Yeah, it was swelling and I could bend it, but it would cause a stinging twinge so I am pretty sure I fractured that same toe again. But that was not the worse part as I have lots of alternative health secrets, so that the toe was only slightly swollen and discolored 20 minutes later.

The worse part was that, when the rock hit my foot, I apparently wrenched my back in just the right way that it caused one of my rib heads to slip out of place. I have been very fortunate that it has been over a year since the last time have had a rib head subluxation, Feeling Stabbed in the Back, for they used to happen to me a few times a year and if you read that older post, you will better understand the miracle that I am about to describe.

The injury happened on Saturday near 5:00 pm when no chiropractor I know has his office open. The thing is that if I do not get the rib head in immediately, the muscle spasms will make it impossible to do so in a very short time. I was already beginning to have the sore tightness that wraps along the entire rib to the front and is felt with every breath. I did call our local chiropractor as he will come in for an emergency like this, but not only was the office closed, but he was out of town until Monday. I knew that meant that I would be so bad by then that I would not be able to lie down or drive. It also meant it would take me at least three days to a week to recuperate due to the inflammation and soreness caused by the spasms even with all my alternative health tricks.

I thought about people who had slipped rib heads and did not even have the option of chiropractic or medical care presently and throughout the ages. How did they and do they do it? Then I prayed and left it to my Lord, and I felt that he told me to go back to what I was doing as if it never happened. If you knew what a low threshold I have for pain, you might understand how difficult that would have been for me, but that is what I did. I put my shoes back on and went outside to do more gardening for about an hour. It actually kept me from getting too tight, but I felt the pull with each movement.

The rib was still maligned when I showered and then rested. It was tightening and I was praying. Then I was given a solution. You see, many times a rib head slips toward the back or posterior and one can use a tennis ball to roll against on a wall to gently work the rib head back in place, but usually when I slip a rib head it goes anterior so the ball thing can make it worse. I just wanted you to understand that the solution my Lord gave me was not one I would have thought would work. I used soft weights on the sides of the spine while I lay on my back to sleep last night. It really should not have worked and when I tried something like that before it made me worse. Lying that way was uncomfortable, but it is when I am lying down that the whole thing worsens to the point I can hardly get out of bed in the morning so I would have been uncomfortable anyway.

This morning I was a bit tight and sore, but not as bad as I know I should have been. I even sat in church, which usually makes it worse, but I was fine. This evening as I write this my back is pain free.

Now, what I have always known is that my Lord heals and can heal us in the most miraculous ways, but not all miracles come in the form of immediate healing. I felt that my Lord was trying to tell me that throughout the centuries, He has guided, directed, and given people knowledge to do certain things to heal themselves or others as well as healed them miraculously. Then, He reminded me that I obeyed Him against my nature and went back out to work even when I felt no evidence that He even was going to heal me. I just did what He told me to do and then He just did what I had asked Him to do.

My toe is going to heal very quickly as well. It looks like the injury happened two weeks ago already and is not throbbing at all when I walk, although it is a bit sore when I walk on it. That will pass soon too. My Lord is my healer.

~ Thank you, my Lord, for protecting me from greater injury and healing me from the injures I did have. ~

Monday, June 3, 2013

Restored, Rejuvenated, Relieved

Nobody can be set free from a problem until they're willing to admit they have one. ~Joyce Meyer

Instead of pain and tightness, this morning is the first time I woke up with just a tiny bit of soreness left in my right hip and back. It was wonderful! I tried chiropractics for three weeks and had two one-hour massages in less than a week but it seemed that neither were really having a lasting affect to reduce the pain, which usually means for me that the core of it is an emotional or spiritual based problem, since I had done nothing to cause it. This is my Lord's way of getting me to address things that I have repressed for whatever reason and I am not listening to Him on the particular matter. I knew what it was, but it was not something I could work out all on my own. There is more to it than I will write here, but as briefly as I can put it, here it is.

My husband travels for work often and for the last five years we have been on a very tight budget. For two years, most of the weekends he was home, we could not even sit together in church because he ran the media and none of the members wanted to trade off, but just fill in when absolutely necessary (as when we were not there) and it seems to be affecting the family of the man who is now doing the media all the time the same way, because Sunday is the only day his family has all together. Since the beginning of this year, my husband has been away nearly every week and several weekends also, with his promised review scheduled and resheduled. The last three months, we have increasingly been having difficulty communicating with and relating to each other, actually I had been holding back quite a bit of my feelings about how much he has been traveling. Oh, and my daughter is twelve with all the moodiness that goes with it. We have yet to celebrate her birthday, because of the piano recital and my husband working on weekends.

Now in the back of my mind, there was to be an end to all of this, although that would be one of those expectations that I try so hard to avoid because inevitably I will be disappointed. I know this but still a few sneak in because we have made some of our goals, but have more yet to work towards.

  • We paid off the credit card (which was really the car payment) in October, so we have had extra money each month...but not really, because so many things need repaired.
  • We have been placing our tithe aside in a separate account waiting on the Lord to tell us what to do with it and we no longer feel He is asking us for 15% but 10%, so we have been saving the difference as well.
  • Even though our bank account is now growing, we must still stay with the same budget and not touch it, which is far more of a challenge for my husband than for me.
  • We have to save up to replace all the siding on our house as well as all nineteen windows, all gutters, and two doors, which was due to the damage caused by the spray-on siding where we thought we would never have to paint again--ha! (Well, we will never have to paint the siding it was put on because it is rotting away, but let's not go there right now.)
  • My husband traded a gun that he bought many years ago for just $200 for another gun that is worth $2,000, which he plans to sell to pay for the used ATV (all terrain vehicle) that he bought for $2,000. An ATV comes in real handy when hunting and is much easier than carrying the deer all by yourself. Of course, the ATV needed some work and for a few hundred more in repairs and such, but he assures he got a deal. (I am thinking it will be a deal when he sells the $2,000 gun.)
  • Yes, I also did buy a few things on Craigslist recently and I am eying a like new art studio floor easel today on it as well because it is such a great price, but I am also in the process of selling other items so that it will all even out in the end. (So, I cannot fault my husband, but somehow his stuff always has a higher price tag than mine.)
  • My husband was so burned out the the two previous weekends that he mostly slept and did paperwork the first one and the second a vertebra in his back slipped when he was not doing anything. I mean, the man has a very physical job and the only time he gets sick or hurts his back is when he is at home doing something normal like sitting down, and always when he is burned out. With a prayer, I adjusted his back and he was better, but rested that day. (Yeah, being empathic--or having words of knowledge, if you prefer--and having learned a few things when I used to work for a chiropractor does come in handy.)
  • My husband finally did have his review and he did get a raise, the first one in five years, not counting the pay increase when he accepted his present job two years ago, and we should see it in the next paycheck. 
  • It also looks as if we have another expense as we are planning to enroll the Princess in a science class for the next school year, but more on that later. 
  • Also, my husband's van has so many miles on it all I can do is pray that my Lord holds it to together for the next year or two. 
The money stuff has not really let up and it will not. I really have to stop thinking in terms of an end to the struggle, because there is no real end in that battle, just pauses. We have to get the house fixed, and then another van probably, and then there is college...on and on it goes. My husband's raise is half spoken for because of the science class tuition and the other (and more, probably) will go to increase in health insurance costs at the beginning of next year thanks to Obamacare. (See how much I just need to take a breather now and then.)

Because of all this, I was not feeling that sense of finality or even accomplishment, just a shift in the trenches. I can deal with that, but when I feel disconnected from my husband and my roller coaster tween, all this apparently is enough to give me a pain in the butt make my nervous system react in very negative ways...and so it did.

My Lord and I have been talking. My husband and I had a few talks the past couple of weeks and we are now communicating much better, in part because he is home more so that we can. My daughter is still roller coasting, so I make the most of the mid range up to the highs when I can and try to be patient on her dips. Even though it has only been the past two days, my pain is diminishing. YAY! I even did gardening this weekend and afterward used my machine (another one of my alternative health care secrets) at the end of the day, which seems to now be improving the hip problem.

~ Thank you, my Lord, for restoring me, rejuvenating relationships, and relieving me from the pain I have had. You truly are loving and amazing, my Lord. ~