Saturday, March 31, 2007

Apricot Jello Salad

This is a little time-consuming to make as there are a few steps to it, but when completed, it is a very delicious refreshing salad that will be a hit with your family, or as a potluck dish at your next function at church. Hope you enjoy trying it out!


Bring to Boil:

1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water

Add boiling mixture to:

2 packages of Apricot Jello (can use Peach Jello, if you can’t find apricot)

Cream together:

1 large package of cream cheese
2 jars of apricot baby food (or you can use 1 cup apricot nectar)

Add to jello mixture while still warm.

Chill until begins to gel, then add:

1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chopped celery
1 can Eagles’ sweetened condensed milk

This takes awhile to gel, so should be made the night before you want to serve it.

Yummy Eating!

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Lazy Day on Maui

Early this morning I got up early, put on my bathing suit, gathered my little sand buckets, shovels, goggles, boogie board, and nerf balls and waited for my ride. I was picked up by a sweet mom with three darling little ones who love the beach! Mom needed help to watch those three little active ones while they played in the water and the sand, and I felt privileged to be asked to go along! I took the one-year-old who headed straight for the water right away! She loved to pull her feet up and let me dangle her in the water and swirl her around. I loved to hear her little giggle as we played!

After awhile we all broke away and had a little snack on the knoll above the sand, and Mom and I enjoyed talking with one another and visiting. But soon the kids wanted to get back to the sand and the water. I played a little nerf ball with Kolbe, the cute little 6-year-old who was big brother to the two little girls. Then Alyshia, the 3-year-old wanted me to go in the water with her. We splashed and waited for the "big waves" to come, so I would pull her out of the water and over the wave.
What fun! Then we decided to build a house out of sand on the beach! Alyshia patiently piled her sand up a little, then would run to the water with her little shovel to fill it up with water and by the time she got back to her pile of sand, most of it was gone, but it was a wonderful attraction for her to run back and forth!

Soon it was time to pack up and leave, and I must say, I went away with a smile on my face (and maybe a little crick in my back) after having spent a wonderful morning with little children who so innocently took in God's beautiful creation around them with pure delight!! Is it any wonder that Jesus loved the little children so much?? They love you back with such pure hearts and such wonder in their approach to life! All of us can glean from watching their acceptance of every little joy they experience! The wonder of a black rock washed upon the sand, the thrill of a wave that splashes up against you, the imagination of a small little mind that creates a "house" out of sand, and the joy they extend to you as you watch them play.

For those of you who are parents, remember to thank God for the gift of your precious children with whom He has blessed you so abundantly!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

God's Interruptions

When life goes along its merry way and the routine of the day becomes natural and mundane, God has a way of "waking" you up to some unexpected surprises to let you know He is in control and not us.

Dick had an appointment with his retina specialist on Monday in Oahu just to have his eyes checked to make sure they were healthy enough to last through our six months' trip back to West Virginia this summer. I decided to go along and visit with our son and his family to help to celebrate our youngest grandson's birthday which will be coming up soon. We also arranged to meet very dear friends who are missionaries in China and were in Oahu for two weeks to catch up on personal items before heading back to China to the mission field. The one day trip was loosely planned and quite a spontaneous decision. We packed for only a one night's stay.

God had other plans. When Dick visited his eye doctor on Monday, the doctor was very concerned about Dick's left eye and felt it needed immediate surgery. The surgery was set up for Tuesday at noon and then a follow-up visit back to the doctor on Wednesday morning. Rich and his family were very gracious to allow us to stay another couple of days with them, even though their schedule was pretty packed for those two days. We are now back on Maui, but as I look back on the unplanned interruption, I see so many blessings from God that we are so grateful for.

First of all, the doctor told Dick that he caught the problem in the eye before dire consequences occurred. If it had been allowed to deteriorate further, Dick would have lost his eye. We are so grateful for the extended amount of time that he has to hopefully keep his eye intact. Secondly, I was able to spend two days with my dear grandsons, instead of the one day. They were so full of energy and had friends over to visit with them and it was a joy to see them enjoying the time off from school, the chance to do what they wanted to do without restrictions, and see them interact with their fellow classmates in an atmosphere apart from the routine of school. It was a chance for me to see their different personalities shine. Bryan is very much of the scientific mindset, enjoying his rock collections, loving to explore and enjoy God's natural creation. Bradley is very musical, loving to listen to his little Christian praise songs, and has such a beautiful voice for an 8 year old as he sings along with each song knowing the exact words to them all!!! He has a very sensitive nature and a sharp sense of what is happening around him. It was really good to get to sit and visit with Emily, too, and watch her with her beading projects making lovely necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and lanyards.

We can look back and thank God for the unexpected interruption and see the blessings God had in it for us.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

God orders the steps and stops of man! May the steps and stops he orders for you be all for His honor and glory!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Realism vs. Idealism

I just read a great article that I want to share with you in capsulized form. I pray that you will be blessed as I was as we travel the road to realism. The article starts out with a quote:

"Optimists think the glass is half full. Pessimists think it's half empty. Realists know that if they stay around long enough they're going to have to wash the glass."

Ideals and realism are both important on our road of life. Ideals give us direction while realism gives us traction. Both have their downsides. Realism can cost us our dreams. Idealism can consume our days looking for perfection in our world.

Is God a realist or an idealist? Some think of God as an obsessive, demanding parent who cannot be pleased, while others think of him as an overindulgent grandparent who is so endearing and compassionate that there is no reason to fear Him.

The most inspiring idealism and the most rugged realism come together in Jesus. He was faithful to the highest principles while offering mercy to the most broken people. Jesus was kind to people that all other religious leaders avoided. He ate and drank with sinners. He offered mercy instead of morality. He did so to show that He had come not to condemn but to rescue.

The Bible begins with a perfect world and ends with the promise of a perfect world. What makes the Bible so compelling is that its rugged realism offers strength for the journey with a vision for a better world at the end of the road. Someday weapons of war will be recycled into tools of agriculture and the defenseless lamb will lie down with the lion. In the end, those who make peace with God now in our imperfect world will find perfect peace in an ideal world forever. And in between, we strive to conform more and more to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no conflict between the heights of Jesus' ideals and the depths of His mercy. We have a God who is good enough to inspire us with His ideals, merciful enough to accept us where we are, and too loving to leave us there.

Looking forward to the promise of Jesus of a far better place!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I just saw the neatest phrase that brought a picture into my mind of humility.

"The tree with the heaviest fruit hangs the lowest."

Jesus taught humility in so many ways. He told a parable about when you enter a room, instead of taking the front row seat and then asked by the host to move back to the back, take the back seat, so that when the host asks you to move forward, you will be honored rather than disgraced. That is humility demonstrated in a very visible way. "He who humbles himself shall be exalted."

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:10) When we do our works in a humble manner not seeking glory for ourselves, it is the Lord who will get the glory, and it is the Lord who will honor us with a "well done, thou good and faithful servant." If we do good deeds to be recognized by men, and we are praised for it here and now, God says we've already received our reward--the praise of man. Would you rather have the praise of man or the praise of God?

Christ exhibited the greatest humility by going to the cross to die for our sins and is our greatest example where God in the end has exalted him to the highest place of honor:

Philippians 2:4-11:

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father."

Jesus came to earth to serve, not to be served. He looked out for the interest of others, and not to His own interests. Can we do anything less if we desire to please our Lord? At times we become so focused on earthly matters, we lose the rightful focus of the purpose for which God created us---to be conformed to our Savior and give pleasure, honor, and glory to God!

I pray you are a tree bowed down very low because your good deeds done in humility are evident to all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Folly of the Young versus Wisdom of the Old

You hear in the news these days such sad incidents where young people have died in a car accident because of speeding, or have overdosed on drugs, or who thought life was hopeless and took their own lives, or who have thrown their unborn child in a dumpster because they didn't want to raise it alone, or who simply have dropped out of school because they didn't like it and are facing a very uncertain future. God calls such acts folly, or foolishness.

In Proverbs God compares the foolishness of the young with the wisdom that only comes from knowing the Lord and following what His word tells us is wise. Often the foolishness of the young ends up cutting their lives so short and losing the opportunity to grow older and wiser. They give up the opportunity of growing wiser with age for something spontaneous and wreckless that only gives them a very momentary thrill. How sad to me! God created them with a specific purpose in mind to bring them fulfillment, satisfaction and bring honor and glory to Him, their Creator. Instead they choose to ignore their purpose for life and throw it away so unknowingly, so wrecklessly.

Here are some Proverbs that speak to this issue:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer." (Proverbs 9:10-12)

"The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short." (Proverbs 10:27)

"For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm." (Proverbs 1:32-33)

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity." (Proverbs 3:1)

Please pray for our young people today that they might see the foolishness of their ways and seek the wisdom from the Lord that promises them long life and prosperity!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Precious Memories

Today is the first year anniversary of my dad's death. Thoughts of him have been coming to mind all week. I miss his "Hi Honey" when we would walk into the door every morning while in West Virginia. When we were in Hawaii, the first question he'd ask me when I called him on the phone is "When are you coming home?" Dad loved the spring of the year. He loved his garden and couldn't wait until spring to plant his first onion and lettuce seeds. He would sit out on the stoop of his barn during the summer season and look at the garden as if he was watching over each plant that was growing. He also loved bluebirds. He eagerly awaited the first bluebirds that would arrive in the spring. He built his own special bluebird house for them, so they could have their babies where Dad could watch them being fed and then eventually fly from their nest. I love to picture Dad now enjoying his garden in heaven. I'm sure the beauty all around him is thrilling his soul beyond description. This year has been a long year for his family as we miss him so much, but Dad's time in heaven this year has been just as a blink of an eye. There is an eternity for him to enjoy God's magnificence and who would want to miss a single detail of it!!!

Saturday I was watching a Gaither Homecoming program and one of the songs had the phrase that "when the dead in Christ shall rise first". It was such a rejoicing moment for me to picture Dad's body being raised to join his spirit at the second coming of Christ that I could only shout and praise God right there alone as the image was so real to me at that moment. What a wonder it would be to be present at the very moment the trumpet sounds and the dead rise to meet him in the air.
If, however, my death precedes this glorious moment, and I die before the second coming, then I eagerly await Dad's welcome when he will say "Hi honey---welcome home!"

Thinking of Dad today,

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have quite a lot of Irish blood in me from ancestors who migrated to the United States in the 1800s. My great-great-great-grandfather was an Irish Catholic named Keenan who converted to become a Protestant when he arrived in the US and settled in then Virginia. He is buried in the churchyard of the oldest church still standing in West Virginia, a small little log cabin church with a loft built especially for men to keep a lookout for Indian raids while church services were being held. We visited the little church a couple years ago and took pictures of the tombstones of our ancestors buried in the cemetary.

My youngest sister was born on March 17 and has always celebrated her birthday with shamrock cakes, and Irish presents. She and my Aunt Eva (Mom's sister) had the same birthday and often were able to celebrate together. I called my sister this morning to wish her a happy birthday. It was snowing in West Virginia, but she celebrated with my mother and sister by eating a shamrock-decorated cake with them. Happy Birthday, Sheila!

In today's paper in Dear Abby, she quoted a cute Irish blessing that I will share with you:

May the most you wish for be the least you get.
May the best times you've ever had be the worst you'll ever see.

I, too, wish for you that from this day forward the best days will be always ahead of you. May today be the first day of the rest of your life, and may all your tomorrows be filled with all the peace and joy God alone can give you!

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Friday, March 16, 2007

An Anguished Heart

The psalmist in Psalm 55:44-48 felt he had the answer for an anguished heart:

"My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, "If I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest--I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter far from the tempest and storm."

Haven't we all felt when the world was closing in on us that if we could just run and hide or go far far away from the problem that all would be okay then? But running away never solves anything. The problem doesn't disappear and the fear never leaves by changing our location.

However, we do always have a place of shelter to run to, a refuge in which to go, a haven of rest that always welcomes us and where peace abides and fear dissipates. That is in the shelter that God provides us. We can take refuge "in the shadow of his wings" and we don't have to fly away to find it. We have a fortress, a refuge in times of trouble in Jesus.

"But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in time of trouble."
(Psalm 59:16)

Jesus is our rock, our strong tower, a very present help in the time of trouble. "Because you are my help, I will sing in the shadow of your wings; I stay close to you; your right hand upholds me." (Psalm 63:7)

How much better to snuggle close in the bosom of God and in the shelter of His wings than to have dove's wings and fly away! "He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken." (Psalm 62:2)

May you find peace in the shelter of God's wings!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ear Problem

For the past 6 months, I have had ringing in my ears that is getting slowly worse and worse. I told my husband this morning if I lose my mind and begin to go a little mad, the ringing in my ears will be the cause of it!!! The medical term for it is tinnuitis. I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks to see if there is anything they can do about it, although I've heard from friends who say there is not much that can be done. So far it's manageable, although very aggravating and annoying especially when you want to hear clearly! :)

The Lord has no ear problems. He is always available to hear our prayers, our cries to him for help, and always longs to hear our praise that brings honor and glory to Him.

"You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry." (Psalm 10:17)

"The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles." (Psa., 34:17)

"I waited patienty for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1)

"How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you." (Jer. 30:19b)

Let the Lord hear your voice today, whether in grateful praise, or a needy cry!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Speech Meet

Today I was asked to be a judge for a Speech Meet held at a Christian school here in Maui. I will be judging the younger children in 3rd through 5th grade. I've been privileged to do this in past years, and I am amazed at the poise of the children and the length of their memories! I was not so poised as a young child, and still am not comfortable at all in front of people.
My knees knock, my hands get clammy and my lips quiver. It is so much easier to sit here and write than it is ever for me to speak. God gifts us in different ways, and mine is not public speaking! However, I look forward to today and seeing the young children master the art of speaking!

In Colossians 4:6, God reminds us---"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (KJV). We are to be gracious and kind in our speech one to another. All of our words should be thought out before we speak so as not to hurt or harm in any way. Our tongues reveal so much of who we are, and often times, our words can get us in trouble. We need to allow the grace of God always dictate our words so that they may heal and encourage others.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pay Back Time

As a rule, we are a "pay-back" people. When we are given a birthday or anniversary gift, we feel obligated to give a gift in return when their birthdays come around. When we are invited over for dinner at someone else's home, we feel we must invite them over to ours someday to repay them for their kindness.

In the opposite direction, if we are hurt or harmed by someone else, we often feel revengeful and say "I'll get them back someday." "I'll do to them what they did to me!" Do we do the same to God? Do we feel an overwhelming urge to get mad at God when something bad happens to us? In the same way, when God blesses us, do we feel we must "pay back" God for the blessings He gives us?

First of all, God's word tells us, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil."(Romans 12:17). It is not our place to get revenge when we are wronged. God says He is the only rightful Judge and He will repay, says the Lord. God alone is a just God and will bring justice to any and all situations. He alone knows the motives of the heart. I Thess. 5:15 says, "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."

Also, we cannot ever give enough back to God to repay Him for all that He has done for us, or expect God to repay us for the good we have done. In Romans 11:35, the Word says, "Who has ever given to God that God should repay Him?"

God says He wants our obedience much more than our offerings or sacrifices. He wants us to acknowledge Him as the giver of every perfect gift and be thankful, but we cannot work to earn His greater blessing. He wants our hearts to be pure before him much more than he wants a pay-back.

Be kind to each other!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Work Day

Today is work day at our church where we get together to repair, refresh, or replenish whatever needs a little sprucing up. It's a day of working side by side with church family and accomplishing much more as a group than we could singly. It reminds me of olden days where neighbors always reached out to neighbors during times of harvest, barn raising, or simply getting together for an afternoon of fellowship with tables laden with lots of homemade goodies. Many hands make a job so much easier than one working alone.

God's Word speaks much about work. In Ecclesiastes, Soloman recognized work as a gift of God. "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This, too, is from the hand of God."

God's Word speaks about how we are to work---Colossians 3:23-- "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving."

The motive for our work is found in I Corinthians 10:31 ---"So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

I think in some ways we have lost the old work ethic that generations before us held so highly, and we've lost some of the joy of hard work and the satisfaction it brings from a job well done. Hopefully, today much will be accomplished with many hands working together and we will leave with joy in our hearts knowing that we've worked to honor God, and to make the place where we worship God a brighter, cleaner, cheerier place to welcome family, friends and future family.

Happy toiling!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fruit Pizza

I'm making dessert for tonight's Bible study and happened to think of this recipe I got from a friend a few years ago. I thought maybe you would enjoy it, too:

Fruit Pizza

1. Take one roll of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough and spread evenly over a medium sized pizza pan. ( If you use a large pan, you may have to use two rolls of cookie dough). Bake dough at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Then cool completely.

2. Mix the following ingredients until smooth:

2 pkgs. (4 oz.) cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled cookie dough.

Cover entire pizza with the fresh fruits of your choice. I like strawberries, blueberries, kiwi and bananas, but any fresh fruit will do.

Then mix together:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons flour

Boil until thickened and spoon over fruit. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

It's a very colorful dessert, one that is healthy and always fun for the children!

Try it---you'll like it!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Shield of Faith

On the news this past week here in Hawaii we saw an 83-year old man standing before the judge on trial for stabbing his wife of 58 years to death over 100 times. I have asked myself so many times, how could he do such a thing? What happened to him? What happened between the two of them that could cause such atrocious violence to occur after 58 years of marriage? We got glimpses of the reason why as the reporter held interviews from people that have mentioned years of fighting among each other. His wife came to a very bitter end of a long and bitter marriage.

Dick and I have been married 44 years and I can't even fathom that he would harm a hair on my head. I truly trust him with my very life. I know he would protect me within an inch of his own life if it was necessary. He would do all he could to shield me from danger to the maximum that was possible. Violence in the world today is becoming more and more real out there every day. We never know when we might be faced with an enemy beyond our power to save ourselves. It is most necessary to claim God's Word and ask for God's protection for us and our families each and every day. The enemy can strike in many different ways and use very deceptive tactics to destroy us. We hear of kidnappers of children, pornographers, drug deals ending in murder, teenagers stealing for drug money, rapists, child abusers, robberies, etc., not just occasionally anymore, but every day some unspeakable crime has been committed. Evil is rampant!

David in Psalm 18:2 says "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies."

In Ephesians 6, we are told to put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand against the devil's schemes---the master of lies and deception and evil. With that armor we are to clothe ourselves with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. There is one piece of the armor that is the most vital---the shield of faith. This is the armor that will extinguish all the flaming arrows the enemy throws in our direction. Our faith in Almighty God truly is our protection, our refuge, our help when we need Him the most. Violence is no respecter of persons---it can strike whenever we least expect it. If we pray for God to protect us and put His hedge of love about us every morning, we can trust that He will do so. "The angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him, and he delivers them." (Ps. 34:7) Pray for your children before they go off each morning to school. Pray for an angel to sit on the hood of your car as you drive to work. Ultimately, God alone is the victor over evil--the devil trembles at even His name. Pray for God to be your shield---He will not fail you---He is worthy of your trust and praise!

"For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above my enemies who surround me" (Psalm 27:5-6a)

Keep safe and put on that shield of faith!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Warm Glow of Friendship

It's amazing to me how God blesses me through the friends He has placed in my life over the years. Just in the past two days, I was so pleasantly surprised by long-ago friends. I went to my mailbox yesterday and got a wonderful "Thinking of You" card from an old grade school friend. We both attended a tiny little one-room school in West Virginia in the 1950s and lived on the same country road. We hadn't seen each other for over 40 years until two years ago when we attended a town reunion picnic during the summer. Yesterday out of the blue I get a card from her saying hello, just thinking of you. You can't imagine the warm glow that brought to my heart to think that someone in Kentucky was thinking of me enough to take the time to say so!!!!

Then today I opened up my email and received an email from an old college friend who was arranging for 12 to 15 of my old girlfriends from college to get together for a trip in September. She had named all of us the "Hurley Girl Society." :) The email alone just brought floods of memories to my mind of the great time we had together as friends as we attended school. Can you imagine the giggles and laughter, the fun and reminiscing we would have together if we got together for a week??? Oh, my! Again, the warm glow of friendship just floods my soul!

"A friend loves at all times" ---- even when 40 years or more have passed since you have spent time with them! Do you have a friend somewhere that would be so thrilled to hear from you after a long time has gone by since last hearing from you? Surprise her!

May you thank God for all the friends He has given you!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Keep Persevering

My family and I used to love hiking on the trails of all the Hawaiian islands. We would plan usually a 3 to 5-day hike with backpacks, tents, food, etc. that we had to carry on our backs. Oftentimes the trails were very difficult to hike, either climbing up a mountain, or going down along gravelly paths that caused us to slip and slide and our toes to mash into the end of our shoes. When our son was small, especially on the first day of the hike, he would complain that he didn't want to hike anymore. He wanted to stop and quit because he was hot and tired. We would have to explain to him that we had to continue to hike on to get to the end of the trail where people were waiting on us to take us home at the end of the trail. The second day he would be recuperated from a good night's rest and raring to go leading the pack while we adults were aching from sore muscles and barely able to walk from the first long day's hike. I think we all learned as a family the meaning of the word perseverance!

This familiar saying is true: "Life is a marathon, not a sprint." Life requires perseverance, even when times get particularly tough. Our Savior finished what He began and so must we. Sometimes God answers prayer with silence, and when He does, we must patiently persevere. We can't stop in the middle of the road and say I'm not moving, unless we know very specifically that God has told us to. God expects us to keep on keeping on. In times of trouble, we need to seek God through prayer and listen to His small voice. He promises to direct our paths and light our way. We must trust Him and lean on His strength as we carry on. Whatever our problems, God can handle them. Our job is to keep persevering until the answer to the problem comes. We need to be a finisher of the race, an overcomer. We need to fight the good fight until the race is won. When we persevere until the end, we will receive the promises of God, our crowns, our home in heaven for eternity. Whatever you're facing today, realize that God is bearing the load with you. He is walking along beside you encouraging you to finish the race. You can do it with His help!

Keep persevering!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Blessings in Many Facets

This past week was such a busy week for us, and as I recall each event or activity, I rejoice in the goodness of our Lord and the way He blesses us with unexpected, joyous, and sometimes sad events that draw our attention to Him.

At the first of this week, I received great news that my dear friend in Minnesota had received good test results from her CA125 test that will often determine if ovarian cancer has returned to her body or not. The test result was very low and indicates that she is safe from cancer for another while. What a relief to hear such good news! However, that same evening I heard from another friend that a teacher at a Christian school here in Maui who had retired from missionary work three years ago, passed away suddenly with ovarian cancer. She only found out in January that she had the terrible disease, and lived only a month when God called her home to be with him. She was only 70, but one of the most committed, loving, sweet, kind servants of God that you could ever meet. I attended her memorial service yesterday and was so blessed by all the people who shared their love and memories of Mary and the service was a celebration of her life that was lived wholly and completely for God. Just a reminder---ovarian cancer is a very aggressive and dangerous cancer. The CA125 blood test is a good indicator for women to determine if cancer is present in the body. You may want to ask your doctor if you should have the test or not.

Also, Thursday we had a nice surprise when Dick's high school principal from his hometown in Winfield, West Virginia, arrived in Maui for a conference. He is now 80, a widower, but still so very active in giving back to the community in which he lives. We took him on a tour around the Island, and I was so fascinated as I listened to the reminiscenses that he and Dick had of their hometown of Winfield and of the many people that they shared memories about. Winfield once was a small town and everybody knew everybody, and the close-knit bond that was expressed through their reminiscences was a joy. It reminded me of the blessing of people in our past who have made their mark on our lives. All of us can think of someone in our past who has made an impact, who changed us in some way, or who simply blessed us by their presence.

Last but not least, we went to the beach on Saturday so that Dick could get some swimming and snorkeling time in for his exercise this week. We were so blessed by watching whales breaching clear out of the water many times out in the ocean right in front of where we sat on the beach. They would also flap their tales out of the water as if they were waving at us. If you've never experienced such a sight, it is awesome! These mighty creatures of God's creation are magnificent to watch!

Each day we can experience a blessing, a joy, a reason to be thankful if we but look for the opportunity! God is eagerly anxious to reveal Himself to us in so many ways! Look for God in the goodness of each day!

Joy and Peace,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sleepless Nights??

As an older woman, I find that so many things disrupt a good night's sleep for me. Sometimes it's nothing more than aching knees, or a slight headache. Sometimes when I've been out socializing with other people, I lie awake at night thinking about all the conversations that went on during the evening and can't get to sleep. Sometimes it will just be a nagging worry that I can't get off my mind. Most of the time, it's because I've drunk more caffeine during the day than I should and will wake up at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning wide awake and can't get back to sleep. God's Word is so very practical. Did you know there are several verses in the Bible that speaks of sleep?

In Ecclesiastes 5:12 - "The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep." I've noticed in my own life when I have really worked hard during the day, the bed is so welcome and I'm asleep in minutes. A good day of work allows sleep to come easily. However, I also notice when I go out and eat something really rich, that rich foods lie on my stomach so heavily that it doesn't allow me to fall asleep until in the early morning hours. Also this verse may mean that the rich worry in the night hours about protecting his riches or about the possibility of losing his riches which might bring sleepless nights, as well. In reverse, the poor may lie awake at night wondering where the next meal will come from for his family or how to pay the bills when they become due. So many reasons we can lie awake at night needlessly.

Sometimes when Dick is away from home overnight, I don't sleep well. I stay awake listening at all the noises that I usually don't hear at all when he is with me. Psalm 4:8 reminds us that God is our safety: "I will lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Proverbs 2:23-24 also speaks of sweet sleep: "Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster...for the Lord will be your confidence."

When we do find ourselves awake at night and sleep just refuses to come, here is a good way to pass the time: "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises." (Psalm 119:148) Let your mind dwell on verses that you have learned that might ease your mind and allow peace to come. Then even if you don't sleep, your body and mind will be rested and not agitated. Philippians 4:6-9 reminds us to dwell on the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, and the admirable. Don't be anxious about anything, but present your requests to God and then the peace that passes all understanding will fill our minds, and the God of peace will be with us.

I think also that sometimes God awakens us in the night hours and places someone immediately on our minds that He wants us to pray for. Sometimes God does that to me with people I haven't even thought of for days, months or even years. I take that as a sign that they need prayer and God has awakened me to be the one to pray for them. His ways are not our ways.

And lastly, always remember that God never slumbers or sleeps. "He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep....The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." (Psalm 121:3, 7-8)

Sweet dreams and may your sleep always be sound!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are You a Martha or a Mary?

In the New Testament account of Martha and Mary, we find Martha scurrying about to meet the needs of the Master, while we find Mary sitting at Jesus' feet listening to what He said. (Luke 10:38-42) Women often categorize themselves into one of the two categories---is our priority ministry (Martha)or is it worship (Mary)? In my opinion, I think we each need a good balance of both personalities, making sure the priorities are in proper order. We cannot be a good Martha until we are a good Mary. We must sit at Jesus' feet and find our perspective, our purpose, our right relationship with the Master, before we can properly serve Him as a Martha. We do need both, however. Would anything be accomplished in God's plan if all sat and listened only? He wants us to take what we've learned after sitting at His feet and put our hands to work in order to minister to others' needs.

I want to share with you a poem that I think puts it all into proper perspective:

Martha in the kitchen seving with her hands
Occupied for Jesus with her pots and pans,
Loving Him, yet fevered, burdened to the brim
Careful, troubled Martha, occupied for Him.

Mary on the footstool, eyes upon her Lord,
Occupied with Jesus, drinking in His Word.
This one thing was needful, all else strangely dim,
Loving, resting Mary, occupied with Him.

So may we, like Mary, choose the better part.
Resting in His presence, hands and feet and heart;
Drinking in His wisdom, strengthened by His grace;
Waiting for the summons, eyes upon His face.

When it comes, we're ready, spirit, will and nerve;
Mary's heart to worship, Martha's hand to serve;
This is the rightful order, as our lamps we trim;
Occupied WITH Jesus, then occupied FOR Him.
(Author Unknown)

May we first be a Mary; then we can be a good Martha!