Out My Van Window

So I've noticed recently that some of the best sights I see are actually out my van window. Thought I'd share a few...

These are brilliant, vibrant flowers growing through the crack in the sidewalk. The street where I spotted them, unfortunately, was too unsafe to park and walk around so...had to wait until I was stuck at the red light. I keep hoping for enough time to turn down the side street, park and walk back to them and take another picture a bit closer.

This one I took on the way to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's place. A tree caught between summer and fall... This time we pulled into the Park N Ride. Aaron was laughing so hard with all of my circling around and trying to figure out the best place to take a picture of the tree so the ugly fence & Honey Bucket didn't end up in the scene...

This one, I was in Everett this morning and they are doing some work up there along the river. I love the streetlights they're putting in and if you look closely, that big white spot in the way, way, way far off distance is Mt. Baker. It is exquisite in the morning when the sun is burning off the fog. Makes it look almost unreal.

I was driving past Lowell Park in Everett and noticed so many of the trees have leaves changing - the most incredible shade of red. So red they're almost burgundy. I love that God gives us so many changes through the seasons. Had to park the car and actually wander around a little bit.

This one I took at another Park N Ride. How I love that I can see Mountains from almost every direction out here!

Last but not least, for this post, anyhow. Saw these guys havin' a snack on my way home from picking Christopher up from school the other day. Not something I'm used to seeing in my neighborhood, that's for sure. I felt bad for the little brown one, he'd wrapped himself around that fire hydrant. Fortunately, a gentleman much stronger than me arrived home and helped the poor little guy out. I'm pretty sure it would not have gone well if I had tried to unravel him! All I could picture was the other one trying to munch on my clothes while I tried to untangle the leashes. I've learned animals are a lot stronger - and heavier - than they look. Didn't want to have an "I wrestled a goat today" story to share.

So... that's some life out my van window. Ok - some scenery out my van window and a little bit of life. I'll work on that a bit for the next time I decide to share a little of what is happening around me.

One last thing - if you haven't seen it yet? Go see the movie Fireproof. It is REALLY worth seeing!!

Hope you have had a blessed Sunday!


Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Open My Eyes by Brandon Heath

Please don't forget to turn off my blog music before playing the video. I should also mention this week is a bit serious. There have been some things happening in my life that have me buckling down into the work God has for me.

I am passionate about the battle against human trafficking. God has asked me to be a "modern day abolitionist" and I've found it's generally foolish to be disobedient to God...so I have been pouring myself into this horror for about 5 years now.

This song, every time I hear it, asking God to give me eyes to see the people around me, reminds me we are all loved and wanted the same by the God who created us. It also reminds me we live in a fallen, sinful world and we are not to forget those who are weak and vulnerable, those who are exploited and used, those who need help.

If you are interested in hearing more about human trafficking, don't hesitate to ask. There is a recent post on my blog about it, too.

Don't forget to visit Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders for more Then Sings My Soul Saturday songs.

Have a blessed Saturday!


Thankful Thursdays - People

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
~Ecclesiastes 4:11-13

This week I am going to write about some of the people in my life to whom and for whom I am incredibly thankful. Without them, my life would be dull and boring. God knows the people we need in our lives and blesses us with them at just the right time. One thing is for sure, I have been abundantly blessed.

So...this week, I am thankful for:

1. My husband. I am sure I've mentioned this before but if not, I was a single mom from the time my son was 18 months old until he was 18. Getting married again became the furthest thing from my mind, I was certain God did not intend it for me. Then on a Friday, walking on the beach at Westport, I told God I was ok if He was going to leave me single but I wouldn't mind if He had a man in mind for me to share the rest of my life. I added if he had blue eyes, brown hair, was about 6 ft. tall and owned a beach house, I'd be ok with that. :) Well... I got the blue eyes & brown hair and the rest of what I got was totally unexpected. There is not, I believe, anywhere, a man as wonderful for me as my husband. And God knew that. His love for Jesus, his humor, intelligence and just... everything... is as close to perfection as I could ever find on earth. I am so incredibly grateful God brought him to me.

I might have given too much word space to my husband so I will try to be less wordy...

2. My sons. Both of them are so unique and offer such different things to my life. One I gave birth to, one was a gift that came with my husband. Neither of them do I want to live without and both of them mean more to me than words could ever express.

3. My mother. She is one of the best friends I have ever had. She is a woman who loves her family more than life, gives herself completely to us and puts up with all of our "gunk." And there is a lot with which she has to put up!

4. My family. We have our ups and downs (right now is actually a bit down) but I love them. Their uniqueness and beauty boggles my mind on a regular basis.

5. My Lifegroup - all 6 who are not my husband. Each man and woman brings a unique aspect to our group and without each of them I would not be challenged to study my Bible as much or be open to discussion as much or even serve others as much. They hold me accountable and take care of me when I'm down. They show me what true community is.

6. My girlfriends. Both the believers and the non-believers. Some of these women have been in my life for 25 years or more. I love each of them for who they are and I am grateful for all that they bring to my life. I have laughed with them and cried with them. Some of them have seen me so ugly I have embarrassed myself, been ashamed of myself and they loved me right on through that.

7. Those people I have served alongside and those I continue to serve alongside. Those people involved in Proverbs 31:20 Ministries, the Western Washington Human Trafficking Coalition and Haven for Life Ministries. Each person involved has been drawn to the work they do and I love that every one of them has been obedient to God's calling. I love their courage and willingness to work with those a lot of people don't want to be bothered by - the homeless, the trafficked, the pregnant teen.

8. My co-workers. Sometimes I wish I worked with more women but I am grateful for the men He has seen fit to bring alongside me. Their work ethics, their humor, their chivalry - their "gentleman-ness" is incredibly important in a day when such attitudes are so difficult to find. They make work a fun place, a good place to go.

9. The women who come to my Sunday morning devotions at the shelter. They don't have to come, they need to rush for church when I'm finished but we are growing together, learning more about this great God we serve. They welcome me joyfully every week and look forward to when I'm coming back. They keep me humble, they keep me growing, they keep me faithful to my time with God (The minute I stop doing that, they're going to know!! These women don't miss a thing.) and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Someone somewhere will remind me of someone I should have included. These are the people on my mind today, probably because I have been touched by all of them in the last few days.

Saw a post today that Saturday is Iris' birthday. I'd like to take this moment to say Happy Birthday, Iris. I thank God for you today, too. Without you, I wouldn't take the time to think through my blessings as deeply as I do for this post. Thank you for starting "Thankful Thursdays" and I hope to be participating for many years. May God bless your birthday with wonderful family, fun times and sweet memories!

Have a gloriously blessed Thursday!


Call & Response Documentary and other Human Trafficking Information

"Never forget that justice is
what love looks like in public."
~Dr. Cornel West (quoted from Call + Response)

Human trafficking is an issue (for lack of better terminology right now) I have immersed myself in for about 5 years. God brought it to my attention and as He wanted, I have read, talked about it with many people and studied the issue as thoroughly as I possibly could.

I'll start with just a few facts:

1. There are an estimated 27 million people enslaved around the world.
2. An estimated 18 million of those are labor slaves.
3. It is estimated that 800,000 women & children are enslaved annually.
4. There are estimated to be between 14,500 to 17,500 slaves trafficked into the United States (Yes - they are here, too. In your city, I guarantee.) every year
- at least 1/2 of them are children.
5. It is estimated that 25% of the clients of the sex-slave trade are men from the United States.

I could go on for a LONG time about human trafficking and its victims. Each and every one haunts me in some way or another. Each one has a name I will probably never know, they have hopes, dreams, families... They are abruptly yanked from their lives, used in horrific ways I can't begin to describe with words and then tossed aside like garbage when they are no longer useful. Most of them are children.

People call it an "issue" or a "cause" but I have not found a word yet. Calling it an issue or a cause feels like a disservice to those who are its victims. They are people - flesh and blood who hurt in ways we cannot imagine. It is an evil perpetuated against people by people and people are amazing in their ability to be cruel - let alone cruel to those who are weak and vulnerable.

You can help fight this issue in several ways.

First, on October 9, 2008, a documentary called Call + Response will open in 20 major cities around the country. Seattle is one of them. It will open at the Metro and will run for one week only.

Please tell anyone and everyone you know.

Head to the official website, http://www.callandresponse.com/ and check out the trailer.
It's powerful.

Tickets are $10 per person and if you would like to be part of a group, I am going to shoot for attending the film on Wednesday, October 15th (probably the 7PM show). If you would like to attend on your own, tickets can be purchased through the website:

Attend the movie. There will (hopefully - this is the current plan) be tables set up outside the theater from various agencies combatting human trafficking. Talk to the people at those tables.

Another thing you can do is check out organizations combatting trafficking. Here is a short, by no means exhaustive, list of agencies (only in order of how they came to mind):

Find out how you can volunteer through those agencies. Host an event in your home, invite your friends and neighbors to watch a DVD and to talk about this issue, donate and/or raise money to donate to those agencies. It seems huge, almost insurmountable but with God, all things are possible and God speaks to protecting the innocent, helping the oppressed and freeing those trapped numerous times in the Bible.

My verse, my calling, my life verse is one of those and it is where my blog address comes from. Proverbs 31 verses 8 & 9 read: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

This is, in case you were wondering, something I am very passionate about. I could talk and write for hours but in the interest of actually getting this thing posted, I won't.

Another way you can help ~ please pray for our Coaltion and everyone working to combat human trafficking. Our Coalition, though, has numerous decisions to make, not least of which is the "business" of actually becoming a cohesive organization. We are all filled with good intentions but without prayer and discernment, we will not get very far. Please pray we listen to the voice of God and continue to look to Him for all answers. This is His work, we are merely hands and feet.

Please - ask me, talk to me about human trafficking. It will be, at times, hard to hear what I have to say (I do not pull punches with stories) but one thing I prayed for myself a long time ago - Please God, break my heart with those things that break Your heart. Oppression of His children breaks His heart. Let it touch yours. God can use us to fight this.

Blessings to you!


Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - Holiness

*don't forget to turn off my blog music before starting the video*

This song is a song God brings to my mind whenever I start to drift away from Him. It's beautiful, I love it but it doesn't cross my mind unless I have become a bit lazy with my quiet time or my prayers. It's as if I have to be reminded on the outside of what I really want on the inside. This is SonicFlood's version.

May you have a blessed, joyful Saturday!


Beautiful Moon

Tuesday and Wednesday this week we had the moon sitting high in our western sky at 7 in the morning. As I was driving into work on Tuesday I marveled at the sunrise on my back and the moon in front of me. I had to stop and take a few pictures.

I don't often get to see the moon, especially not full, on my way into work. It used to be I had to head east into my office so what I would get would be the sunrise - usually right at eye level. They are incredible and beautiful, with the sky pink and gold as the sun makes its morning appearance. Not that there are tons of them - I do live in Washington State. More gray than sun, usually.

The moon, though, this week was stunning. So clear and white, able to see the outline of craters. I didn't want to come into my office on either day, just sit and watch the moon set for a change.

Hope you enjoy the pictures (the first three are from Tuesday and the second two from Wednesday) and the full moon didn't wreak too much havoc on your week!

Have a blessed Friday.


Thankful Thursdays - Truth

The subject Iris writes about this week is truth. As a follower of Jesus Christ, there is much in that one word for which to be thankful. Christ is The Truth.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

~John 14:1-7

I don't have to argue it, push it or force it. It is. Jesus answered - I am the way and the truth and the life. Jesus said it, it is so.

For that I am eternally thankful.

May you have an incredibly blessed Thursday!


End of a Long Day

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 18:2-4

The following was sent to me via email today. I've seen it before but it resonated today. It reminded me of the above verse and put my entire whiny day in perspective...

Just had to share this with you...it's one of the kindest things you may ever see. It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'

Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven.Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


The story is true, I had to check it out before sharing it. If you want to read snopes investigation results, click on the link below the Mom's quote. The Mom said one thing in her interview about it that just jumped off the page at me. Oh to have the faith of a child!:

"According to her mother, Meredith was comforted by the book and letter and was unastounded that God saw fit to write back. "She wasn't surprised because she had such faith that her letter was going to get to God."

Wednesday? Feels like Monday!

Today has been a day. My van had to get some work done on it today and we were going to drop it off last night. Forgot that. It turned this morning into a wild scramble to get out the door, to the dealer and then back to my office so I could be at work on time. Missed it by about ten minutes. It is an incredibly wonderful blessing that Aaron & I both live so close to our jobs. He was still able to get back home, after dropping me off, finish getting Christopher ready for and to school on time, drop something off back at MY office before heading into the shop. At least he wasn't late...

At work, though, I walked into a problem with our alarm system. Seems the phone line is not testing properly because someone, somewhere disconnected our back-up line from the alarm system. Ever have one of those "not my problem" conversations? Phone company - it's not us, our lines are working just ducky. Alarm monitoring company - not us, it's been working flawlessly for two weeks now. So here I sit with a beeping that would make anyone cry after listening to it for four hours that no one will fix AND... we PAY these people. The alarm monitoring company could only worry about who was paying the bill when they sent someone out here to fix it. Repeating that he'd be sending us a bill almost got the guy fired today but I managed to keep cool - relatively - while we were on the phone. While I was waiting for him to return my original call (which he never did, I had to call another number after waiting an hour), I made an appointment with another alarm monitoring company to come out and give us a quote this afternoon.

Whatever has happened to customer service? I work for a company that just spent almost one million dollars, in cash, to buy our office building. My office has never financed a car and we own thirteen of them. We paid over $10,000 for our copier outright. My list could go on but... does that strike you as the kind of company that would struggle to pay a service call bill? What is even worse is that he insinuated on the phone that we would have a problem paying the bill - not because we didn't have the money mind you but because the problem with the alarm wasn't caused by them and we COULD figure out who caused it and get it fixed for free. What I have learned over the years is that's a nice theory but it only works if the person/company who CAUSED the problem actually steps up and takes responsibility.

That brings me to my next query. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I ended up wasting over an hour today between two companies who were pointing fingers at the other because "it's not my fault" was all they could think to say. Forget about putting their heads together to SOLVE the problem because... well... I'm the customer and I PAY them to make sure I don't have these headaches. Nope - it's a shoulder shrugging, "not my fault, it's their fault" tug-of-war instead.

And the alarm continues to beep. If only it weren't illegal to totally disconnect the thing. grrrr!!!!

Oh and since this is only the third day we've been occupying our new office space full-time, I think it's a shame this has to happen. It seems to be marring my "YAY! We're in our new offices" time and that's just sad.

I think I'm going to mess with the pictures I've taken over the last couple of days of the moon. The moon has been absolutely stunning - at 7:15 AM. It's full, it's bright and it's still high in the western sky when I'm leaving for work. I was just plain' lovin' the fact that as I drove into work yesterday morning I was driving with the sun rising behind me and the full moon hanging in front of me looking like it was so close I could reach out and touch it. I really hope the pictures turn out well, it has just been so gloriously beautiful.

Hopefully I'll get to them tomorrow.



It's Monday morning and at the moment I should probably be off preparing payroll but I wanted to take a second to post a quick picture of our new office building. I'm so excited. My new office is smaller than the old place but the fact that I can open my window and almost all of the furniture in here is new to me more than makes up for the square footage I've lost.

We had a handful of guys come in on Thursday to move most of our furniture up from the old place, our IT folks moved our server and except for our phones (a mix-up at the phone company...), we are in and workin' away.

It is a beautiful spot and I don't mean to make this sound like I'm pattin' my own back but I am SO happy I convinced my boss that we needed to buy a building and stop throwing our money away in rent!!! I think the DC can be in this space for half a century or more, God willing.

I have some thoughts turning in my head, probably going to do a bit of a long post here pretty soon. Just need to write them out coherently before sharing, I think.

Have a blessed Monday!


Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Mighty to Save

I know - I'm early this week. I have a busy day tomorrow & I wanted to participate.

*please scroll down and turn off my blog music before playing the video*

This is Hillsong's version of Mighty to Save, a song that has been pulling at my heart for a few months now. I'm sharing the lyrics, too, because they are simple but they remind me the gospel is simple. We complicate it, we disbelieve it because it is difficult to believe that something so profound, so necessary, so vital does not require us to complete some checklist, or jump through some hoop lit with fire. Ask any follower of Jesus Christ - they will tell you of their times struggling with doubt.

Salvation is a gift and all we have to do is accept that God offers us this gift at His cost, not ours. The cost was beyond our knowing - He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave - but it was His choice to pay. For that, when I still myself and focus all I have on the knowledge that this is the truth, I weep tears of incredible joy. This song does that to me, too.

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

Savior He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save

Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
And fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender I surrender

Savior He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus

Savior He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus


Thankful Thursdays - Random

I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints. ~Psalm 52:9 (NIV)

This week I think my thankful list will be short but oh so joyful. I'm hopeful this will be my last reference in my blog to my recent surgery 'cause it has definitely gone on long enough (at least in my mind) but there is a lot to be grateful for surrounding it and I have been thanking God all week long for carrying me through it.


Thank You Father God and Lord Jesus for allowing my Doctor to start my surgery an hour earlier than originally planned. Thank You, too, for being with my Doctor and the OR staff as they took care of me.

Thank You Father God and Lord Jesus for minimizing the effects of the anesthesia so I was able to wake up quickly. Instead of being home, in my own bed after noon last Friday, I was there by 10:30.

Thank You Father God and Lord Jesus for allowing the side-effects of the Aleve to "hit me" on Sunday when I was not at home alone or driving my car. Thank You, too, for keeping them relatively minor. I haven't enjoyed the muscle aches or fuzzy brain but I didn't have to head into the hospital and recover there. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

Thank You Father God and Lord Jesus for an understanding workplace, for stepping up and taking over when I couldn't come back as originally planned.

Thank You Father God and Lord Jesus for the friends who brought food and visited with me. They made the hours of forced rest incredibly wonderful. I think we should all schedule "forced rest" days with our family and friends more often.

Finally, Father God and Lord Jesus, thank you for my husband. He is the most wonderful, amazing man and I still can't believe you allowed him to love me. He took care of me without complaint and with a migraine, nonetheless. Thank You for him.

I hope you all have a long list of blessings this Thursday!!


P.O.O.P.I.E. Day

POOPIE stands for: People Opposing Objectionable Pretend plants In the Environment

How could I skip this fun? The Nester is hosting a "P.O.O.P.I.E. Party" today (see above) and all sorts of folks are sharing their loved and not-so-loved fake flower/plant/greenery arrangements. I have to admit, if The Nester lived near-by I'd have a tough time not knocking on her door, begging her to make me an exact duplicate of the fall wreath she just made.

I don't have much in the way of fake flowers around my house. They always just look too... fake. I do have a few although I'm only sharing two. One of them is hanging on my front door and I'll have to take pictures of that one later but the others are in my living room. One proudly sits on the mantel, one fills a void next to the piano and another one I hide in a corner.

The one in the corner, though, I just can't get rid of or give away, no matter how tacky it may look. It is a piece I did in the late '80's (that should be obvious by the color...) and I painted it and filled it with flowers myself. I was 19, I think. I worked in a daycare center at the time and the other woman in my room (we were in charge of the babies), Rose, had a ceramics business on the side. I had always loved "big" stuff and wanted to paint one of these vases so... Rose helped me out. It was fun work and I believe it was one my last forays into the crafting world. I'm just not talented - or patient - enough to do much of this kind of thing. (I buy from others - I support America small businesses this way. :) )

Rose passed away in the early '90's. She was young, to me anyway, and I have always missed her. We worked together while I was still in New Jersey and my own family had moved to California. She became a combination Mom/Big Sister for me and her death hit me hard. So - the vase stays. No matter how tacky and fake it may look. However, I'm not above sharing it for a great cause such as this one!

Have a fun day, folks!


The Saga Continues

Here I sit wondering what I want to write. I haven't really been able to settle down and focus on much the last few days. Surgery went well but there seems to be a minor "after" hiccup. We're trying to figure out if I'm allergic to Aleve. It hasn't been pleasant since yesterday morning. I woke up with, of all the odd things, blotchy spots on my upper arms and those spots feel as though they have a fever in them. I don't have a fever, so the thermometer says but I have some muscle weakness, some light-headedness (as if I'm faint from hunger) and my arms both feel like I just had a tetanus shot. I don't trust myself behind the wheel of a car and when the mailman came today, I almost lost my balance trying to stand on my front porch.

It's not pleasant.

I have stopped taking the Aleve and have chatted with my doctor's office. I'm supposed to take some Benadryl and if that doesn't clear up my problem, I'm off to see her tomorrow.

This is something new for me. I haven't had an allergic reaction to medication before. The thing that makes me most sad is the Aleve was helping the pain I've been having in my knees! I suppose that's a good thing, though, too. If I don't feel the pain in my knees I may not be quite so motivated to start walking again, lose some of the excess weight I'm carrying so my knees aren't having to shoulder (ha ha) so much of a load... On the other hand, a few days sans pain has been incredibly pleasant.

I'm wondering what comes next, if I'll get better or if there is more in store. I wonder what the something is God is going to teach me (the TV hasn't been on all day - I've been reading instead!) and hoping I don't miss it.

By the way...I'm preparing some devotions for the women at the shelter. I start this Sunday going every Sunday and I promised them we'd talk over the women in the Bible. If you have any insight into Eve and want to share, I'm all ears. Or eyes. I have a couple of books I'm reading through and, of course, reading through Genesis but I am open to more information. After Eve I'll be talking about Mrs. Noah (since we're never given her first name) and then Sarah.

There is so much to learn from these women and I can't wait to see what God opens up to them - and to me - through these women. I think the part I love best is learning more about God together. Ecclesiastes reminds us: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12) and as we learn together, grow together, that cord grows stronger. We support one another and become accountable to one another, becoming a part of each other's lives in community as God intends.

Ah...if only my brain were more clear. I'm off to read again. I hope you all have a great Monday evening!


Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - The Crist Family

*before reading through...don't forget to scroll down and turn off my music. :)

This week I'm including a couple of videos from a family gospel group, The Crist Family. They are originally from the northwest, members of my church and a few years ago felt a call from God to leave everything here and head to Tennessee. Their story is incredible and I love listening to them sing (They have glorious harmony, all sing beautifully and God blessed Tammy (their female lead) with an amazing voice!). I had the pleasure of meeting them and getting to know them (just a little bit) because a dear friend of mine is very close to this family. They are Jesus following, God fearing people who serve others with their music. You cannot listen to them, talk to them or even be in the same room with them without wanting to know the God they serve. It is that powerful from them. The love that just rolls off of this family is visible, almost tangible. They have faced adversity in several forms but don't seem to see it that way. It has always been another time of God leading them in the way He wanted them to go and grow. Not to say they're perfect - there were probably plenty of private moments of doubt but they always knew who is in control! I haven't had the pleasure of seeing this family for a few years now, they haven't been home long enough for me to have that opportunity but they are on my heart often and I love them dearly. I hope you enjoy their music, their message is strong and clear.


Surgery Over!

I'm not going to pretend there hasn't been some discomfort today. Surgery went well but my husband insists I was nervous. Not sure how he knew...something about my 91 bpm heartrate or the 164/82 blood pressure... He said it was because I was a bit of a chatty Kathy with the nurse. The #'s just confirmed his theory.

Don't know why I was nervous...I spent the morning praying that Jesus would stand with my doctor and the operating team during my surgery. His name was the last thing I remember thinking (I was repeating it over and over in my head because I know how fast they knock you out!) before the nurse said "she'll take your glasses..."

He definitely stood with them. I'm not going to share details here but apparently one or two things will have to be clarified with my doctor when I go in for my follow up. Nothing disastrous or scary but there is a chance this isn't going to completely take care of my problem. Man oh man oh man...

However. I know this is just one more thing that God wants me to experience and I know He is with me all the time. Jesus promised to be with us ALWAYS. It will help me have compassion for those women who have to deal with this or similar issues.

It makes me wonder, though - how many women through the centuries have gone through something like this with absolutely no relief at all. How blessed am I to live in a time when the "fix" is relatively simple and pretty well painless. I have thought often of the Thugater woman in Luke and while I have gone through 4 months, she went through 12 years. I have prayed, cried, been annoyed and angry. So I wonder - How did she not give up? What kept her going? Where did she draw her hope? - I'm not sure I could do for 12 years what I have done for the last 4 months.

That is all for now, I think. I am tired and ready to take my place on my couch again for a few hours. I am looking forward to spending just hours in my Bible tomorrow, chatting with a couple of visitors and talking with - listening to, hopefully - God. A full day of forced rest. How wonderful it sounds.

May your weekend be blessed!


Laurel Wreaths Giveaways

In honor of fall, Laurel is doing a Fall Giveaway. It's been too fun so I have to share. Hope all of you pop over to her blog, see what's up and enter.

If you win, let me know! If you win the coffee, invite me over to share. :)

Thankful Thursdays - Seasons

I think I've decided to read through Iris' post before posting my thankful list each week. Some weeks there may be something specific that God places on my heart but if not, I'll go with her subject. She makes me think and that's a good thing.

This week she wrote on seasons. Not just the seasons in a year but seasons in your life. That puts you into rewind mode a bit, a walk down memory lane. It's interesting, too, because I went to visit my brother's family over Labor Day weekend and my brother was in the mood to talk "the good ol' days" so we sat up late on Friday night, talking through memories and about people we hadn't thought about in years. It was a lot of fun and what was even better about it was realizing we had more positive memories than negative.

My thankful list, the seasons in my life...

1. Lord Jesus, Father God, thank You for all of the places my father took us when we were kids. He loved camping and that vacation he would get every year was put to good use.

2. Lord Jesus, Father God, thank You for my Nana & Pop Pop Johnston. Every child should be blessed with grandparents such as they were.

3. Lord Jesus, Father God, thank You for my time as a single mother. That was a long time and while I spent a good part of it ignoring You, pretending You didn't exist, You loved us. You took care of us. You kept us safe.

4. Lord Jesus, Father God, thank You for the opportunity to be a wife again. My first husband, poor man, had his own problems but he married a very selfish girl. I wasn't a follower - or much of a believer for that matter - then and it showed in every aspect of my life. It took me almost 15 years of being single, including all of those lousy choices in the relationship department, to realize that being a wife did not mean that the man of the house existed to serve her. It means supporting him, loving him, encouraging him to be the man that God intends for him to be. It means a lot more but in the interest of avoiding the rambling I tend to do, I'll just say read Ephesians 5.

5. Lord Jesus, Father God - thank You for whatever is next. For Your purpose for my life. Thank You for all that You have taught me and will teach me. May my eyes always be fixed on You and only You.

I'm probably missing a season or two in there but... that will do for this week, I think. God is so good and I am always amazed at His blessings. Thank you, too, Iris, for making me think through all that He has done and given me. What a great time I'll have strolling down memory lane, holding His hand as I walk.

Have a gloriously blessed Thursday!


Labor Day Weekend

I feel a bit out of touch. It's been almost a week since I last posted and I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. Last Thursday I posted my "thankful" list and then headed off to the doctor for my pre-op appointment. It included a test that sent my body into turmoil. Not sure how else to describe it. I have spent every day since in misery physically. The thing that keeps me going every day is knowing that Friday is my surgery and then, prayerfully, this problem will be rectified and I can stop feeling like it's my sole focus.

It's not even an interesting focus.

Friday Christopher & I headed down to Oregon to hang out with my brother and his family for a couple of days. There was an ulterior motive but seeing them was the best part of our trip. We headed off to the Oregon State Fair for some one on one time with a boa constrictor. My sister-in-law & I were talking about the fact that holding & touching a snake doesn't bother us. It's when they're out "in the wild" and we come across one suddenly that we aren't too keen on. Snakes are not my friend but this one is pretty, she's yellow and not too huge but big enough to be a bit intimidating. We had our picture taken with her but I forgot to give my sister-in-law my camera so... the electronic version is on her camera still and the polaroid is at home. Not scanned.

However, I have a few great pictures of the clouds in the sky. Don't ask me why but on occasion I'll hold my camera up to my windshield and just snap a picture. These are a couple of samples of what I've managed to "catch" so far.

If you enlarge the pictures you can probably see a spot or two on them. They're on my windshield.

I wish I could say I managed to relax yesterday but... had laundry to do and errands to run. Had to buy a few groceries, too. I'm working on that. I spent over $100 yesterday and that will only cover a couple of days. Aaron & I have been talking about really settling in and figuring out better ways to budget our food money. There has to be a better way. Even with clipping coupons and trying to shop as many sales as possible our food bill is somewhere around $700-800 a month. It's crazy stuff. We know there is a better way to shop out there but we haven't stumbled across it yet. It needs to be simple, too. As much as we would love to be able to spend several hours just sitting around cutting coupons, shopping sale ads, etc., we can't do it all. So...some weeks we bargain and other weeks we don't. Even if we cut our food bills by $50 a week, I'd be thrilled.

I think that's going to be it for today...I'm sleepy. My surgery is Friday at 9:15 AM. I would really love it if you'd pray for my doctor while this is happening. :)