Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 115 United by Love

April 30,
Day 115

John 17: 22, 23
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one- 23 I in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We are united.
How simple is that?
Wait, I do not agree with my
sisters or brothers in certain areas.
Still united?

Jesus is in us and God is in Jesus
and this is what brings us to complete unity.
Sounds a bit simplistic. How is this truly lived out?

Wait, isn't it our well thought out views,
our angles about this christian faith that
unites us? If not, what a shame.
We have spent hours articulating it.

Our unity is powerful.
Our unity is evangelistic.

John 17: 22, 23 basically says
our complete unity enables
the world to know that God sent Jesus
and that God loves them (the world)
just as God loves Jesus.

Church bodies all around the globe
meet and pray over how to reach
a community effectively for Jesus Christ.
They spend an inordinate amount of time
planning evangelistic events.
They begin planning vacation bible school
in their own walls rarely
venturing to inquire about doing it with other denominations.
Can you imagine what that might result in????!!!

They create small groups that will help
to lead couples or individuals in a further
understanding of all things christian.
But they fail to see the evangelistic tool
right under their noses.

Our unity is on Jesus Christ.
It is not on our thoughts about
Jesus Christ. It is on Jesus Christ.

We fail to love.
We fail to be united.

We attempt to be united on our
well thought out, well written issues, or
should I say theologies.

We cluster around dead men, authors of the past who have led
exemplary lives but never resurrected. We even celebrate their
their birthdays. I am convinced that everyone of those men,
based on the little I know of them, would shudder and turn
in their graves in horror and complete sadness.

The love we have to show one another
from our isolated congregations is buckets and buckets full of oceanic love.
But we refuse to rally on the broken body and spilled blood of our Savior who resurrected for us.

Oh, I agree. I have simplified it.
Yes indeed.
And sure enough so has our Father.

The very evangelistic tool we spend hours planning for
is within us, the glory He has given us to bring us, bring us, bring us (note who is doing the action) to complete unity.

But this is what I see. I see many in relationship with their thoughts, with even Jesus' words but not with Jesus Himself.

Are you a follower of Jesus? Or a follower of what you think about Jesus?

Let's plan on unity!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 114 Children

April 29, 2015
Day 114

To be with children all day long is simply a pleasure and an honor. I love their uniqueness, their insights, their conversations, their flare, their dance moves, their contemplative thoughts, their laughter, their expressive faces and I especially love their prayers.

Tuesday I received a call during the Wider School (a homeschool offering my daughter and I began two years ago) from Brian Licitra telling me to pray for his newborn, Annabelle. This little darling was born at 6:58 am on Tuesday morning and the birth was a bit traumatic for the wee little one. Her lungs did not fully inflate and she had to be hooked up and whisked away from her mommies arms that had been aching to simply hold her.

He called at 9 am and they still had not heard how their newborn was faring, it was troubling to Brian who does not get unnerved by much. Brian, like my husband, is a nurturing father, very loving to his children. I promised him that we would pray and that I would spread the need for prayer like wildfire.

The children all know the Licitra's and were thrilled to hear of Annabelle's birth, they were incredulous that she had been born. They had no idea that Elizabeth (Mrs. Licitra to them) had been induced, so Annabelle was early. These children knew enough to know that. But when I told them there were complications and that we needed to pray they became immediately concerned and dead serious.

I told them anyone could pray and I would close. Right out of the gate, their prayers piled up one on top of another. There was no pausing between one person's prayer and the next. They were on it, calling out to God for healing, for peace, for patience. You name it, they prayed for it!

These children brought me to tears. I could squeeze each one of them. They lead me to greater places!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 113 Shenanigans

April 28, 2015
Day 113

I am one tired puppy today. I stayed up way too late. But it was with two men, men who I could not resist! My son, Chris and my other son, Geoffrey. They are so entertaining. (not to mention Abby, and Nicky and Lynn)

Yes, they both should have been in bed. But it will be another memory to have and to hold during bleak rainy days. Meer Cats they are not, but their impressions were not unimpressive. I can go there.

The galavanting that goes on between these two brings their father and I such joy.
Many families say goodbye to their 18 year olds. But the friendship between the sixteen year old and the twenty-five year old is immeasurable.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 112 No Law Against Love

April 27, 2015
Day 112

There is no law against love. There is no law against love. There is no law against love. Maybe if I say it ten times fast I'll understand what the heck this phrase means. There is no law against love. I get close. There is no law against love. There is no law against love. I think I've got it. There is no law against love. There is no law against love. And then I don't. There is no law against love. There is no law against love. It just does not make sense. Why would it? This goes against my grain, rubs me the wrong way.

Today as I ponder my responses to situations that occur everyday and any day, the Spirit within me says, "Lynne, C'mon, all you need is love, ya ta ta da da." I think I might be coming up close to its meaning. It somehow alludes me because my flesh just doesn't get it. There is no law against love. There is no law against love.

And then the gestalt occurs, a change in direction, a 180 degree shift in my hearts' eyes. No one is going to stop me from loving. My soul is free to love. Even if someone shoots me, I am free to love. My soul has been freed from the grip of hate. There is no law against love. Love knows no chains even if physical chains bind. Love knows no limits even if limits are in place. All you need is love. Oh that is so true. Even if I am hurt by words, there is no law against love, I am free to love on and love hard. My soul has been saved by Love. No one on this earth can keep me from loving.

I will never get stopped by a cop for loving. "Uh, mam, you're loving too much. You really have to slow down." And even if I am stopped they can not stop my soul from loving. My Jesus has laid claim to my heart and His grip is tight and the reins are turned toward love.

If I am left out of a group, an event, I am free to include. I am free to love and not go tit for tat. If I am spoken about, I am free to speak kindly to the offender and know that no one is going to stop my heart from loving. The owner of my heart allows me to love despite what is hurled against me. The lover of my soul teaches me all things love. He leads me to stories upon stories of his reactions to situations He faced while walking planet earth. And He urges me, nudges me to love like He loves.  My heart is free to love. There is no law against love. No one can stop me. No one.

Jesus the olympians of all olympians, if He had so desired (too much Jew and not enough Greek for him to be an olympian) could have shot a stone at the sinner, the woman who did not obey His commandments, and it would have blasted this loose lady to shreds. He had no sin, He would have had perfect aim and perfect strength to kill her with one stone. He was the only one who could throw the stone. Ah, but there is no law against love. Wait, wait,'s coming. There is no law against love.... oh, oh, oh, oh, oh...  He let mercy triumph over judgment. There is no law against love.

The men in "the know" who dragged the adulterous woman out into the open, more than likely naked, exposed her. But Jesus drops to the ground, the one who gave the commandment long, long ago. This man who is the Judge what does He do? We must pay attention to this. We must emulate this posture. We must seek to understand what He is doing here! HE STOOPS! HE STOOPS! HE STOOPS! There is no law against love. He demonstrates for us love. He stoops. Do I have the humility to stoop when faced with someone's sin? And where do I get the guts, praytell, to not (Oh, I so want to use another word)???!!!!

For He came to save. Had He come to judge, I am convinced, the minute he would have entered earth's atmosphere we would have been obliterated, every single stinking one of us. But He left His judgment powers in His Father's hands and He came to save.

As he walked with His cross in agony He knew He was able to love us. There was no law against His love for us. There was no law that was going to keep Him from being murdered for us. When we shun, when we make sure someone knows they are in the wrong have we considered Jesus' posture?

There is no law against love. When someone tells you to stop loving remember there is no law against love. You must love and love hard and well. This means we take our orders from LOVE, from our TEACHER! Don't ask me what this means....ask Him!

Take the time to soak your soul with this song........

Unspoken- Call it Grace

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 111 Too Serious

April 26, 2015
Day 111

"You go really deep but just as quick you laugh really hard."

These were words spoken to me from a man who worked on submarines in the military. Oh, the irony. I met him at the University of Rhode Island's fellowship, Chi Alpha. I do forget his name but I will never forget his high compliment. These words spoke life into my very being. I love to laugh and I love to talk of deep and substantial matters.

I was raised on laughter, deep belly laughter. To me life is one big opportunity to laugh hard and well. Sometimes life is really funny, sometimes it is not so. But I can always find something to laugh at and I do not even need others to join me. In fact there have been times when the absence of other's laughter makes me laugh even harder!

My dad and I can go on for a while about many funny things and some that did not seem so at the time. One day he decided to dry his hair with a blow dryer in my bedroom. My dad is meticulous about his hair. Other men would let it dry. Not Bob. This is serious stuff. His hair needs attention, or so he thinks. Honestly, the style has never changed. He could do it in his sleep, in a coma for that matter! There may be earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes but since I was a baby there is one thing constant in my life and that is my dad's hair style.

So, he is drying his hair in my room, I came home from college, I did not know he was in my room and I walked in. And there he is in all his glory.  He is standing naked in front of my mirror drying his hair. I slammed the door as he yells his favorite Baptist cuss word, "JUDAS PRIEST!" I am stunned. He is stunned. I am shocked, and disoriented for a millisecond and regretful that I had not knocked. But entering my room before had never required a knock.

I just had one question, "When were you going to notify me of my room change, Bob? I clearly did not get the memo!" So unfortunate.

This stunned millisecond of a moment has turned into hours, months and years of laughter.  One mention of that moment and we are belly laughing. He's a lucky man I laughed rather than sought counseling.

Laughter is life and speaking of deeper things brings just as much life to me. I love to speak of what I am seeing in scripture, deep thoughts about life, my personal philosophies I have developed over the years, and others' philosophies, etc. etc. Moving from laughter to deep thoughts takes me seconds.

I can sniff out serious dudes and dudettes in a minute. Sometimes, I sniff it in myself and have a little conference with 'said' self!
"Quit it! Lynne. You're way smarter than thinking you have it figured out. Ya don't. Move on!"

The serious ministry types scare me the most. These are the ones who want to be used in their "known" gifting and speak about it forever and a day. To try to get them out of that state of mind is not something I have ever been able to figure out! Never really tried hard either. They just don't laugh enough.

God has a fabulous sense of humor and He makes me laugh often. I love this about Him. And yet God is really serious! He did not think my sin funny.  He paid a terrible price to get me out of the kingdom of darkness, the no humor kingdom. His death gave me life and His love grounds me with confidence to laugh at myself.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day 110 You Did Deserve This

April 25, 2015
Day 110

You deserved to be cuddled.
You deserved to be smacked upside down silly with kisses wet and gushy.
You deserved to be told over and over again how wonderful you are.
You deserved to be lovingly nuzzled in your adorable neck and told, I Love You!
You deserved that.
Your Creator wanted all of that for you.

You deserved to have your parents listen to you.
You deserved to have your parents understand you.
You deserved to have people pay attention to you.
You deserved it, for you are the only one here on the planet who is like you.
You deserved to be nurtured and thoroughly.

You deserved to be comforted when scared.
You deserved to be listened to when you awoke in the middle of the night.
You deserved all of this because your Creator wants all of this for you.
You deserved to watch a mommy and a daddy love each other.
You deserved to experience family love.
You deserved this for you are meant to be in a family.

You deserved to have your unique bent seen and appreciated.
You deserved your questions to be pondered and an attempt to be made to answer them.
You deserved to be seen for your individuality.
You deserved to be guided to fulfill your destiny.
You deserved this because your Creator provided
you with amazing things for you to do before He
created the earth.

You deserve so much. You are a wonderful creation created by the most wonderful Creator. Much of your experience is not what He intended.

I can not tell you how sorry I am that you did not receive this. The pain in your eyes makes my heart weep.

Jesus is more than sorry that you did not receive what you deserved. And about this, He did something for you. His body was broken, He offered to be murdered for you. His blood was spilled for you.  He bought you peace and wholeness and completeness with the cost of His life. The very day He offered Himself to pay for all that was wronged against you, He consequently took care of all the wrong that you did. He did not deserve to die but for you He would do anything. He wanted you to be made new. He wants you to have the freedom to relate to Him and others with a new and loving way, the way in which He intended for you to relate and exist.

Do you see His hand? He wants you to follow Him. He wants you to trust Him.
There is no quick fix, there is no multi-level step program. He offers you a relationship that is healthy and whole and rich and free. He offers you LOVE!

You can now walk in peace.
You can now live in peace,
and you can now offer forgiving love.
Are you unsure of what to do, where to go, how to be?
Good. This is good.
All He asks you to do is listen to Him, watch for Him and follow Him.
It is a relationship He has provided for you. A relationship that operates out of a deep place of love, deeper than you will ever be able to understand!

You are so loved, dear friend!
Love on and love hard!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 109 Heaven is a Wonderful Place

April 24, 2015
Day 109

I like to think of heaven. When my children ask me if this or that is going to be there, or will it be like this or will it be like that or will we do this or that, or will my pet be there, my answer is always yes, sure, of course, yes! Heaven is a wonderful place. It is filled with glory and grace. I want to see my Savior's face. Oh, heaven is a wonderful, heaven is a glorious, heaven is a wonderful place! (sing it!)

When someone dies the reality of heaven hits as well as the possibility of its nonexistence. This is when I remind myself that my faith is based on the unseen, the infinite. The day of a funeral is when I think, oh boy, there is no word from the departed, I am not able to communicate, not even a little bit. The dark is dark. No sound. There is no visual and no audio. The person is dead. There is nothing. In hushed tones I murmur, "....hope my faith is based on reality."

Earth is spectacular and beyond amazing and I have only seen a fraction of this place. If my creator was willing to risk this magnificent ball of wonder on us sinners can you imagine what heaven will be like? U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E! Honestly, there are times I let my mind wander and imagine a place that is beyond awesome and spectacular and then I think, wow! Heaven is going to be a million times more beautiful and spectacular.  If I am encouraged to believe that this God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"* I am allowed to imagine all things heaven.

I love thinking about all the visiting I am going to do in heaven let alone the beauty. I think of the inordinate amount of time I will visit everyone wonderful. Oh my land, this is where my heart misses a beat and I'm not even thinking of those whom I knew.  I'm heading straight for Sarah and Abraham. (oh, but what is the rush?)

 ~C'mon, honestly, what was it like when you laughed? Did you know these men were angels? Did you even consider that, Sarah? And really, how old were you?~ And Paul, oh, what was it like when you were blinded. What was your first thought? Paul is my hero. I love him so much. It is hard for me to hear people speak badly of him, what are they thinking? ~ And David, oh my land, tell me of God's grace and mercy to you as a murderer and an adulterer. I just imagine him knock down dead gorgeous and full of learned humility.~  To be with Ruth, what a woman, Ruth, can you explain the threshing floor experience. That's always freaked me out just a bit, little on the weird side for me. ~  John, the beloved, what was it like to see Jesus? While you were in jail, what made you wonder if Jesus was the Son of God? ~ And Mary, what was it like to be pregnant with God? What were the stories of your little boy that you wish were included in the canon?~ 

And then there is Jesus! The Lord gave me a dream years ago that provided me with such intense feelings that gave me a glimpse of what it is going to be like to be with Him. To this day my longing and yearning to be with my friend, my Savior, my lover of my soul, my counselor, my King is understood more fully on account of this  dream He gave me almost thirty years ago.

It goes like this:

I am out in my backyard in a small town hanging clothes on the line. This is a close knit neighborhood and my neighbors are telling me, He is here. I am undone. I keep hanging clothes hanging on to the thought that He is coming. My anticipation is growing. He is coming. I am so anxious to see my closest friend. The one I talk late into the night with. The one who shows up to absolutely everything. The one who has seen me through some very sad times.

And then all of a sudden He is with me. He walks into my backyard.  My closest friend is finally here. We can be. We can talk. I hug Him, cling on to him. My emotions are intense, every wonderful and immense feeling is at the forefront and I fall to his feet. I kiss his feet. I am awed and I am in wonder and I am worshiping Him. I love him so much.

"Lynne! It is so good to be here with you!"
" I know, Jesus, I feel the same."
" Jesus, Please come inside, there is so much I want to tell you."
"Lynne, I need to go."
"Wait! No, you just got here."
"Lynne, I am coming back."

To this day those feelings for Jesus are just as intense. I am so looking forward to being with Him in heaven. In a enigmatic sort of way, I imagine being with everyone and yet simply being with Him. How this will spiritually flesh out will be really fun to see. Heaven is something I throw all my weight into. I feel not one bit bad for any of my imaginary thoughts about what it will be like. And my hope escalates. This too is something I do not keep myself from, I am not setting myself up! I love to think about heaven! Love it.

(Jesse thinks this looks like heaven.
This picture was taken last week during a heat lightening storm)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 108 Who, Me?

April 23, 2015
Day 108

Jesus spoke to me this past week and let me know I'm the one "on the ground" looking for that lost, wandering sheep.

"What do you mean, God? It's always you in the picture!" I declare.
"Besides which, I might fall looking over that have way better balance!"

"I'm in heaven. I live in You. I have changed your heart. You are to seek the lost." Jesus says this to me clearly.

"C'mon, Jesus, but

you look great in those pictures. I've seen you so many times with that rod and staff, you fit the picture perfectly." I tell him.  "You look marvelous!"

"Lynne, I direct you to seek the lost."

"Hmmm. Interesting." I respond pondering the truth that is now exploding in my soul.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 107 Geoffrey's Second to Last Wednesday

April 22, 2015
Day 107

Geoffrey Burkholder has one more Wednesday at the Community Homeschool Learning Group and then it will be his last. He has spent 12 years of his life in this group. No, there is no valedictorian, no there are no awards, and yes there is an inner understanding of what is what and what is not. Go figure. And yes, I'm bitter by the system I came through. I was "regular," "run of the mill," "average."

Sorry, but there are no average individuals with God as the top originator and designer. It's just doesn't go like that with Him. The quality control standards are His and we know nothing of them. Every student is gifted and every student has special needs and dog gone it EVERY SINGLE STUDENT DESERVES THEIR OWN PLAN (an IEP!).

He did not choose to be homeschooled, his parents did it to him. But I would venture to say he looks on his time with fondness. The cluster of families who have attended the homeschool group is a collection of people who have navigated together the educating of their children. This group has fleshed out the gospel. And no, we do not all believe the same things but yes, we do all love one another and would be there in an heart beat if there is a need.

From 1997 till 2015 this group has survived with little to no drama-style casualties. To  God be the glory. Who has time for that, life is simply too short. This is a group where if you are different you are celebrated. Many of the students would have been chewed up and spit out in another setting where the word, "Cool," was defined by a select group. Here "cool" is defined by you, yourself,  and the others, well, they just go with it.

Geoffrey as a preschooler escaped, every week. He's always been hard to contain. From a little boy till now he just doesn't sit for very long, never has and never will. Who am I fooling? The homeschool setting has suited him and has not suited him. But he has completed twelve years of it, with a half a school year thrown in there.

The Community Homeschool players (the drama program)  has provided him with an exceptional theater experience. There are four distinct strong characters he has played over these past four years, we will never forget.

In the 7/8th grade he originated an idea for a class I had developed called EnLIST. This meal has now occurred three times, the Veteran Meal. The meal's concept was three fold in nature. He wanted to provide them comfort, warmth and food. What a great opportunity. This meal has been a success for the last three times it was pulled off.

Geoffrey will  have the members of this group for life, I know it. His Wednesdays have had a character unlike all the other school students. All his learning group buddies have experienced it together. What a blessing this group has been and what an amazing person Geoffrey Burkholder is!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 106 Whose Watching You?

April 21, 2015
Day 106

Do you know who is watching you? I know who is watching me. My dear husband and all seven of my children, that is who is watching me. (yes, RJ is my son, I share him with his parents) My little Theo bear will soon be taking notes. My reactions matter to them, a lot. This is where I live out my convictions, my faith. This is the rubber hitting the road. These are their devotionals. Sometimes these devotionals are not so good. If you know what I mean?!

They watch my reactions to things that might be hurtful to me. They pay attention and from my response they either learn how to or not to respond. And then they watch my reaction to things that tick me off. Am I going to blow a fuse or am I gonna let the Spirit move? It is these moments that matter most. These moments reveal the fruits of the Spirit or the branches in need of pruning. Ouch!

My family is watching. They can tell you whether I put my faith in action or whether I am all talk.  Is my faith what I am experiencing or something I am just talking about? This is my accountability.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 105 The Energy in the Room

April 20, 2015
Day 105

Cities are built near streams, rivers, energy.  The Veterans' meal has found the stream, the energy. The river is the Veterans' memories, what they have learned, what they wish for us to know, their hurts, their victories, their comrades who did not make it. The river is their story. Let's go down to the river to hear, honor, and listen.

This is what makes the Veteran's Meal work. The energy from the river builds and powers a room full of camaraderie. This is what they need, a safe place to share. They need to be asked to bring memorabilia or medals. We need to see this, we must share in their honor and in their pain. We have found the river. To see pictures from someone we can touch and hear rather than a magazine brings the truth and reality of the war to our hearts.

We discovered the river. It has always been there. Will you sit by it a while and listen? It is important.

Geoffrey Burkholder, thank you for this germ of an idea: warmth, comfort, and food. At age thirteen he knew that was all there was needed for these men. Geoffrey has always been beyond his years! Thank you, son! May we see many folks sitting beside many rivers!

(Bob McAleer's photos)

 (Bruce Belgarde photo's)

 (Bruce Belgarde's photo)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 104: Songs that Refresh

April 19, 2015
Day 104

Andre Crouch's voice rings through my mind many times in many situations.
The words are etched on my track.
I sing them over and over again and again.

"Jesus is the answer for the world today.
Above Him there's no other!
Jesus is the way."

Jesus is the answer for ISIS, Russia, Burkholder home....

"Through it all,
Through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus.
I've learned to trust in God." 

So true. Trials destroy many folks. But for those whose eyes are fixed on Jesus, trials continue to
strengthen our faith in the one who loves us right on through those trials.

"It's won't be long
When we'll be leaving here
It won't be long
We'll be going home...."

This is perspective. This allows me to focus on
the task at hand; loving and letting others
know of Jesus' love!

"Take me back, take me back dear Lord
To the place 
where I first received you..."

We are such forgetters. I want to be
a rememberer, constantly. To think that Jesus
chose me! He picked me out of darkness
and placed me into the kingdom of light!

"How can I say thanks
for the things You have done for me?
Things so undeserved
yet you gave to prove your love for me;
the voices of a million angels
could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be,
I owe it all to Thee....
To God be the glory....."

Amen! Jesus has done so many things
that I do not deserve. This is beyond true.
Help me to show your love to those
who feel so beaten by life, whose
hearts are so twisted and torn,
whose ears and eyes do not see your light.
Because, I owe it all to Thee!
I just wanna love like you love, Jesus!

"Soon and very soon!
We are going to see the King!
Soon and very soon!
We are going to see the King!..."

Again, perspective. My life here on
earth is but a blip!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 103 Veterans' Meal

April 18, 2015
Day 103

While driving to Rhode Island we watched a DVD  called "Generations" from the College of the Ozarks.  It stirred something in my thirteen year old son Geoffrey. In a Holy Spirit whoosh he came up with an idea, a simple idea, and he called it, The Veterans' Meal.  First, they would feed the Veterans, secondly, they would give the Veterans a knotted fleece blanket, and thirdly they would honor them by allowing them a place to share. The veterans would be the program. A simple plan with spectacular results.  The homeschool students who were part of a class I had developed called EnLIST were the active students on duty who would make this happen, Geoffrey being one of them. (Engaging-7/8th graders in- Leadership, Interesting people, Speeches, and Team building)

The first meal was surrounded by fierce storm clouds and torrential rain. The veterans came anyway. There were five of them, three from the Korean War, one from the Vietnam war, and one from WWII. They brought memorabilia and laid it out on a plastic rectangular table. The delicious meal was willingly provided by the mothers. We then listened to their stories of delayed college, lost sport's scholarships and nightmares. The students who initially came hesitantly, not wanting to give up their time, later thanked us profusely. These students would never forget the Veterans' Meal. Wisdom was given and received in a most beautiful way.

We will never forget when the five men, who had never met before, circled in the middle of the room at the first Veterans' Meal. We went silent, goosebumps appeared, the camaraderie between these men was intense. We were caught up in a hallow moment. These men needed one another more than we could ever imagine and more than they even knew. Two of them discovered, as they looked at one's picture, that they had been on the same ship just at different times. The world is small.

As each man walked out the door that night they repeated the same thing, "Thank you. Thank you for honoring me. No one has done this before. Thank you!" We knew we had been allowed to be part of something so simple and yet so magnificent. Who knew?

The next Veteran's meal, two years later, followed the same path. And one thing became evident while we listened to active and non active duty WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Afganistan and Iraq veterans, no program was necessary. The only "program" needed for this evening was space and time for the Veterans to share, meet with other comrades from different wars and display pictures, medals, awards and books.

Fast forward to last night, the third Veteran's Meal. This particular EnLIST class had twenty-six students planning the event, a bit overwhelming but nonetheless wonderful. The mothers again provided delicious lasagnas, salads and garlic bread dripping with butter along with fabulous desserts. Some of the students put their own hands together and made lasagna and desserts. One of the students, of her own ambition, painted a flag on a canvas. While another self-directed student, created a wonderful welcoming banner.

Last night, Twin Valley Fire Company, run by men of honor, opened some of the bays for us to spread out tables enough to feed almost sixty folks. Unlike the first two meals surrounded by storm clouds, this evening was beautiful. The bay doors were wide open and it felt like a summer evening. We had invited sixteen Veterans, fifteen of which were there. We had prayed for this night in class, we had assured the students that this night would be a night they would not want to miss (all of them have such busy schedules and when we begin planning for the Veterans' meal we listen to all of their excuses, they simply do not know, but they will and they do). Tonight, my daughter, Nicole, would benefit from her brother's marvelous idea, ah, the circle of life.

The Veterans' meal distills into a basic night of what we all enjoy; eating, talking and listening. There is no need for a program and last night solidified that. One of the veterans confirmed this as he mentioned that this was the first Veteran event he has attended where he had been asked to share. The other event at churches were just a mention of their name while the Veteran is asked to stand. Interestingly enough, this man had been reluctant to share, it was his wife who looked me straight in the eye and asked me to make him. His reluctance was based on not being enlisted as an active duty veteran, he did not feel worthy to share alongside these veterans. What he shared last night was memorable. "You are free to disagree about everything in the United States because of the men and women who are fighting for freedom."

We were honored again to have two WWII veterans. They are
leaving the planet and soon it will
not be an option to invite them to this meal. The one WWII veteran, John Flemming, was our history lesson for the evening. He had four of the EnLIST students unfurl a swastika banner that had landed in his hands as his troops were dismantling them after the war ended. The men from the Vietnam war shared of the response they received upon return. One had urine thrown on him and the hurt is still present. One man who had served in Afghanistan could not get through the list of his buddies who did not return. These are the heroes he demanded us to know, not him.

One wife came back and said to me in a hushed voice, "This is the most I have heard from my husband in all of our married life, thank you." A place and space was provided, honor was felt and he was able to enter into a safe place and he shared. It was evident last night that we walk amongst men and women who have left the military with heavy hearts, wounds beyond their flesh and they need us to be sensitive, understanding and ready to listen when they are ready to share. We must provide them a safe place.

One family member had never seen the pictures her relative had taken from his time in Vietnam. Last night, she did.
Last night once again, the men and their wives left honored. This was no fancy event, no slick program, we were all just simply being human and connecting. We cried with them because they let us see their lingering pain. We all left with a greater sense of what we owe them. The fleece blankets the students created for them is a small gift of warmth, a reminder that we do appreciate them.

And so now, I am convinced more than ever our veterans need a safe place to share, a space to be the program, an opportunity to share what they have learned. What made them enlist in the first place was a desire to do something. That desire has not left. If this post stirs something inside of you, just do it, create a Veterans' meal. You will never be disappointed and you will be amazed at the impact it will have on the Veterans you invite. Allow the veterans to be the program. All you have to do is provide the space, the food and a place for memorabilia.  Geoffrey Burkholder you were led by the Holy Spirit! Thank you for your obedience.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 102 Relishing in the Moments

April 17, 2015
Day 102

The night arrived. The evening was full and overflowing with honor and respect. The time was spent with eighth and seventh grade students serving Veterans at their planned Veterans' Meal. The women who helped to make things run smoothly, after the meal, decided to meet around an outside fireplace and process the moments.  Many of these moments are just simply to be appreciated.

There was so much to speak of, so much to relish in, and so much to be thankful for. The truth the veterans were allowed to share, the lessons they learned, and the heartache they felt was profound.  I promised these children they would never be the same. They now know this to be true.

We must never take for granted our freedom to disagree. This truth was succinctly spoken by Jeremy. Thank you, Lord, for such an amazing day. Thank you, Lord, for such wonderful children. Thank you, Lord, for the veterans you provided us this year! Thank you, Lord, for the amazing women who worked behind the scenes making it happen! Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 101 No Law Against Love

April 16, 2015
Day 101

There is no law against love.
Love does not need a law.
There are laws against hate.
But there is no law against love.
I can love fast and hard.
I am not going to be stopped for loving.

I do not have to wait to love.
I can love when I do not feel like it.
I can love this group of people.
I can love that group of people.

I can love this person.
And I can love that person.
I do not have to limit my love.
My love can flow freely.
Why would I need to be told
that there is no law against love?
Sometimes this feels like a riddle.
I wonder why?

Maybe, it is because, I act as if there is a law against loving.
I do hold back. And why?
Many times because too much love
makes me too vulnerable. I need to be careful.
I must not be so sure. I must calculate my love.

Jesus was not stopped from dying on the cross.
There was no law in place to keep the
sanest, most loving, most mentally stable individual
from loving us hard, fast and painfully so.
There was no law in place that allowed Him to be freed from death.

His death meant our freedom. He understood
why there is no law against love.
Thank you Jesus! Thank you for your
It heals, it refreshes, it carries me, it soothes me,
it holds me, it sustains me, it encourages me,
it corrects me and it SAVES me!
There is no law against love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 100 Why Am I Writing

April 15, 2015
Day 100

One hundred days of writing every day has been one hundred days of committing to write every day. Though this statement is far from profound this writing challenge has been truly impactful. Denys Allen (sounds like Denice) put forth this challenge to me, "just show up and write every day." Why? Did she know anything about me? Not much, she barely knew me. But it has been this challenge that has kept me showing up everyday and today is the hundredth day. Something else made her encourage me to do this. I just know it!

Everyday I am thinking, processing and enjoying the process of writing something. This helps me hone in on my craft, work on the art of writing. I am not building a platform, that would be too much work. I am simply trying to write with less words, more concise words and attempting to convey my thoughts succinctly.

You tend to like the writings that are gut level honest. I can hardly be anything but. And this is when I hear from you folks. Sometimes I want to give you more of that because I like it when you respond. However, my purpose is not to write so that you will respond. I want to write different genres because I, well, I want to.

So thank you Denys. You were used in my life to "show up."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 99 He Never Stops

August 14, 2015
Day 99

The boy does not stop. He goes from one thing to the next never in need of contemplative moments. "Mom, can I call Zach?" And thank goodness Zach lives so close and has a mom who is open to self invites!  "Mom, let's watch the Flash!" "Mom, don't pick me up early." "Mom, look! Mom, look at this!"

Ok, for the millionth time I will look at something that somebody else wants me to." Kids could care less if you are turned the other way, in another room or another state for that matter. They know you will look. You have to, you are their mom.

He bounces balls as long as he can get away with it before we yell, "STOP!!!!!!!!!!! IT!!!!!!!" It is constant. Please, son, go outside. But there is no safe pavement for him to bounce. His look pleads. He knows if he waits the mandatory ten minutes he can start up again and bounce another ten minutes before it registers with his old parents! Such is the life of boys.

"Mom, I need a haircut!" The kid's hair grows overnight like dandelions!  He had at least five to ten good haircuts before the age of two. All of those cuts were snipping away at curls swallowing his face. A haircut makes a difference for him.

Today he made me take him to Great Clips. The woman looked at me and asked me how I wanted her to cut his hair. "He knows what he wants," was all I needed to say. And off he went to a sailbooth to begin the discussion.

Jesse is the fountain of youth. He keeps Lynn and I active. Friday nights you do not go to bed early, you have to pick him up from his youth activity. Saturdays are sporting events. He is the youngest and thankfully so. Watching him play sports is a blast. 

It is a little hard to finish this post. He is looking over my shoulder. He should be in bed. I should be in bed. But we are not. Oh, Jesse!

I love to laugh with him. I love to be with him. I love to shop with him. I love to walk with him. I love to camp with him. I love to talk to him. I love to think with him. I am planning on living till I am 120 so that I can still be with him when he is 80! We have plans.

But for now, I will say, every woman in her fifties should have a boy around eleven!

Hey, Jesse, do you want to go upstairs to bed, now? 
Nope! (that's him typing)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 98 Fairies and Whatnots

April 13, 2015
Day 98

Walking in French Creek with my photographer husband is pleasurable. We amble. My days of power walking are challenged and to meander in the forest with my friend is storybook walking, in and out of the pages, as my imagination wanders.

We stumbled onto fairies. Disclaimer: This is my imagination, not my reality. I do not go to the forests to listen to fairies. I do not go to pay attention to their plea for respect. I simply imagine the little dainties. My faith and hope and trust is in someone who many witnessed, not imagined. Wander with me now to the fairy sites.

I imagine the tiny little sweet peas running in and through the clinging moss draped on most of the stepping stones. Their lightening speed is a blur to the naked eye. So, you look for the blur. As you can see I caught them dancing in a mosh pit. They never knew I was there.

Over the winter some of them were ambitious and used some bark from the nearby tree to haul onto this stone in the path. So clever of them to love planes as we do. It had to have been hard work but worth it for the those still in need of fresh wings.

I use to know the names of all their islands, some more massive than others, but I have forgotten over the years. Their homes are always well camouflaged. In all my years I not been able to look in one of their windows. I simply can not find their homes.

It saddened me to stumble upon a fairy cemetery. Never in a thousand years did I ever imagine I would be privileged to see such a resting ground. My sadness did not last long, what a thrill.

Lynn and I were enchanted at French Creek. Our ambling was perfect for fairy sitings....

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 97 Thank God for Children

April 12, 2015
Day 97

They make it uneasy for me to gossip. They give me no room. They do not value my juicy points, instead they view them as mindless and, frankly, negative. They look on me with disgust when I am duplicitous. Thank you God for my children.

They make it difficult for me to bore them with my "To Do List" as I try to convince them that I have an unbearable schedule. They silently plead for me to shut up and live out my faith. "Hey, why don't you trust in the Lord, rest in Him, use all your insightful phrases, mom." Thank you God for my children.

They do not encourage my sarcastic remarks, their lack of chuckle speaks volumes. "Why not lift us up, mom? Biting remarks are not cool!" Ouch! Thank you God for my children.

My analytical ways sometimes relegates mental illness to folks driving me nuts. Never knew I had the psychology degree, did ya? This embarrasses them. "Keep it to yourself, mom, some things are better left unsaid." Thank God for my children. "We are going to be kind in our hearts, Mom" the children say to me. This is humbling and yet a very necessary piece of advice. Thank God for my children.

They look surprised when I burst out in anger. Their eyes stop me in my tracks. Thank God for my children.

The critical comments I vomit about their dilapidated homestead is faced with a plea to remain positive, look on the bright side. "The children in Africa would love this home, mom?!

I am always disgusted by the hypocritical servant in the bible, disgusted! This guy is forgiven for a massive amount of debt and He turns around and makes the little guy pay back the penny. So not cool, especially when I see myself playing the part of the hypocrite through my children's eyes.

But this is what I know to be true. I am only their mother. I am not their saint.
I am only human. I am not their Savior.
I am an example of someone in need of forgiveness. I am not their redeemer.
I will always disappoint my children, but the Jesus who saves never will.

I have always allowed my children to see me and not the "mommy facade." This I would not and will not change. My parents taught me that authenticity and vulnerability were key indicators of a christian, a human christian, saved by grace. In my weakness my children will see Jesus, this I know.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 96 A Sacred Space

Maggie Robbins

April 11, 2015
Day 96

An entire post was written. I submitted it at 12 pm on April 11, 2015. Then it vanished. I am not sure what happened to the post. I tried to retrieve it. But I am left with only this option; to try and rewrite what I just wrote. In light of the fact that all day was spent saying to my friend Maggie, after each interruption,"now what were we talking about", means the retelling will be a challenge. Oh, this frustrates me.

Today was a sacred day. A sacred place and space with Maggie Robbins, my dear friend from 1978 till 2015. The day was full and overflowing. She is loved hard by all of our family members as they have known her since they were infants. She wisps into our lives and out again, each time adding depth and beauty. Today she left us with rings, bracelets, earrings and what nots, such pretty pieces of jewelry she passed into our hands. We love treasures.

Maggie came to Jesse's game. She and I traveled alone and met the others at his game. Our time there, however, was brief to non existent, the setting sun left a chill in the air, it was too cold. Our travel home was winding and beautiful. She and I love car rides and have experienced many together. She has a definite led foot and as she is rushing around the corners I marvel at her command of the wheel.

We enjoyed a salmon dinner made by Kathryn and Robyn filled with other entrees. The table was full and overflowing with only dear Geoff missing. He is too "almost eighteen" for these events. He did have time earlier to thrill us with an adventure that he had just experienced. He transported from Sheetz to Gilbertsville an Albanian man, eighty years old, who fluently spoke five languages. That's my boy living God moments, or so we hope.

We ended the night with only Kathryn, Robyn, Maggie and I speaking of things better left for the day. We had ourselves spooked. But not for long, laughter always fills the space. I am so thankful for these wonderfully rich times with Maggie and my family! She is a friend I cherish, a friend I have known since I was fourteen years old, a friend who encourages me to run the race and run it hard! Our time was a sacred space and for that I am grateful!

Look up her book on Amazon: "Enjoy The Silence A 30 Day Experiment to Listening to God"

Enjoy the Silence: A 30- Day Experiment in Listening to God (invert)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 95 Streaming Dreaming

April 10, 2015
Day 95

The sky was filled with steel grey clouds that would make it hard for a sliver of ray to slice through and provide a hint of light. We were standing on an old wooden dock rocking to and fro with a twisted shack at the one end. It was an old marina looking more like a boat cemetery. And we were waiting. For what, I am not sure.

I decided to go to the other side of the dock and look out at the other boats. It was then I saw fins slicing through the waters off to the left navigating past the anchored boats. I motioned for the others to come and see. All of a sudden a seal popped out of nowhere and started skimming on the surface of the rocky water heading directly towards us.  We could see another one in the distance as well. In one moment we had gone from total boredom to complete entertainment. This was thrilling. And then it happened.

She jumped. She was gone. I was frozen. I could not move or shout. Did she not remember that we had just seen shark fins or had she only seen the seals? Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh! Still yet, why would she jump into murky water? I was shocked she would do such a stupid, foolish thing. We waited for unbearable moments for her to resurface. What if she doesn't come up?

The doubt turned now to terror. I could not see the bottom. She was not surfacing. My lifesaving skills were tumbling, jumbling in my anxious brain. I looked on the dock for something to reach into the murky water for her to grab hold of. There was no way I was  jumping into this muck.

I grabbed an old rotted oar and shoved it into the water. It hit bottom before I thought it would. Shallow? What? I was shoving the oar against a mass of mud and sticks. She had jumped in thinking it was deep. She must have jumped with enough force to push her through this bog-like mess and now she was gone. And trapped underneath a massive maze. But I can't jump in.

Why did she do this?  Did she not see the shark fins? Murky water on a good day gives me the creeps today it was horror. Minutes were crashing into one another making a pile of time. And she was still not surfacing. Thoughts of calling 911 were screaming in my mind but enough time had passed that a rescue would be futile.

Then I woke up.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 94 Game Show

April 9, 2015
Day 94

While growing up in the 60's and 70's, Bob Barker showed up in our living room everyday with "The Price is Right." I always wanted to be a contestant running down those stairs from the audience and up onto that stage to choose a door. My stomach would tighten as the contestant would stand there on stage fumbling, twisting and turning, trying to decide which door to open. "Will it be Door Number One, Door Number Two, or Door Number Three?" Bob Barker would luringly boom week after week after week.  And it was always three doors, no more and no less. Just three doors. I would telepathically try to help them decide hoping it was more than a selection of products. The cars thrilled me!

There was one problem with that show, I took Bob Barker's three door template to spiritual places it did not belong. This was revealed to both Lynn and I when we purchased our first house at an auction with no money in our savings account. I repeat no money. in. our. savings. account. But we did have sixty days to find the money.

The day of the auction was exhilarating for us similar to the first day of our marriage, we knew nothing. We had no idea what the next sixty days was going to be like. No idea. We would get close to an answer and then the answer would vanish. Bottom line, Lynn and Lynne were making no significant progress. Though our little folder containing our finances looked impressive, the numbers were not. Not at all. We were turned down by four banks.

One day comes to mind when, in the spirit realm, Bob Barker's Three Door template was blown to shreds. On this day in particular we had an answer, it was exciting and worthy enough to put our faith in, or so we thought. Mid-day the answer vanished just as the others had. Puff.....gone. We were back to the drawing board. Lynn and I both fell back on the bed and the Holy Spirit revealed something to us that day that no seminar could have. He truly is our teacher showing us spiritual truths and explaining them as soon as He delivers.

The revelation was two-fold. First, He asked us to never again put our faith in answers. But to place our faith and trust in Him. Answers come and go, but He remains steadfast. And secondly, He asked us to view His options as immeasurable. He encouraged us not to limit our answers to Door One, Door Two, or Door Three. He is an infinite God with infinite possibilities. He encouraged us to go beyond our dreams and cast our eyes on His canvas of endless options!

Yeah! Let that sink in! How does that rearrange your vision??!

VLOG #1 "My YouTube Experience" - Christopher Burkholder

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 93 Nightlife

April 8, 2015
Day 93

Every night at 6 pm we eat dinner together. Not. Every day the house is tidy, the floors are swept and mopped. Not. After our evening meal we have a two mile walk. Not. Every night we pull out our various projects and sit around in cozy chairs listening to the music that suits our mood. Not. We continue to take turns reading out loud the riveting book we started. Not.  We have a rousing conversation over the current events of the day. Not. We always have a nightly devotional. Not. We work together on our memory verses. Not

This is how it looked in college as I dazed into my future. It looked good. Real good. Or not! B-O-R-E-D-O-M. I know, I know, consistency is important and good. But it does drive me a bit crazy. I begin to want to destroy. I must work against this force but it is definitely a force to contend with.

So, how do I manage to keep from getting depressed from the disparity between my reality and my dreams? Well, many times, I do not do a good job. And I do let it take me down. Sometimes I air my frustrations to my children and they look at me with disgust by my inability to appreciate the moments we do have.

For, many times, we do sit around that huge, high, beautiful wooden table Kathryn had made and friends purchased. We have fun and spontaneous talks late into the night when we should be in bed. We do listen to music in our home as we have been privileged to have house concerts put on by our son. Many times we join hands and pray spontaneously. We have short skits that come out of nowhere at unpredictable times. Devotionals just don't work around here. We do talks! Many. We blitz and clean up the house and make sure the bathroom never stinks of urine. And we have read the bible together.

But the order is never the same. Years ago, under guilt that my children were not getting consistency, the Lord reminded me that he knew the woman he had given the children to. Oh.... thanks God! What did that mean?!

Exactly what it meant. These children were given to a woman who does things a little out of order, goes to the beat of a different drummer. Ok, a lot!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 92 Skipping Moments on the Pond of Life

April 7, 2015
Day 92

Last week did not go so well. I was accumulating thoughts on a conveyor belt with a rusted "off" button. Clearly I was overwhelmed, underwhelmed, whelmed, you get the picture. To list all that I was sifting through would have interested no one except maybe a paid counselor.

Over the years I have learned some handy tools when this happens. Some of which are, shut up, keep moving, do not make any big decisions, perfect time to clean-it will really get serviced, keep thanking God rather than complain. These are effective, however, this time the Holy Spirit brought to my attention another insight.

I kinda want to be viewed differently but I know I am viewed by God as a simple, basic girl, especially when He doles out insights as pithy phrases. The divine insights intended for me are never earth shattering just highly impactful and effective. The words this time were: Live in the moment.  My initial reaction was a bit snarky. "We've gone to this level, God? Down a notch? What?! You don't trust me with anything less than a pithy phrase? I'll just head over to the nearest touristy restaurant and pick myself up a bumper sticker. "Live in the moment." Good one.

I'm not so cool, my quick responses have always caused me trouble, but not with the Lord. His definition of love covers women like me. He waits to explain this basic piece of info, waits for me to settle down. He has a man on the ground who fleshes this out for me daily, my husband.

Upon settling, the Lord explained what He meant.  He revealed to me a bad habit of mine. Something I have done for most of my life. I skip moments like I am skipping stones on a pond. I am physically here but my mind skips to there. And when I do this the scenarios my mind constructs are either fodder to fuel a twisted Saturday Night Live skit (I wish) or an Alfred Hitchcock horror movie. It just depends. But the truth of the matter is that rarely do my scenarios play out in real life. The fret over the fabricated scenario, the what if, is all for naught. Furthermore, these scenarios are not real, they are false, fabricated, made up, not happening.

Guess what, the aftermath of skipping moments is not good! It is fraught with emotions that align with my made up story but have nothing to do with the real, live moment at hand. Had I not skipped the moment I would remain grounded in real time, in real emotions and in real scenarios. This always bodes so much better.

This verse kills me. Such gut level honesty. I always read it like this, "Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow is going to be great!" But God instead makes me read the real words focused in real time, in real life, and in real situations, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." When I skip moments, I skip the opportunity to watch God show up for today's trouble. And guess what? As I look back there is not one day that stands out in my memory as a pathetically bad, failed mission, day!

My fretting does not happen when I am in the moment taking care of business. I am not fretting during these moments, I am moving and doing what needs to be done: keeping my eye on the road as I drive my mother in law to the ER, walking my father in law through the ER's halls with his chewed up fingers from the table saw, walking our ten year old daughter from the eye doctor to the hospital to be admitted for an unknown eye issue, riding in the ambulance with a son who has cracked his head falling off his longboard, riding and comforting the ambulance dude fretting over his little guy as we travel to the trauma unit in an ambulance with my seven year old who has just fallen ten feet out of the tree, listening to my daughter hundreds of miles away and encouraging my husband to take her to the ER (appendix removed), lying in bed at the Ephrata hospital with an eighteen month old struggling to breathe, listening to our daughter explain the accident, listening to her again with another incident, greeting the sewer cop who helps us understand we have a smelly problem, trying to find money for the house we "purchased" at auction. These are just a few. These troubled moments require my focused attention and allegiance to the only one who knows how to fix a single thing - Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The moments I listed are full of victories and stories that encourage me to this very day. Those moments were meant for snuggling on Jesus's lap. They were meant to look fully into His loving eyes with big requests He loves being asked to do. Those moments are meant for trust. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Live in the moment, seek His face, trust His word, walk in His ways.

Hebrews 4:7, "Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.'"

Today! This very moment is what I am called to live in, right here and right now.

Live in the moment! Man, I love that phrase.

(Laundromat in New Holland - talk about a moment! We were there till 1 am  laundering our entire wardrobes. Why? Don't ask! Just know, God is faithful. And careful when you travel. You might come back with something really hard to get rid of. Just saying!)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 91 Easter Sunday Service

April 6, 2015
Day 91

Easter Sunday was spent in the nursery.  We heard that the service was good. But we were in the nursery. My daughters dragged me into this volunteer mode.

We had spent Good Friday in Philadelphia together and on our way back the texts were happening. They need help in the nursery for Easter Sunday. Kathryn, Robyn, and Nicole decide they will volunteer.  I on the other hand utter these non-life giving words, "Nobody has to volunteer!"  Luckily I was driving. Had they been, they would have veered off the highway in disgust and disbelief. Did she just say that?!!!

J - E - R - K! I have always been a good one. But the three women in my life quickly helped me out of the selfish corner and set me in the right direction of love.  There is no law against love. That phrase from the ancient text has always puzzled me. As a slow learning with special needs, I am still learning what it means.

My oldest daughter spoke true words. "I do not feel the need to be in any of the special services for holidays. I'm good." This is a woman who knows she has been given much and so much is expected. She speaks these words to a fifty-two year old woman who heard unbelievable sermons in her childhood from the speakers at Child Evangelism camps! I am full of meat! I can live out my days in the nursery for special services.

So, yesterday I was privileged to hold the little guy whose persistence is beyond remarkable, whose ability to stay focused on one emotion is entirely impressive. This guy knows how to fight and fight he did. There was no way he was going to fall asleep on my shoulder. This little man was rock solid in my arms, I  know, I held him for almost an hour. He felt this was the best position to express his emotions.

I need to be thankful I am surrounded by people who still love me in my J -E -R -K mode. Jesus does. I would have to agree with my daughter Robyn, I'm good, I do not need holiday services. My perspective sometimes slipped from my view as this baby boy's cries escalated but the overall picture was this: I was holding a future man of purpose, persistence and focused emotions! I envisioned being at his football championship games with the crowd oohing and aahhing due to his massiveness and freaky good focus on the field.

Jesus is Risen and I know this to be true as He works with me despite me.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Day 90 He's the Best

April 5, 2015
Day 90

Today I am married to a fifty-seven year old dude. Fifty-seven. What the hey day? He is three years away from being sixty, geesh. Earlier this week we had a "talk." One amongst the many during our almost thirty years of marriage. It could be distilled into one word with an exclamation point, "C'MON!" And then you could add, "Let's get moving!"

He has listened to many of my speeches, sermons, and riveting motivational talks. I love giving these insightful lectures.  Because, baby, "I know!" You bet, "I know!" And frankly, I think I have always known. My confidence has never been lacking. And it has helped my definition of helpmate which has never had anything to do with the church lady's definition. My definition can be translated by a swift kick to the back end.  I love to help, I always have.

Lynn is a silent guy. It doesn't sit well with me. Ya gotta talk, and at age 57, well I'm still gonna hammer him to open the mouth and let it out. Who knows I might someday regret this but until the guy starts doing it I am not shutting up. You would think this is motivation enough, but, I'm convinced of this; he loves me to the core and, likewise, every word I have to say.

There has not been one day of our marriage that I have not felt free to be me. Not one single day! There are many women, many of whom I know, who are not able to say this. They hold back.  Lynn, however, has always allowed me to be me. He gets a trophy for this because I am a force to contend with.

The last "chat" the other day was clear and to the point. It hit. This man of fifty seven years understands the need to listen to counsel and this week he did just that. He needed to. We have things to do, people to see, and a God to serve!

Some of you, alright, most of you are shaking your head and saying, "poor Lynn, man what he has to put up with." And you are absolutely correct, he does have to put up with it, and I do feel sorry for him!  But my man, Lynn, would only say to those individuals (I'm sure it is not you!), "I love this girl! I need her to keep me straight!" I can bet my last dime on this assertion!

Last night over dinner, just the two of us (thank you Bev for calling and asking for Jesse, thank you Robyn for providing extra time for Nicky), we agreed how privileged we are in our marriage. We agree about most things, we want the same things, and we understand where our collective weaknesses lie! We do not take any of this for granted!

Time is flying by! It was only yesterday I was wondering when the heck he was going to propose, he took so blooming long! And now look, we are going to be twenty-nine years into the marriage come August. But today I will wish my man a happy birthday and I will ask God to smile upon him favorably and expand our coffee buisness and his influence in his family and in his community. There is a lot riding on the person of Lynn Burkholder. Someone has to keep him in line! It is my honor and my privilege!

I love you Lynn, always have and always will.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 89 Planned Events

April 4, 2015
Day 89

Wednesday evening I was to meet with her and begin a discipleship program our church has in place. This particular program does not delineate the disciple and the teacher, you disciple one another. I like that. She was able to come without her child. We were going to have dinner. She texted later and said she needed to bring her child. I texted back and asked if we could do it next week. I never cancel, I was surprised at myself. But my capacity to "be" was challenged and I decided I really needed to "be." She agreed and it was set for next week. I asked God to not let my cancellation interfere with our budding relationship.

I did feel bad. However, my mental capacity was full to the brim. I am often able to do many big item things in one day but not when the brain is this cluttered. Instead, Lynn, Nicole, Jesse and I headed to French Creek State Park that evening. This is where life gets straightened out for me. And that night at the park was no different. It is a perspective changer looking out at still waters surrounded by a forest.

This ole spring break has not gone as planned and I have internally railed against it. However, thursday night I found myself refreshed, energized and understanding my spring break in God's eyes. Silly me, how easily I forget my high and lofty comments, "Oh, just wake up and brush your teeth and let God lead your day." Unless it is spring break and you have your own list of what you want to accomplish. How easy our theology morphs to our situation.

She called on thursday. "I thought of you, it has been a day. I thought maybe I could come today. But that is ok. I don't have to. It's all right." I could tell by her string of words she was feeling uncomfortable for calling, embarrassed.  I responded, "Come! It is a perfect evening, in fact, no one is around it will be just you and I."

She came with her son, we ate, we spoke of the deep things of Jesus and helped one another with aligning ourselves with kingdom perspective. We had a house all to ourselves and it was obvious the night had been planned. My cancellation on wednesday did not impede our budding relationship. God answered my prayer.

I thanked her profusely for feeling safe to call to ask to come over. I loved that she was able to do that. I also told her how blessed I am when people eat with me. Our time together blessed and encouraged me and only on thursday did my cancellation really make sense. To be led by the Holy Spirit sometimes and many times can make you look like a jerk. I certainly felt like one on wednesday evening even though I knew I had to be with my family. But everything became clear on thursday evening; the unplanned time had been planned all along!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 88 Tom

April 4, 2015
Day 88

Oh what a privilege to know Tom.  Tuesday he came through my kitchen door and we hugged and hugged. Every time I am with Tom there is true fellowship. The last time I saw him was at his wife's funeral. Then, we spoke of deep and abiding things. This wednesday we continued over oatmeal. Tom knows of the Father's love and he knows of life without Him. Tom's gratitude for being rescued from the life of darkness ministers to the very depth of my soul. I am privileged to know this man and I do not take my relationship with him for granted. Besides which, I adore and love his son RJ, my first son in law.

Tom does not boast of or in any material possessions. Tom boasts in the Lord. These words sum up conversations with Tom, "It is all Jesus." He knows of addiction, he understands the place that a rehab has in an addict's life. However, what he really pushes is the power of Jesus that has the ability to pull an addict out of a life of addiction. Tom would never refer to his own power or ability when speaking of God's transforming power, he only gives the glory to God.

Tom and his wife Iva lived through some very dark days. Their transformation into the kingdom of light was striking. God established their family and to hear Tom speak of the Lord's transforming power leads me into the throne room. Our God is an awesome God.

Tom's family loves him, he is awed by this. He knows there is much he has done in the past that should cause his children to disown him. But instead his family is a living example of God's redemptive power. They love and have forgiven their dad. I have never seen a family like Tom's display the Body of Christ as they always rally around when one is in need.

My son in law at his rehearsal dinner hosted by his dear sister blessed me beyond measure when he said to his parents, "Thank you mom and dad for showing me God's restorative and redemptive power."  We were not in a fancy restaurant, there were no designer clothes on any bodies, the lighting was inadequate as it was night and the backyard was small. But we were in the midst of the King of Kings. And it was then and there I knew my daughter was in a blessed family. My little grandson, Theo, is one lucky little guy to have Tom as his grandfather.  God is good.

Breakfast with Tom was my morning devotional.