Friday, December 31, 2010

Birthday Desire

Not for quite a while have I really thought of a birthday gift for myself. I'm more than happy to come up with ideas of what others would like. I used to have fun giving gifts on my birthday rather than 'receiving' for it is much more interesting and exciting to give rather than receive.

But as I have been pondering this evening I have had a growing desire for a particular birthday gift this year.

I have had some surprises in the past years. I had thought that a couple of lady friends of mine who really enjoyed talking about their grandchildren were several years older than I am until they told me their ages - and I was definitely the oldest. (By the way I do have a grandson now which I guess adds 'grandma' to my name.) I have reconnected with a number of friends from 'yesteryear' and that too has been enjoyable. But as nice as those events have been there is something else that I have a growing desire to have as a gift.

I am longing more and more for the gift of the Holy Spirit called a 'new heart and a new spirit'. There are so many situations that I am aware of (some very painfully aware of) but without the Holy Spirit's power there is not much that can be done.

One nice thing about this gift is that my Father has already promised it to me. And because of that I am claiming it as my most valuable gift for my birthday this new year.

One other aspect of this gift is that you can have it too just for your asking your heavenly Father for it.

I will hasten to say that as we experience this gift there will be some changes in our lives. God takes us as we are but He doesn't leave us the way we were.

Whether we call it a birthday gift or whatever, just remember that God loves for us to be with Him and as we daily choose to belong to Him and accept His authority over us, He will transform us (change us to become like Him) so that we are enabled to experience ever more of Him - His Spirit. You can have that gift just as much as I can - just for the asking.

Happy New Year

Bringer of Peace

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and beyond

The way things are going recently I haven't found a lot of time to be online. That may be the best anyway. My brother's wife got an cat scratch infected and ended up in the hospital for a couple of days or so. She is home and much better.

My hubby and brother have been working on getting a kitchen set up in our part of the house. In one way it is going to be nice and I have so much appreciated the really good work. On the other hand I sure do enjoy being altogether for many meals and the fellowship.

Sabbath a visitor walked in. He looked very familier but since we are new here I figured it wasn't someone I would know. Someone else asked his name and he said his first name. It was the first name of someone I knew so I asked him his last name and for sure it was him. I had thought he was in Alaska - and he does live there, but he was visiting in the area so came to church. A very delightful surprise. Even more of a surprise was when I found out that my brother knew him too.

When asked for prayer requests I raised my hand to thank the Lord that my sister was getting out of the hospital. Then I heard her (behind me) say she was glad to be in church. She had come in but I didn't know it yet. That was another thanksgiving.

It snowed Friday evening some but just enough for a white Christmas. I don't need a white birthday but I doubt if I have a lot to say about that next Sabbath.

God is so good. I know I can trust Him. He loves for me to be with Him. That is essential for me to remember in order for me to mature. Our God is an awesome God.

My your new year be bookmarked as the year you learned a whole lot more about the loving Creator God of the Universe.

Yours in Christ,

Bringer of Peace

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December Newsletter

December, 2010

Dear family and friends

A lot has happened in our lives this past year or so. In January 2009 my hubby was laid off work and hasn't had steady employment since. But since we were still living at Torac Farm near Culpeper, Va., there always seemed plenty to keep us busy even though it wasn't for 'pay'.

The winter of 2009-2010 was one we will remember for a while. In December we were inundated with about 2 ft of soft white snow. We would have been content to hibernate (almost) in our little house, except other farm folk needed assistance. We had put the wood heating stove back in the big farm house and it was very 'hungry' for wood to burn. There was also a perceived need (by them) to clear the driveway in case of emergency. In time the lane got cleared, the wood brought in and the snow melted.

My older brother was flying in to Florida for a funeral, so my son, his wife andI headed south. They headed on down to the Keys while I went to the funeral. After the funeral I helped my older brother drive to North Carolina to visit a special friend of his. This gave time to visit with him before he flew back to Oregon. Weather forecast said another 'storm' was heading east so we drove all night to get home, but the main part of the storm ended up north.

After a few more smaller snowfalls (3 - 9 inches at a time) February slammed us with another two plus feet of (this time)wet snow. Hubby was concerned about the weight on our slightly slanted roof so we cleared our roof off part way through the storm. Another concern was our cut wood supply low. We tried to cut and chop as often as we could - but not enough. (We had logs but weren't getting them 'stove' ready fast enough.) A good friend of ours heard our problem and he and his son-in-law came over and cut, split and stacked wood for about four or more hours one day which was a super blessing to us. We still cut more wood, but that extra boost was enough to get us to springtime and warmer weather.

Spring finally came and we made four grow boxes for early gardens near the house for easier care and harvest. We were planning for more summer gardens but that turned out to be only a dream.

In May our church planned for two weeks of revival meetings. Someone else was to direct the children's programs, but about a week before, they asked if we could do it for the other folks couldn't. We agreed, so for the next three weeks we prepared and presented Passport to Life: God's Rescue plan as pictured in the Bible Sanctuary and His protection as illustrated by Armor. The Lord blessed very much.

Every year we have enjoyed several days of spiritual feasting at Potomac campmeeting in June. This year we were again blessed by seminars, sermons, renewing old friendships and making new friends.

Back at the farm there always seemed plenty to do. But one day in early July we got a call from a friend offering accommodations for us to attend our church's General Conference when people from around the world attend. It was a surprise offer, but I said I would consider accepting. One seeming potential problem was our car. It had bad tires, bad brakes, bad bearings (and who knows what else going bad). We had been debating if it was even worth putting more money into it or not, even though we still used it locally. We had gotten an advertisement from a nearby car dealer offering three gold dollar coins just to come by. On what seemed to be the spur of the moment we decided to again collect the three 'dollar' gold coins (as we had done before). To make a long story short, we drove home that evening with a newer car. A few days later we drove to Atlanta for the General Conference meetings and were greatly blessed.

Shortly after returning home we got a call from my brother's wife asking if we would come to Illinois and lead out in a Vacation Bible School at their church. We agreed and with our Passport to Life 'props' and materials headed to Illinois in the later part of July. We believe the Lord blessed the VBS and we are very thankful for the many helpers as well as for the children who attended.

On Sunday before the VBS began, though, my brother's wife's back 'gave out'. We found out a week or two later that she had 3 'bulging' disks and one ruptured disk in her lower back. Needless to say she didn't help with the VBS - or even walk for a few weeks. We stayed a week or so longer than our original plans to help. We then decided that hubby would return to Virginia but I would stay until she got better. By the end of September she was beginning to walk some for short times, for which we were all very thankful.

During this time, after much prayer, counsel, and consideration we accepted an offer from my brother to move in with them in Illinois. There were several factors involved, but one reason we considered moving was that for hubby the 'farm' work was getting a bit much, as he is not as energetic as in years past. Financial responsibilities were also calculated, for it did appear that living in Illinois may be less at this time.

After we decided to move, my sister came from Michigan to help rearrange things here to accommodate our 'stuff'. Then she, along with another friend and I drove to Virginia to begin the moving process there. Our friend was the moving sale organizer (very greatly appreciated) which continued for about three weeks. That helped reduce quantity - but not enough. A man offered to buy our pickup. We told him we needed it to haul trash and such away. He had a trailer and agreed to help clean up for a reduced price on the truck. He hauled at least 12-14 trailer loads of stuff. [Some were metals which he sold to offset expenses]. (We may have lost some revenue, BUT we are FREE from the stuff!!) Hubby drove a Budget truck load to Illinois near the end of October while I with others continued to prepare to the final move. My sister and her friend had to leave at the end of October to return to Michigan where they were scheduled to teach a 'paper toulle' craft class in November, but their help was very much appreciated.

We agreed to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of the folks at the farm before we left. It was also one of our friend's birthday so that made the day even more special.

After Thanksgiving weekend we loaded a Penske truck and, pulling the car behind, began the final phase of our move to Illinois. We may have our stuff here now but there is still a lot to do before being 'settled'.

For several years we have somewhat jokingly commented that we have been operating a 'moving and storage' business. Well, that business will be going 'out of business' in the near future. We are planning, however, to make at least one more move - but not with a rental truck. For that move we plan to 'fly' home to our loving Heavenly Father where we won't need our 'earthly stuff' anymore.

We cordially invite you to begin preparing now to join us on that move, which we pray will be very soon.

Yours in Christ,

Bringer of Peace

P.S. Count it all JOY (knowing God loves for you to be with Him) when you are challenged with difficulties. Each time you choose God's loving heart plan for your life, your patient trust in Him grows. Keep choosing God's will for your life and He will mature you to be like Him - with appropriate amounts His love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness and patience.

Our Heavenly Father supplies all we need - both yours and ours - according to His glory in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Settling In

We have moved to Illinois and are slowing getting settled in.
In one respect it has been a relief to 'let go' of so much extra stuff.
On the other hand I think I may have a whole lot more to let go of yet.
That said, there are some things I hope to keep, at least for a while.
We are living in the 'upper level' of my dad's place.
My brother and his lovely wife have lived on the main level for a number of years.
I really think it will be very comfortable once we get things arranged, but for now the business of getting it straight and in order continues.

This move has been an interesting 'experience' in my life. For one thing there had been such a 'pileup' of stuff where we lived and it just seemed there was little or nothing we could seem to do about it. Once the decision to move was for sure it seemed we were able to make advancement on the removal of 'stuff'. I'm not sure but I think there may have been upwards of 14-15 trailer loads of stuff we were able to get rid of from the farm. Some went out via the yard (moving) sale, some went as 'scrap metal' and some went to the 'dump'. But whatever way it went, it was still gone.

We may have 'lost' a bit financially but on the flip side of this situation, we are free from the stuff.

Freedom from so much stuff has also brought to me, anyway, a type of peace. It has been good not to have so much stuff around. I am still getting rid of some stuff but fortunately it is not so much. We did make two trips with a 16 ft. rental truck to where we are now living, but that is a lot less. Some of what we brought was for our son who is presently in Idaho so we kept some of his stuff until hopefully he can get it. Some of it we are using for now in lieu of bringing more stuff with us.

Peace is this sort has been a blessing to me. Physical things can have an effect on a person. I am looking forward to even more peace as we get better organized, but for now I can enjoy what I have even now.

There is much to do for now so I will sign off for this time.

Until we meet again, may God's peace be in your hearts.

Bringer of Peace