Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"For Such A Time As This"

Esther 4:14b "...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Last week I wrote my last blog of My Favorite Things. I thought I would make it a Baker's Dozen and write one more and it centers around this verse posted above. This is probably one of a dozen verses that are my favorites. I thought I had a list to write about but when I checked that list wasn't to be found. This verse was written in my notes and I knew I could write about this. This is what I have to say...

A few months ago I watched a movie titled, "Midnight in Paris." I don't want to give the plot away and I highly encourage you to rent it when it comes out on DVD and watch it with the one you love. So many times my husband and I would feel like we were born in the wrong time era. We love the late 1800's style of clothing as well as the turn of the century around 1912. After watching this movie I have come to the conclusion that I am content with the time I am living in. I can enjoy looking back in history and wish I could have been there but God has shown me how he wanted me here and now. All of life appears to be falling into place. Sure when my husband and I have conversations we talk about how late we were born. How much we wish we could have been some of the early settlers. Had we been born 100 years ago we could have been some of the movers and shakers in this world. How we could have started a town and maybe have it named after us. The closest we get is Vasquez Rocks located up the 14 freeway going into Lancaster/Palmdale. Trabuco Vasquez was a bandit a robber that hid out among those rocks thus naming them after him.

It would have been fun to have been born around the time the San Gabriel Valley was expanding. To have owned the 450 thousand some acres of land and have had streets named after us such as Workman, Temple, Rowland, Huntington or Baldwin. We might have been involved in the banking business like Crocker or one of the Big Four in the railroad like Crocker, Huntington, Stanford and Hopkins. There is so much to learn about in history and how many places had their start. That may be what I am more interested in is about History.

When I take Young at Heart on a Tour we have visited certain places like the Workman/Temple Homestead in City of Industry and as I walk around and through the houses I wish the walls could talk. I would like to know how the places made their start. To feel and understand how many of them had the vision to make so much of where they lived. I may wish I could have lived in another time era but I have come to the conclusion that God doesn't make mistakes and that he has placed me here at this time "for such a time as this." I have had many experiences with so many people that if I weren't here who would have helped them get through a certain issue happening in their life. It's kind of the "It's a Wonderful Life" syndrome. If I wasn't here who knows where YOU would be?

God has placed me in this time so that I may know you and that we may be able to walk this life side by side or at least to be here to make a comment that would help you think in a different way to your current situation. God has used me in so many ways to touch the lives of people here at home and across the border. I am so excited for what God has instore for me and look forward to seeing how this life unfolds. None of us know what tomorrow will hold let alone next week, next month or next year. All I know is that God has be here for a purpose and I am so happy to be living that out.

Have YOU discovered your purpose? Do you believe, "...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” I encourage you to find your "sweet spot" and understand what it is God would have you do in your life. If you need someone to talk to to discover that let's get together for some tea. As I have stated in my blog description,
 "Everyone has a story, I'd love to hear yours."
Let's do Life together!  

Friday, August 26, 2011

#12 of My Favorite Things - Promptings of the Holy Spirit!

I have learned in recent years, actually within the last year that when the Holy Spirit lays something on your HEART you have to ACT on it! In the past the Spirit would prompt me but I wouldn't act on it and then I would forgot what it was I was suppose to do. Opportunity lost.

This past week on Wednesday morning I was woken up abruptly by my alarm. I distinctly remember shutting off my alarm before going to sleep the night before so I KNOW it had to be the Holy Spirit that wanted me to wake up. I lay there on my bed trying to go back to sleep to no avail. The Spirit was prompting my heart to "write" and to share this as our morning devotional time with YAH. SO I obeyed and I wrote the following message. There is a SPOILER ALERT here so if you happen to read this you can only make comments following this blog. If you post anything on FB I will have to delete it if you say anything in response to the SPOILER ALERT. Now you are wondering what the SPOILER ALERT is all about. Continue reading...Private message on FB are "OK".

The Abundant Life

How many of you feel you are living “The Abundant Life?”

In the Bible, God’s Love Story to us he says in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” 

Most people don’t know the first sentence in this verse but many know the second. I think as we grow older in life we become one of two people. We are either “joyful” in our old age or we become “melancholy.” As we grow older we stand the chance that we out live many people. Women tend to outlive one or two husbands. Friends move away or die off. Our families have their own lives and we may feel like we are just in the way.

Our life is what we make of it. I discovered that many years ago and more recently it has been brought to light in the lives of a couple of my girlfriend’s whose life have been wrapped up in their children and now their children are going off to college and they have no idea what to do with their lives. It is good to have so much of yourself invested in the lives of your children but there has to be balance. At some point we should have discovered what we love to do, what God lays on our hearts to have a passion for. I learned long ago that my life will not always revolve around my children. It will revolve around my “grandchildren.” I am just kidding!

I am entering a new phase in life that as of “grandmother.” In my heart I always thought that when I became a “grandmother” God would turn my focus to my Grandchildren and it would be time to say “goodbye” to the Ministry of Young at Heart. Two years ago I thought God was telling me to leave the ministry but it was a struggle. That decision didn’t come easy and I can look back and know it was because that wasn’t what God was telling me. Now I am standing in the threshold of a “new” life, a life to live “more abundantly,” more abundantly?

As much as I loved my children I wasn’t satisfied being a wife and mother. I knew God had more in store for my life and I was frustrated with that. It was a good friend that did make me realize that my mission field was my family and I learned to be content. In my times of feeling like a failure as a wife, mother, even a “Christian” I would have those times of depression that I would let no one know about. I worked out of my home for a number of years so I would have that feeling of accomplishment. Home life for me was never ending. The dishes, the laundry, house cleaning. All of that was tedious but I did enjoy my children. We would be off here and there. I would find places to visit that wouldn’t cost anything to take my kids. I have those memories locked in my heart that no one can take from me. I was passionate about spending time with my kids and my husband didn’t care what the house looked like as long as the kids were happy and I had spent time with them.

I can look at my children’s pictures on Facebook that they have found in our piles of photos and know what each of them loved most about growing up. I know without a doubt that this life is meant to be relational. I post pictures on Facebook and I get so many comments about the fun I am having. I appear to be “the traveler” always going from place to place. All that I do is “relational.” Every once in a while you can find me going off by myself but it is always best to have someone with you to experience life with. You always need someone to be able to say to them, “Did you see that?” When I post pictures on Facebook those that look at my photos have that feeling like they are there with me. I can carry my friends with me where ever I go and then take a picture, load it up on Facebook and wait for the comments to come. It is a lot of fun to hear their reactions and at times it’s a little sad especially when one would wish they could be there too but they are stuck in their job. But I may post something that would brighten their day, they smile, I smile and we have relationship.

Christ came that we would have life and have it more abundantly. What does “abundantly” mean to you? When I go off places with many of you (the YAH people) and I hear your comments that if it weren’t for Young at Heart you would be sitting at home rocking your life away. I look at this world that God created and I am so fascinated by everything. In everything you can see God. You can look out at the water and what comes to mind? Jesus walking on the water or Jesus with his fishermen disciples telling them he would make them fisher’s of men. Yesterday we walked in a store that had so many varieties of seashells. Amazing how God would create so many different ones. The palm trees remind me of the desert where Jesus would go and find rest and solace. There is so much in this world that God created for us to enjoy. He came that we would have life and have it more abundantly!

When I think of the women in our group that can no longer go out and enjoy life it makes me sad. Thelma and May would probably give anything to be able to be with us. Margaret Moore wishes she could remember things like she used to. Mary Martin always said, “I wish you would have started 10 years earlier.” (Mary is now with the Lord.) We should all be thankful for what we do have. That we can share this life that God gave us and that we can share our experiences with others. Any of the women I mentioned would love a phone call and have you tell them about the time we had in San Diego. It will jog their memories of places they have been to. As I am writing this I am looking out my sliding glass door and I see a young mother with her 3 year old son taking pictures, making memories. She has no idea what the next 20 years will hold for her but she will have those photos she took on this day and will cherish those memories in her heart.

I imagine each of you have those snapshots in your mind that you can recall. Don’t allow the “thief” in the night rob you of those. When you find that you can’t sleep start praying. Pray for each of your children, pray for your grandchildren, pray for your GREAT grandchildren. Start from the oldest to the youngest and when you go through your entire family then start on the families of your siblings. Remember each of them one by one. Before you know it God will lull you back to sleep.

Is my time with Young at Heart over? Not a chance! God has placed me here to do HIS work and it includes each of you. All you have to do is enjoy it. God gave me life and wants me to have it more abundantly so now he’s given me a grandchild. Have a life more abundantly so that it will spill over to others if you allow it to. Share your experiences with your children, grandchildren and greats. Let your family see you as one that is still enjoying life! As my husband shared with us yesterday in our devotional, “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” Will you finish with a “joyful heart” or one that is “melancholy?”

Don’t lose your “wonder.” I believe that is why God gives us grandchildren and greats so we can continue to see the world through their eyes with “wonder” AND “excitement!”

Prayer: Dear God in Heaven, creator of the universe, I thank you for the life you have given me, for the ability to still walk this earth and to enjoy your creation. Lord, help me to see life with new eyes each day that you give to me. Help me to be thankful for all your bountiful blessings! Each day show me something new that I can see your love for me.
Lord, Thank you for everything, Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#11 My Favorite Things – Glendora Christian Women’s Connection

#11 My Favorite Things – Glendora Christian Women’s Connection

I have been attending the Glendora Christian Women’s Connection since the early 90’s. I started attending when it was still called Glendora Christian Women’s "Club" and they change the Club in their name within the last few years to "Connection." This group is one of many ministries within Stonecroft Ministries. It wasn’t long after I attended my first meeting that my mom and I joined the board to help plan the luncheons. I actually started as the Assistant Nursery Coordinator since I had the most kids in childcare. This was one of the reasons I enjoyed going so I could put on a dress and makeup and drop my kids off where I knew they were in a safe environment so I could enjoy myself with other women. I served in different positions on the board then in 2010 I was asked to be Chairman of the Board. I no longer need to use their childcare but they still offer it and it is free childcare. I enjoy being out with women and the location where our luncheons are held are at the Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas. It has a beautiful view overlooking the San Gabriel Valley which I absolutely love!

One of the other things I love about being on the board is the way they have the board positions organized. Positions are divided up so you aren’t overloaded with a ton of stuff to do. If everyone does their job everything comes together perfectly. The Chairman, me, arranges for speakers and facilitates the luncheon and meetings, the vice-chair does the invitations, the Reservation Coordinator handles all the reservations with her team. Finance takes care of all the finances and ticket sales with her team. The Special Feature Coordinator arranges, well, our Special Features which is the main draw for our luncheons. It all runs very smoothly if everyone does their part. I have two positions yet to fill and then I would like to be able to have assistants for every position also. Some of the ladies have been members of the board for a number of years and a few are new to the ministry.

Over the years I have enjoyed each luncheon to hear the various speakers. I love the way God will send a speaker to address the group and how their message may fit exactly what I have been dealing with. I have been a Christian for a number of years and am always inspired by the speaker’s message and feel this is one of the ways I have grown in my walk with the Lord. The women of the board through the years are the ones that have taught me how to pray and have always enjoyed their “mothering” when I would come up against various issues in my life. They were all there for me when I lost my baby Debra in 1992 and showed me sorrow and love. I have known many women that have served on this board and am lucky to still have some of them in my life. We have also lost many precious women I will never forget like Diana Yingling and Ruth Maurich.

I never tire from attending the luncheons. The speakers are really good and it is the best tool any Christian could use to bring friends and family to hear the gospel message in a fun and inviting way. There is always a Special Feature which is the draw to get people to come. We also have a person tell us about the projects Stonecroft is working on so they can give towards it. There are no dues or memberships to be a part of this Women's Connection. I would have to say this is probably one of the best kept secrets around. I wish I had the time to contact the surrounding Women’s Ministries of churches so they could take advantage of bringing unbelievers to our luncheons. It’s meant to be a party type atmosphere to invite people to. I highly encourage you to join me sometime to try it out. If you have never been I would love for you to come as “my guest.” The next time you come you could bring a friend and treat them to lunch. I always love letting my friends know I was going to go have lunch at "The Country Club." I feel like high society and I love being able to dress up!

I welcome you to join me sometime. There are various groups that meet all over the United States. You can visit the link above to find a group near you. Who knows, this could be the start of something great for you to reach those that need the Lord in their lives. It’s also great for the Christian to receive Spiritual Food too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#10 of My Favorite Things - God's Orchestration of Life!

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love it when you can see the hand of God at work. I also love the way you can look back in life and see how God orchestrated things to work out in an incredible way. I love hearing stories of those that know God and see how everything lined up to give God all the Glory.

Many of us could share stories of how God has worked in your life. I have many stories I could share and once again could write a book if I could remember them all. God can work in the tiniest thing like when my husband and I knew we needed a set of bunk beds for our kids and we prayed. One of my husband’s co-workers that very week said they were going to have a yard sale and were putting a bunk bed set out to sell but wanted to know if we might need bunk beds. We bought them for $50. God is so good!

I had another incident where I was to go to a friend’s house but I had forgotten the directions to her house. I had read them but wasn’t quite sure which way to turn. There happened to be a billboard of Touched by an Angel and everyone in the billboard was looking to their right, my left, so I turned left. It was the way to get to my friend’s house.

Last year when my Aunt passed away I was leaving right after her funeral for San Francisco. I asked God to give me a sign to let me know my Aunt was okay. I was having a difficult time getting my directions right in San Francisco and they have a lot of one way streets. I had to make right turn after right turn to get to where I needed to go and at one of those turns I saw the street named “Jessie St.” That happened to be my Aunt’s name and I smiled and said, “Thank you God for letting me know she’s okay.” Recently when we were in Palm Springs I was driving down the 111 towards Rancho Mirage and I drove past “Perez St.” That was my Aunt’s last name. Once again I thanked God for the little reminder of my Aunt.

I can look back and see God’s hand in my life even when I didn’t even know who he was. I know God gave me the Father I was meant to have. He wasn’t my biological Father but when I finally saw a picture of my “real” Father I had to do a double take with the photo. He looked exactly like my Dad that raised me. It was God letting me know that I never missed a thing not knowing my biological Father, that God had given me the Father he meant for me to have.

Is it a coincidence that my birthday and my husband’s birthday are the exact opposite? Mine is 7/12 and his is 12/7. Makes me believe we were meant to be together. 7 and 12 happen to be favorite numbers for us. 7 children later…who knows maybe we’ll have a dozen grandkids! At the least! God only knows how many we will have.

God always seems to give me themes to things. When we went to Georgia in 1995 on our travels back home everything lead us to The Wizard of Oz. We saw the Yellow Brick Road in the east side of Kansas. We then saw a replica of Dorothy’s house in a museum with a tour you could take of The Wizard of Oz all made out of recyclable materials. We stopped in Las Vegas and stayed at the MGM where they had the Wizard’s Magic show and then Frank L. Baum’s grandson was there signing his book he wrote as an addition to The Wizard of Oz. I had the kids picture taken with him. Then when we made it to the Barstow Station McDonald’s had in their Happy Meals toys of The Wizard of Oz. It was absolutely incredible how everything fit in together. I forgot to mention that my kids were all in the musical of The Wizard of Oz at school before we left for Georgia. I couldn't have planned that even if I had tried! I just love it when God shines on us like that.

I love it too when you can sense that you are where you should be at the right time. When you have someone on your mind that you know you need to talk to and God allows that person to cross your path. I know when those times happen I have to act on it. God never ceases to amazing me when he does that. Even when I’m looking to buy something God places it in plain sight and I can say, “Thank you God!” Sometimes things seem so trivial like asking for a set of bunk beds or looking for that certain blouse that you want, or seeing a beautiful rainbow, sunrise or sunset just so God can cheer you up. He is so good!

Then there are the times when I hear someone’s tragic story but they can tell you they knew God’s hand was in it all. God helped them get through the tough times. I know he has helped me many times like that. I love those times when I’m reminded of God’s love for me. 

God spoke to my heart and he wanted me to go to Mexico and I responded to his call. I will never regret it with everything he showed me at The Restoration Home for Women. To build relationships with these ladies, to sending for help for the mattresses that were needed. And now coming back and knowing God wanted me to involve other people in the lives of these women. The call has been answered and women have come forward to help these ladies in Mexico. I absolutely love it!

If you have ever had doubts about whether or not God is really there or if he really listens to your cries, just ask him for something. Ask him to reveal himself to you. He’ll show up…BIG TIME!