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Settling into our New Possibilities!

We are home! We moved into our new house a week ago, and are in the crazy chaos of unpacking boxes. It is the third move since March, and I am ready to settle down and begin living my life again! Phew! The journey from California to Colorado was quite remarkable for us, and we are still amazed at how everything fell into place and six weeks after leaving where we had lived for 21 years, we closed on a brand new home in the town of Timnath!

As I look back on all that has happened to us, I shake my head when I think of the speed at which events took place. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for all that has transpired. Selling our house in California in record time, for a great price, moving to Granite Bay and renting a house that took our big dog, and then my husband receiving an invitation to interview for a job in Colorado the day we moved in was not something I could have orchestrated. Getting that job and packing up again to travel to Colorado, into a fully furnished condo for a month and a half, then finding a house to buy one week after we arrived, and closing in 30 days is also something I could not have imagined happening. But I am not in charge here. I have a God who loves me and loves my husband, and He knew what we needed all along. Such an abundant blessing for us!

Our home is in the little town of Timnath – just east of Ft. Collins, and about an hour north of Denver. The day we found out our mortgage was approved for this house, I was reading from Joshua 19, verses 49-50 and it said this: When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them, as the Lord had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for—Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.” I was stunned! Joshua had been faithful to God and when he finished dividing up the promised land among the twelve tribes of Israel, God blessed him with a place of his own – Timnath. It has a couple of significant meanings, two of which are land of abundance and land of the sun. As we “settle” into our new life, I intend to “build up” the place God has given us to live. I want to explore all the possibilities that He has for us, and flourish in our new space. God knew all along what would happen to us, and all the worry and anxiety about our future was unnecessary. I only needed to remember to trust in the One who is always faithful! To God be the glory, today and in all the days to come!!

Lessons from Lloyd

IMG_2369I have a 170 pound “blue” great dane named Lloyd. He is a big boy, and as we have traveled with him across the country, and are now temporarily housed in a small condominium, I have learned a few things from my gentle giant! I was concerned at how he would travel and adapt to all the changes in his life, but I am pleasantly surprised to report that as long as he is with my husband and I, everything in his world is fine. What does this teach me? I am not great with change and not knowing what will happen next. But I have a God who is with me all the time. He knows my every move and thought, and if I rely on Him for guidance and trust Him with all the new things in my life, my world can also be “fine!” I try too hard to try to manipulate all the circumstances in my life, but if I can learn to just be happy to be in the presence of the One who created me, who has my life in His hands, I can be content wherever I am. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  This is a promise I can count on, and move confidently into the future as I see His plans for my life unfold.

Despite having no yard and a strange place to sleep, Lloyd is still genuinely good-natured and seems to “go with the flow.” He patiently waits for me to take him outside, and we have daily jaunts to the local dog park. He lets me know that he is ready to go play, by placing his very large head directly in front of my face as I read or work on my computer. He is hard to ignore, and I am happy to go with him as he runs free in the beautiful foothills of Colorado. How hard is it to “go with the flow” when life is unsettled and you don’t know what’s next? Taking each day as it comes, and only being concerned for what is right in front of me for today is a good lesson to learn. As it says in Matthew 6:33-34, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our sweet boy doesn’t worry about tomorrow. He knows I will take care of him, and he trusts me. I want to have that same trust in God, and seek His kingdom and the ways He wants me to live my life one day at a time. I don’t want to miss today because I am wrapped up in worry about tomorrow. I want to make my life count right now, and be intentional about living what I am called to do in this life. 

So even a dog can teach us lessons about life. Lloyd doesn’t need much – a soft bed, food in his dish and water in his bowl. He needs to go on walks and run free once in a while. But when I take him to the dog park, he has to wear a muzzle because he has twice swallowed tennis balls whole, and has had to have surgery to remove them. I can’t risk that happening again, so he is muzzled for his own protection. He knows that when I put the muzzle on him that he gets to go play in the park. He doesn’t really like it, but lets me put it on him because his experience has taught him that it means I am taking him out. Sometimes we have to face hard things in life, but often it is for our own good. We may need to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced for a while. But in the end, the lessons we learn and the growth we experience help us mature and expand our faith. We can still trust God, even in hard times. I am grateful that I have some time to reflect on these things right now, and can glean lessons from our crazy dog. I can be happy just to be in God’s presence every day. I need to live in the moment, and not worry about what might happen next. When hard times come and I don’t like them or understand why they are happening to me, I can be reassured that God is on my side and will help me through every struggle. 1 Peter 5:10 tells me this: “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” To God be the glory today my friends! And thanks for giving me a big dopey dog to teach me about You, Lord!!

Possibility through change!

Sudden turns in life, unexpected events, and surprises that sneak up on us are all chances for growth, new insights, and the opportunity to take advantage of new possibilities. Life has been topsy-turvy over the past few months, and in looking back over what has transpired, I can’t help but be grateful for all that has taken place.

We all make plans, and expect to carry out those plans. But what happens when circumstances change our well-intentioned ideas so nothing we thought would happen actually takes place? Unexpected changes can lead us to new possibilities and take us to unknown places that may just turn out to be a huge blessing!!

We moved twice in the last four months, and are still waiting to move into our permanent home sometime in June. In all the chaos, we purged our garage and closets of unnecessary “stuff” and pared down what we brought with us to our new place of residence in Colorado. In all of the craziness, we have seen God’s hand leading us every step of the way. Our house sold in record time and for a ridiculous price. We found a rental that took our big great dane dog, and moved closer to two of our grandkids. On the day we moved into our new place, my husband was invited to interview for his dream job. Upon getting an offer for this job, we were able to get out of our lease, and move halfway across the United States within a couple of weeks. Phew!

I never expected all of these things to happen, yet here I am, living in Colorful Colorado, and starting over after 21 years in California. If anyone had told me six months ago that I would be here, I would have laughed. Yet it feels exactly right. This is where I/we are meant to be right now, and I am going to embrace this new adventure with joy and excitement for all that can happen from here on out.

I like things stable and predictable, but I am beginning to see that change can be good. When things stay the same all the time, I get too complacent and maybe even too satisfied with the status quo. Shaking things up a bit causes me to re-evaluate my priorities, and to take stock in what it is I should be focusing on each day.

So I am looking at all the new possibilities ahead for my life – new friendships, new places to use my gifts and abilities, and new chances to make a difference in this world. Change can be good, and for me, right now, it is the catalyst to new possibilities that I never imagined! I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but I know who holds my future. My hope is in God alone, and I will rely on Him as I forge ahead in this new place! To God be the glory! Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Unplanned Possibilities

It has been two weeks since we arrived in Colorful Colorado, and I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. We have already found a house, and things have fallen into place with remarkable speed. It is not a coincidence. I firmly believe that God had a plan for us, and has paved the way for our future here. It has been such an easy transition, and I am so grateful for this.

When we think about our lives and what we imagine them to look like from one day to the next, if you are like me, we all struggle with trying to plan and make things happen the way we want them to turn out. But sometimes, when we have no control over our situations, and we allow events to play out in ways we have not thought of or orchestrated, we find ourselves in the middle of God’s real purposes for us, and it is spectacular! I find this to be true of my life right now.

We lived in Colorado for 18 years – from 1976-1994. My kids were born there, and it is the place where I first lived my “adult” life after college. When we left in 1994 for a job in California, I was devastated. I loved Colorado and our life there, and was not prepared to uproot and start over. I was deeply depressed for many months, and it wasn’t until I got involved with a church community and started using my abilities to help others that I started to feel better and settled into our new life.

Now we are back, in a new city, with new possibilities and many unknowns. Where will we fit in? What friendships will we cultivate? How will we spend our time, and where can we make a difference? Is there someone who needs what we have to offer? I am eagerly anticipating what is ahead, even though I don’t know what that looks like. I am not going to try to figure it out, but to walk through each day asking God what He wants me to do to bring honor and glory to His name. It might not look like what I imagine, but if it brings blessing to Him and I can show love and kindness to others, then I am content. I feel like we have come full circle, and I am now back home.

estes-park-600x400Don’t waste time trying to make things work for you. Rest in the assurance that God has your back and knows what is best for your life. Spend time instead in His Word and in seeking what He wants you to be doing. The peace of Christ will guard your heart as you trust in Him. You can be content in any situation, with all the unplanned possibilities at your feet! With gratitude for all God is and does, let’s live our lives for His purposes, and enjoy every moment. To God be the glory!

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Colorado Possibilites!

We have safely arrived in Colorado from California! We were welcomed with snow flurries and a bristling cold, and it is absolutely fabulous! I love seeing snow fall from the sky! It has been many years since I have lived in snow country, and the big fluffy flakes that we are seeing remind me of childhood fun in the snow in New York.

But I digress. We lived in Colorado for 18 years, but that was 21 years ago! I was reminded of some things as we traveled across the country, and saw the majestic vistas of snow-covered mountains and scenery that looked like a post card for the west. I had forgotten about pronghorns and prairie dogs. They seem to litter the countryside from Utah on, as well as the crazy black and white magpies that pop up everywhere along the way. I love these reminders of our past here, and it causes me to think that there is so much possibility ahead as we explore this beautiful state once again, and find our way around new, exciting places.

What is going through my mind right now? Questions about how I will find my niche here, and where I will plug in and join others in community. What friends will I make and where can I make a difference are high on that list of questions. I have been in the same place for quite a while, and change is not always easy for me. I know that this is where God has us for the next season of our lives, and I don’t want to waste it. As we step out in faith into all the new experiences that lie ahead, I am grateful for God’s provision for us, and for all the possibilities to intentionally live every day. No matter where we are, our lives can reflect what we believe. I want to be the woman God made me to be, and to live out the purposes He has created for me to fulfill. The place doesn’t matter, but my character does! This is my opportunity to step into all the possibilities that lie ahead and embrace this new adventure with positive energy and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each day is a gift, and I want to live life to the fullest with every moment I am given here. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Surprised by the Possibilities       

Big changes and new possibilities for our family right now!! My husband and I decided to move closer to our grandkids in March, since his consulting job could be done from anywhere. The day after we moved into our home near our grandchildren, my husband got an invitation to interview for a wonderful position in another state! Needless to say, this was a big surprise (since he had been applying steadily for jobs over the past couple of years and had not received any responses or “thanks but no thanks” answers to his applications.) We talked seriously about this, prayed about it, and decided that it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. So…he went and interviewed. He was then asked to interview with an affiliate company the next week, and on Friday, he was offered the job! We have been in this rental for less than two months, and will pack it all up and move to Colorado by the 1st of May!! We will be in Ft. Collins, Colorado and are looking forward to the mountains and all that this beautiful state has to offer.

All of my children were born in Denver, and my two oldest were in 11th and 8th grade when we moved to California. They have great memories of this state, and I hope this will bring them out to see us on a regular basis! I am excited to find a new place to worship, to use my gifts and to make new friends. It is quite overwhelming, yet very exciting for us. We have seen many open doors over the last few months – in this first move, in the sale of our house, and in the offer of this new job for Joe. We have recognized God’s hand in all of this, through His provision and a job that will allow my fabulous husband to finish working at the top of his game! We are so grateful and feel very blessed. We want to be good stewards of all we have, and hope that we can bring glory to God in all we do and say. Never think that God is not looking out for you. When you are willing to open your hands and let go of trying to control everything, He steps in and gives you the desires of your heart. This is what we are experiencing right now, and we look forward to all the new and surprising possibilities that lie ahead! To God be the glory! Amen.

Holy Week Possibilities

As I start this holy week, I am remembering all that Jesus did for me as He walked the long road to the cross, and I find myself reflecting on the events that led up to this supreme sacrifice. I am overwhelmed with the realization that someone would willingly give His life for all that I have done wrong, and that the love He has for me is so enormous, that He suffered and was killed for my sake. Jesus knew what was ahead for Him, and surrendered His own agenda to fulfill His destiny as God’s Son.

Before He walked the road to Calvary, Jesus spent time with His disciples, praying for them, and loving them as He looked at their hearts before He left them. He knew the motivation of Judas and all that he would do. He knew that Peter would deny Him and yet be restored to begin His church. He knew that these ordinary men whom He had invested in and mentored for three years would turn away from Him until He returned as the Risen Lord. Jesus knows my heart and your heart too, and even though we have good intentions to be obedient and live our lives totally for His purposes, we often fail as well. But the prayer He had for His disciples before He died (and it is for all of us today too!) was precious. He prayed for their protection and for their unity. He asked that they be “sanctified” and sent into the world with His Word as their anchor. He asked for His joy to be part of their lives, and that they would know His truth. (John 17:6-19)

These things are all possible for those of us who come to faith and believe in Him. We have His protection – the Holy Spirit lives in us. We are all part of the body of Christ – unified by Him and living as one when we commit our lives to Him. We are also being “sanctified” – a fancy word for just becoming more and more like Jesus as we learn and grow in our faith. We have His Word, which is the truth to live by and the anchor for all we do and say. As we realize the hope we have in our eternal future, our joy should be overflowing and spill over into every area of our lives. We can live with intentionality and enjoy all the possibilities that lie ahead because of what He did for us. That my friends is what we can reflect on this week, and celebrate Easter together shouting “Hallelujah, He is risen! He is risen indeed!”

 

 

New Possibilities

Today is moving day for us, and we are sitting among boxes and boxes of “stuff” that we are going to take to our new home as we wait for the moving van to arrive. New possibilities lie ahead, and we don’t really know what they will look like. Yet even though this is unknown territory for us, living in an unfamiliar city and only knowing a handful of people, we are excited! It has been a whirlwind of circumstances that have brought us to this day, and we have seen God’s hand all over this process!!

Change is not easy for me, and yet I feel unexpectedly calm with this move. We have wanted to live closer to our family, and now we will have the opportunity to be near two of our grandkids (and our daughter and son-in-law too!)! When we weighed the options for us in the midst of uncertainty, moving seemed like a real possibility, and through a series of unplanned circumstances, everything has fallen into place to make that happen. I am curious for what is going to happen next!

When doors open and we walk through them with faith, God reaffirms our path by orchestrating even the smallest details. Each step of the process of preparing to move, getting our house ready to sell and finding a new place to land has been almost effortless. I am amazed at how quickly it has happened, yet why should I be surprised! We have a faithful and sovereign God who knows what we need each day. It is exciting and a little scary, but I know that He holds my life in His hands.

An often over-quoted passage of Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11-13 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I find this truly comforting, knowing that no matter where I am, I can call on God, pray what is on my heart, and He will listen to me. I can find Him, and talk to Him, no matter where I am. 

So off we go to a new home, a new city and new possibilities! I can’t wait to see what is ahead. Here’s to a new hope and future, unknown to me, but fully planned by God for His purposes!! So much possibility ahead!!

 

365 days to Love!

As we leave another Valentine’s Day behind, I am struck with the possibility of showing extraordinary love to others on more than just one day a year. We shower our sweethearts with cards and flowers and special favors on this red heart day, and celebrate those closest to us as we remember what they mean to us, but what about the rest of the time?

Jesus taught us that the greatest thing we can do in our lives is to love God and love others. These are the most important commandments to remember each day. We get caught up in our busy lives and move through our to-do lists with a vengeance, and often overlook those needing our attention because we are so focused on all we set out to accomplish. What would it look like if we loved God and people the way that Jesus taught us to love them?

Well,  we would spend more time with them! Starting each day in prayer and reflecting on Scripture is a discipline, yet it should also be a reflection of our love for God. When we sit at His feet and learn and soak up the wisdom in His Word, we are drawing closer to Him and honoring His place as Lord of our lives. If we stop long enough to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and all that God wants us to know and see, we will be equipped to move forward with our day following His purposes and not relying on ourselves. God longs to be wanted and loved by us. His love never fails and there is nothing that can take that away from us. There is nothing we do or don’t do that will stop Him from loving us. This great reassurance can help us come before Him everyday, not just once in a while, and tap into His abundant love with confidence to live our lives with all the possibilities He has in mind for us.

We can be intentional in cultivating our relationships with people, too! Family members and friends will experience our love, as we find new ways to show how much we care about them. This is not a one-day adventure, but a life-long pursuit, as we find out what pleases them and then be thoughtful about demonstrating our love. A hug, a card, and/or tangible acts of loving kindness can be a daily expression of our affection. Going out of our way to do something nice for someone else benefits us both.

So, who needs your love today? What can you do to reach out and impact someone’s life in a positive way, showing how much you value them? This is not just a Valentine’s Day task. We can make it a way of life! Reach out to those around you, and not just those you know. Go the extra mile and let someone in line who needs to be checked out sooner. Let that car go first at the stop sign. Don’t walk past that homeless person, but ask their name and give them a gift card to get a fresh meal. Pick up the wet towels in the bathroom, take out the trash before you are asked to do it. Think of others before yourself, and be on the lookout for how you can serve their needs. It is counter-cultural to act this way, but if we use Jesus as our example, He was the ultimate servant to humanity!

Valentine’s Day may be over, but the need for love is not! Richly love every day – Love God and Love Others  – and it will be given back to you in abundance!

Joy in Doing Life Together

I recently attended a memorial service for a lovely lady who had great influence in my church. It was a wonderful time of remembrance and there were numerous stories of how she lavished hope and comfort on many, many people. In looking at those who were in attendance, I was struck with the thought that this is what the body of Christ looks like. These folks had weathered life together, and sometimes it was hard. They has been there for one another in tangible, practical ways, and when that was not possible, they would pray or send a note with encouraging Scripture and a positive word. We need each other, and as we offer help, hope and serve in the name of Jesus, we are spreading God’s love to a hurting world. This brings glory to God, and helps others see His work in our lives.

Following this service, I had the joy of sharing dinner with a group of girlfriends from my Friday morning Bible Study group. It was a fun time of being together, but the conversations were about significant things and not just small talk. There is a trust among us that allows us to be open and vulnerable in our doubts and our shortcomings, and as the evening progressed, we just did not want it to end.

There is joy in doing life together, and we need one another. When life takes an unexpected turn, when we don’t know what to do next, or when we second-guess ourselves, it is great to have a “tribe” to go to for help. That is what I have found in the body of Christ. Whether it is saying good-bye to an old saint, or sharing a meal with girlfriends, I feel honored to be part of this fellowship of God’s people. None of us is perfect, and that is the very reason we are able to be together so easily. When we realize that we all fall short, it takes the pressure off us to try to do everything right. We will always fail, but we also know that we can move forward with confidence because Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. Our hope is in our eternal future, and we will be sharing it with all who have put their faith and trust in Him. We are better together! So find your place in the body of believers, and join us as we help one another through life’s storms. Rejoice in the good things that happen, and in all things, show love. That is what we are called to do, as we live out our time here on earth, because we can also look forward to our everlasting life together!

Romans 12:4-5 “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”