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Another Foggy Sunday

Our home sets at an altitude of nearly 5000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California with winters that are typically mild with only three or four significant snows in a season. Around 40 inches of rain fall during an average year. This has not been a typical year. We’re at 60 inches, and the winter–which season I generally love– hatefully drags on, as persistent as the ring of robocalls. The fog–since first light to this hour of early evening–has been as thick as cowboy coffee, and the thermometer hanging just outside my kitchen window refuses to stretch to the 40 degree mark. Within the last hour I saw a report of tornados touching down in central California, an extremely unusual situation.

So, for the second Sunday in a row, we did not go to church. We just don’t do fog. Last Sunday on my Facebook account I mentioned what a blessing internet live-streaming of church services is to Jerry and me, and how it provides the opportunity of being with groups of people all over the United States as they worship God. First thing this morning we went to church in Indianapolis with Pastor Mooney, then to Alexandria, La. with Pastor Mangun. We watched both Brother and Sister Larson minister in San Diego, then this afternoon Cherie Wilkins texted me a link to her church in Texas, pastored by Brother and Sister Tuttle.

Because we couldn’t go to regular church, we ate. Splurged. Indulged.

Sorghum Molasses

We’re now a bit on the lethargic side.

We’re warm and cozy.

Weather forecast: Rain all night. Possible snow from 1 to 3 am. Rain all day tomorrow.

Hmm. . .wonder what I can whip up!

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Bless the Lord

. . .and to our dying days, both Jerry and I want to Bless our Lord. May my final moment breathe out His praises.

Our ministries now are limited, our aging and abilities affecting what we can do for Him. But on occasion–as during Easter morning 2019–we lift our voices in praise to our Savior.

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People of the Wait

While you Wait . . .

. . .While you wait for the Library of Congress to catalogue your book you can squat and hold a stick like his in your hand and draw lines in the dirt and steal a glance at his little face, and if you do it long enough he may turn his head sideways and look back at you.

. . .While you wait for them to know you should be their pastor you can go in the wee hours. Go to a hospital, to the back entrance where blood drippings will steer your feet. Trudge through the wide doors and look. See. By chance a person on a green plastic chair may haul up his eyes and latch onto yours. While you wait to be a pastor you may see into his soul or hers. It is probably dark down in there.

from my WIP Dream Shards

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Leaving Racism

“You don’t leave racism at the door (of a church), you leave it at the altar.” Rev. Johnny King NO LIMITS CONFERENCE Sacramento, CA.

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Beauty from Slag

I’ve had this beautiful piece of glass for many years; so many years that I don’t have a memory of buying it. Many of you will recognize it as being a specimen of slag glass.

Production of slag glass originated in late-19th-century England, where glass manufacturers are thought to have added slag from iron-smelting works to molten glass in order to create a range of effects—from tortoiseshell to marbling. Among other uses, slag glass was a popular material for lampshades. This purple and white is one of the more common colors and swirled design.

Slag. Depending on where you’re from, it may be an insult, a term meaning trash. Slag is typically an iron calcium silicate type material, which is liquid in the furnaces and is poured or siphoned off the top of the molten metal. When it cools it forms a solid glassy looking substance and when added to molten glass creates such beautiful pieces as this one of mine.

When I came to Jesus, I was little more than bits and pieces of humanity–as are we all. My mom and dad told me about giving my life to Him and it seemed right to me, and I knew I wanted to do that. So this scrawny straggle-haired child knelt at an altar in a store-front church and surrendered up, and Jesus took me. He accepted my pitiful offering, scooped up the slag of my life, and added His spirit to what I had handed him. I was transformed. That’s why I can look at my life–now exceeding eighty years–and say, “Thank you sweet Jesus. Thank you for vision, for abundance, for a beautiful life.”

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Infanticide

Today, February 25, 2019 in congressional chambers of the United States of America, a majority of senators voted down the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act which would have required that “any health care practitioner present” at the time of a birth exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”

In essence, as I understand this, our country has now officially embraced infanticide. I’m stunned at what is happening to our country.

Frequently through my life-time, with my family and friends, I’ve discussed the grandeur and exceptionalism of America and how blessed we are to live here. Inevitably such conversation leads to the humble conclusion that the reason for this distinction is: 1. Our country was founded on Judeo/Christian values, and 2. Because we honor Israel. (We pray for that country as the Bible instructs us to do.)

Now, I tremble to consider that our country is slaughtering babies by the multiplied tens of thousands. How, tell me how, can God’s hand continue to be on us?

God help us. God cause us to turn. Forgive our iniquities. Cause our country once again to walk in the way He orders.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Psalm 37:23 _______

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Past Dynamite News

I was doing some work on my blog sites today and came across this post from November 4, 2007. Some of you may recall that during this time Jerry and I went to Lake Havasu City, AZ. to plant a church, and from the very beginning God honored us with powerful services and dynamic growth. I consider that out of all the decades of our ministry, the three and a half years we were there were some of the most blessed of all our ministry. Much of our work was done with alcohol and drug challenged people.

I weep at this moment as I think of those dear people and their little children. Hard? It was the hardest church work we ever did. Rewarding? Yes, absolutely the most rewarding of all.

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CHRIST ALIVE CHURCH Lake Havasu City, Arizona November 4, 2007

“We had rented 40 extra chairs, and on Saturday, Michael met with Jerry and me to set up for the Sunday morning service. When we started putting the chairs out, though, it looked like so many, that Michael’s faith and mine faltered a bit, and we decided to leave about a dozen of them stacked in the hall.

But we had invited lots of people. I had mailed letters to every person who has ever visited our church, we had made and distributed flyers, we had an article in the local paper, Jerry had made dozens of phone calls and personal contacts and Michael had invited everyone of the “Goatheads,” a yuppy, motorcycle group based here in Lake Havasu. Earlier in the week, one of them had called Mike to ask, “Is it okay if we ride our bikes to church?”

“Of course. Not a problem at all,” he had told them.

Jerry and I arrived at the church around 8:30 and there were already a few people there. But it was around 8:45 that we heard the roar of the bikes and soon the parking lot was inundated with motor cycles, so that finally there was hardly room to park.

They came pouring in, and quickly I told Brandon, “Set up the rest of the chairs.” When we had registered and counted, we found that 85 people were at Christ Alive today! Recall that we have only been here 8 months. We were ecstatic.

Brother Pence of Prescott, AZ. has a most remarkable testimony of a healing from cancer. The doctors had given him two weeks to live. He had 22 tumors in his lungs from a cancer that had metastasized from his kidneys.

He had lost 60 pounds, had made all his funeral arrangements even to picking out his casket…Here, he is showing the packet from the mortuary where he had made the arrangements. But God had different plans and has completely healed him! All the tumors have gone, his racking cough is cured, and recently, his doctors declared him completely cancer free. His testimony is incredible.

Ernie, who is pictured here is suffering from pancreatic cancer, and the doctors have not given him a good prognosis. He came to Christ Alive today believing God for a miracle in his own life.

I was touched by the generous response of the audience, and their involvement with worship that to many of them was unfamiliar. They were extremely receptive to the Word of God as it was preached, and to an invitation to join in our Pentecostal worship. All over the room, both men and women were openly crying.

At the conclusion of the very appropriate sermon, Brother Pence invited everyone to the front who needed special prayer. Ernie was the first to leave his seat and head to the pulpit. Here you see him being prayed over.

Please pray for our work here. These people are precious–some of them know God in a measure–others have a very limited knowledge of Him. Jerry and I are desperate to be able to point them to Jesus, the only Saviour.

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So, here we are many years later, retired now, someone else the pastor in Lake Havasu City. Both Jerry and I count it the greatest of joys that God called us to do a work for Him among those very dear people.

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A Valentine

Jerry has macular degeneration now. He almost never drives. He can hardly use his phone because of his limited sight. We’ve had snow on the ground for weeks, and today alone we have received almost six inches of rain. Sort of snow bound here in Crestline.

Yesterday, he said, “Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I didn’t get you anything.”

I brushed the remarks aside. “Jerry, that doesn’t matter. You know that.”

This morning our furnace quit belching out heat. Jerry traipsed down to the basement. Came back. “The flame is lighting, but the fan doesn’t come on, so then the flame goes off .”

Jerry called Ken, our across-the-street neighbor, who is the best neighbor anyone could possibly want. Ken’s a little younger than we are . . .but still an old man, I suppose. A couple of weeks ago he had cancers removed from his nose and ears, and for a few days when we would see him, the end of his nose would be white . . .with bandages. Both men poked around in the basement.

The called furnace man came. His poking around in the basement led to his saying, “Your furnace is 40 years old, has this and that problem. You need a new one.” We ordered a new one. Wrote a check for half the charge. Will pay the other half when he installs it.

Later I stood by Jerry as he sat on a stool tending the fire in our fireplace. “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything for Valentine’s Day.”

“Doesn’t matter, now does it?” I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Red hearts, chocolates, cards . . . It really doesn’t matter, Jerry.”

We’ve made babies together. We’ve bought furnaces and paid water bills. Once upon a time we were young, and now we’re old. A time or two, we stared down death. We swatted the tush of our sons, and of our daughter, and now, they with ease, place an arm about the shoulder of a fellow and say, “Let me tell you about Jesus.” We’ve wrecked cars and bought hamburgers and pumped gas and eaten in joints. We’ve settled into the skinny seats of planes, then tramped the ground in countries not our own. We’ve cried in our living room and in our churches. We’ve hooted in laughter. We’ve cooked biscuits and gravy, and grilled spareribs on our back deck. We’ve buried friends. We sleep with Winston, and drive ourselves crazy trying to make him mind us. We’ve looked wide-eyed at our kids as they took us in hand to tell us about Alexa and Siri. We’ve ridden horses in the Sawtooth mountains, and I fell off, and we’ve waterskied, and preached, and taught, and sang. And loved.

A box of chocolates? A rose. A card. Some glitter. . Sorry I didn’t get you anything, Shirley. Are you kidding me?

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The High Road of Humility–Part Two

Sister Garrett had asked my husband to speak with the young men if he felt it was the right thing, and so came the time after we had eaten when they all gathered in the living room, and Jerry spoke a few words to them. They were so quiet, so attentive, and so obviously moved by his words.

I don’t say too much about it except with our family and close friends, but my husband’s childhood was quite rocky, and that he so effectively pushed through significant challenges is a source of pride to me, and I believe to our children. He was reared in the state of Louisiana, the youngest of twelve children, and more than a few times he has said to me, “We were so poor.” They had no running water, no telephone, no indoor bath, and no car. When he was four years old, his mother died. When he was thirteen his father died.

The Buxtons are great people and his siblings did their best to help him through those challenging years. He lived with some of them from time to time, but he was not really happy. “I never felt I belonged anywhere. Always felt I was in the way.” For a couple of years while he was in high school he lived with a family who had a dairy farm. He rose at 3:30, milked cows, then delivered raw milk to people in the neighborhood before his first session. “I was so sleepy, I often fell asleep in class.”

I believe it was when he was a high school Junior that he went to live with his brother, Bill, who was already a school teacher, and who helped Jerry enroll in a college after he graduated from high school. He worked his way through those four years and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. A young man having a college degree today is not considered especially significant, but in those years, it was an unusual accomplishment.

He had received the Holy Ghost when he was 13 years old, and during his Junior year in college, God called him into the ministry.

“The rest,” they say, “is history.” He has taught school, founded a school, pastored three churches, married a pretty good wife (feel free to snicker here), and sired four children who all are living good lives, and who are filled with the Holy Ghost. So to those young men Saturday afternoon, he gave the good word, “You Can Make It!” No matter your challenge, no matter your situation, “you can make it.” Some of the young men have solid godly families, some have sketchy relationships with their fathers, and some have no fathers at all in their homes.

So ended the afternoon of a memorable, blessed day. Look carefully at the last picture, and you will see that not everything was of a spiritual, holy nature. . .which is quite as should be!

 

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The High Road of Humility

During the exceptional funeral of the late George H. W. Bush, our 41st president, former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson in his droll way said, “Those that travel the high road of humility in Washington are not bothered by heavy traffic.” In my living room, I smiled and considered the heavy truth of the matter.

While I never had the pleasure of meeting President Bush, and while I am not familiar with the little traveled high road of humility in Washington, I am well acquainted with an exceptional couple who traipse about on a similar road here in California. Pastor Patrick Garrett and his wife, Holly, are the leaders of an Apostolic church in Yucaipa, CA.  I’m overcoming my lack of fondness for cliches, when I say to you, “They walk the talk.”

The combination of very cold weather, and our decreasing wood stack which our son Steve heavily contributed to a few months ago, prompted a conversation between Jerry and Pastor Garrett. “I”m bringing you wood, buying it, . . .and  some young men are coming with me to stack it on the deck for you.” The response to Jerry’s insistence that he pay the young men for their efforts was, “No, I checked with them, and they will not accept any pay.”

On Saturday morning, here they came; nine strong, willing, young men, along with their pastor and his wife; exceptional Christians, people with the true love of Jesus Christ emanating from them.

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Pastor Garrett did not find that truck load of mixed hard wood sufficient for us, so after the first was unloaded and stacked on our deck, he pulled his truck out of our driveway and drove back to Yucaipa for another load–close to an hour’s drive.

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I was astonished to see and hear what those young men did next. While their pastor was gone, they took it on themselves–in 40 degree weather–to tackle yard work around our place. As though it were a spring cleanup, they grabbed rakes, hammers, trash bags, and blowers. Cleaned our property until it was spotless. They hosed decks, folded tarps, repaired wall hangings, swept under the front deck, reorganized containers, and from time to time asked, “Is there something else we can do?” My jaw had dropped.

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DSC_0845

During the original discussion Jerry told Pastor Garrett we would cook up something for the workers, so on Friday evening around 7:00 Jerry fired up his smoker and for 14 or 15 hours he smoked to perfection a Farmer John Pork Shoulder. from which then he deboned the meat and formed delicious pulled pork sandwiches. I whipped up cole slaw, a huge pot of pinto beans with ham hocks, and crusty corn bread baked in iron skillets. Holly brought desserts . . .and we had a feast.

dsc_0863.jpgOnce while I was in the kitchen one of the young men came to me, so thoughtful and thankful. So sweet, so very sweet. “The table looks like it is for rich people.” His deep brown eyes stared into mine.

“It is for rich people, Caleb.” And then I expressed to him that people with principles and spirits such as this group possessed were rich; indeed they are the richest people on earth. In honor of these rare and treasured people I had set the table with shiny red porcelain plates. and their red and green cloth napkins were held by festive Christmas napkin rings.

IMG_1581Our ears ring daily with horrific tales of disgusting, dishonorable, evil activities. But there are others. Among the few who conscientiously tread the high road of humility and of true godliness are Pastor Patrick Garrett, his wife, Holly, and a number of glowing, exceptional young men.

Just before they left our home, I again thanked Pastor Garrett. “You are a true Christian.” As is his way, he bowed his head, and wept.

I continued. “And following behind you in a steady tramp is an impressive row of young Christians–just like you.”

When President George H. W. Bush removed his coat to warm a cold usher at church one Sunday morning, I was not there. When he wrote personal notes to scores of people, including some I know, I was not there. When he adorned our White House with exceptional ethics and grace I was not there. But recently, and often, it is my distinct favor to mingle with a godly couple and with an expanding flock of beautiful people who contribute to the beauty of this world as they walk the high road toward Heaven. Jerry and I are beneficiaries.

(Sad PS. That is either Gabriel or Joseph whose head I neatly sliced. My sincere apology!)