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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Year Is Passing--By Miralee

A new year is rolling more year to tick off the calendar and another chance to make changes. How much stock do each of you put in making resolutions? Are you one who makes them, only to break them a few days, or weeks later?

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but I admit they have their place. What are some things we could do this year, to lessen the stress of lost opportunities from the past year, and heighten the possiblities for the new one?

* Don't beat yourself up for 'missing it' at times...Realize that we all fail and God's love still surrounds you

* Allow yourself to fail. Too often we expect more from ourselves than God does, or others do.

* Don't plan to fail. Expect the best out of life and keep a positive attitude. No, being positive doesn't cause good things to fall in your lap, but it certainly will keep down the stress levels and make you an easier person to live with.

* Take small bites. Now ladies, I could be talking about food here, but I'm not, LOL! Don't set such high standards for what you hope to change, that you don't ever come close to succeeding, and decide to quit. If you're trying to lose 50 lbs, shoot for 30 and give yourself a realistic time frame to do it in. Don't quit eating everything sweet, just cut back a bit. Don't feel you have to exercise 5 days per week, 30 minutes per time, just start with a walk around the block. Be realistic in your expectations.

* Above all else, pray over everything you do. Nothing is too big, or too small for God to handle. Invite Him into each decision and commitment and ask that He guide you and grant wisdom. That's one prayer He'll always answer!

* End each day with Thanksgiving...not only to your heavenly Father, but to members of your family. Remember to thank those who are a blessing in your life and encourage them in their daily walk. The rewards are abundant!

Have a blessed, wonderful New Year, Each and every one of you & Please let me hear from you occasionally!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Remember The Reason

Christmas is upon us, the most joyous time of the year.... Or is it?

For many, it's just a season filled with stress, financial trouble, or loneliness. For others it's a time to visit with friends and family, bake, buy gifts or hope for some new blessing in their life.

What does it mean to you?

In this age of commercialism, are you making the time to celebrate the birthday of our Lord? It's so easy to allow the days to fly by and be swamped with all the chores required by Christmas. Baking, cards, buying gifts, decorating the tree, helping children with programs...all these are good in themselves, but what will really bring the peace and joy to your heart and your family?

Let me make a small suggestion. When you wake up on Christmas morning, don't jump out of bed and hit the floor matter how many kids are begging for the gifts under the tree or in their stockings. Lay in bed another five minutes, and give time to the Lord. Let the awe of Christmas fill your heart and the joy of our Saviour minister to your spirit. Don't beat yourself up for not taking an hour with your Bible & prayer. Do what you're able to do, but make sure your priorities put Him first in your day.... After all....

Whose Birthday Is it, Anyway?

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Birthday to you, Jesus!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

House & Book Update

A Christmas Picture~
Our daughter Marnee, with her big German Shepherd, Hunter, to your left, and our female Athena, to your right. They're half brother/sister, with the same father, but you'd never know it from their size.

Update on My Book~
My agent has presented the publishing house with some changes to the contract that we'd like to see. With Christmas coming, we're not expecting to get it signed this week, but hopefully next week for sure. Waiting is hard, as I'd love to be assigned to my editor and jump right into revisions & corrections, and move toward a completed manuscript. But getting this contract offer is one of the best Christmas gifts I could ask for, so I'm not complaining.

The other Huge gift I was given this year, is our new home that we're building. The drywall company started hanging the sheet rock on Monday morning, and finished up all 4,000' at about 2:00 today! That included the big two car garage with workshop that has 13' high ceilings, as the walls set on 2 1/2' of stem wall. They were amazing to watch and incredibly fast.

Taping & Texture starts next Tuesday, then comes the paint. It's starting to look like a house!

I'll post more pictures after Christmas, as we're hoping to get the rest of the siding on, in the next couple of wks. Maybe I'll get one with the snow on the trees!
Sorry for not posting as often this week, but if you're like me, you're on the go and busy with last minute preparations, too. I'm working on my second book tonight, when I really should be baking & wrapping gifts. I'll squeeze that in somewhere!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Money And Marriage Problems, By Miralee

Did you know that 43% of all married couples argue over money issues, making it the major reason couples fight? It's also one of the top reasons couples divorce.

This time of year can be incredibly stressful. Most of us feel the pressure to give, often beyond our means, at the Christmas season. It's birthed out of a desire to please and bless those we love. But unfortunately, giving can be a two-edged sword, if not handled properly.

Here are a few thoughts that might put our giving in perspective.
* Don't use credit cards to purchase your gifts. Stay within your cash budget, even if it means buying less than you'd planned.

* Discuss the gifts with your husband/wife/parents, or someone else who can help hold you accountable, especially if this is an area of weakness for you.

* Make sure your bills are paid before you head out to splurge. There's nothing worse than getting all the gifts wrapped, then discovering there's not enough left to make the car payment, or mortgage.

* Talk to your kids, if necessary. Let them in on the household budget and help them understand what responsible buying means.

* Find a family project of giving to someone else & agree to drop at least one gift off everyone's list, to allow the family to do something special for someone in need.

* Start every day of this busy season off in prayer. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in what you purchase and how to stretch your dollars.

If any of you have other ideas you'd like to share to help cut the financial stress during this holiday season, please feel free to post them and share. If we have enough comments, I'll put together a post next time summarizing what's been shared. Thank you for visiting & don't forget to drop me a note!

PS, I'm going to be asking for help in naming a town for one of my future novels. Please check tomorrows blog for details!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

An Early Christmas Story

I'm hoping to hear from my agent on Tuesday about the offer on my book. Waiting is hard, but the Lord is in control! Until then, here's a wonderful Christmas story.

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But forthose who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving. It was Christmas Eve 1881.

I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight. "I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.

But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me.

I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me."

The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be alot bigger with the high sideboards on. After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood -- the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting.

What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?"

"You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked.

The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.

Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the wood pile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the wood-shed for another armload of wood.

I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smokehouse and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

"What's in the little sack?" I asked.

"Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to the Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? The Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible. Then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked.

The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"

"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could wecome in for a bit?"

The Widow Jensen opened the door to let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. The Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.
She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children -- sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last.

I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. Heturned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat, and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and the Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after the Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down the Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones aroundagain. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell."

I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, 'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on the Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered. And remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Conflict In Marriage, Part Two

As I mentioned last night, the early years of our marriage were filled with stress and conflict. Some self imposed, some from ignorance, while much was poor communication and immaturity. Oh that I could go back and do it over, knowing what I do now, how different our marriage would be.

Unfortunately, we don't get to live life over, but God does give us the present and hopefully, the future, in which to make good choices. Our marriage is on a solid foundation now and we've learned much about communicating. We haven't arrived, and yes....we still have times of stress normal to any Christian marriage, but the Lord broke us out of the downward spiral we were in those many years ago.

How, you might ask? What did it take to turn things around? It wasn't any one thing that did it, although there were a couple of events that helped get my attention.

I'd spoken to our pastor about our situation and my unhappiness with where Allen was (or wasn't) spiritually. He listened patiently. I remember little about the conversation, although I'm sure he must have been supportive and kind. But one thing he said stuck with me till this day. "Miralee, you've got to quit trying to play the Holy Spirit in Allen's life. It's not your job. As long as you continue to do so, God will step back and keep His hands off. He won't be able to do much for Allen until you release him, and allow God to be in control."

Control....that was a tough one for me. I didn't have a clue at the time what an issue it had become in my life. I don't remember ever having a problem with needing to be in control growing up and my mom says I was a very easy child to raise (other than loving to talk!). But the more our marriage drifted into trouble, and the more my husband pulled away, the stronger my need to be in control.

The other instance happened while in prayer. I'd spent considerable time detailing to God all the reasons He needed to change my husband and what I felt He needed to do, to bring about that change. It was the first time (but certainly not the last) that I heard nearly an audible voice that emanated from my spirit. "Allen isn't the problem here, you are. He's about 20% of the problem, you're the rest. You need to let go and let me work."

If a mule had kicked me in the stomach, the shock would've been less. I truly felt flattened by the words. Me? Most of the problem? But I was the Christian! I was praying, reading the word, going to church, taking the major role in raising our children. I wasn't drinking, staying out late, breaking my promises, neglecting my family or any of the other grievances I had against my husband. How could I be the problem?

I fell on my face before the Lord, and began to weep and repent, as He drove home His point, then wrapped His arms of love around me. I got up determined to learn all I could about Christian marraige and how to do it right. No, nothing changed immediately, but over the course of the next few months, then years, as I learned to let go, Allen began to change.

Did I get it right every time? Of course not. I slipped and fell time after time. It took more than one pastors help and counsel in the future to break through to the place we are now. But I'm firmly convinced it was those two by a Godly man and one by God Himself, that started me on the road to letting go. Had that not happened, I truly believe Allen wouldn't be where he is today. He'd still be running from a weepy, fearful wife, who showed her love for him in all the wrong ways.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Conflict In Marriage

When I was a young wife, I really struggled with letting go of my husband. I didn't have much training or support from other older women, and made a lot of mistakes.

One of the biggest lay in the area of needing to know where he was and what he was doing, if he wasn't with me.

I think the troubles we had in our early years made me insecure about his love and desire to spend time with me. That insecurity drove me, quite literally. And the more driven I became the more he ran the other direction. He felt smothered, controlled and that I was constantly checking up on him. He thought I didn't trust him, and consequently, began to do things to evade me, even to the point of having other tell me he wasn't somewhere, when we was. My calling & trying to track him down was a source of embarrassment to him around the guys and I'm sure he took a lot of ribbing about his wife.

In my defense, he was staying out late, often times drinking with buddies, and rarely, if ever, calling to let me know he was ok. I'm talking not hearing from him, from the time I knew he was off work, till he walked in the door in the wee hours of the morning.

It seemed we were in an ever increasing circle that didn't appear to have a way out. It wasn't pretty and the only thing that kept us together was truly being in love with one another when we married and a stubborness on my part where the subject of divorce was concerned. It wasn't an option in my mind and I was determined to hang on and someday see Allen serving the Lord. Unfortunately, I didn't realize my actions were driving him farther away, rather than drawing him closer.

I'll share more tomorrow on something the Lord showed me, that helped me start to slowly turn this behavior around. Join me then!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Two Wolves, A Lesson In Life

Nothing new on my book yet, I'll keep you posted when I hear more. Until then, here's a very short story that we can all learn from.


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside of us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "the one you feed."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Personal Note

Just a quick personal note of catch up tonight, then we'll get back to more marriage & family issues in the next day or so.
Winter unofficially began here in the NW on Sunday morning, when we woke up to 3" of snow. It continued to come down off and on through the day, with another dusting on Monday, then it turned cold, with a high of only 24 today. Brrrrr~
I am NOT a cold weather lover! And what happened to fall?

Our building project has been slowed a bit and the siding will have to wait for better weather. But thankfully, the electrician and plumber were able to come this week and those two projects (the rough in part) will be complete tomorrow. Insulation starts next week, and sheetrock the following week. No heat in the house, so it's been a bit of a cold adventure for all who're working there, but that's part of the joy of being a contractor in the Pacific NW!

Our son made his first flight as a first officer with Horizon airlines just before Thanksgiving. God is so good! Steven has been working hard for years to get to this point in his career, and the Lord supplied him with a job with a wonderful airline. Not to mention the fact that his Mom & Dad will get to fly free! We're looking forward to taking a few trips once things settle down and finalize on our house project, and I'm thrilled that I'll have the ability to fly to writer's conferences that aren't in my immediate area.

I just finished revising the first 6 chapters of my book, yet again. Hopefully, this revision with the help of a professional editor will be my last. Then off to several publishing houses that are waiting for the finished manuscript. It will be submitted the middle of January, then comes the several week wait for responses. It will be in God's and the editors hands, from that point on, and I'll be working on the sequel, as I step out in faith that the initial book will be purchased.

That's all for tonight...Allen is working on the boat, getting it warm inside so pipes don't freeze, and he'll probably spend the night there tonight, just to make sure. So I'll pop on over to my manuscript and see what I can get done. Tomorrow night I'll tell you about Allen's invention. It's going to be spotlighted on Channel 6 & Channel 8 news sometime within the next week, so we're very excited about that!
Have a wonderful evening & please drop me a note when you're able. Miralee

Monday, November 27, 2006

Update On Comments

This is a short post, to thank all of you who tried to stop by & leave comments lately (especially you writer friends from ACFW!) and weren't able to. It looks like it's possible the comments were turned off on the two previous posts. So, I'm posting this as a test to see if it's on now & to give you all a place to comment, if it doesn't work.

UPDATE: Anyone who stopped by & read the most recent posts and wanted to comment, I got help from a fellow blogger who showed me how to go back & turn on the last two posts. You can now post comments on any of the old ones, or use this. Thanks everyone & I'll be posting again tonight or tomorrow.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Needs of Men & Women---Some Differences

I found the following excerpt from a book by Willard F. Harvey, Jr., to be helpful and insightful. If we can understand and recognize that we're different than our spouse...not only physically, but in the way our brain and emotions are wired, indeed our very outlook on life is poles apart, it will take us a long way in honing our communication skills and living peaceably together.

It's evident to any individual involved in a marriage or close relationship with someone of the opposite sex, that vast differences abound. But what exactly are they, and how can we utilize that knowledge? Take a look at the following overview and see if it helps shed some light on your own situation.

Willard F.Harley, Jr., "His Needs, Her Needs", Fleming H. Revell Company, Tarrytown

Man's five most basic needs in marriage:

1. Sexual fulfillment
2. Recreational companionship
3. An attractive spouse
4. Domestic support
5. Admiration

Woman's five most basic needs in marriage:

1. Affection
2. Conversation
3. Honesty and openness
4. Financial support
5. Family commitment

Concerning sexuality: men experience arousal and climax with relative ease; for women it's just the opposite.


1. He meets her need for affection with plenty of hugs and kisses at every opportunity.
2. He meets her need for intimate conversation by talking with her at the feeling level.
3. He meets her need for honesty and openness by looking her in the eye and telling her what he really thinks.
4. He meets her need for financial support by firmly shouldering the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe his family.
5. He meets her need for family commitment by putting his family first. He commits his time and energy to the moral and intellectual development of his children.


1. She meets his need for sexual fulfillment by becoming an excellent sexual partner to him.
2. She meets his need for recreational companionship by developing mutual interests with her husband.
3. She meets his need for her attractiveness. She keeps herself physically fit with diet and exercise, and she wears her hair, makeup, and clothes in a way that her husband finds attractive and tasteful.
4. She meets his need for domestic support by creating a home that offers him an atmosphere of peace and quiet.
5. She meets his need for admiration and respect by understanding his value and achievements more than anyone else.

---------End of quote---------

We can all learn from the second to be irresistible to our mate. Do you want to meet please your husband or wife? Then take seriously the needs of your partner and learn what he or she needs to be more complete. As you endeavor to meet their needs, you'll be amazed at how willing they will be to meet yours. Giving never ceases to have it's own rewards. The Word wasn't just talking about finances when it states that we're to give, pressed down, shaking together, and running over, and men shall give back unto us. That's a promise from the God of heaven, and His promises always hold true!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Writer's Get Together, and Part 3 on Prayer

What a very nice day! I just returned home from a 2 hour drive to the west side of Portland, to meet with a few other writers from the NW division of the American Christian Fiction Writer's group. It's the first time we've gotten together since forming the group & while several were unable to attend, it was still a very enjoyable afternoon.

And oh joy!!! I stopped at Costco & found the double sink vanity I need for our guest bathroom, on sale!! Our home has pushed the envelope on cost more than once now, but at other times the Lord blesses us with great deals like this and I'm so grateful. As soon as the siding goes on, I'll get another picture posted & show you the progress. Most of the work is being done on the inside with the electrical & rough in plumbing at this point, so nothing noteworthy for photography.

I don't think I've mentioned too much about my husband's 'baby' yet...our sailboat. When we sold our home of 18 years, 3 yrs ago, we decided to buy a boat (instead of moving back to Alaska, where we lived a number of years ago). I didn't want to return & we'd always dreamed of having a live aboard sailboat, but never had the money to pursue it. With the profit from our home we were able to put a down payment on the home we live in now, and do a sizeable down on the boat of Allen's dreams, our 51' Ketch, the Sea Star. The first picture was taken 3 yrs ago, during it's first winter in the Gorge, when we got hit with a long spate of cold weather & freezing rain. The entire marina was frozen over & yes, that's water surrounding the boat, not ground! The second pic is of the boat at the same marina in the summer time, nice difference, huh! We're planning on taking her up into the Inland Passage of Alaska next summer for a couple of months, so both of Allen's dreams will be realized....time spent in Alaska, on his boat.

Time for the third and final post on prayer article. In the next couple of days I'd love to hear from you....anything you'd like to know about, articles or posts you'd enjoy reading about, or comments you'd like to make. I'll be putting together (hopefully, as time allows) some more links or posts that concern marriage & family, to be posted over the next week. Until then, I'll drop in to chat every day or two. Hope you'll come back & join me and thanks for reading!

The Lord also speaks to by the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, as listed in I Corinthians 12:8-11. The gifts of wisdom and knowledge are used to help a person apply the revelation of God’s Word to a specific situation. In Acts 5, when Ananias & his wife Sapphira lied to Paul and withheld some of the money they received from the sale of their property, God revealed it to Paul through the operation of a word of knowledge.

The operation of the revelation gifts can help us make Godly decisions in our daily walk. If we are being used in counseling others, a word of wisdom or knowledge can shorten what might otherwise be hours of ministry. 1 Corinthians 14:1, it says that we should “‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”

We need to follow hard after God and desire to be used, keeping our hearts open to whatever gift He might want to bestow on us. Whether it be the prophetic gifts or any other, we must operate in an attitude of love. God seeks people who are anxious to hear His voice and use His gifts in ministry to others, while continually bringing glory to Him.

Waiting on God’s peace and assurance before making decisions and confirming that what you are hearing corresponds with His written word is critical. Take time to hear from God in the still, small voice of your spirit, through direct inspiration from the Word, or asking Him to speak to you through one of the Gifts of the Spirit. Avail yourself of the wisdom of the pastor, elders, or other people in your church who have proven themselves to be Godly men and women. Seek their counsel as you wait on the Lord, combining their wisdom with God’s word, and making sure it also corresponds with God’s Word.

Are you content to hear God’s voice only through the voice of others, or do you want to hear His voice for yourself? If so, will you pay the price He requires to make hearing His voice a way of life? Romans 8:6 says, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” It takes time and commitment to learn to listen; time quietly waiting on the Lord, as well as dwelling in His Word.

God is more willing to speak to us than we are to hear, and He will be faithful to answer as we tune our hearts in to His.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

God Is Our Provider! And Post Two on Prayer

Just a quick note tonight, as it's been a long day & I'm a bit tired. Then I'll post the next section in the article on hearing God's voice.

The Lord provided an answer this past week, for two families at a time. We purchased an older 38' 5th wheel, well used but in very sound condition, a few months ago. Our plan? Park it on our new property & move into it as soon as our house we're living in sells.

The second family is one from our church. A man & his wife in their late 60's, with a grown son who is autistic. This couple is one of the most generous, giving couples we know...always doing for others in an unobtrusive, quiet way, not expecting thanks or pay. Recently he had a stroke... his second in two years. As a result, he had to give up his wood cutting business that supplemented their meager retirement income. The result? They had to move out of their modest home & lease it out, as they couldn't afford the payments. We wanted to loan them our 5th wheel, as they'd recently moved into a very old, leaky 20' trailer. (we had no idea how bad it was until today)...but didn't know where we'd live should our house suddenly sell, as our new one won't be ready to move into until sometime in March, at the earliest.

A week or so ago we got word through our daughter that a couple she knows are heading south for the winter. They know we might need a place to live, and offered their home for the winter. We immediately contacted the family from our church & convinced them we needed the trailer moved off our property, as it truly is giving us very limited parking for the construction crew. It went to it's new home this week and we couldn't have been happier to see it in the possession of such deserving people. The Lord knew from the beginning that the 5th wheel belonged to this family! He met our need and theirs, in just the right way. Isn't He awesome!

Our house hasn't sold yet, and the market is very slow, but we're trusting Him to sell it at just the right time.

Now....for the second installment on prayer~

Any time we believe that we've heard from the Lord, whether through someone else’s teaching, a word dropped into our own spirit, or the use of the gifts of the Spirit, it must line up with the Word. A true test for any situation, whether it be a prophetic word that is given, or a personal word from the Lord directed at our heart, is to check it against God’s Word for confirmation and accuracy.

It’s critical we listen to what God’s Word has to say for every situation, rather than depending only on our own reasoning or emotions. These are often influenced by the circumstances and people around us, and can’t be completely trusted. God does give us wisdom and can speak through our mind, intuition, or feelings, but we must never judge solely on those. Our emotions and mind will often lead us apart from God’s will, but choosing to listen to the Word never does.

For example, a young woman is considering marrying a man who professes to be a Christian, but his life doesn’t measure up to his confession. She can listen to her flesh and her emotions, which will try to convince her this man is the best choice for her life. Or she can see what the Word has to say about her situation and use it for the basis of her decision. When she does, she will see a person who is born again has evidence of fruit in their life. If there is no fruit, it’s possible the person is not born again. We are not to join ourselves in an intimate way with an unbeliever. A knowledge of the Word would direct her to make sure of the man’s commitment to the Lord before entering into a life with him.

Another way the Lord speaks to us is through a gentle ‘nudge’ to our spirit. It might be a quiet voice speaking through our conscience, or an impression that comes into our mind while praying, worshiping or considering a problem.

Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”

It’s important to spend time with the Lord in prayer, opening our hearts and spirits to His voice and waiting on Him for direction. Spend time in worship, give yourself totally to Him, asking that Jesus be in complete control of your mind and heart as you seek Him and listen. As children of God, we can be confident the Holy Spirit will lead us, but as stated in Col. 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” and so peace must accompany the leading or direction we receive.

God’s peace is the sure sign that the Holy Spirit is directing us, rather than our own thoughts or desires. The Holy Spirit is quiet and gentle, but persistent, calling us to wait quietly before Him and listen for His voice. He speaks to us when we take the time to wait on Him, not rushing, not feeling we must always be talking, but patiently waiting for Him to speak.

Sometimes He chooses to speak when we’ve opened our hearts to Him in worship and are simply desiring to serve Him. While worshiping during a Wednesday evening service at my church, I strongly sensed the Lord was asking me to kneel during the balance of the worship service. I felt uncomfortable, as the rest of the congregation were on their feet. He impressed on my heart that, if I would be obedient, He was going to show His power before the service ended.

The ‘nudge’ was so strong, I knew I had to obey. I quietly slipped down to my knees and finished the worship service in tears, more moved than I had been in a long time. When the pastor came up to speak, he shared that someone in the congregation was in physical pain and asked that the person come forward for prayer. A woman immediately stepped out, but he didn’t pray for her. Instead, he explained the Lord had shown him someone was present who had been given a gift of faith for this woman’s healing and asked that person to come forward to pray.

I immediately felt faith well up in my spirit and knew this was why the Lord had asked me to be obedient. I walked forward, laying my hand on her back and praying briefly. She testified that the pain left as soon as my hand touched her back. The Lord chose to do a sovereign work, but in this case it was dependant upon my willingness to listen and obey.

The last section will be posted either tomorrow night or some time Saturday. Thanks for joining me & please feel free to post a comment any time!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Some Thoughts on Prayer, and More

Tonight I'd like to share some thoughts on prayer & learning to hear God's voice...This will be the first of a three part article I wrote. Tomorrow or Friday, as I have time, I'll post the second part. Please feel free to post your thoughts on prayer, or share the links you've found and enjoyed on the subject.

Hearing God’s Voice

In the Old Testament we see that God chose to speak primarily through his priests, kings and prophets, and rarely through ordinary men. At that time, He used animals, fleeces, burning bushes, and more, but how does He choose to speak to us today?

We are under a new covenant, purchased by the blood of Jesus, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. No longer are we required to go through a priest to hear God’s voice, but we are privileged to enter the very presence of God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

God can speak to us in many different ways.

· Through the ministry of others, i.e., a pastor, counselor, friend, or family member who is ministering or teaching the Word. Wisdom and safety can be found in the counsel of others. Proverbs 24:6, “For waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.”

· Reading the Word for ourselves and being led to passages that specifically relate to our problem or need at the time

· Seeking the Lord with a pure heart and He will give us a spirit of truth and wisdom. We see in Psalm 51:6, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” But we see in Proverbs 2:1-5 that it is vital to use our spiritual ears and understanding to seek wisdom. “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

· During worship. The Word can be conveyed through Spirit-filled music

· The memorization of God’s word. God often quickens a scripture to our hearts when needed most.

In Psalms 119:133, (NIV) it says, “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” The Word is full of life and is God’s love letter to us. Through it He will lead us into truth.

In Psalms 119:105, we are told, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” We must allow God’s word to give us direction on a daily basis, not just when a crisis arises. It’s important to keep on the cutting edge in our walk with the Lord, so we don’t fall into a ‘crisis management’ state of being, and a reactionary approach to the Word of God, rather than relying on it for guidance daily.

Have a wonderful day & be blessed!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Update on My Book & Pictures of Our House

For those of you who might not know, I've written a contemporary Christian novel geared for women. The Lord blessed me with a wonderful agent about 6 months ago & we're on the long road toward hopeful contract and publication right now. I had no idea when I started, where this adventure would lead me. In fact, had I realized all that I've learned now, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have back away, shaking my head, saying "I'll never be able to do all that!".

For those of you who haven't visited my web site or read the opening scene of my book, check it out. Just scroll to the bottom of my blog & click on the link that says Yesterday's Child, with the web site addy listed there.

As I mentioned briefly yesterday, I made the decision to pull the book from the remaining 4 publishing houses that were reviewing it, based on input from a professional editing service. Barbara Warren is working with me and had some excellent suggestions that I felt needed to be implemented to strenghten the story line and soften the lead character. It's going to take quite a bit of work, but I've made it this far & can't quit now. I'll be writing to my agent tomorrow to see what kind of time line she needs for completion....hopefully I can have a few weeks, I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

The House we've been remodeling for the past 3 yrs., that's now for sale.

Our other huge time drain right now is our home. We spent the past 3 yrs doing a complete remodel of our 100 yr old Craftsman style home, so we could turn around and sell it, and build our dream home. We've waited over 30 yrs for this house, and want to do it right. It's a big project, and I'm the acting general contractor. Although I'm not responsible for the work, I am responsible to contact and schedule all the sub-contractors & materials. We have a very compentent contractor working on the job, who was willing to give us a much lower bid for the frame up, then work at an hourly rate from that point on, to help us save money. He's telling us we've saved over $50,000.00 by doing it ourselves, based on the size of the house (3,000' without the garage/work shop) & the way we're finishing it out.

The new sits on 11 acres & is surrounded by trees...with a 1/4 mile long driveway lined on either side by Doug Fir. The setting is so peaceful, there are no neighbors in sight. We can hardly wait to get moved in next spring!

Join me tomorrow, as I'll be sharing some about my spiritual journey...where I've been & where the Lord has taken me.
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