My Hubby is a Published Author!!!!!

Richard has finally published his first two books!  I am so proud of him!  Both are available in e Book format in the i Tunes store.  Enjoy!

The first one is a story that many of you may know already, that is if you have spent any time around us at all.  It is called Attack of the Killer Hay bales.  I know it sounds pretty Syfyish and that it is!  Believe me if you read this…you will NEVER look at a hay bale the same!

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Get your copy HERE

Then of course there is the short novella.  This one is my favorite. He was 16 when he wrote this story.  I guess it is my favorite because it is written from the perspective of the small town I grew up in and set in a building similar to the High School that we attended.  A Disaster At Havendale is a story set on a beautiful spring day that turns into a nightmare of epic proportions when a giant tornado wipes out the small town of Havendale. It’s up to Dick Travis and his teacher/friend Ted Dalton to warn others of the impending doom and organize a rescue attempt before it’s too late.

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Get your copy HERE

There are many more to come! AOTKHB is the first of a trilogy, and Disaster at Havendale will have a sequel as well.

Spiritual Desert Anyone? (part 2)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith,because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:6-9

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It is so hard to focus on what you need to focus on when there are distractions.  When I was in school I can remember walking down the hall with an open book heading for History class studying on the way, in the three minutes we had to change classes, for a big test.  I was the kid that had a hard time focusing on what I read.  I understood it all, I just didn’t retain what I read.  Now they call that a learning disability.  Back  in the 80’s they called it laziness.  I wasn’t lazy, I just couldn’t figure out how to “Clear the mechanism” as Kevin Costner said in the movie “For The Love of the Game.”  I passed through most of those tests, some barely, but passed enough to have almost a 3.0 GPA.

So as you can imagine it was hard with all the negativity involved in ministering in a church alongside my husband that I had a hard time focusing on God’s word.  I had a hard time casting my cares upon Him.  Be anxious for nothing?  I was anxious about everything.  My stress level was so high that I had to start taking blood pressure medicine.  Between all the infighting, back biting, and “I want to run the church my way” attitudes, it was hard to focus on what God really wanted for my life.  I was never really sure if I was running off of emotions or if I was following God’s will.  I always checked the fruits, and that system never failed me, but some days it was hard to discern what was loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and I seldom seemed to have my emotions under control.  What was it I had done to deserve any of this.  What was so bad in my life that God would leave me stranded…alone…in a desert.  Was it because of some sin I had committed?  Was it a way that Christ was grooming me for something bigger?  Or was it simply that I had done nothing to cause it but life circumstances had placed me in a place I never intended to be and had no resources to allow me to climb out?

Now I want to clarify that it took some time for me to realize that this desert was a desert of my own making.  I have never been a strong person spiritually.  I have always been the first person to allow my life circumstances dictate my faith.  I had come to a place where my heart was cold and burned out.  My caring was a thing of the past.  I had been hurt so much that I just didn’t care if I helped people heal, which used to be one of my greatest passions.  I would gladly lead them to Jesus, but they had to come looking for Him.   I was not going to take Him to them.  I was tired.  Someone else could do the work.

I felt like God had left me…all alone… in the desert.  My prayers seemed to bounce off the  walls right back at me.  I kept praying to God. “Lord I know you tell me that you hear our prayers and that your word will not come back to me void, but I just don’t feel your presence.  I don’t hear you talking to me like I used to.”  Every one was asking so much of me and there was only so much of me to go around.

The women of the church were asking me personally to mentor them in their walk.  I was glad to do it…but when I started telling them what they needed to do to walk completely with God, they became vultures waiting to pounce on my like I was fresh roadkill on the side of the road.  I started talking about submissiveness and what God required of us as women of God and as Godly wives and they started making excuses about how they weren’t expected to follow all the “rules” in the Bible.  I spoke at a meeting once about how if we are living within the realms of a Godly marriage, we as women did not have the right to withhold our bodies from our husbands.  One of the wives was offended by that because she had not had an intimate relationship with her husband for over 2 years, and she started telling people I condoned marital rape.  The list goes on and on.

I was giving out more than I was taking in.  Even when rain did appear to refresh my parched soul, it dried up before it had a chance to be effective.  I had too many plants that needed watering and there wasn’t enough rain on the horizon to refresh my soul.  I knew I had to find a way to meet the Lord in the desert.  So how do you meet someone you know is there, listening, but you can’t see, feel, or touch?  I started looking up scripture about finding God in the desert.

I knew that in order to find my way, I had to remove myself from what I thought was the loneliest place I had been in for a long time.  You see, I was wrong.  God hadn’t left me stranded in the desert alone.  It was I who had left Him and His path for my life and wandered into the desert alone.  Alone, and not willing to accept the help of anyone who offered it to me…most of all, my husband.  I made a big deal that he was always trying to be my pastor, not my husband.  I didn’t need a pastor.  I needed my husband. I wanted him to make it all better.  He tried to tell me that I knew what I needed to do and that I had to do it myself.  But I wanted a quick fix.  I wanted it to be fixed without doing all the work.  I had watched my family get put through some horrific trials, and I wasn’t willing to put the effort into working for God.  I was all dried up.

My husband and I decided that the only way to begin anew, was to move our family away from all the hurt.  We had planted our feet firm in Brookfield, Mo for 5 years, and it was time to shake the dust off of our shoes and move on to where the people were eager to hear God’s word.  So we uprooted our family and moved to Wisconsin.  It was truly the best decision we could have made.  A new life.  A fresh start.  It was all I had dreamed of.

Problem was, even after we moved, I was still thirsty.  I was still waiting on my oasis.  So much for shaking the dust off.  All I did was bring Missouri dust to Wisconsin with me.  Until…

One morning I was doing my devotions and a Bible study I had started and I came across a Psalm that caught my attention.  Psalm 63 was written by David as he was running from King Saul.  God spoke to him in the desert, just as He did that day to me;

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

When I read that, I knew exactly what I need to do.  God spoke to me in the desert that day and told me I needed to get off my pity pot and pull up my big girl panties and start trusting in Him for all my needs once again.   I can’t say it was an easy task.  And it’s still a work in progress.  But I can say that I am not longer thirsty.  I am not longer wandering in the desert, searching for His words.  I no longer long to hear his voice.

One thing I did learn while there: when God allows you to linger in a desert, He wants you to learn from the experience. We’re usually in a hurry to get out.  We want to take a drink of the world and get a quick fix.  If you rush your way through, you might miss something. It would be better if we could all pray, “God, take as long as you need to take because I don’t want to do this again. I want to learn the lesson the first time.”  In the end, you might just walk out of the desert having learned what you were supposed to learn, which leads you to be more Christ like.

I am so blessed to have a forgiving God who continually leads me on the right path when I earnestly seek Him.  When I earnestly seek Him….I wake up every morning in the great state of Wisconsin, earnestly seeking Him.  I long to draw closer to Him and allow His will to prevail in my life.

If you find yourself in a desert, you need to ask yourself these questions;

Are you earnestly seeking Him?  Are you thirsting for Him above all else?  If you have walked into a desert trust that only God can lead you out of it.  Only He can give you the drink that you so long for.  The catch is that you have to take the water and drink it.  You have to be the one to seek Him.  I was in the desert longer than I care to admit.  I felt that the oasis I searched for was nowhere to be found.

I just forgot to look up.  Now my days are filled with listening to Christian music, playing with and caring for the children I take care of every day, and seeking God’s face in all that I do.  We found a wonderful church with a very loving church family that have accepted us for who and what we are.  People who love the Lord with all our hearts, mind, and soul.  People who want nothing more than to be in a place of worship where they freely embrace and live out the teaching and examples of our Savior.

Spiritual Desert Anyone? (Part 1)

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This post has been a long time in the making.  I haven’t quite known how to write it without hanging out all the raw emotions that go along with writing it.  God has been pecking on my shoulder for some time now, (well ever since we moved to Wisconsin…so for about 2 months now), to just do it.  So here I am today…just doing it.

It has taken me some time to figure out that I have been in a sort of spiritual desert for going on 2 years now.  A lot of things led up to it.  Some I will touch on here and some that I choose to keep private.  You see, sometimes the raw emotions, of some events are just to much for the soul.  Some things I have not been able to just turn over to God and let it go.  I am not sure why because the pain of holding on to it is sometimes to much to bear.  All I know is that my God is a great big God and He will help me through the process.  He might get a little frustrated with me from time to time, but I know that He will always be there when my stubbornness cries out to Him for help.

So where do I start…well the beginning seems a good place.  Some background on who I am and where I come from spiritually.  When I was 10 I attended an independent Baptist church camp.  Among all the activities was canoeing, baseball, hiking, and Bible studies; they preached fire and brimstone sermons for the first four nights telling you that if you did not ask Jesus into your heart you would die and go to hell.  Then they would describe hell as a place that was full of fire and flesh eating bugs and it was eternal torment.  Now when you are 70, eternity doesn’t seem like a long time; but when you are 10, it seems like it would be the rest of your life.  So, of course, when they asked the fifth night, “Is there anyone who would like to come forward and receive Christ as their personal Savior?”, about a million hands went up with enthusiasm, including mine!  OF COURSE I didn’t want to live the rest of my “eternity” in hell.

I spent the next 25 years or so in a state of being a “religious” Christian.  And by that I mean “playing church”.  I attended church every Sunday, had my children dedicated to the Lord, taught Sunday School, led the Youth Group, sang in the choir, was on all kinds of committees…but truly didn’t know what it was to serve God.

In 2003 I met my husband Richard. Again.  Well you see we had known each other for over 30 years.  We were best friends in high school, and spent all of our time together whenever possible.  Back then we were both very scared of our love for each other so we hinted around but never really told one another exactly how we felt.  I was a believer…he was not.  For several years we skirted in and out of relationships and marriages that were, to say the least, not of God.  When we met back up in 2003 in our hometown, he had been involved in a near fatal collision in 1989 that resulted in the death of the man who hit him head on and he nearly lost his life.  On that day Richard cried out to a God that he didn’t even know, and accepted the Lord Jesus into his heart and life.  When he came back into my life he asked me a very poignant question: “How is your relationship with Jesus?”  I had no idea what he was talking about.  I told him all the things I did in the church and he asked the question again…and again…and again.  I realized that I didn’t understand what he was asking and I began to listen to him talk about his “walk” with the Lord.  I didn’t even know I was supposed to be walking with God until that moment.  You see…church had done it’s job in educating me on who God was…but had failed miserably at teaching me WHO God really was.  I didn’t know that an intimate relationship with God was supposed to or even could exist.

After being in failed relationships and marriages, we both felt that God tried to put us together all those years ago, we were just too young and naive to stand up to the obstacles in our path.  With him being half-Japanese, I felt my mother would never allow me to date and/or marry him.  (life back then was very segregated in the aspect that whites only married whites, blacks only married blacks, and certainly mixing ethnicity in marriage was not an option).  For Richard, he was very into drugs and drinking at the time and living a very destructive life.

So,in 2004, Richard and I finally were united in marriage.  For the first time in my life, I felt that I was where God wanted me to be.

Almost a year later, Richard sat me down and told me that God had called him into the ministry.  Within the next year, he was fast tracked through licensing school and was appointed to three UMC churches in Northeast Missouri.  He was doing what he had finally been called to do, but didn’t have the support from a spouse in the past. Now, he had my full support.

So now is the shorter part of the long story…Because of the decisions that the UMC were making more in the liberal direction, we prayed and he made the decision to leave the UMC. On that same day, Richard was invited to the pulpit of a SBC church.  Here is where the sandstorm began.  He was the minister to God’s people of that church for 5 years.  In 5 years there were two church splits (over stupid things as you might imagine), and we finally ended up closing the doors to the church.  It was evident that the majority of the people in the town that we lived in did not want to hear the gospel preached as the Truth of God.  They wanted feel good stories; stories that made them think that their sin was not so bad and that they would be ok with just a little bit of sin in their lives. We continued in the ministry and started having home church.  The idea was to get back to the way the apostles spread the Word: meeting in each others homes for church. It was an amazing time of intimate worship like I had never experienced.  We had those few faithful followers of Christ that remained faithful to the cause and we really found that we enjoyed our “new” way of worship so much more than a gathering of people that were only “playing church.”

Let me be very clear on this point.  I nor my husband has ever maintained that we are perfect people.  We, like everyone else, are sinners saved by the grace of God.  I sin everyday.  Yes, everyday.  Just because you give Godly advice, or preach God’s Word, doesn’t mean that you think you are perfect.  You are merely doing a job that God called you to do.

I can tell you this…I have buried a child, lost a parent, been addicted to prescription pain medication, lost my way many times…but I have never experienced as much hurt as I did while my husband was pastoring that church.  Hurt that ranged from my husband getting death threats for his beliefs; to being ridiculed for trying to help people that Jesus called the least, the last, and the lost; to losing friends that I thought would stand through anything with me.  Where did all of this hurt leave me?  It left me with so much pain in my heart that I was beginning to think I would never recover.  I felt so distant from God that I thought I might never find Him again.  I knew He was there, I just didn’t know where to look for Him no matter how hard I sought His face.  I felt so wrong to be there, but there I was sitting in the middle of a hot desert with no water, food, or shelter.  No matter how hard I prayed or how long I talked to God…I just didn’t feel His presence.  I knew I was the one who left…I knew He was still there…I just couldn’t find the road back.  I stopped praying, I stopped reading His Word.  But most of all, my faith was becoming less and less.  And when I look back on this desert that I finally found an oasis in, it hurts even more because I know that Christians did this.  Christians made me feel this way.  Christians had failed me.  I was sitting in a place that I didn’t want to be.  A place that was not fun to be in.  A place where I was ashamed to be.  I felt there was no way to climb out of the hole I had fallen into.

The spiritual darkness that hangs over the town in Missouri that we moved from is so overwhelming that I have seen it ruin the lives of the most devoted to God.  You can literally drive 10 miles outside of town and look back and see a dark cloud hovering over the entire town.  The demonic release that you feel while you are out of town, is so liberating and free feeling that it makes you not want to go back.  Upon arriving back inside the city limits of the town, you feel so spiritually suppressed that you just want to crawl in a hole and not talk to anyone or deal with anything.  It is so spiritually dead that I am not sure there is any coming back from it.  I believe that God has turned his back on the town until they turn from their wicked ways.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from

their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

Brookfield, Missouri, is this verse living in the flesh.

I am very happy to have left all this hurt and pain in Missouri.  Although that has been easier said than done.  I so very much miss my daughter and “son-in-law”, my grandson, and my best friend, and “framily”.  But other than the people that I miss… there is NOTHING about that town that I miss or even think of fondly.  Every day that passes, I fall in love with Wisconsin more and more.  As I have said many times, I will give up my mild winters in Missouri for these Wisconsin summers any day of the week.  Life here is so peaceful and people here don’t care what “religion” you are…they are just so happy to be worshiping God that it reflects in their day-to-day life.  I am so happy to be a part of a community that is thriving with new businesses, has a very low crime rate, and where you neighbor doesn’t care that you are a Christian.  You are not expected to act a certain way and most importantly…churches work together for the greater good of Christ Jesus.

We are pleased to make Beaver Dam, Wisconsin our new home!  It is an amazing place to raise a family and worship God in the manner that Jesus taught.

As soon as I sort it out, and figure a way to put it into words… I will tell you how I climbed out of the darkness into the light where God was waiting…

We Really Do Have A Bedroom!

I haven’t had time to post the rest of the pictures of our apartment.  I can’t believe how happy we are here.  I had hoped that I would never live in an apartment again, however, I am thrilled  with our little living space.  So here they are!

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Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted a canopy bed.  I am so blessed to finally get one!

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And the dressers to match!

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I thought the only downfall was that the washer and dryer was in a closet in our bedroom.  But much to my surprise, it is very handy.  I always fold clothes on my bed anyway.  So out of the dryer they come and straight to the bed.  Needless to say I have several clothes baskets empty in storage now.  LOL

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Th space on the right side of the picture is a huge walk in closet.  The other door as I am sure you can tell is the master bath.  Only a toilet and sink though.

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The little corner in our master Bath..

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Net on the wall in our little beachy bathroom!

So there you have it our little cozy apartment is finally finished.  I have a few things I still have to finish up like the big picture clock on the wall….and painting a few more little things to go in the kitchen and bathroom.

Serving Him Only Is Open For Business!

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My study area in our new home.

After a lot of hard work, I finally have my new blog set up for Daily Marriage Devotions.  I am excited about this but the sweat and tears that have gone into making this possible have been many. It is titled Serving Him Only All of the feelings of can I do this?  Is it going to benefit anyone?  Is anyone going to read it?  How can I move people to the new blog? And so forth and so on.

Almost 3 years ago, I started this adventure.  I just blogged about day-to-day living in God’s beautiful world.  While doing some research on the internet, I came across a blog of a woman whom I consider a dear friend, and a great prayer warrior, April.  She writes a blog titled Peaceful Wife.  Even though I have never met her, I love her with a Christ like love that I cherish.  She is a wonderful God seeking woman who I consider it a privilege to know.  I spent some time reading her blog, almost 3 years worth, LOL, and although I learned a lot, and was refreshed with some things I had forgotten, Her blog is directed at wives.  Her husband writes a blog called Respected Husband, and he directs his posts to husbands.  My husband and I have a wonderful Godly marriage and I wanted something directed at couples.

After writing blogs for the better part of 5 years on Christian living, moral values, homeschooling, and a huge variety of other subjects, I have decided to do what I hoped to accomplished when I began.  Although that focus has changed from a wide variety of subjects, God has led me to write a devotional for married couples.  I am going to try to keep it real, informative, and interesting.  In today’s day and age, marriages struggle so much with so many things that everything seems to be a deal breaker.  Divorce is easy in this country and I want to be apart of letting couples know that there is help, caring help out there.  There are people out there who care about you with a Christ like love and want to see your marriage succeed.  Succeed in a way that you never imagined possible.

I hope this new blog blesses you.  Feel free to leave comments, positive, negative, neutral, whatever you desire.  ALL feedback is welcome.  Sometimes I sparks some great discussion that broadens others thinking and just might be what they need to hear.

So head on over and give it a read.  You can follow the blog and receive daily devotions in your email with the link on the right side.  Simply enter your email and you will receive it every time there is a new post up!

Serving HIM Only

God bless and enjoy!

Jeannie

Serving HIM Only

I am sorry about no devotion post today. I am in the process of moving them over to the other blog I have started called Serving HIM Only. Hopefully I will have them all back online tomorrow. This will allow me to write other posts on this blog. Head on over here to read them.
Thanks for your patience in advance.
Jeannie

It’s No Use…He/She Will Never Change

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“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the tie there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.”  Matthew 7:3-5

How often have you said to someone, if only your spouse would change (fill in the blank), your marriage would be better.  Women want men to help more around the house.  Men want women to have more sex.  Women want help with the dishes. Men want women to stop nagging.  It is a time old classic issue in marriages that is not likely to go away…unless you find value in the love that you express to your mate.

As a result, both the husband and wife feel isolated and resentful.  We think we can so clearly see our spouses fault when all along we disregard our own.  In Matthew 7, that is what Jesus was trying to explain.  If we work as hard on fixing ourselves, as we do our spouses, maybe just maybe there will be change.

I remember a time in our marriage when I did just that.  I prayed all the time for Richard to change.  “God if he just understood me more.  If he just opened his eyes and realized that what I am requesting is not that unreasonable, then he would be more receptive of hearing what I had to say.  I realized that there was no reward in this concept.  I was focusing so much on his faults that I failed to see what mine were.  I read the scripture quoted above at least 100 times before, and still didn’t understand how it applied to my marriage and its real issues.

One day while Richard was at work, I sat on my bed crying out to God that this was not what I expected life to be with the man who I loved for over 25 years.  He had brought us back together and I was finally able to spend my life with him, and now You do this?  I didn’t understand.  God, like so many times before, directed me to the book of Matthew.  I read and reread the scripture and suddenly I got it!  I understood what God was trying to tell me.  I immediately changed the focus of my prayer and started praying for God to change me.  At first I was resentful of praying this prayer.  Was there really that much wrong with me?  Was I that bad of a wife?  As I continued praying for several days, that turned into weeks, that turned into months, still feeling like I was the only one who was working at this, I suddenly realized that we fought less.  We enjoyed each other more.  We were happier.  I decided to explain my revelation to Richard and to my surprise, he revealed to me that he had been doing the same thing.  You see once we decided to focus on our selves, things started falling into place.

If you are feeling like your spouse is being unreasonable and uncooperative in your marriage, think about a new approach.  Admit that you are not perfect.  Confess your own failures instead of focusing on His/Hers.  Discuss them with your spouse.  Ask Him/Her ever day what you can do to make them a better husband or wife.  Then do your best to make those changes.  Even if you don’t agree with them, unless they go against scripture, try to make that sacrifice.  You will be a better spouse for it and you will HAVE a better spouse for it.

Father, It is much easier to come to you and as for you to change someone else than it is to ask You to change ourselves.  Please give me the strength to acknowledge my weaknesses and improve on them.  Help me to examine myself daily for improvement and show me how to carry out changing those imperfections.  Please make me a better help-meet to my spouse.  Amen