Young In Him Blog
Three-year-old granddaughter Grace asked, “Can we make a birthday card for Papa Joel?” “Well, of course,” I replied. I collected the old greeting cards, scissors, glue and markers as she settled at the table ready to create.
“What kind of pictures do you think Papa Joel would like?” I asked. “Boats, Papa Joel likes boats,” Grace replied assuredly. The card came together with boats, Charlie Brown and Grace’s signature of a backwards G.
Grace then asked, “Could we decorate the house for Papa Joel’s birthday?” She went to my desk area and picked up a pad of pink, heart shaped sticky notes. “I could use these,” she said with a pleading look. Relieved I didn’t have to figure out how we were going to decorate, I quickly replied, “Sure, you can use the hearts.”
From the kitchen, to the living room, to bedrooms and finally the bathroom, walls, windows and furniture were decorated with pink sticky hearts. Of course they were mostly 3 feet off the ground, eye level for Grace. Papa Joel came home delighted as Grace, proud and pleased, shared all her loving creations.
Joel’s birthday celebration has come and gone but the hearts and cards remain happily displayed in our home. … Read More »
At first, my 11-year-old neighbor’s question surprised me. Fun loving Emily is usually carefree about life. “Could I ask you the meaning of a dream I had last night? I woke up scared and couldn’t get back to sleep.”
“Of course,” I replied, “I’ll try to help.” Emily continued, “In the dream I saw myself dead with really black eyes, just laying there. Nearby, was a scary creature with arrows looking something like the devil. “
“That dream would have alarmed me also. So why do you think you had the dream?’ I asked. “Maybe the devil was after me. I don’t really know,” Emily thoughtfully replied.
“Emily, do you know there is for real, good and evil, God and the devil?” I asked. “Yes!” She replied assuredly. I went on, “Do you know God loves you and wants you to have a good life filled with his protection? The devil wants to steal and destroy anything good in your life?”
“Yes, I believe those things are true,” Emily replied in agreement. I pressed on, “Do you know the sub-conscious mind is busy at work when we sleep, processing our past experiences. Both God thoughts and devil thoughts can come as we sleep … Read More »
For weeks following Hurricane Irma, my sinuses were congested and my body dragged with fatigue. The emotional sights of all needing cleanup translated fatigue to my physical body. The removal and mulching of countless trees and brush from our neighborhoods accounted for watering eyes and sneezes.
But one recent early morning found me waking from an encouraging dream. I was riding my motorcycle, (yes, I used to ride one) through the beautiful heavens on up into God’s amazing throne room. Seated on the throne was Jesus, and I stopped my motorcycle right at his feet. He kindly gestured for me to come sit with him awhile.
I sensed he knew all my concerns and challenges. Rest, rejoice and receive were the words filling my consciousness as I sat tranquilly at Jesus feet. The dream ended and I awoke with a kind of knowing peace that said, “As you bring your concerns to me, I will deal with them. Your job is to rest, rejoice and receive from me.”
Those instructions seemed easy enough. Were these easy instructions going to cleanup our beautiful islands, bring much needed affordable housing and a thriving economy? I sense I need to give these huge needs to God … Read More »
My family reunion was held at a sleazy bar on the south side of Milwaukee. Our families, young and old, quickly filled the reserved lounge area with noisy conversation, snacks and juice boxes. Upon arrival, the children couldn’t resist the four miniature bowling lanes. They picked up miniature balls weighing approximately 2-3 pounds and slung them down the short lanes.
It warmed my heart to see the 2 1/2 year old listen to Grandma’s instruction, pick up the ball with both hands and push it down the middle of the lane. Slowly the ball rolled down the lane, finally striking the middle pin and knocking all the pins down for a strike. High five’s and cheers delighted this little one as she realized her successful throw.
Several of us noticed one of the 10 year olds throwing frequent gutter balls due to poor technique. She received expert counsel from several of the adults but continued to follow what she thought to be the “right way of doing things.” She wasn’t looking for correction or advice. Her stubborn refusal to at least try a better or different way of handling the ball saddened me. At this young age, she was already deceived into … Read More »
“I wish I could spend everyday helping others get their lives back together,” voiced a worker at a local recovery center after Hurricane Irma. Another reported, “The destruction is so sad but people coming together to help one another is heart-warming,”
The trees in Key Largo are becoming less brown and greener as new growth can already be visualized. Property cleanup is in full swing as chain saws buzz and bobcats and loaders consolidate and remove trash. Businesses are reopening and residents are going back to work. Many not yet able to do their regular work have become part of the hard working and sweaty labor force of cleanup and reconstruction.
There are short-term and long-term problems to be solved. A family of 5 has been sleeping on wet floors because their home was flooded and they have nowhere to go. There is the woman who lost everything due to the flooding and wind damage to her home. She left the recovery center in tears saying, “I can’t collect the things I need because I’m too overwhelmed.” Dive and snorkel boat businesses are facing the reality that portions of the beautiful coral reefs are gone.
Why can’t we continue helping each other long after … Read More »
I’m grateful, so very grateful to God. Arriving Thursday morning to our Key Largo home, we learned the power had been turned on earlier in the morning. Yes, the south side of the roof was peeled back on our home. Daylight could be seen through small cracks and holes in our bedroom ceiling. A gritty gummy dust could be felt on furniture and flooring on that side of the house causing us to suspect the roof lifted during the storm.
But, the only water damage seemed to be the bedroom water-soaked area rug. The saturated rug kept the water from creeping to the legs of the furniture. Our power was on, Internet and phones functioning and Joel’s TV antenna still intact on the roof of the house. Go figure, we still had the pleasure of local TV stations. We are grateful and blessed. Tons of yard cleanup to be done and a new roof needed but this seems so little in the face of other’s struggles around us.
There’s the 70 something neighbor driving up and down US Hwy 1 looking for a tarp to cover the damaged roof of her 25 year old mobile home. There’s the gentleman who lost his … Read More »
My emotions have seesawed between joy and sadness numerous times today. Hurricane Irma is waving good-bye to Florida this 9/11/17. As she leaves, we’ve spent the day on the phone and Internet learning what Irma took and left behind in Key Largo, FL.
Since darkness comes before the morning light, I will start with what she took. Irma took my son-in-law’s salt-water aquarium fish due to the loss of power. He has had them for years and they all had names.
She also brought flooding in first level structures as well as roof leaks of dwellings belonging to family and friends. Some will be able to do repairs themselves but most will have to find reputable workers to repair quickly before mold and mildew set in. We only had minimal roof damage.
Her 130 mph winds took power, as well as most Internet and phone connections leaving many without communication ability between family and friends. Refrigeration and air-conditioning are being sorely missed with humidity high and temperatures in high 80’s.
Irma left our precious family and friends who chose to stay, intact and well. They are all quite tired but are already moving forward with hope and hard work. Many are tearing out dry wall, putting … Read More »
‘Wow, what an abrupt change,” said one of our guests this morning as we shared the most recent hurricane Irma report. Key Largo appears on the eastern edge of the cone, tide surge predicted only 1-3 feet, and tornado warnings cancelled for Dade County.
This is almost too good to be true news. Seems a little anti-climactic after all the trauma/drama of category 5 hurricane preparation, evacuation and edge of the seat anticipation of who knows what outcome. But yet, amazing answers to our prayers.
“Recognize and accept the blessing. It’s what you prayed for. Respond with gladness and gratefulness,” the still small voice encouraged. Of course!! What father doesn’t appreciate a child who receives a gift with thankfulness and joy? Do I say thank you with a sense of entitlement and go on with life as if this was no big deal? Or do I choose to live my life with greater devotion to my faithful heavenly Father?
As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he … Read More »
I shed a few tears this morning as Joel and I drove the last several hours of our evacuation from Key Largo to our Pigeon Forge, TN home due to hurricane Irma. Crying is an emotion I seldom express but my fatigue from hurricane prep and long hours of travel wore away my usual emotional reserve.
As we drove, there were teary and distraught phone conversations with both male and female friends making difficult storm plans. These exchanges reinforced my sense something very dramatic was about to change our lives forever, if we let the experience have it’s good work in us.
We did all we knew to do to secure our home and belongings, knowing all of it and all around us could be destroyed. The still small voice said, “Let go.” Some friends and family chose not to evacuate. The still small voice said, “Let go.” Many neighbors helped one another through physical assistance or words of loving encouragement but others looked only after themselves. The still small voice said, “Let go.” My tears came as I sang a song of praise to the one who controls the wind and storm. The still small voice said, “Let the tears flow.”
I … Read More »
Intimidating, powerful hurricane Irma is on her way somewhere. “War goddess” is one of the meanings for the name Irma. As I circulated through Key Largo today, I noted a sense of urgency and concern as grocery carts and gas tanks were being filled. Making serious preparations for landfall of a category 5 hurricane is certainly the responsible thing to do.
But, what if we really believed what Jesus instructed and demonstrated as he lived on this earth. He calmed a dangerous storm instantly by speaking to it “Peace, be still.” Many more amazing miracles have been recorded of him healing the sick, feeding huge crowds with little food at hand and turning water into wine.
Before he returned to his Father in heaven, he gave this encouragement to all then and now who would follow him. “The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. (NLT: John 14: 12 – 13)
I’ve witnessed many miracles and have prayed … Read More »