Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!  I have been so sorry for not posting for a whole year.  So many things have happened in this last year, that I don't even know where to begin, except to say "We were busy".  In my family newsletter, I shared some of the highlights of our year, both good and bad, but I am not sure I want to go over all of that now.  Let's just say, we experienced a lot of life, a lot of seeing those we love pass over to glory, and celebrating two weddings this year, one a niece and one our middle daughter Jolynn, and her new husband Jordan Silva, and an engagement that we were looking forward to hearing about, for our oldest daughter and her fiance, Nathan Bowersox.  They will be married this month, and already have so much taken care of for this wonderful day.

As Isolino and I and our youngest daughter took a road trip for our annual camping venture to Bodega Bay, I began thinking over this year and of what I would like to change or accomplish or even figure out in my life.  I came to the realization, that this last year, was a very difficult one for me, and that I want my joy back.  As Kaylee and I were waiting to bring in the New Year together, my heart was full of happiness and joy.  I wanted to run out onto the beach and raise my hands and yell "Praise God!"  No, I didn't do that, as it was cold out and I was fighting to overcome a cold, so I didn't think I should do that, but my heart and my spirit did!  I woke up, ready for the day, and full of that same joy.  Oh, to see this sunrise, to know the One who created that sun and spoke its purpose into being, brings such abundance to my soul.  This was the sunrise today, at Bodega Bay, on the first day of 2013, it was full of such wonder.  The birds were rejoicing as well, as they were flying today, like no other day that we were there.  The colors were glorious and the ocean was booming with life.  It was as if, they too, knew this was a New Year, a new start for them, as well as for us.  Let us all rejoice in knowing that no matter what our circumstances, God IS for us.  He loves us so much.  He wants us to gird up our loins, and believe for good things this year.  He wants us to live in His kingdom, not mans.  Let us lift up our eyes to the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, and rejoice in what He has done.  He overcame, so that we could live as conquerors.  Let us not give up or give in, but let us firmly plant our feet on the solid ground of our Lord Jesus Christ, and let Him give us the Words to speak, and the plans for our lives.  God bless each of you this first day of the year, and all throughout each day of this years stretch of time.  May you find each day a blessing and a joy.  May God give you something each day, to hold onto His hands.  I love you all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Laura's Encouraging Words: Happy New Year 2012

Laura's Encouraging Words: Happy New Year 2012: Since we will be leaving for our annual camping trip tomorrow, I thought I should do this blog now. This will be my last blog for the yea...

Happy New Year 2012

Since we will be leaving for our annual camping trip tomorrow, I thought I should do this blog now.  This will be my last blog for the year 2011 and the first blog for the year 2012.  I am sorry I missed wishing you all a Merry Christmas, as we celebrated the birthday of Jesus.  I know it is not His real birthday, but it is the day we have chosen to celebrate His birth anyway, which I think is a good thing to celebrate!

As you close your eyes New Years Eve (or New Years Day), may you remember as you wake up New Years Day, how much God took care of you the year of 2011.  You may feel like it was a tough year, but God still came through for you in many ways, I am sure.

As you look towards a new year, filled with uncertainty, may you remember those times God came through, and hold onto those memories, to help you to believe for good things from God, in the unknown future of 2012.  Many worry that the world will end this coming year.  Well, as we just went through a bunch of that hoopla this last year, I think you can trust God to take you through that unknown with flying colors.  Like Paul said, "Whether I live or whether I die, I live for Christ....".   That is our center.  Living for the Savior who lives inside of us.  I think we can all say, "He Who is in us, is greater than he who is in the world".  

As you celebrate on New Years Eve, may you find that your heart is full of thoughts of God.   May you be filled with hope for a wonderful year, and a year in which you see God answer prayers you have been holding onto for His timing.  May you find that He breaks the yoke of the enemy in your life, and may you find that He has surrounded you with victory.

I love each of you.  May you be blessed tremendously this coming year, and may you find that God is truly more powerful than anything you could have imagined.  It always troubles me, when I hear people give more power to the enemy than to God.  God is so much more powerful, so much more able to do impossible things, than we can even imagine.  He has even told us that.  And He has told us this, "That He is faithful, even when we aren't".  He never changes.  He is a strong tower we can run to, and hide in.  He is able to do battle for us.  He is able to defeat our enemies.  So, begin to believe that God meets you on a personal and powerful level.  Begin to believe that He is FOR you and NOT against you.  Begin to believe that if He blesses one person, He wants to bless us all.  I had a friend who heard a testimony I shared, and she said, "If God did that for Laura, He will do it for me."   I like that.  If He does it for one, He surely wants to do it for us all.  He loves you with an everlasting love.  Believe it, receive it, and live it.  Hugs and prayers, and a Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We all have things to be thankful for.  We have food, we have a roof over our heads, we have transportation.
We are blessed if our kids are healthy, we are healthy, and if we still have living parents.  We are blessed if we have siblings and if we get to see those siblings.  We are blessed if we have aunts and uncles and cousins.  We are blessed if we have nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, or even grandchildren.  We are blessed if we are free to worship God.  We are blessed if we are free to speak what we believe out loud.  We are blessed if we can read and write and speak.  If we can see, hear, smell, touch, walk, run, or do any number of things that we take for granted.  If we can hold a baby, and see a newborn animal, we are blessed with the newness of life.  We are blessed if we get to experience the beauty of a sunrise, a sunset, a rainbow, the sunshine, or the moonshine, or to see the ocean in its power and glory or to see the mists in a forest glade.  Most of all, we are blessed if we get to be born anew in Jesus Christ.  If we have accepted His free gift, and then have the Holy Spirit's Power help us live each day in Jesus.

I pray that each of you will experience the blessing of a thankful heart.  That you will see God working in you, to look around you and find the places He has placed gifts for you to find.  Treasures to bring you to a heartfelt and grateful place.  It says in God's Word, "That out of the mouth, the heart speaks".  What do you want your mouth to speak?  Blessings or curses?  We choose which will come forth out of our mouths.  If we fill our hearts with wonder at God's blessings, blessings will spring forth out of our mouths.  But if we are continually finding the negative and faultfinding things around us, we will be speaking curses over our lives, because our heart is focused on the negatives.  The Bible says "We can speak life or death".  These seem the same, but they are just a bit different.  Because we need to understand that blessings lead to a more abundant life, and curses lead to death.  So, yes, similar, but not the same.  As we speak blessings over our lives, we see more of God's strength and power at work within us.,  When we speak the negative curses, we feel weak and unable to see victory.  We see more destruction and chaos and havoc in your lives.  Now, you may have those things in your life, due to the enemy battling you, and that is a different thing than what I am talking to you about.  What I am talking to you about, comes as a direct result of the words you are speaking.  It is the worry, or the "This financial mess will not ever be resolved" type of thinking, or the "I'll never be well" thinking.  Your job is to take those thoughts captive, and make them line up with the Word of God.  What does the Bible say about you, about us believers?  It says "We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus".  It says, "That Jesus came to give us life, and that life more abundantly".  

As you think of the things I've said, think of why we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It was after a time of intense struggle for the pilgrims.  They had lost many family and friends.  They were weak and many were sick and hungry.  They barely made it through the first year in the New World.  But here they were, with a harvest to reap, and new friends to share it with.  Friends who came through to help save this struggling colony.  Friends who showed them the way to survive in this new place.  God has given us instructions on how to make it and survive in the places He's placed us in.  May you find your heart being filled with praise and thanksgiving to Him for what He does for you.  For Who He is, even if you don't know what He has done for you.  I challenge you to start finding 5 things to be grateful for each day.  I challenge you to make sure you are really grateful, and not just saying things without meaning it.  Think about the thing you are grateful for.  Now, think about how God has provided that for you.  I know you can do this.  I'd love to hear if this has helped you.  God bless each of you, on this wonderful day to celebrate God and what He does each day for all of us.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Isolino

Today, I was planning on posting a photo of Isolino, for this blog, but found out, I can't do it yet, without a major amount of work, and right now, that just isn't possible, so, I pray you will all be ok without a photo on this and future blogs.  My computer got messed up about three weeks ago, and on the day when I was going to do a blog, no less.  I have been trying to work out the kinks of my keyboardless world, but it has taken me a while to figure some things out, and today, I thought I had a plan, and lo and behold, I can't access my pictures just yet.  So, instead of getting upset and just giving up, I am writing in spite of  "no photos", and I will continue to do so, until I can add them again.  You will just have to look at my flickr photos at the bottom and choose one for the blogs in your own minds!

Since Isolino's birthday falls around "Labor Day", we try to do something the weekend before or of, his birthday.  This year, we did a camping trip to "Cherry Lake" and were blessed that Roy, Jolynn, her boyfriend Jordan, and Kaylee were all able to go with us.  Unfortunately, Kristine and Nathan were unable to come, due to Nathan's cousins wedding.  We had fun, but they were missed, too.
Celebrating birthdays in our family is kind of important.  We try to make it special, for whoever it is.  Surprising Isolino, is near to impossible, so I have kind of given up doing so.  He is just very savvy, and seems to come in or hear things, so that he is rarely surprised by anything we do. He told me to surprise him, but I don't think so, honey.  I think he did get a nice surprise this weekend, though, with Roy deciding to come, and camp with us, and bringing Moo, we didn't know what to expect, but Moo was a good dog, and we found out, he loves to play in the water.  He had a blast and everyone had fun playing with him, too.

I believe God wants us to have fun in our lives.  He sure made a lot of celebrations for the Israelites to enjoy and remember things in.  Some are solemn occasions, but most are to rejoice and remember God's provision and protection.  On our birthdays, it is a good time to reflect on what God has done for us in our lives.  How He has protected us throughout the year, how He has provided for us, how He has brought us joy and times of His Presence filling us with wonder at HIM.

May you all be blessed on your birthdays, may you find that God has done more than you expected, and may you see the wonder of His plan in your life.  I watched "Soul Surfer" on the camping trip, and even though I had read of this young lady, in "Guidepost magazine", this movie brought out even more, what she had to go through, to win over losing her arm to the shark bite.  One Scripture quoted was Jeremiah 9:11  "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you..."  This was quoted before the accident had happened.  What an impact it had on her life, after the accident.  God does have a plan for your life.  He knows the number of your days.  He wants you to fulfill what He has placed in your life.  Don't let fear, discouragement, disillussionment, dismay, or anything else keep you from having a vision for your future, and holding on to the hope that God gives to each of us.  I personally ask God for help, when I am needing a bit of a lift from Him.  I ask Him to give me something to hang on to.  I asked for rainbows, for quite some time, and then God began giving me the sun rainbows (that are sun dogs) and He has let both Isolino and I see rainbows around the sun and moon.  But, He is not limited with those signs, He just asks us to open our eyes and watch for what HE brings.  I do not limit God with what He can do for me, I just ask Him to let me know when I see it.  I always do.  Even the beauty of a brilliant sunset, is a way of Him saying, "I Am here, do not fear".  This weekend, I saw a shooting star, which I hadn't seen in quite some time, and a hawk, flying down the canyon, and butterflies, and a star-studded sky, that was so brilliant and clear.  So many things, can speak of His love and care.  Let Him minister to you.  I had a friend, that needed a touch from Him, and she asked for something specific, and God gave it to her.  It blessed her tremendously, and spoke clearly to her, that she was special to Him, which she needed to see.  I pray you will know, how special you are to Him, and how your life has purpose and meaning.  God bless you all.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gone To Glory

Last month I lost a dear friend.  She had struggled a long time with her health, and fought a long hard battle.  Some may say she lost the fight, but I don't think so.  She trusted God through it all, and in the end, she was ready to go home to glory.  She knew Jesus as her personal Savior, and was trusting Him to help her family through it all.  She wanted Jesus to shine through her, and since she owned a Bible book store, she was an evangelist at heart.  She always wanted others to know Jesus and to live a victorious life in Him.  Her smile radiated joy, and would uplift my spirit whenever I saw it.

There were many more losses of life in this month, and many I don't know about, but it seems to me, a lot of people are going home to glory, and some, like a dear friend of mine, who is in the rest home right now, are fighting the good fight to the finish.  Isn't that what we all want?  To have Jesus say to us, "Well  done, My good and faithful servant?"  I sure do.  I want Him to be so pleased with me and my service to Him.  I don't serve Him to get that word, but I serve Him, so that He receives glory.  It says in the Bible, that our good deeds will be seen by men, so that they can give God the glory for it, when they see it being done.  (my paraphrasing here).

My friend and her husband were well known in the community.  They both lived their lives for God.  I was unable to go to the funeral, but I did go to the viewing the day before.  I am sure the funeral and service were full, as so many people's lives were touched by Pam Wendt and her husband George.  I know that there were people praising God for His work in their lives and how it touched those people.  That is what we want, for God to receive glory for the work in our lives and how it expands to those around us.

Praises lifted to God, reflect His glory.  He inhabits the praises of His people.  Sometimes it is a sacrifice to praise Him.  Sometimes, our praises are given in the midst of our troubles and struggles.  We need to praise in good times and bad, in joy and in sorrow, and in each day we live out our lives.  As we draw to the end of our days, our joy should be more vibrant and more joyous, because we know that soon, we will see our Lord and Savior, face to face.  I know, when I was so afraid of death, I did not look at death as a good thing.  I struggled with finding joy in dying.  I was afraid.  When God took that fear away, I realized how much I could rejoice about the next step of our lives, going home to glory.  Since that time, I have no fear of death, but only want my life to reflect His glory, for when that day comes, that I lay down my head and die, I know I will be heading straight to glory, and there will only be joy and life and power in that glorious day.  I will see Jesus face to face, and will be sitting at His feet, worshiping Him with all my heart.

For a while, Isolino and I have been seeing the sun rainbows (sun dogs) that I have shown in this picture I took.  On that day, we saw these radiant light shows all day long.  We saw a rainbow around the sun, and different aspects of the sun rainbows.  I have had one person tell me of sun dogs, and since that time I have looked for them, and God has let me find them.  On this day, a couple shared what they had seen of the sun rainbows, and that is the first time in the close to fifteen years since first hearing of them, that anyone had told me of these beautiful rays of light and glory.  It was so wonderful to share with this couple, the joy of seeing this glorious sight.  I have tried to share these when I see them, with whoever is around.  Yesterday, we went to Sonora, and lo and behold, we saw two sun-rainbows a rainbow around the sun, and a upside down rainbow.  I shared the two sun-rainbows with a girl at the store we were at, and she had never seen them before, and she was blown away by how they were both on either side of the sun.  It was a glorious sight, as one of them was radiating with a light that was glowing so brightly, it was stunning to see.

That is how sharing the good news of the gospel should be for us.  A radiating light of God's glory being revealed in the darkness of this world.  I heard on the radio, a man calling in and saying he had found the station and because of what they shared, he asked Jesus into his heart.  Hallelujah, a ray of glory spilled out, and a soul got saved.  It is our lives, lived on the principles of God's Word, living for Jesus, speaking His Word in due season, watering the lives of those around us, and sharing our testimonies of Jesus living in us, that will speak to a dying world.  Let us work today, to let His Light spill out around us, to bring hope and healing to those around us, and let people praise God, giving Him glory, when they see us living the Word of God out in our lives.  We need to read it, and then, we need to act upon it.  It is living and active.  As we apply it to our lives, those around us will see the difference and praise God.

May you be blessed with rainbows of glory in your lives.  May you not fear death, but look forward with joy, to the world beyond us, that we will receive when we have fulfilled our destiny's for God.  God bless each of you this weekend.  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will towards men.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers out there.  I happen to think my dad is one of the greatest dad's there are, but I know many of you, would fight me to the finish, because you also think your dads rank numero uno.

My dad was a Navy man, ending up in a submarine slot, working with the radar control boards.  He left the military after 20 years of service, as a chief petty officer.  That is pretty wonderful, for a young man working his way up in the ranks.  He told me it was a very hard training period that all of them had to go through, and obviously, he did his best and was successful in his career.

At some point, in his younger years, he and my mom became Christians, and gave up the lifestyle they were living at the time.  They have lived for the Lord ever since, and my dad finally gave into God's call in his life, and became a minister/pastor after he left the military.  He is one of the best pastor's I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and it is because of his and my mom's love for the Lord, that I have such a strong foundation of faith.

My dad and mom had eleven kids, so you know their home was full of life.  My dad taught us to respect my mom, and if he caught us sassing her, boy were we in trouble.  I always respected my dad for how he stuck up for my mom.  It meant a lot to me, as a young girl, to see a man give respect and honor to the one he loves.  My dad also taught us that if he or any other preacher preached something from the pulpit, we had every right to go and check it out for ourselves, and make sure that what was being said, lined up with God's Word.  That is a pretty big gift, in this world of  "Do as I say, and only as I say" world.  I use this gift sparingly in my eyes, but maybe some pastors that have had me in their congregations wouldn't agree that I was so quiet in my opinions.  But, I do read my Bible, and I do confront what is not following closely to God's Word.  So, thank you, daddy, for allowing your daughter to seek after God's Truth for herself.

My dad loves his kids with a full heart, but I truly believe his delight is in his grand kids and great grand kids.  He loves those little and big ones so much.  I watch him with the littlest ones, and his love and care is so special to see.  Both he and my mom were great parents, but they are even greater grandparents, which is saying a lot about how wonderful they are.

I watch my own husband with his kids, and I know that I have been blessed with a loving husband to me, and father to our kids.  His greatest joy is to take us on outings and trips.  He loves to see nature, and share what he sees with all of us.  He has gotten each of his children to love fishing, even though the girls don't really care to eat the fish, they love fishing with their daddy.  I was never a real fish eater, either, but in being married to this wonderful man, I have grown to love eating fish, and if you ever tasted his fish gumbo, you'd love to gobble that up as fast as you can, because it is so good.  I have been telling him to make it again.  Maybe soon!  As you can see, he has impacted our lives in a huge way.

Our older daughter's and Roy always come to him for help with their cars, and he is always willing to drop whatever he is doing, to help them out.  What a loving gift that is.  My dad did the same.  Kaylee loves watching certain shows with her dad, and they laugh and giggle and make me smile just to hear them, and watch them.

Isolino's dad accepted me into their family, and treated me like a daughter.  I never had any problems with him, and he tested me one time, when we first got married, by making me eat a hot pepper.  It was really hot, but I knew this was important to pass this test, so I ate that pepper, and didn't beg for water afterwards, and he shook his head up and down, and indicated that I was all right.  I had passed the test.  I learned some Portuguese words from him, like "frio" and "cabeza".  He loves to use his hands when he talks, and I would get the understanding of what he said, just through his hand motions.  He loves his grandchildren, and many would fall asleep in his lap.

Our heavenly Father, is even better than our earthly fathers.  He says in the Bible, that "if our fathers, being good, give us good things, than how much more will He, our heavenly Father, give us good things?"  Think about that.  We tend to blame God when bad things happen, but really, it isn't God who is to blame, but our enemy.  God allows it, but He didn't set out to ruin something in your life.  He tests us, to see what is in our hearts, and that is why He allows the enemy to do things, but God gives good gifts.  He has given us all we have need of, but we just don't understand how to accomplish the tasks He's set before us, because we are not really in tune with His plans.  We try to understand, but we have a lot of stuff that gets in the way.  That is why we need to have daily Bible reading or meditating on His Word.  That is why we need to be in prayer daily and in a spirit of praise at all times.  I know all of that sounds hard, but really, we only need one Word from Him a day, to keep us focused on His will for us on that day.  Try it.  Ask Him to help you understand His Will for you each day.  Let Him "fix" what needs fixing, and help you stand up and be victorious in Christ.

I pray you will all be blessed by your earthly dads, but I really pray that even if you didn't have a great dad, that you would know how much your heavenly Father loves you and wants to help you in your life.  I pray that you could understand that the bad things that happen, aren't happening because God has cursed you, but because the curse came about through sin, and it is only the Blood of Jesus that can cleanse us from that curse.  It is God's greatest gift to us.  The Blood of the Lamb, that set us free.  That cleansed us from all unrighteousness, and took the sin upon Himself, so that we could truly live as conquerors in our lives, overcoming the enemy and being victorious in living a life to the Glory of God.  Let God help you to see that victory in your life.  Let God help you to know that your life is precious and that as your Father in heaven, He cares about you intimately and completely.  He wants to shower you with good things.  He wants your life to be full of joy.  Full of wonder at all He has done.  I pray you see that today.