Thursday, September 30, 2010


After weeks of talking about it and planning it our Yoga Retreat 2010 became a reality today and is now past tense. And what a day it was……..

First, God provided the most perfect weather. It was a little cool on our morning walk and then just right by the time we sat down for lunch and devotion time.

Second, Shakertown provided the best backdrop. I mean, it is always nice at Shakertown but today I thought it really popped!

Third, I got to spend time with some of God’s finest women. They are my sisters in Christ and they inspire and encourage me every time I am with them!

Here’s how our day went:

As we walked I wanted us to experience nature and feel God’s presence. I got much more than I bargained for in that we were treated to the warmest welcome by the animals. The ducks greeted us and led our parade for a while. Then the goats and the donkeys made their presence known and made us feel right at home.  They made a beeline for the fence to get our attention. And, the best part was we got to pet Amelia, the baby donkey. She was precious!

From the petting zoo we went to the herb garden and enjoyed seeing the many varieties of herbs grown there. As we made our way down toward the Trustees House we also visited the vegetable garden. It was interesting to see how many things were still growing. There were peppers, eggplant, lettuce, cabbage, greens and even some beans getting ready to bloom. More evidence of God’s awesome plan to provide for us!

As we walked back I got to point out the two houses that my Mama and Daddy lived in growing up. Oddly, I sensed Mama smiling down on me as I stood in front of what used to be the Pennebaker Home for Girls. She instilled such a love of Shakertown in the hearts of her daughters and I still love to go there!

After our walk, we loaded up in our cars and went back to the West Lot meeting areas A & B. We did not use the meeting houses because we wanted to have an outdoor retreat. The area is so quiet and peaceful. We did our Yoga exercises to beautiful music and then set up camp amongst beautiful trees across from the meeting house. We enjoyed our picnic lunches and our time to enjoy one another.

After satisfying our physical hunger with our lunch, we had a devotional time which filled our spiritual needs. We used this scripture passage:

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40: 28 – 31

We talked about how God is like the Father Eagle feeding, protecting and teaching us to fly. We renewed our spiritual strength dwelling on these verses and realized again that God renews and restores us and teaches us to soar like an eagle when we completely put our faith and trust in Him.

It was a great day and our final thought was to remember that: Spiritual Renewal Begins and Ends with God! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Letting God Fill My Empty Places

I feel God leading me to post about a wonderful experience I have had this week. I am a little hesitant, but I am going to go ahead with my blog……….about fasting.

I don’t feel that fasting is something we need to let others know about or certainly not brag about, but I want to share my experience with you because I want others to realize how wonderful it is when God shows us just what HE can enable us to do. What a wonderful experience fasting was for me yesterday. It was the first time I have ever fasted and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I did it in response to a challenge from my pastor amd I am not sure that was the right reason. However, now I know that God used Bro. Wayne to motivate me to experience this. I guess I really thought it was going to be a big physical thing  (what with going without food for 24 hours!)  But, honestly, that was the most minor part of it for me.

From the time that I woke up yesterday, I could feel God’s presence in such a wonderful way. I feel God’s presence in my life daily and of course during the hard times of my life. But, this was different. This feeling was different than anything else. It was as if God took away my desire for food and put a desire for a closer walk with Him in its place. I felt such peace all day long. Even during the times that I would normally have been stressed, I felt that peace. I also felt a real reverence about it. I felt so humbled by the realization that God fills all my empty spaces even as I feel my empty stomach.  I really didn’t want to talk or joke about not being able to eat because I didn’t want my focus to go to the food thing. I think the people I was around felt the same way and I could sense that they were having a good experience too.

Bro. Wayne had asked us to focus on someone who was lost during our fasting time. I had a couple of people on my mind heavily and prayed for them that they too would feel God’s urging during the day. I prayed for the young man that is going through a very hard time, both physically and emotionally. He has a family that needs him and a God that wants him to come to Him for help. My prayer is that, in his desperation, he will seek the Lord. And we know, that the Bible tells us that we will find him when we seek him with all our heart! I also had a single mom on my mind. She is a very fun loving person and seems to be enjoying life to the fullest, but I sense that she is not as happy as it appears on the surface. I don’t know if she has ever given her life to Christ, but my prayer is that she will if she hasn’t. If she has, then I pray that she will seek a genuine personal relationship with Him so that her life will be complete!

In addition to praying for those people I was also seeking God’s help with my yoga retreat I have been preparing for. I want it to be much more than a physical experience. I want it to spiritually uplifting and I want all of us to come away feeling renewed by the presence of our loving God. I would like to ask that you pray for our retreat in that way too. It is tomorrow, September 30th at Shakertown. I will probably be writing about our experience in a later blog.

I am so thankful that I have a Lord who keeps working with me and showing me new and wonderful things! I pray you feel Him working in you as well!

Until next blog, keep the faith, enjoy your family, stay fit and of course, have fun!

Ps. 81:10
   I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
   Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Better Than a Hallelujah!

Here’s a stumper……………..What’s even better than grandchildren?

Grandchildren accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour!! WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!

Can you tell I’m happy? Well you’re wrong because I am not happy………I am ECSTATIC!!!

My heart is about to burst because another one of my grandchildren is now telling the world that He is a child of God!

To know how excited I am you would have to know Alex. Walking that aisle and being in front of people was so hard for him because he is not one who wants to draw any attention to himself. We have all known that he loves Jesus but we just weren’t sure how long it would take for him to be able to make that walk! When I think of it I don’t know why it is surprising that he did it sooner than I thought he would. After all, God is bigger than any of our fears, isn’t He? But since we know that Jesus wants us to publicly acknowledge Him before men it means everything that Alex made his profession of faith in Jesus public today! Of course he is just a child and has a long road ahead of him, but so are we all just “babes” in Christ and hopefully growing everyday!

Yes, Alex, you made your Mama and Daddy and Gran and Papa so happy and proud today, but more importantly, you made your Father in Heaven proud!

 And, by the way,…..thank you Jesus that because of your sacrifice, we can come to you just as we are!

Here are some of Jesus' very own words:

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10: 32.

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15: 7

As Amy Grant sings, today was "better than a Hallelujah!"

Below are pictures of Alex as he was at the time he was first born and how he is at the time of his
new birth as a Christian!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Your Very Own Personal Trainer!

A year or so ago I took an online course for certification to be a personal trainer. Since I received that certification I have been reluctant to let anyone know or to advertise my services. The main reason I guess is the fear that I might not be able to help people or that I could give them the wrong advice and actually do them more harm than good. It all boils down to lack of confidence. And we all know that confidence will only come by trying and succeeding in something.

This morning as I was reading scripture from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah I began to think about how God is our ultimate personal trainer! God, our own PT, can help us succeed in overcoming obstacles that get in the way of our breaking free from the bondages of addictions, whether they be the serious addictions or more minor ones.

Jeremiah was addressing the exiled Jews who were in captivity in Babylon. Here are the verses that impacted me this morning from the 11th chapter of Jeremiah: 
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.

Sometimes when we have wandered far away from God we tend to ask “why has God left me?” But if we are really honest then we will admit that God never leaves us. It is we who stray from Him. When we need his help we start praying. We think we are seeking Him but it is usually just with a half-hearted effort. We think He is like some “genie” who will magically appear as soon as we call on Him. But as verse 13 says, we WILL find Him when we seek Him with ALL of our heart! When we do that He promises that we WILL find Him and then, and only then, can we be freed from all the” things” that hold us captive.

What is holding you captive during this season of your life? Is it fear, worry, a mean spirit, materialism, etc.? Or is it of a more physical nature like drugs, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, or food addiction? These are very real chains that bind and are extremely hard habits to break. I am sure that these physical addictions make people feel like the situation is hopeless! But the promises of the verses above offer wonderful hope to help break even the worst addictions!

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord has such wonderful plans for each of us? His plans give us hope and a reason to look forward to a better future. He told Jeremiah to remind His people who were being held captive that when they come to Him in prayer He will listen. But He also made it clear that they should seek Him with ALL their heart. That is when we will find Him and He will free us from those chains that are keeping us from attaining all that He has in store for us….HIS plans, not ours! After all, we have our very own Personal Trainer ready to help us succeed and we can have all the confidence in the world in HIM!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


These were the words of Jeremiah:

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1: 4-8)

Every time I read this scripture I am once again reminded just how well God knows me! I am convicted again of thinking I know myself better than Him! When I look back over my life and see how God has led me along my way these verses become so personal!

How many times has something come up in our lives that we feel inadequate to do? Yet, there is that continual prompting that we should do it? I think back specifically to the way God led me into teaching exercise classes. He gave me the desire to see the classes as a ministry – to help people make the connection between their bodies and His Precious creation. But there have been lots of times when I didn’t feel confident about getting up in front of people and teaching them. However, deep down inside of me I could feel God nudging me on. I can’t begin to tell you how these classes have blessed my life. I have received so many blessings through the years from the precious people God has brought my way.

Just like Jeremiah, we often struggle with lack of self confidence when we are faced with a challenge that we feel God is leading us toward. We feel we don’t have the abilities, training or experience needed for the job. That is when we need to really pray and seek God’s will. When we are sure it is His will then we too, like Jeremiah, can be sure that he is with us and will rescue us! I have heard it said many times that God does not want our abilities – just our availability.

If you feel God leading you to a certain task then I pray you will remember that He knows you better than anyone and that He will help you meet the challenge!

Have a wonderful day and be sure to listen for God’s reassurance if you are being led to a new challenge. And when you feel it, then JUST DO IT!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Enjoying "Split Personalities"

What a great weekend it has been so far.  I finally started feeling better Friday and the timing could not have been better.  Jerry and I had purchased tickets to see the Reds play a couple of weeks ago and the game was Friday night so I was double-glad to be feeling better.  What a great time we had!

I realized something this weekend - Jerry and Frances do still exist.  We spend most of our time being Mom and Dad and Gran and Papa that I think we had forgotten how it felt to be able to concentrate on no one but ourselves for a couple of days.  We thoroughly enjoyed being together.  The game was probably the most enjoyable game we have ever been to.  Our seats were just four rows up and down from 1st base.  We got to see several key players close up during warmups and we had a great view of Joey Votto.  (As Gracie would say, "he's hot!")  He even threw a ball our way and Jerry caught it.  I told him that I'm sure Joey meant for me to have that because he was probably missing his grandmother!  We also got to see the king of speed (not a drug-addict) Aroldis Chapman throw a ball 104 mph! 

The game went 12 innings but our Redlegs prevailed!  Luckily, we had rooms reserved so we didn't have to drive the two hours home at midnight.  The really good part about our room was that it was a brand new Springhill suites with free breakfast and we got it on Priceline for $45.00.  (Money well spent!)  The breakfast was good and after breakfast I went for a swim in the indoor pool and had it all to myself.  We stopped in Lexington and ate a late lunch at Red Lobster which is one of our favorite places to eat!  (mmmm cheese biscuits!)  We took our time and got home to see that we had gotten about an inch and a half of rain....thank you Lord! 

Now if the Reds can win tonight and UK too, we can have a good end to a wonderful weekend of sports and most importantly great companionship!  

Note:  as wonderful as being Jerry and Frances is, I sure am glad that we also have the roles of Mom and Dad and Gran and Papa.  I love having this split personality.  What a life!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Missing My Family Time Together

I am sitting here at my computer this morning when I would normally be at Sunday School.  I opted not to go this morning because I have been down with an upper respiratory infection for the last few days and am saving my strength to go to worship service later.  I have been without a voice for the last two days and I hope that during this time, I am listening well for whatever it is God might be saying to me! 

I went out earler this morning to water my landscape and it is a beautiful  fall-like morning!  I love it like this, especially after the scorchers we have had recently!  While I was out I did a lot of pondering about things and one of the things that jumped out at me the most was this:  It's been way too long since my kids and their families came over for supper.  I decided to try to remedy this so I came inside and texted them to see if they would be available tonight.  Got one yes and awaiting (and hoping) for another positive reply.  Since it is spur of the moment I realize I will be lucky to get them all over tonight!  I realized how much I have missed them all being here.  We are all so busy now that it is hard to find family time and that's not good.   I'm sure most families are like this.  But we do need to try to keep our families close because we are enforcing bonds for our grandchildren to feel for the rest of their lives and hopefully affect their future families.  Traditions and family closeness are caught more than taught.  So, whoever gets to come tonight, I am looking forward to it.  Now, I'd better start planning a meal!!!!??????????????

Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."  Acts 14:16-18

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Dose of Encouragement

One of the things that really bugs me these days is the way Satan messes with my mind about aging.  Since I will be 62 in February, I feel as if I am pressured to make life-changing decisions.  I really don't let myself get all worked up about it, but it seems it is always there in my sub-conciousness.  Yesterday I was reading from a book called "Daily Grace For Women" and was really encouraged by the reading.  I would like to share this story that was part of what I read with you:

   "Anna Mary Roberts was a farmer's wife who raised five children.  She loved to embroider but after her husband died, arthritis overtook her hands and prevented her from continuing that hobby.  Not one to be kept down, Anne switched to painting.  In 1938, an art collector was fascinated by the paintings he saw in a drugstore window--colorful scenes of country life.  As a result, Anna Roberts was "discovered" and showed her first exhibit in New York when she was neary eighty! 

   Although you may not recognize her by her given name, you are surely familiar with Grandma Moses, one of the most famous folk artists of the twentieth century.  She was still painting when she was a hundred and reportedly produced twenty-five works during the last year of her life!  Anna completed over 1500 paintings in her twenty year career as an artist.  Her motto?  "Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be." **

   That article did me a world of good on a day Satan was trying to convince me that getting old would change my effectiveness in this world.  After reading the story of Grandma Moses, I just have one thing to say to that old devil:

   Go to Hell Satan!!!!

The righteous flourish....In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap.  Psalm 92: 12, 14 NRSV. 

(I am claiming this verse since I know lots of people who would tell me I am full of something!)

**from the book Daily Grace For Women , Bordon Books, 2005.