Sunday, December 30, 2012

Generation to Generation

Our pastor has challenged us to read all 4 of the gospels 4 times in 2013.  I've just finished Mark and started Matthew this morning.  Of course, you may not do this - but I was very tempted to skip the genealogy in Matthew 1 thinking I know all that.  But, as the Lord always does, He started me on another search when I saw 14 generations from Abraham to David and 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile.  I was curious.  How many generations from the flood to Abram/Abraham?  I found it wasn't 14, but I did find some interesting things in Genesis 11.

Shem, son of Noah, who lived through the flood and saw, heard and felt every terrible moment of what ended life on earth for everyone but his family would have been alive when Abram/Abraham was born.  Shem would have been 390 years old and would have lived another 210 years after A. was born.  That means that Abram/Abraham surely heard the flood account from someone who heard it from Shem himself.  Possibly, A. heard it from Shem first-hand.

My first thought when I realized that was that A.'s faith would have been encouraged and nourished by that testimony.  My second thought was "just how much do I listen to or remember from my family's past history?".

My grandmothers taught me most of the spiritual truth I live out today.  Their testimony paved the way for me to make personal choices for Christ.  But, much of what was taught to me was set aside until I had to learn they were right by me making all the wrong choices.

What about you?  Do you really hear the lessons taught in your family from generations past?  How quickly do you brush the old granny or old uncle off as just "old and boring"?  And, are you sharing your life testimony with the generations following yours?

I'm going to try to reflect today on some of those things my family learned from experience and passed down to me.  I'm going to look for God's fingerprints in the lives of those who passed faith experiences on to me.  And, I'm going to write some of those things in my journal for those yet to learn or yet to be born.

I hope I don't brush those "old" experiences off so fast in the future.  And, I'm going to be honest and share my life experiences as well.  How about you?  What will you share with the generation that follows you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Early in the morning....

I'm thanking the Lord for a new day, a day off, a wonderful Christmas, His Word, a new Bible study soon and a visit from our Ukrainian daughter in just a few days.  I woke up around 5 am and thought about going back to sleep - it's been a busy week and I've used every bit of energy I had.  But, I knew if I chose sleep, I would be sacrificing something I wasn't willing to give up.  I knew Jesus was waiting for me as He has every morning for many years.  There's something about the morning, a cup of coffee, my Bible and Jesus that is better than anything else I might choose to do first thing each day.

This post isn't about right and wrong times to seek God - for heaven's sake - just seek Him with a whole heart!  But, I've learned that there is something unique about my mornings that can't be said about the rest of the day.  Over and over, God has confirmed and used things throughout the day that He gave me in the morning.  Who would I not have had a word for had I not been with Him early in the day?  And, what would I fail to see about myself that might keep me from being available if I didn't seek Him in the morning?

I'm not always faithful to spend quality time with the Lord early in the morning.  But, I give Him as much time as I can.  If I only give Him 5 minutes, He multiples it when that 5 minutes is genuinely seeking Him.

My challenge today was choosing not sacrificing the early morning with the Lord to sleep and letting my day slip away while I got much needed rest.  How about you?  How did you start your day?

Scriptures to ponder for yourself about the early morning:
Mark 1:35
Psalm 46:5
Psalm 90:14
Lamentations 3:23

Mine for today - Psalm 5:3 - "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation".

Friday, July 13, 2012

ORANGE you glad I finished Baby Quilt #2? (ha ha - couldn't resist)

Nursery Colors - Orange and brown with touches of pink.

I made this quilt for a new baby soon to be born to precious young couple.  I work with the husband and wanted to do something for them because they are so nice and adding their 2nd daughter to their family.  Mom is quite creative and has her own blog you may want to visit (  I asked her to give me a starting point (you know, color, her style, etc.).  She said the nursery would be in shades of orange and brown with touches of pink.  She said she really liked "eclectic" things and loved "any kind of scrap quilt".  I knew almost immediately I wanted to do a double pinwheel.  I started with pink center pinwheels and shades of orange for the larger pinwheels.  I intended to do a brown border (the brown fabric with orange pinwheels), but changed my mind and went for a more scrappy look by adding the brown into the pinwheels.  And being Marsha, I had to add a touch of red in the small, inner border.

I used a cotton batting and quilted the entire thing with free motion stippling.  Just like the wind blowing those pinwheels around!

Well, Mom and Dad loved it!  And that pleased me.  This baby's older sister said the baby might go potty on the quilt and I said that was ok, it could be washed!

I really had fun making this quilt!  I finished up the quilt with a simple label.  I wrote the baby's name and added the words "Jesus love you".  Didn't see any reason to add my name.  If this little one sees Jesus' name each time she uses this quilt, I'll be thrilled!  Besides, can anyone of us be told too many times that Jesus loves us?

Jesus loves you!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Baby Boy Blue Quilt!

I'm in the middle of three baby quilts.  The first one was this "Baby Boy Blue".

I made this for a young mom that I work with.  She said her nursery was in brown and blue.  (Brown must be popular right now - the one I'm working on now is brown, orange and pink).

I chose the easy "Trip Around the World" pattern.  It's always quick and makes a durable quilt - which you need for a little boy!

The backing was my inspiration piece but I only used a little bit of it on the front.  It reminded me of Florida with the turtles, butterflies and insects on the back.  I really thought it would be the border but it just didn't seem to be the right choice when it all came together.

My border choice was one of the Civil War reproduction fabrics - LOVE them!
I used a very simple quilt stitch in blue - diagonal through the blocks - and free motion in the border. (The color in this photo isn't a good representation.)

This was a fun quilt to make.  Hope this makes a little boy very comfy!

Prayer without Contingency - Possible or not?

Please take time to read this and share your thoughts.  I think we can all benefit from each other on this one.

There are several people on my prayer list today that need physical healing.  Some are in very serious situations.  Others are trying to get accurate diagnosis of what's going on.

My quiet time started out in Mark 5 in some very familiar verses.  Jesus was on his way to Jarius' home because of Jarius' faith that He could heal his sick daughter.  On the way there, they were met by people who told them the child had died.

Jesus turned to Jarius and said .... "Don't be afraid.  Just believe".

They arrive at Jarius' home and were met by a commotion of people.  I assume that was a small crowd - at least a few people if there was a commotion.  The people were "weeping and wailing loudly".  But, when Jesus told them the child was just asleep, their weeping quickly turned to laughing.  (Made me wonder how sincere their grief was!)

Fast forward - Jesus commanded the child to get up and she did - immediately!

Then Jesus gave strict orders that no one should know about this.  What about the people causing the commotion?  Had they left?  Would they not know about the healing?  How could they not know Jesus was God after this?  How do you keep a healing like this quiet?

I was reminded that we can be quick to believe anything as long as it doesn't require blind faith, or require us to have faith in anything we can't control or choose for ourself.  Those people who saw the little girl, once dead, must have been willing to believe she was just asleep so they didn't have to believe Jesus was who He said He was.

But the question that kept playing over in my mind was prompted by Jarius' faith.  And, it's the question I'd love to hear your thoughts on.

If God has a plan - a good plan according to Jeremiah 29:11, how do we pray for things that may not be according to His plan?  How do we pray in simple faith, without adding contingencies like "if it is not your will Lord"?

Here are some of the verses I went to for an answer.
Job 42:2, 8 - Nothing can thwart God's plans AND He answers prayers according to our faith rather than our folly.

James 1:5-7 - When we ask, God gives according to our faith.  A doubter shouldn't expect anything from God.

James 5:15-16 - God responds to intense prayer of righteous people

Matthew 6:33 - If we seek God first in all situations, everything else we need will be given to us.

Matthew 7:7 - Keep asking if we want to see an answer.

Again, my question ....
If God has a plan - a good plan according to Jeremiah 29:11, how do we pray for things that may not be according to His plan?  How do we pray in simple faith, without adding contingencies like "if it is not your will Lord"?

What do you think?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Welcome to our home!

We are excited to welcome you to Florida and to our new home, through the opportunity we have on blogspot.  Over the last few months, multiple people have asked when are they going to see the inside of our new home.  They had seen the outside on Facebook and knew we have been busy trying to make it a home.  Finally, I think the Lord has given me permission to share.  Hopefully, that means I'll do so without any pride in anything but Him and how he has provided for us over and over.  I'll take a few entries over the next little while and show you sections of the house at a time.  That way I can talk about the amazing "unexpected treasures" we've had along the way.  Starting your life over is a journey no matter where you are or what you are doing, and we're still on the journey .... for now, the journey has brought us to 5301 Somerville Drive, Viera (Or Rockledge) FL 32955.

When we discovered we were coming back to the states, we had what seemed like an impossible task before us.  Where would we go?  Where would we live until we found our own place?  What would we do?  Who would get a job and which one of us would start a business?  So many things to decide.  When we decided we were coming to Florida, we knew a place to live would be one of the first things we had to find.  We stayed with my sister and her husband for 4 months.  They were very gracious, but we wanted a place of our own.  Tim and I had made lists before returning to the states.  We made a list of the bare minimum we needed in a house.  A list of the maximum we would want in a house.  And of course, we made a list of the necessary space we needed.  After spending part of the last few years in an apartment of 550 square feet, we knew we could live in a small place, but we really wanted what God wanted for us.  We knew we had a limited amount of money as well.  To our surprise, no bank or lender was interested in offering a loan to two people without jobs.  Imagine that!  With the housing market in the tank, we found buying a house was going to be a better option for us than renting.  But, how could we afford a house?  Over the first 4 months of looking, we found this house.  It was in short sale.  At times, we felt we were taking advantage of the seller.  But, God had picked our real estate agent "for such a time as this".  She was trying to help the family that owned the house to get it into short sale.  Without her, we would have never found this house.  Without God lining things up for the other family to let this house go when they did, they would have been in foreclosure.   The agent listed the house and submitted our offer at the same time.  Only God can line things up like that.  He gave us several clear signs that it was from Him.  Just trust me, He moved in such a mighty way, we'll never doubt who the real owner of this house is!

Well ya'll come on in!

It wouldn't be my home if you weren't greeted by a quilt.  So, when you open the front door this is your first welcome.  
This piece is familiar to anyone who visited our Wakefield house in Greensboro.  I got a great deal on it years ago because it was damaged on the side.  I left it with the kids, but they were generous and gave it back to us.  On top of it, I've place my Portuguese Bible, my Russian Bible and my first Bible after I became a believer.  The rug on the floor by the front door was a gift to us from a dear friend in India to remind us of the "treasures" in that amazing country.  That was the place that God broke my heart for lost.  I wrote out a prayer to Him as I was landing in America in January of 2001 and asked Him to never let me forget it or them.  That rug is a constant reminder.  There is a great big world out there and millions of people who need to know Christ. 
The next room you enter is the dining room. (Tim's office is in the background.  I'll write about it later.) The dining room is a big room and we knew we needed a big table to fill it up.  We thought this space would be empty for a long time.  One Saturday morning, we were headed out to yard sales and we spotted an Estate sale sign.  It was the 3rd day of the sale and we really thought most of the good stuff would be gone.  We found a drop leaf table folded down to about 3 feet square full of glasses and dishes for sale.  I saw it had 3 legs so I knew it had to expand to a large size.  When I asked about it, the lady almost apologized.  She said her parents had that table from the time of their marriage and it was "old" when they got it.  Her parents had given it to her and she used it in her bonus room and eventually in her garage where her kids played games and had parties.  But, my interest was peaked.  I asked if we could open it up.  She agreed as long as we didn't have to put the FOUR leaves in it.  And, quickly I saw why she was a little apologetic.  It was a sad table - but I saw real potential.

I offered her $40 and she gladly let us take that out of the house.  We opened it up and put all four leaves in when we got back to my sister's house.  You can see it needed some work.  But, Tim saw it as an opportunity to try out his N-Hance product and he went to work on it.  As you saw in the first picture it is a beautiful table.  Here's a closer look at the top.
I chose the dark stain and we added chairs that have dark leather and a sesame wood from BIG LOTS. Can you believe it - Big Lots!  The flower arrangement was $1.99 at Goodwill (before my 10% Senior discount).  I picked up a sunflower bush at Michael's that was reduced to $1.99 and used those flowers to fill it in a little.  Add the wooden placemats and sunflower napkin rings my sister gave me and I think it's beautiful!  And, it brings a little of my Ukraine to Florida!

The candle holders - oh, I love them.  I bought them about 10 years ago at T.J. Maxx for $7.99 each.  I know that because I never took the price tags off until I prepared to pack them to bring back to the states from Ukraine.  I learned you have to have a few things you love that you hold onto.  They don't have to be expensive things.  But, moving around, I found if there were a few familiar things I loved that went with me, those things helped make any new place feel like home very quickly.
On the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, I have this beautiful picture.  It looks so much like tile you have to touch it to know it isn't.  It was $9.99 at Goodwill (before the Senior discount).  

I found the plate racks at Goodwill and had them a while before I knew what I would do with them.  They were about $2.50 a piece (I think).  I stuck them in a closet and waited to see how "unexpected" a "treasure" they would become.  One day a coworker of mine brought me a box of plates from our Swap Shop at work.  In it were a few, only a few, of these red plates and I immediately thought of the plate racks and my dining room.  For now, they are doing a great job on the wall - and since the plates were free, it was all for less than $15.00.  Oh, how I love an unexpected treasure like this!
We have been blown away, time and time again, by the provision of God.  Please don't take any of my comments to be about the possessions.  I love the things God has provided for us.  And, I will take good care of them until I have to pass them on or find someone who need them more than us.

I realize that I am a person who loves the "process".  I'm a "journey" person.  You may be someone who likes the task to be finished.  You may be the "whole picture" or "no picture" person.  God made us all different.  And, He made me the way I am because of the life He planned for me.  
I'm loving this journey!
It hasn't always been easy.  And, I've parted with some things that I did treasure, maybe too much.  I'll share about some of those things later.
But, right now.  I'm enjoying this part of the journey.  I love this house and I pray everyone who comes to visit feels welcome and loved. 
I pray I'll get to open my Bible with countless number of people at that big table.
I hope to share many meals with people around that table.
I'll enjoy all the decorations - big and small - and I'll try to remember, I'm just here to enjoy them and take care of them for a while.
And I'll treat everything I have as a treasure - regardless of the price it might have cost - because everything we have is a gift from God.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM!  This looks like a nice photo taken here in FL but I actually took it last Spring in Kiev in one of my favorite parks.

It may seem that I don't have anything new to share - but I have a new quilt to share.  I can't share it until after March 22 because it's a gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise!

I've really been disturbed by some things I've read on Facebook recently.  I know that we all have opinions and we may have a right to share them.  But, isn't there some point when we should practice discretion?   

A "cynical", "negative" and "critical" spirit is something I've found in myself - so don't think this is written about anyone else.  I've even had several opportunities this week where I've had a very strong opinion and was challenged to re-think my perspective to have a less critical and negative opinion.  What has been most obvious is how things change when I attach a name or a particular person to an opinion.  An opinion becomes a judgment when we "personalize" it.  We can still be bothered by something without personalizing our feelings.  We can also recognize something that is clearly wrong, but have the discretion to keep anything to ourself that would be a judgment on someone else.

So, here is an attempt on my part to change things that I had a cynical or critical spirit about this week and simply word them as an opinion, without regard to anyone in particular.  

Here are some things that I've rethought and reworded this week. I'm still long way from where I should be - but, this is my attempt to improve my thought-process.  (Remember, these were not my first thoughts.)

1.  If you are able to wear short shorts AND look pretty good in them, you probably don't need panty hose under them. (Rather than, what was she thinking?)

2. People are usually nice when they have time to get to know you. (Rather than "isn't she rude and she doesn't even know me?")

3.  Only a very unselfish person is willing to miss a long stop light at 5 pm and let a truck pulling a trailer go ahead of them (and you) ... (I'm still working on this one!)

Here is something someone said about me.
"You're much more uptight at work than at home".... could be reworded as "I can tell you are able to relax when you get home". Much nicer when it's less personal!

Another thing that struck me was how easy it is to be critical of someone we will never meet, most likely because they are famous.  But, does that give us the right post a very public criticism?  Maybe you think it does.  Shouldn't we consider that the more information we put "out there" in blogs, facebook posts and tweets, the more we open ourselves up to criticism.  If we are willing to put our feelings out there, we better be able to take it when it comes back around to us.

I don't want to say anything hurtful, whether I know someone or not.
I don't want to miss the blessings of relationships - even if the other person/people are very different than I am or have different political views.
And, I don't want to make a public judgment about someone when what I'm saying is based on "what I see" rather than what I know personally.

I accept the reality that people may misunderstand my faith, my choices and life, but I'll try not to make judgements of others individually.  I may have very strong opinions about issues, but I don't have to let that dictate my friendships.

No, things are often not as they seem.  And yet, we say things that we don't even remember 24 hours later, without ever knowing we may have hurt someone.

I'm trying to learn more self-control and more discretion with my thoughts and words.  I want my thoughts to change, then I'm sure my words will change.

I learned this lesson late in life, and I am sorry for many things I've said that I should have kept to myself.  I only pray that I'll be able to ask for forgiveness for people I've hurt with my words when things were not as they seemed!