These are a few of my favorite things

Maybe it is because I grew up with parents that lived through the depression.  Perhaps it is my generation of “the one with the most toys wins”. Could I be a hoarder?  No, not me!!! What is it then?  Why is it that when I set out to clear out my house, that it seems to get more full?

I have spent the past year away from home.  My father-in-law was dying of cancer.  Since my husband and I seemed like the best candidates for the duty, we put out lives on hold and moved into my in-laws 11,000 ft home. It had already been planned that he would stay home until he died, and that as soon as he passed, my mother-in-law would move into a new home.  They had lived in that home for 58 years, and raised all five children there. We were married in that home.Their grandchildren, and great grandchildren had many memories at “Mer and Poppa’s”. The home was the place of gathering.  Wedding showers,  weddings, receptions, baby showers, Christmas’s, Easters, Thanksgivings & birthdays, to name a few of our cherished times together. All those happy times, and now, we were going to say good bye to my father-in-law, and good bye to this home.

During our time there, it was my husbands task to do the physical care of his father.  A few times a week, Hospice workers would come in, and they became fast friends.  My tasks involved cooking, and shopping.  This allowed my Mother-in-law to stay by her husband of 64 years.  She read book, after book to him. It was so comforting to hear her through the monitor that we had to keep in their room, so we could run back when the needs arose.

Looking around this large home, I knew that someone was going to have to start figuring out where all the belongings were to go.  My Mother-in-laws new home was essentially furnished, and much of what she owned would not match with the new decor.  What in the world would happen with the 11,000 sq feet of “stuff”?  I asked my MIL if I could start to work on cleaning out. It was very important to her that, appearance wise, nothing looked different for my Father-in-law.  she didn’t want it to feel like the vultures had swooped in.  She gave me one closet to clean out.  Each day I would ask what I could do next.  SLOWLY, she gave me more little tasks.  My husband tackled the workshop, and the lab. I tackled the guesthouse, and day by day, as my Father-in-laws strength began to fade, I would move closer inside.  His world became smaller, limited to bedroom, bathroom and office, and so now I could make more headway.  I was not yet at liberty to call in a collector, or remove large pieces, but the cupboards began to empty out.

When my FIL finally died, we began to pack my MIL for her move.  It was decided she would move the following week, and the memorial would be held in the family home 2 weeks after that.  She asked that the house be empty by that time.

The house was put on the market the day before my FIL died, and the first showing was that same day.  The day my MIL moved, we had the Realtor caravan, as well as the movers. Chaos.  Even writing about this right now, almost causes a panic attack.  Oh, did I mention that my husband and his brother went fishing that day?

That next 2 weeks consisted of collectors, packing, cleaning, house showings, trips to the thrift store, and no sleep. The more I cleared, the more I saw for the first time.  How had I never noticed this beautiful chair, or lamp, or painting, or…. I began to get sentimental about things that were not even mine. I loved it all, and I hated it all.  This “stuff” was becoming the death of me.  I did not sleep for weeks.  I wanted everything to be exactly as my MIL wanted it to be for the memorial.  I’m not even sure anyone really even noticed. We were there for each other.  That day, everyone gathered up the belongings they wanted. In reality, that was the day that I realized that the things that meant the most to everyone were not the priceless antiques, but the memories of the pool parties, the tennis court, the tea house, the gardens. It wasn’t the stuff, it was the times spent together.  Even now, as my husband and I look around at the few things we did bring home, they really don’t mean anything. Those things are not Jack, or Marilyn (my in laws). They are not special away from the home that they were purchased for.  They are “things”.

So, now to the title of my rambling. What are my favorite things? What are the things that are important?

Love, hope, peace, understanding, faith, family, friends, the greatness of God, Creation, Caring for others, simplicity!   These are the things that really bring joy.I need to remember that, and clean my house!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 NIV














Celebration of life

When a lover of Christ leaves this present life, their life is traded in for a new, and more glorious eternity in the presence of God almighty. This is why friends, and family refer to the gathering as a “Celebration of life”, instead of a funeral.

In the small community that I have called home for more than 21 years, we have had far too many “celebrations” for those who we feel as too young to be taken from this world, into the next.  So many young siblings, and parents left behind to try to grapple with the hole that has been left in their homes and hearts.   Of course most of them truly believe that their child/sibling/friend is in heaven, and for that they rejoice, but the pain is in the separation.

Today our community said their good byes to another sweet young woman.  A packed school gymnasium full of most of the community was there, “Celebrating” and yet missing their child.

I have reflected on this time, and the times previous, and I have wondered somethings about the church.  We as believers know that Christ died. We know that, HE too, is in heaven right now.  There are other similarities to the losses of those we no longer have among us..  There was HIS life here on earth.  The lives HE touched.  The people HE loved. The history and impact of life. There were those who felt empty when HE was  gone from their presence.  Of course,with Christ there was and is SO much more.   HE was resurrected, .  HE forgives our sins. HE gives life eternal, which is why our saved loved ones can be in the presence of GOD. HE IS GOD!

So, out of curiosity, if we truly believe all this, then why do we not pack the house each and every week to remember all HE has done for us, grieve for the things that were done to HIM, and for us, and CELEBRATE HIS life?

Encouraging others (I wish I could say this was mine. I read this today and thought it could lift you up the way it lifted me!)

Encouraging Others 
This devotional was written by Jim Burns

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.—Romans 12:9-16

..START DEVOTIONAL TEXTY–>If you are a teenager, you may not even remember Cary Grant. Cary Grant was an actor and superstar in every sense of the word. In his later years he made occasional appearances in theaters around the United States billed simply as “A Conversation with Cary Grant.” He didn’t need much advertising; one small ad would appear in the local newspaper and the theater would be immediately sold out. Everywhere he appeared, he received a standing ovation simply for walking out on stage.

At the end of his performances he always read a piece he called A Meditation, saying he didn’t know who wrote it but that this meditation also expressed his own feelings of life. I like it very much and offer it to you today:

“Now Lord, you’ve known me a long time. You know me better than I know myself. You know that each day I am growing older and someday may even be very old, so meanwhile please keep me from the habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from trying to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful but not overbearing. I’ve a certain amount of knowledge to share, still it would be very nice to have a few friends who, at the end, recognized and forgave the knowledge I lacked.

Please give me the ability to see good in unlikely places and talents in unexpected people. And give me the grace to tell them so, dear Lord.”

Breakthrough – By Francis Frangipane



Jul 24, 2007



Current mood:contemplative


And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom?”  (Acts 1:6, NAS)

When I first came to Christ, the Lord gave me a dream about my future.  I thought that everything the Lord said was supposed to occur immediately.  I didn’t know of the work of preparation and dying to self, of learning patience and maintaining vision through testing that would occur before God’s promise would find fulfillment.  Consequently, I was filled with ambition.  Ambition is the first motive that arises in the spiritually immature.  I was like the disciples who, a few days after Jesus’ resurrection, were already asking, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom” (Acts 1:6)?

Ambition is very deceptive. It can seem just like obedience, yet because we don’t truly know the Lord, the voice we find ourselves obeying is not God’s, but our own.  Our vision can actually be from God, but our motive be self.  Consequently, where there is ambition, James tells us there will soon emerge “disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).  Why? Because we begin thinking we can accomplish the will of God through the strength of man.  We are seeking a breakthrough; God wants to give us brokenness.

The spiritually immature do not recognize their immaturity because they are immature.  Thus, they become impatient, fearful and demanding.  Because pride blinds the ambitious, we presume we are ready for greater assignments in God.  In fact, we become a harder assignment for those who work with us, for our actions continually generate strife.

Ambition seeks to put to death what stands between it and spiritual fulfillment.  Yet, it is ambition itself which must die to reach fulfillment.  Webster’s tells us that ambition is “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as wealth or fame, and the willingness to strive for it.”  The word translated “ambition” in the NAS is rendered “strife” in the King James.  Truly, ambition is a major cause for strife, church splits and conflicts within the church.

I thought having a promise from God was the same thing as receiving a command from God.  I did not understand what I personally lacked in character nor what I needed to attain concerning faithfulness and thankfulness.  These things needed to be worked in me before God would fulfill His promises, miracles and opportunities.  What I became for God was more important than what I did for Him.

Today, I am living in the spiritual substance of what was just a dream thirty years ago.  My ambitions have suffered greatly, yet my dreams are being fulfilled.  While I have not yet arrived at the greatest aspects of my calling, I understand the difference between ambition and true leadership and it is this: Ministry is not a call to lead, but to die.

Every advance that I have made spiritually was preceded by an opportunity to die to self.  The power in my life comes from where I have died to self and now live unto Christ.

Do you want to advance spiritually?  God will arrange opportunities for you to die to self.  You must discern them.  Dying to self and its ambition is the means of reaching true spiritual fulfillment.  If you react to the opportunity to die with anger or resentment, you will fail to reach fulfillment.  However, if you can maintain your vision even while your ambition dies, you will succeed.  Death precedes life.  Truly, we must die to go to heaven.

Francis Frangipane

First trip to Serve LA – 2007

  • Aug 2, 2007

    Serve LA

    Current mood:pleased


    Sisters High School Students Give Back inLos Angeles

    Twenty-one students from Sisters High School were in Los Angeles July 16-19 giving their time to help others in need.  Dan Keels, youth pastor at Sisters Community Church, headed up this trip along with seven other adults.  Each day in Los Angeles they supported and worked with different agencies.

    • LA Missions – students served in a mission helping the homeless with meals and shelter.
    • Habitat for Humanity – they helped put together prefab houses for those who cannot buy a home.
    • Central City Outreach – students broke up into small groups and took a homeless person from skid row to breakfast.
    • PATHS – a hands-on educational tour that combines resources for the homeless who struggle with drug addiction and mental illness.


    Below are two quotes from students when asked what has been the most surprising thing they experienced after two days on the project:


    Nicole said, “So far, working with the homeless has opened my eyes to something much bigger than Sisters.  It has given me a lot of perspective.  Most of the homeless appreciate what they have been given, and it has helped me to see them as equals.”


    Nate said, “Kids from a local church that we hung out with at a park; we then walked them home and they live in ‘homes’ smaller than a living room.  You can’t even open the doors all the way because there is not enough room.  And they cost $2,000 a month.”