Have you ever had your plans take a u-turn?  What do we do when it happens? 

It definitely seems like it has happened more often to Dan and me since Covid began.  

A recent example was a trip to visit our daughter Adrienne and her husband Ankur in Seattle this month.  With a new home, the inside painting was on the schedule.  We also planned a snowshoe trip in the mountains.  We were looking forward to our time together. 

With a canceled flight, it was soon quickly realized it was not going to be easy to get there.  We did arrive at 2 a.m. Iowa time.  As soon as we arrived we got the bad news of our daughter testing positive with Covid while we were in flight.  She was not feeling good.  : (    Now what were we to do with this U-turn?  Do we go home?  Tears began to well up in my eyes.  How can this be?  I realized that we were not going to be together with our daughter and son-in-law much on this trip.  How heartbreaking. 

With our daughter’s suggestion, we rented a car and took a trip to the Oregon Coast for 5 days.  It was not what we planned.  But with every u-turn that happens in our life, we have to make the best of the situation. 

This brought to my mind how much we are not in control of what mostly happens in our day.  What we are in control of is how we respond in the midst of our U-turns.  I pray God will help me to accept whatever may happen in my day. Praying He gives me the strength that I need for what comes my way.    

We soon found our path taking us on to a beach with our paint clothes, snow boots, and winter coats.  We made the best of the situation.

And yes, in the end, we had 2 beautiful days with Adrienne and Ankur. 

It’s up to us how smooth the U-turn goes. 

God’s Word-Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Rejoice and Be Glad In It!

Today we say goodbye to the year 2021.  

Each year that we exist on this earth has its difficulties and hardships.  We all experience them.  This last year was no exception.  Death, sickness, financial loss, divorce, marriage difficulties, and prodigal children can stop us in our tracks. 

 In the face of all of our challenges, how will we respond?  Do we stay in our past or do we take steps to move forward?  This part is totally up to us. 

Do we trust in God to get us through each day?

Do we forgive those who have hurt us?

Do we learn from our mistakes?

Do we build a strong foundation in God’s Word?

Are we thankful for all that we have been given?

Do we surround ourselves(in-person) with positive friends and family?

Do we stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit?

Tomorrow we start a new day!  We begin a new year!

Will you sing?

This is the Day that the Lord Has Made

This is the day, this is the day

That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made

I will rejoice, I will rejoice

And be glad in it, glad in it

This is the day that the lord has made

I will rejoice and be glad in it

This is the day, this is the day

That the Lord has made

Happy New Years!

‘Big Max’

Part 4

Praying with your spouse, filling ourselves with the Good News, and memorizing scripture are great foundation builders.  It will not only keep ourselves on solid ground but also our marriage.  The last three blogs share how to navigate life’s valleys and hardships.  By building a strong foundation, we will be able to stay strong when trials come our way.  On earth there will always be foundation shakers!  God does not leave us without a road map or His help.

Let’s take a look at ‘Big Max’.  ‘Big max’ is a pumpkin seedling that I started this spring.  One of the many seedlings for my new sun garden.  The seedlings begin their new life with very comfortable growing conditions. The seedlings are in a protected environment.  A warm bedroom, LED light, shelving, water and a heat mat can get them started.  But are they ready for the real world?  I soon found out that you have to beat them up a bit before they can go outside.  Running a fan on them or brushing them with your hand strengthens their stem.  Their foundation or roots go farther in the soil with roughing them up.  

Then you begin what they call the hardening-off process.  You slowly expose the seedlings to their new outdoor home.  This new home is the beating sun, uneven temperatures, pounding rain and strong Iowa winds.  I put my seedlings in a sheltered spot outside for at least a week.  They will become stronger with gradual exposure. This prepares the young plants, including ‘Big Max’ for life outdoors. 

If they remain in a perfect undisturbed world, they will not be able to survive. 

I was thinking of how ‘Big Max’ is similar to our own life journey.  We can look at the times that we are being roughed up a bit, as a way of becoming stronger.  We all experience trials, but how will we respond?  Will we stand tall or fall over?  Will we turn to the Creator?  Will we be able to survive this world?  

God’s Word-Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

‘Big Max’

The Good News

Dancing Shoes

Back early in the pandemic, I remember a day that was full of bad news.  It looked like doomsday for the whole world.  We did not want to touch our groceries, mail or newspaper.  We were not able to even see anyone outside our home.  It looked very hopeless.  I quickly went to my desk computer and engrossed myself in all the bad news of the county and world.  After at least an hour of drinking in hopelessness, I went to get out of my chair and down I went on the floor.  My foundation was gone, and I could not feel my legs.  What I didn’t realize as I was sitting there, I had wrapped my legs back around my desk chair.  Both my legs had totally fallen asleep. (Not one of my brighter moments) : (

Dan was in the basement as I laid there. It seemed like eternity, as I waited for my legs to wake up again.  

This was a real turning point for me.  I realized that soaking in bad news, hours on end, is not good for me!  It is not good for anyone.  I sometimes feel that the news channels want us to feed on the bad news of the world, 24-7.  Of course they want us to be sucked in.  Whatever we feed into our hearts and minds will eventually come out! (Proverbs 4:23 NIV-Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ) If we feed ourselves hopelessness, despair and negativity, that is how we will feel.  Fear will set in.  This will affect our closest relationships.  We will not be any help to anyone needing it. It will shake your foundation for sure!  Personally, it puts me in a very bad mood. 

I also knew I needed to take steps on feeding myself with good news!  The Good News that comes with our faith!  Hope that comes from reading God’s Word.  Faith is the opposite of fear! In the last few years Dan and I have begun memorizing God’s Word.  I have His promises hidden in my heart, ready at any time I need His assurance.  No one can take that away from me!  This is our hope and another foundation builder. 

Only You

Praying Together

I remember many years ago hearing someone say, “No one will pray for your spouse like you will.”  That has always been something that has challenged me.   With our foundations being shaken, prayer is a wonderful weapon.   It is a tool we can use to bring our marriage closer.  Why?  Prayer is a very intimate action, especially between husband and wife.  A question we have begun asking each other , “How can I pray for you today?”  By doing this, you find out what is happening in your spouse’s life. They can share immediate needs and concerns for the day.  This allows us as a couple to pray more specifically for each other than simply praying a general prayer, which often becomes our default.  Sometimes there are so many things to pray about, we tend to overlook the prayer needs of those closest to us. 

Praying together will help build a wonderful foundation for your marriage.  Only you will pray for your spouse like you can. 

Do you pray for your spouse?

God’s Word-Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Dancing Shoes

The right dancing shoes make a big difference in the look of ballroom dance.  Shoes that are too small, uncomfortable, too high or with no support makes for a long night of dancing.  We have experienced many of these.  Your feet are your foundation for dancing.  It takes a while to find the right shoe for a smooth looking dance! 

We had a couple taking our dance class mention that because of health issues, they could not feel their feet.  Another dancer had a time with his shoes never fitting well. Yes, this is a problem.  

In our marriage we need a solid foundation to make it through the ups and downs of this world.  Maybe in this last year you have experienced some.  We sure have!  It can be difficult to keep our marriage strong with so many trials.  

How do we build this foundation?  The world surely does not have the answer.  It looks hopeless. The only trustworthy foundation is God’s Word.  Reading it, meditating on it, praying it and then letting it lead us through life’s difficulties.  If there is no foundation, we will sink in the sand.  And as a married couple, it takes the two of us.  Sometimes, one of us may not be strong.  The other can encourage, be strong and lovingly get us both through a difficult time.  

Building a strong foundation takes time and work.  It will not come by watching the nightly news or checking social media. We don’t want to wait until a big trail comes before we start building a firm foundation.  

The bad news of a recent day made both of us stressed, not pleasant and in a bad mood.  Dan came to me, kissed me and said, “ We need each other to get through this.”  

Pray and read God’s Word together.  It will do wonders in your marriage.  

God’s Word- Matthew 7:24-27  “24 Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”(NLT)