Saturday, February 15, 2014


There's a beginning for everything.
Here are some just-starting things for me:

An introduction to rumba, the new dance we're learning in class. I remember watching the advanced class do this perky dance as they came onto the floor as we were leaving our class session.  "Oh, boy", we thought, "that looks hard. I don't know if we could ever learn that." But here we are 3 weeks into the class and we can actually do some rumba! One step at a time, we watched and imitated, and repeated.

I finished reading White Picket Fences, a new memoir written by, Doug Gehman, a friend of ours. I could easily relate to his growing up years as I had a very similar background in the Anabaptist roots we have in common. It's an interesting story and kept me swiping my Kindle to see what would happen next.

For the first time my mailbox receives issues of Country, a magazine that were gifted to us at Christmas. You know you're reading a magazine targeted to senior adults when you find ads inside for hearing aids,  gravity defyer footwear, walk-in tubs, phones with LARGE numbers and amplifiers, bladder control supplements, etc. We learn from and explore with these writers who have interesting memories and travelogues to share.

It must have been the year for magazines because I'm also a new subscriber to His Mysterious Ways. This publication is filled with pages of short stories that tell of people's experiences with things that can only be explained as supernatural or God moments. Like the young man who falls in love with a girl named Esther. Soon after meeting her he comes across a one dollar bill with the name Esther written in one corner.  He frames it and gives it to his new love as a can-you-believe-it gift. She appears upset but won't say why only that she will tell him later what she is thinking.  The relationship moves to marriage and as they unpack their belongings into their new apartment he discovers the framed bill.  He asks if she can tell him now why she had reacted so sharply to his gift. She explained that in a period of her life where romantic relationships seemed out of reach and jaded, she had written her name on several dollar bills that she gave out as change in the cashier job she had.  In her heart she hoped that someday the man she would marry would find one of the bills, proving to her that love was real.  She had kept her secret from him, because at the time of the gifting, their friendship was very new. Yeah, story after story of people escaping death, finding lost things, making connections they never thought would be possible and seeing God work in very tangible ways. It's stirring my faith in our God who gives good gifts to us and loves us.

The Smart Stepfamily book by Ron Deal is a must-have for stepfamilies.  Kevin and I discovered this gem early in our marriage. A jam-packed-full -of -grace resource with insight and practical steps just crafted for people in stepfamily situations. Now formatted for a group study with DVD sessions by Ron, Kevin and I are facilitating a class for the first time using the DVDs. It's a powerhouse of help to deal with subjects like what to call a step parent, how to deal with ex spouses,  and stepping up relationship with God, who gives us the humility, patience and forgiveness needed to see our families become healthy and life-giving.

I'm thankful for the new ways God brings encouragement and correction into my life. I'm even more thankful that his character remains the same, yesterday, today and forever.  For while new can be stimulating and exciting, it can also be challenging, hurtful and hard to accept. It's then that I appreciate his faithful love and constant help.

What's new with you?

From Ps. 103 (msg)
1-2 O my soul, bless God.
    From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
    don’t forget a single blessing!
3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
    He heals your diseases—every one.
    He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
6-18 God makes everything come out right;
    he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
    opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
    nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
    so strong is his love to those who fear him...

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