Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

a smile on my face

I was looking for a verse on hope today.  The Bible is filled with them.  God is a God of hope.  No matter how difficult life may become, we have hope that God will turn it around.   It is a promise.  Romans 8:28

As God so very often does, He gave me so much more than just one scripture on hope.    For today’s blog I am going to just let the scripture do the talking and thank God again for His Word that breathes freshness into my life.

“Fixing my eyes on God — soon I’ll be praising again.  He puts a smile on my face.  He is my God!!”

A white-tailed deer drinks
    from the creek;
I want to drink God,
    deep draughts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, “Will I ever make it—
    arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I’m on a diet of tears—
    tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long
    people knock at my door,
Pestering,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

These are the things I go over and over,
    emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,
    right out in front,
Leading them all,
    eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
    celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
    everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
    including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
    to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
    crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
    sing songs all through the night!
    My life is God’s prayer.

 Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
    “Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
    harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
    tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.  Psalm 42  MSG

2015 begins tomorrow.  What will it bring?  Whatever comes your way, rest in the hope and promise that God is holding your hand!

new yearIf you have a moment, listen to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman.  It is how I am ending 2014 and starting 2015!!

til next time

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December 31, 2014 Posted by | ministry, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Canyon – living the dream

2 wheels – just God, Curt and me— cruising down the highway — ltd!

Finally we have arrived.  We are less than 20 minutes away from the Grand Canyon.   We are both excited and relieved.   The reality has started to set in.  We really are here. In the morning we will see the Grand Canyon.

We have battled wind, extreme heat, torrential rain, sickness, and yet witnessed first hand God’s deliverance and protection.  There has been mile after mile of beauty, peace, and inspiration.  Truly we are living the dream!

(For Part 2 click here)

One of the things Curt would do every night  is wipe down the bike and look things over.  That night he happened to notice that there was more leakage around our final drive.  This concerned him so he felt he better check the level.  As it turned out he did not have the right tool.   He checked at the local gas station, the maintenance department at the hotel, and with other bikers.  No tool to be found.  No garage to be found.  Now what?

We are 20 minutes away…………… now what?

However, someone told him that there happened to be  a garage right in the Grand Canyon that would work on vehicles.  So we jump on the bike and head to the Grand Canyon.  First stop will be the garage.  He kind of – sort of knows the general direction of the garage.  It soon becomes evident that there are roads going here, there, and everywhere.  It is a huge place.

He decided to pull in and ask directions at the next building we see.  As he is turning into the parking lot I point out the small sign on the back of the building.  GARAGE.  We just happened to drive right to it.  What a way to start our morning.  (Oh and I am a firm believer that things don’t just happen; God is in control and He makes a way.)

It was a very good thing that we had it checked.  The bike was very very low on fluid.  They filled us up and sent us on our way.  How much did that cost us?  Nothing but a hand shake and  a “have a great trip” comment.

Finally, the moment we had been anticipating.

It is breathtaking.   It is all I thought it would be and so much more.

I don’t know what the North Rim is like but I can highly recommend the South Rim.

I bought a picture to frame because I knew my camera just wouldn’t capture the true beauty.  However, my camera does show that we were there 🙂

Absolutely awestruck at the magnitude and beauty of it all.  Much of the trail along the rim is paved.  We did go on some that were a bit more ‘natural’.

There is also a shuttle bus that will take you to points of interest where you can look and then get back on the bus or take the trail to the next point.

We also did go under the Rim. <– You can see the trail.

They warn you to be careful and to remember that going down is much easier than going back up.

Yes, it was everything and more!!  Truly exceeded my expectations!

It was kind of scary as the trail wasn’t as wide –  making the drop offs that much closer.

What a fantastic day we had.  Going under the Rim was the last thing we did.  Probably a good thing because otherwise I would have been tempted to go farther than we did.  As it was, we easily made it back up.

We  took the shuttle bus from the Bright Angel trail back to our bike.  On the way the driver noticed this fella.

On our trip we saw all kinds of wild life – some of it was very up close and personal.  Truly this was not Iowa.

The next morning we took off for Colorado.  I didn’t realize that we would have many opportunities to see the Canyon again as we drove out.

What a wonderful unexpected blessing from God that we were able to enjoy the Grand Canyon that next morning as we began our journey home.

We had over 440 miles to go on this day if we were going to be able to spend the night visiting with a dear ‘old’ friend – who served along side Curt in the Marines.  I knew he really really wanted to get there.  Neither of us realized just how barren Arizona and Utah were going to be.   Not to mention that the temperature was rising!

(the conclusion of our trip will be the next blog)

til next time

September 7, 2012 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

what is your mind set on?

Ever had one of those days? weeks? months? years?

One of the many things I love about serving God is that His peace stills my heart and calms my soul.

Music is one way that this happens.  Music is powerful.  It can either lift you up or keep you down.  I remember as a teen playing a song over and over again as I cried into my pillow over some boy.  The song reinforced my sadness.   It does make a difference what music you listen to.

Lincoln Brewster has a song out that has quickly become my favorite.  In fact, I posted a warning on it when I linked it to my facebook.  WARNING:  DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS SONG IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN MISERABLE!

What a powerful message!

I’m casting my cares aside.  I’m leaving my past behind.  I’m setting my heart and mind on you – Jesus.

Today is a new day.   What I decide to set my heart and mind on will affect the whole day.   I choose to start it out right by casting my cares aside and trusting God.

I’m reaching my hand to Yours.  Believing there’s so much.  Knowing that all You have in store for me is good.  Is good!

Walking hand in hand with Jesus – knowing that He will open up opportunities and go through them with me.  Jeremiah 29:11 — God’s plans are good.

Today is the day you have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Today is the day You have made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Saying that a couple of times, I can just feel the weight lifting.

I won’t worry about tomorrow.  I’m trusting in what You say.  Today is the day.

Worry is destructive.  It can overtake my mind and hinder me from seeing the possibilities.  It attacks my trust.  God is in control.   He will make a way.  I won’t worry!!

I’m putting my fears aside.  I’m leaving my doubts behind.  I’m giving my hopes and dreams to You – Jesus

Fear and doubt are right there with worry.  God says “Trust Me.  I will do more than you can even dream.  Walk with Me.”

I’m reaching my hands to Yours – believing there’s so much more.  Knowing that all You have in store for me is good.  Is good!

When I trust Him, even when the situation seems impossible, He pours into my life the peace that passes my understanding.  He is my ever present help in trouble.  He makes a way where there seems to be no way.

Today is the day You have made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it. Today is the day You have made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.

I won’t worry about tomorrow.  I’m trusting in what You say.  Today is the day!

I will stand upon Your truth.  All my days I’ll live for You!

Truth — Stand on truth!!

Click to hear the song — you will need to click again to hear it on utube.  But remember — if you want to remain miserable then don’t listen.  🙂

til next time

March 2, 2011 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

first ride of the season

April 2nd found hubby washing the bike so that we could ‘venture’ out on my first ride of the season. 

It was wonderful.  It was like welcoming back a long lost friend.  Oh Yamaha Venture, how I have missed you.

Here I am heading down the highway with the wind in my face and nothing to do but sit back and enjoy!   God is good!   Life is good!   It is Spring and the Earth is coming alive all around me.

I am still surprised at how much better the bike rides after our breakdown last year.  (click here to read about it)  Bumps?  What bumps? 

The Mississippi looked pretty cold.  There was quite a wind blowing also.  I was grateful to not be on our old 750.  I do not like leaning into the wind.

We stopped to eat at  a new restaurant.  There were these two elderly ladies who were waitressing.  Now they knew how to hustle, be pleasant  and take care of their stations.  We will be back. 

The food was great!  I had some of the best shrimp I have had in a long time.  The strawberry pie was homemade and delicious.  

Next on to all those shops.

The weather man said we could get rain but not until later tonight.  However, he was wrong.   As we came out of one of the shops, we felt raindrops.   Uh oh, no more shopping.   

We almost made it home without getting wet.  We ran into rain the last 20 minutes of the trip.  Where were my rain pants?  In the side compartment.   It was mighty cold.  Ah, but I’d do it again in a minute.  Hmm, tomorrow??

til next time

April 2, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, motorcycle | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

something has to change

Any of these sound familiar?

Something has got to change!

I don’t know how much longer I can do this?

All I do is work, work, work.

How much more of this can I take?

I don’t have time for me.

Or maybe something a bit more spiritual –

God does not call  His children to burn out.

This is not the abundant life the Bible talks about.

I must be doing something right cuz the devil won’t leave me alone.

Ok, so I have said all of the above at one time or another.  

Long about last April hubby found me starting to use the phrase “Something has got to change”  quite a bit. 

I am all about getting into the solution not wallowing in the problem.  Yet I hadn’t a clue what that solution was, so I found myself wallowing.   Some days were much more difficult than others – pretty much that is how life is.  Good days – not so good days.

I chalked it up to pre-menopausal issues.  It was a viable excuse.  Yet I have heard that this (menopause) can go on for years.  I certainly did not want to  battle such emotional days – at least not in the ineffective way that I found myself dealing with them. 

I began to look at peace very closely.  During my menopausal days it was my peace that was out of whack.  Stress level high – peace level low.

A few months back I begin to entertain the idea of going part-time at work.  It would open up some much needed time.  Yet I didn’t want to give up sick time, holiday pay, etc.   I couldn’t see past the NEED for my income so I brushed it off, gave myself a good pep talk and carried on.

One day at work (happened to be working on my day off)  it was like God removed the blinders to my problem and clarity landed.  Looking back I think He was trying to do that all along, but it didn’t make sense to me and so I would brush it off.   

Finally it became crystal clear that I was working too much.  I am older now (ugh I never thought I’d use such a sentence) but it is true.  So with age should come maturity. You’d think with all this maturity I would remember that God does things His way.

It still did not make sense to me – oh it was clear alright just didn’t work out  on paper.  In fact, it made even less sense because Curt’s salary has been drastically reduced the last 3 months.  My income is needed now more than ever.  Yet, it was crystal clear to me.  A weight had been lifted.   I would talk with doctor about going part-time.

In making that decision many other issues were also settled.  It was kind of like a domino effect.   It can be easy to get out of balance.  For me it is always in the area of ‘doing too much’.    It is true, by the way, God does not want His kids to burn out.

I had my review last week.  It was amazing.   All I can say is that God showed up and handled it.  (I am grateful that I work for a boss who also loves God).  He did ask me to give him one more week as full-time.  That was a hard week because I wanted to shout it from the rafters, but I knew that he needed to be the one to tell my supervisor. 

Today I go to work and he has indeed talked with my supervisor so now it is official.  My first week as a part timer.  Yes, I have been doing a happy dance. 

How will the budget work out?  I don’t know, but I know God and He will make a way.  I guess this is my next step of faith in the journey of life.

til next time

January 25, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Repaint Jesus

Andrew had purchased a painting awhile back at a concert he went to.  One of the things that Curt did while we were up at the cabin was build a frame for it.  It  is a huge-o painting.

It turned out exactly as Andrew had pictured.  As you know that is not always the case.  We can have an idea in our head but sometimes……

Here it is

I have to admit at first I wasn’t sure what I thought of it.   Repaint Jesus?

Then the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. 

Think about the last time you saw a picture of the crucifixion.  I am pretty sure it did not display the true picture of the price that Jesus paid.  The Bible tells us that Jesus was bloody and unrecognizable. 

His love for us was so intense that He paid the highest price to set us free.  It is not something to take for granted.  It is life changing.  When we really begin to understand that it cost Him everything, then we begin to repaint that picture in our head.  The picture of His deep love for us.

I am reminded of that old song…… “How can I say thanks for the things He has done for me.  Things so undeserved, yet He gave to prove  His love for me…  To God be the glory….”

 Here is Andrew with his painting on the wall.  Yes it is that big.   I wish that I had pictures of Curt getting the nails on the wall.  I was too busy holding on to his belt and keeping the chair from moving.  (Andrew is leaning on the door to go downstairs)

Repaint Jesus.  I’d love to hear what you think it means.

til next time

December 5, 2009 Posted by | spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

day at the lake

great winds for sailing The church had its 2nd annual “Day at the Lake” last Saturday.  It was a great day for sailing.

Wind and plenty of it – makes for good sailing.

Although on the first trip out there was a problem (where the rudder mounts to the back of the boat broke).  Not to be detoured, Curt (with the help of John and Brent) came up with something that would work.

missed youCurt brought  his two  boats.  Ed also brought his canoe.  I took pictures from shore.  🙂

big fish

Big fish were caught!!

day at the lake 003 It wasn’t  cold for a few of the kids.  joanne and momHowever, it was a bit too chilly for these ladies.  That is until a heavy warm blanket was found.  That’s my mom on the right.

I’ve already blogged about this picture but I couldn’t write about ‘Day at the Lake’ and not include it.

aug 29 2009

A quiet moment enjoying God’s beauty of nature and friendship.

til next time

September 3, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

not what i expected part 2

Kind of feeling like Paul Harvey about now  —–  and now for the rest of the story….  unlike radio though, if you missed the first part you can check it out   (not what i expected part one)

Choices – do we continue?  Do we call the tow truck?  Do we have friends come get us?   It is a beautiful day.  There is lots of riding to be done yet. shadow

We were back on the road again after finding a place to take a closer look and a few phone calls to a friend.  Praise God for the hospitality of strangers.  Worse case scenario – we would ruin our shock.   There is the possibility that it may already be ruined. 

What neither Curt nor his friend knew was that the modifications done by a previous owner  meant that there was no longer a safety to the rear shock.  

We are going down the highway at 65 when we hit a huge bump that sent Curt and I off the seat of the bike.  After we came down there was a very distinctive change in the sound of the bike.  Curt figured it could be  the highway (it can do that).  When it continued though, he figured we must have jarred something loose. 

We continue going down the highway at 65 until we get to our exit to get back on the River Road.  It is then that I notice something is not quite right.  There really is no wiggle room when you are tooling down the highway.  I tell Curt that he needs to pull over. 

“We are two miles from Galena can you make it that far?” he asks.

Um well I suppose, um no no you need to stop now!!!!

He pulls over and I hop off. calling aaa Black smoke is coming up from the seat.  It is then that I realize my rear is very very hot. 

He looks at the tire and gives me the news I don’t want to hear.

“We are done.  This bike isn’t going anywhere.  There are pieces missing from the tire.  The tire has been rubbing on the rim.”  — the sound that we couldn’t figure out 😦

This was not how  I saw this trip ending.  This was not what I expected. 

Yet we are within walking distance of a place to wash up, get something to drink and wait for the tow truck in the wonderful air conditioning.  

The final leg of the journey from inside a tow truck was not how I envisioned our trip.  Yet it didn’t seem to really matter.  The realization that this could have played out so differently made even all the waiting not a big deal.

It was not what I expected.  It was so much more.  It was another reminder that life is precious. 

Try hard not to take things for granted. 

Enjoy the journey even the bumps that are along the way. 

p.s.  Curt took the bike back to the dealer who sold it to us a year ago.  He has offered to split the cost with us.  Not only will they do the repairs but they will reverse the modification so that this won’t happen again.  In addition, the guy told Curt just today that he also noticed the brake line needed some work and a few other things that he was just going to take care of with no additional cost to us.  Thank you God for favor!!  From what I am told this is nothing short of a miracle.  God is good!!  Not what I expected but so much more!

til next time

August 25, 2009 Posted by | life lessons, motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

not what i expected

Expecting too much or not expecting anything – neither one is a good idea. 

I’d like to think that I have the expectation thing pretty much at a livable level.  That is until I have the rug pulled out from under me.  Ah, but that is another story.

I think that how one handles disappointment says at lot about that person. 

reflectionOur 23rd anniversary was coming up.  We decided to take the cycle and leave after work on Thursday.  We would be home sometime Saturday.

the roadWe decided to do another ‘Great River Road’ trip.  The weather was picture perfect – beyond my expectations.winding road  With each bend in the road came another great view.  Everything was so green and alive.  

the riverI love riding along the river.  It is breath taking.  As I mentioned the weather was wonderful. 

more riverWe drove further up Wisconsin this year than last year.   We crossed over into Minnesota at Winona.  crossing

Yes, this trip was going great!  We even crossed a bridge that has the holes so I could see the water below.  That was a bit another bridgefreaky. I didn’t get a picture of that one.  I was too busy trying to stay calm. 

On Friday night we had hoped to stay at the same motel that we stayed at last year.  However, they were full.

It was really a blessing in disguise.  sunsetIf we would have stayed at the desired destination we would have missed this beautiful sunset over the river.  It was amazing.  Truly it was one of those ‘riding off into the sunset’ moments.

We went back over the river and spent the night at Prairie Du Chen.

  Ball townSaturday we  stopped for lunch at Ball town.  The oldest restaurant in Iowa is in this little tiny town.  This is the second  time they have rebuilt the restaurant in the last few years.   As you can see it is a huge biker attraction. 

curtIt also has a great view.  Last year the clouds were dark and stormy.  Once again picture perfect weather. 

It was here that we noticed that we must have a leak somewhere.  I was getting black stuff on my legs.  This was not part of the plan.

Now what?     to be continued………..

til next time

August 23, 2009 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

justice, mercy, humility

Ever since I can remember I have had a soft spot in my heart for those who are mistreated.   In a perfect world all would be fair.  Ah, but I do not live in a perfect world.

Micah 6:8  “He has shown you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord requires of you.  But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”

…to do justly —  to do the right thing.  It is more than that though.    It is to treat people fairly.   I have heard it said that respect has to be earned.  I understand what is meant by that.  Yet I think that some people use that as an excuse to treat people poorly.   

I think that everyone should be treated decently.   How I treat someone is not a reflection of what type of person they are, but it is a reflection of what type of person I am.  This is more challenging at times.  Yet it is possible to treat people (yes even people who rub you the wrong way) decently.   

….to love mercy —  not getting the punishment that I deserve.  I love mercy! 

 I try to demonstrate  mercy by not being critical,  judgmental, or harsh in my dealings with people.  What is it that I hand out to people?  mercy or judgement??  The tongue can be a powerful weapon used either to build up or to be hurtful.  It can be used to offer mercy or it can be a cruel weapon.    Oh that I would always pick mercy.

…to walk humbly with our God — recognizing that without God I am nothing.  With God I can do all things, but it is not by my ability.  It is by the grace of God.   The opposite of humble would be prideful.  When pride steps in, humility steps out. 

I remember as a kid befriending this girl who was being picked on.  Kids can be so cruel.  As I grew up I learned that adults can be cruel also.  Some people feel the need to make others look bad so that in some warped way they look good.  I could never understand this.  

It does matter how I treat people.  It does matter how I talk about people.  It does matter if I choose to do the right thing or choose to do nothing.  (Unless, of course, nothing should happen to be the right thing for that situation.)  It does matter.

do justly 

love mercy

walk humbly with God

til next time

June 6, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment