Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

not why but what

Sometimes we ask the wrong question.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB)
I know that God will use this event, circumstance, trial, test to make me more like Jesus. – to make you more like Jesus.
Nothing in my life, in your life, is wasted. No effort, no pain, no anxiety, no tears, no discouragement is ever lost in some garbage heap somewhere.
Out of ashes, God will bring beauty. (Isaiah 61:1)
Instead of asking Why? Ask What?
What do you want me to learn as a result of this?
What do you want me to do as a result of this?
What do you want me to become/change as a result of this?
Making me more like His Son will take an eternity. I may not understand or appreciate all that the Master Potter does to transform my life – this lump of clay. (Isaiah 64:8)  It may be painful or confusing at times but I know His intent. He’s already told me and that makes all the difference. (V 29 to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.)
We are the work of His hand!
He will work all things out for our good. He is for us!(Psalm 118:6)
More on Romans 8:28  — click here for hungry lion or here for all things
God said it!  I believe it!
til next time
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October 18, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

i choose

walk by faith

Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless remain that way. Say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.” Max Lucado

When was the last time you actually took time to enjoy the sunrise?  or set?

When you look at flowers/gardens – do you focus on the beauty or  the weeds?

Choices — we get to choose what we focus on.

This year found me again finding new ways to tackle weeds and sadly not very effective ways.  Oh, how we can take for granted the ability to get on our hands and knees.

IMG_20150729_172627_592

My husband gave me this little reminder.  For me, it isn’t just about my gardens.  In my life both beauty and weeds will grow.   What I focus on will affect how I see things and even how I feel.  My garden is not the only thing that is in need of regular weeding.

Today is not a good day for me physically.  It is what it is.  BUT  I still have a choice.  I can let this overtake me. In which case, discouragement is right there.  OR I can make the necessary changes to my schedule and do those things that I know will eventually give me some relief.  I can give in to self-pity or I can walk by faith that even this has a purpose in my life.  (Rom 8:28)  Choices!

Paul said in Corinthians that the even though he begged God to make him well again and remove the thorn – that God’s response was —  “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.”  (2 Cor 12:7-10)   

So today I remind myself again that I am nothing without Jesus.  All of my talent and ability comes from Him.  He is in control of my life and if today finds me changing my plans then I will embrace today in the same way I embrace a day of activity.  This is the day God has made, I will rejoice and be glad.  (Psalm 118:24)

louis a

I see leaves of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you and I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night and I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Whatever the day holds for you, remember you have a choice.  You can trust God that He is an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (Please notice it doesn’t say He will remove all trouble.)  In your weakness He will be strong, if you trust Him and let Him.

I choose joy!

God I look to You.  I won’t be overwhelmed. Give me vision to see things like You do.

God I look to You.  You’re where my help comes from.  Give me wisdom to know You know just what to do.

til next time

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October 13, 2015 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

perspective – gratitude – wonder

live out loud

Some songs are as powerful the 100th time you hear it as it was the first time you heard it.    I hope you  still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.   PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

the Badlands of SD

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”

This year we took our ’83 Yamaha on a Parks Run.  There weren’t any oceans on this trip.  There were lots and lots of mountains, hills and prairies.  I still felt small.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

climbing

thought I was going to have to slide down on my behind but my knight rescued me!

thought I was going to have to slide down on my behind but my knight rescued me!

I did some climbing and found that the Badlands are made up of lots of loose rock.  It was a snap to climb up, but it was getting down where the challenge came in.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

Mt Rushmore

Depending on the angle that you are viewing  the presidents and whether or not you have binoculars – will determine how big they seem.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

in comparison

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.  Never settle for the path of least resistance…….. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance — I hope you dance.” 

I take lots of pictures because pictures are right up there with my most favorite things.  Pictures tell the story.  Keeping things in perspective reduces stress.  Does it really matter?  Is it worth getting frustrated?  In the scope of the next five years – will it even be remembered?    Don’t fear those mountains.

Every time we take a long motorcycle trip, God does a deep work in me.   It is one of the things I love most about our trips.  — 13 days of just me, my hubby and God!  It is the closest thing we seem to get to a sabbatical.

blue skies, green grass and gorgeous scenery

blue skies, green grass and gorgeous scenery

“Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along.  Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone………”

I don’t want to miss out on living because I was too busy to notice.  I have heard it said that “life is what happens while you are making other plans.”   I challenge you to stop, look around you, and really take in the moment.   Allow yourself to be right where you are, not looking ahead to the next thing on the agenda or playing the “I’ll be happy when” game.  This is a flower from my garden that was blooming whether or not I took the time to notice.

look what was hiding

PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!  The flower is now in a vase on my dining room table.

mighty close

 

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”

We had a number of these close encounters with Bison.  He is just out for a stroll.  I have not lost my sense of wonder.  I am ever grateful that he kept strolling.  It certainly put things into perspective.

be careful where you stand

be careful where you stand

There were many signs warning you to stay on the path because the earth was unstable.  There were many places at Yellowstone where I felt small and would just stand quietly in awe and wonder.   What a vast area of land filled with beauty that words or pictures just don’t do it justice.  Our God is so very creative.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

postcard perfect

beautyOn one side you could view the top picture.  The next picture shows the view on the other side.  So many thoughts filled my head as we would walk the trails viewing the upper and lower falls.  I have not lost my sense of wonder.    Have you?

elkLast picture.  This one I had to climb over fallen trees to get to a spot where I could truly capture the beauty.  Sometimes in life there will be  obstacles that  stand in our way.

I received a bracelet from a friend that says “When God guides, God provides.”    He will enable us to conquer the mountains that come along our path.  2 Samuel 2:30 and Psalm 18:29 both say that — For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.    Sounds like taking life by storm and making the most of all that God has for us!!

If you haven’t listened to this song in a while – here it is.  I hope you Dance!

Til next time

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August 3, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, motorcycle, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

in awe

When was the last time you stood in awe as you gazed at something beautiful?

beautyThe Conservatory at Como Zoo surrounds you with beauty.  Yet beauty is not just reserved for greenhouses.

 Creation sings praises to God.  Beauty is there for the beholder.  Are we too busy?  Do we just hurry past?

How long has it been since you took even a moment to allow your mind to grasp the wonder of  our Creator?   Or have you subconsciously tucked God away in a tidy box?   Is God reduced to one hour on Sunday?

Have you lost sight of the enormity of our God?  He is Omnipresent — everywhere.  He is Omniscient — all-knowing.   AND He is absolutely in love with you!

I am grateful for our opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon.  It was easy to be overcome with awe and wonder as I stood on the rim of such vastness.

on top of the worldIt was the same way this past summer as we took our beach run.  Yes, I still felt small as I stood beside the ocean.  What magnitude!  What power!

Atlantic beach

What a reminder to me that I am alive to live a life of purpose on purpose!

No matter what is going on the waves continue to roll.  The tide comes in and the tide goes out.  The ocean is doing exactly what it was created to do.  Mankind was created in the image of God.   (Genesis 1:27)  God has a plan and purpose for each of us.  (Jeremiah 29:11)  That plan is bigger and better than anything we could come up with.    No matter what is going on, I choose to keep following God, keep moving forward, keep growing, keep loving, and to keep on keeping on.

But I cannot just pop over to the Grand Canyon.  The ocean does not border Iowa.  My flowers do not come close to the flowers at Como Zoo.  Yet each day I can choose to be in awe of the wonder of my God.  His creativity is evident all around me.   I am learning to cultivate an awareness of His presence.  You can too.

my patio

my patio

married to my best friend

married to my best friend

always something to laugh about

always something to laugh about

having fun

having fun

life is too short to not enjoy it

make memories

beauty right in my living room

beauty right in my living room

finding the hidden beauty

finding the hidden beauty

time in the Word opens my eyes to wonder

time in the Word opens my eyes to wonder

   Romans 11:33-36 (Amplified Bible)

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)!  And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!

 For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has [ever] been His counselor?

Or who has first given God anything that he might be paid back or that he could claim a recompense?

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).

I hope that you too will choose to be in awe of the wonders of God.  I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things.  Yes, that causes me to want to shout and dance.

til next time.

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November 4, 2013 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

is it a bridge or a tunnel?

One of the seven engineering wonders of the Modern World  is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  We hadn’t planned on traveling over it.  Frankly I didn’t even know about it until we walked into a tourist trap (souvenir shop) and I saw a post card of it.

We had already experienced the under water tunnel on our way to the beach but this was a 17 mile bridge with 2 sections of tunnels.  We were so close that we decided to take the extra hour and check it out.  While an hour seems like no big deal, when you are traveling by motorcycle an hour can be the difference between making your next destination comfortably or enduring the last 60 miles.

17 miles

17 miles across the Bay

up ahead is the tunnel

up ahead is the tunnel

It was quite windy that day but what a view.  After a few miles out I look around and land is nowhere to be seen.  Then comes the tunnel.

here we go Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel

here we go
Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel

The two bridges merge together and reduce down to two lanes.  Initially you can’t see the end of the tunnel.  Pretty amazing.

tunnel under the water

under the water

 

3 miles in there is a restaurant and gift shop

3 miles in there is a restaurant and gift shop

Before leaving the Virginia Beach area we also went to Fort Story and climbed the old lighthouse.

this lighthouse replaced the old one

this lighthouse replaced the old one

beach run 2013 088

I love lighthouses and was very excited about climbing to the top.  Little did I think about my space issues.  Thanks to a patience and wonderful husband I made it to the top and down again.

at the top - with the working lighthouse in the back ground

at the top – with the working lighthouse in the back ground

a ladder at the top

only way to the very top is by ladder

lots of stairs

lots of stairs

going down

going down

Whether out in the middle of the water or high up at the top of a lighthouse God’s beauty is breathtaking.

til next time

June 12, 2013 Posted by | motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

i’d rather laugh

Black Friday, to some,  is a day to stay away from any and all stores.   Not us!

We (my sister, niece, daughter, and I) were up before the dawn.

That is    O’dark thirty to some.

Coffee or energy drink in hand – whichever was the beverage of choice and away we go.

This year was the first year that mom was unable to go with us.  😦  I tried not to give that a lot of thought.   This day was about fun and laughter!

The traditional breakfast at McD’s.

By this time we have already done what seemed like a days worth of shopping.

We had to make a pit stop at the house because the back-end of the vehicle could hold no more bags!

This was a first for us.

Although I did manage to stay in budget.

(Maybe I should mention that 4 rather large bed pillows were  purchased. LOL)

Here we are taking a break.

Black Friday is all about doing the unusual!

Matching socks and bracelets = lots of laughter and a little snickering from Curt.

So Galina decided to throw something at him.

She didn’t realize just how great a shot she was!

Priceless!

This, in turn, brought about yet another round of laughter!!

God knew we could all use a day of laughter and certainly that is what it was.  No doctor visits, no thoughts of doctor visits, just pure joy with people we love. 

We ended the day with pizza at Curt’s sisters.

A ‘friendly’ game of dominos?

With this tribe I use the word ‘friendly’ loosely.  Ah, but as you can see it was filled with laughter!

Now we are quickly approaching the Christmas season.   May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance!!  (Jude 2)

til next time

December 8, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, relationships | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

do people want what you have?

As Christians, we are called to let the light of Christ shine through us.

This old saying is still true today.  We may be the only Bible some will ever read.

What are they reading when they look at my life?

Do people want what I have?

I’ve given a lot of thought lately to those two questions.

We were at the zoo the other day.  We had no idea what was about to happen.

Curt was bombarded by a bunch of birds.  They wanted what he had.

He had a small cup of nectar but, as you can see there were many birds descending on him.

I also was there.  Yet, not one bird came to see me.  Oh this was a really good thing!! 

However, it does  show that I did not have what they were looking for.  I was not given a second glance.

I get a kick out of the one on his head.  Clearly he is not eating but, he wants to be a part of things.

Here are a few more pics.  It was so much fun.  Curt was a great sport about the whole thing.  What a guy!!

Yes, that bird is chewing on his ear.  Poor Curt, he did not have a free hand to brush him off.  I was too busy laughing and was not going to get close enough to brush him off.

Time for the other ear to be chewed on!!

As ministers,  we are pretty much living our lives in a fishbowl.  Yet don’t think for a moment that people aren’t watching how you handle things.  They are looking to see if there is truth to God so loved the world that He gave.

Do people want what you have?

What do people see when they look at your life?

til next time

September 19, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

heading down the highway

Last week Curt and I hopped on the bike and headed south.  We weren’t sure where exactly we would end up, how far south we would go,  or what the weather was going to do.  We just knew that we were going. 

We did have reservations for the last night – close to home.  (Thanks to our church family and the overnight accommodations for Pastor’s wife appreciation!!) 

Earlier in the month I didn’t think we were going to take this trip.  We had planned it for months but then we moved mom down to an assisted living place in town and it was iffy as to whether we were going.  Life was already way to full and then let’s just add mom to the mix.  Oh, I love having her close but it does come with a price.

 However, it became really apparent to me that a break was  needed.  Something is just wrong when the pastor’s wife/pastor wants to ‘slap’ somebody.  

I normally can tolerate an enormous amount of other people’s ‘junk’ – (misbehavior, pettiness, selfishness, rudeness, ugliness — you get my drift?)  Really it doesn’t wear on me like it does some (most) people.   I have been blessed with a gift from God that I don’t take for granted.  Grace and Mercy are normally quite evident in my dealings with others.  I really do care about the people who come across my path and I do want to help them.  When I realized that this was changing, I knew it was time to get away and regroup.  

In the past we have always headed north up the Great River Road.  This time we went south. 

The Mississippi was breathtaking.   It was/is the best therapy. 

Mile after mile of beauty. Even when the river wasn’t close, the scenery was still great.  Nothing like wide open spaces and sunshine.  Yes, we did get rained on too.  What’s a motorcycle trip without some rain??

 Lots of little towns along the way.  We tried to follow the Great River Road but ran into a few road blocks and it wasn’t always well-marked.  However, when you don’t have a destination, then it is all good. 

We went as far south as Hannibal MO.  We took time to explore the Mark Twain caves.  Not only was it wonderfully cool in there but it was well worth the time and money.

It does make me want to read the book again. 

We stopped at Sturgis  on the River.  All I can say is –Wow!  

While there I got invited to become a part of the Roller Derby.  What a crack up!  Me?? A roller derby babe. 

It is a particularly scary feeling to be on a motorcycle while the town’s weather sirens are going off.  This happened not once but twice to us on this trip.  Both times we almost made it without getting wet.  If it wouldn’t have been for those red lights……….

It was nothing for the day to start out beautiful, temperatures to reach 90’s and then rain to roll in.

Ah, but here is Curt waiting for me so that we can head home –  another gorgeous morning. 

Yes, I do think I was born to ride. 

til next time

June 26, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

wedding

I have a daughter!   I am way excited that it is official.  She actually became my daughter (in my heart) months ago.

Top left is the best man (Chris’ twin) and the maid of honor (Galina’s sister)

Bottom right is  me and my baby boy.  We had a nice long walk to the front.  I enjoyed every minute of it.

Curt was honored to perform the ceremony.  It isn’t every day that you get to address the groom as ‘Son’.  It also isn’t every day that you get to be the first to introduce Mr and Mrs.


A picture perfect day!!

The brothers!!

The beauty of nature provided a wonderful background for pictures.

A most fitting cake topper.

All in all, it was a great day.  My sister was able to pick my mother up from the rehab center.  Mom is doing better and will be released this next week.  She still needs 24 supervision and I haven’t a clue what we are going to do.  I wish that I would not have had to deal with any of that during this most special week but we don’t live in a perfect world.    I’d love to say that I stayed on my food plan and continued to abstain from all forms of soda, but only in  a perfect world.

It is what it is!!!!

til next time

May 20, 2010 Posted by | dementia, relationships, twins, weight loss | , , , , , , , | 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