Saturday, April 8, 2017

God Works ~ So Does Prayer

P.S.  Another late arrival on the blog page that was languishing in my Drafts Folder.  However, it's still timely because prayer is always, well, fitting!  


Do you think God is at work in your life?   Have you ever felt His hand on your shoulder or His breath on your cheek?  

I *know* that God is working in my life.   This weekend was another example of the awesome way He works in our lives and answers our prayers.

We’re making plans to move back to the Midwest which means selling our home in WV.

Monday last week, the realtor came over and we signed on to have him sell our house.   Tuesday he came to take pictures.  Thursday our house went "live" on the MLS.  

Between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, we had FIVE showings of our home.   And Sunday evening, the realtor came over to present FOUR offers that came POURING in.

There have been other times in our life ~ life-changing times, head scratching times ~ when we have turned it over to Him, and all we can do is just sit back in slack-jawed, open-mouthed amazement at the way God works these things out.  

Years ago we were contemplating a move from Washington (the state) to Wisconsin.   We prayed with the children the night before we flew out for hubby's interview, "Please God, let us know in a big way if this is the thing you want us to do."  

I read something recently about miracles.  Jesus did miracles for people who had problems.  Who came to Him for help.  Who trusted that He would help them.  He didn't do miracles for the boastful or the arrogant or the unbelievers.  

Within a two-hour window, my hub was offered the job { boom! } AND our offer on a home was accepted { Boom! } AND our home back in Spokane had not one but TWO offers ABOVE our asking price.   { BooM! }  

He was letting us know in an undeniably BIG WAY:  Yes, this is what I want you to do!  He said--and meant it--"I will be with you."

It STILL blows my mind, "Look what God is doing in our lives," gives me goose bumps, makes shivers go up and down my spine.

Think about it.  The God who created the entire UNIVERSE (!!!) can and will take an active role in >>your<< life.   You.  The girl you see in the mirror every morning.  

There are three answers to our prayers: { YES! } and { No. } and { Not now, dear one. }  

We don't always get the answer we (think we) want.   That doesn't mean God isn't listening.   I assure you, that's not true.  He listens and He hears every time we pray.  Every word we say.  Even when we're so confused we can't string two sensible syllables together.   The groanings of a believer's heart--He totally gets that.

Sometimes the { No } ends up being the best thing that ever happened in your life.  Doesn't look that way to begin with, but that's where TRUST comes in.    You don't see the whole picture the way God does.

When we got married, I looked forward to having babies—expected it would be no time at all till we had a full quiver.   I prayed fervently to get pregnant with a baby girl.  I was pretty specific; I had this vision of pink frills & ruffles & lace.   (Remember I grew up with five brothers—so didn’t have much pink frilly stuff growing up!)  

After five years and no babies we decided to adopt waiting foster children.   Two boys (ages 10 & 11) joined our family.  We had one day to prepare for their arrival.  We were by then exploring what might be preventing us from getting preggers—but nothing showed up on any of the tests.  Three years later we added two more children (boy 9, girl 6) and were very happy with our growing family.  

Our oldest son once asked how old Mom & Dad would be when the youngest graduated from high school, so we figured it out:  42 & 43 years old.  Hmmm.   We joked that we’d sell the house & all our belongings and buy a motorhome & travel the country.  Our daughter would graduate in 2000, and we’d be footloose & fancy-free.   Sounded like fun.

Just a few months later, I found out I was pregnant—the same day that I was offered a teaching job in northwestern Montana.  What?!  And they wanted me to be head-coach of the high school girls’ volleyball team.  Are you kidding? 

I turned down the job, because I couldn’t imagine all that AND a new baby.  A few days later I had a miscarriage.  My heart was broken, devastated beyond words but after all those years of waiting I was THRILLED that I had FINALLY gotten pregnant!  A glimmer of hope!   

My mother-in-law encouraged me to contact the school to find out if the job was still available.  It was—we moved (again) and boy-oh-boy, that first year of teaching and coaching was incredible.   Summer vacation came along, and almost to the day—found out I was pregnant again!  Incredible. 

This time I prayed for a healthy pregnancy and secretly hoped for a baby girl, so I was briefly disappointed when I saw the ultrasound—but then rejoiced to see my son wiggling around joyously!   Oh the love, the love, the love!  

He brought so much delight to our lives, and when he was only 13 months old, I found out I was preggers again—no kidding.  A decade of barrenness and suddenly I was pregnant a THIRD time—unbelievable.   Anyone who knew me and how much I longed for a little girl was surprised when I told them I now wanted another little boy so they could be buddies the way my five brothers are friends.   And what a wonder, God answered that prayer!

Our little boys were four and six years old when I got pregnant again.   When anyone asked me what I wanted—boy or girl—I told them I wanted a healthy human baby, no kittens or puppies, just a healthy baby.   So what a wonder and blessing when our daughter was born.

The bossy, know-it-all “prayers” from 17 years earlier were NOW answered.   And then I realized what a BLESSING it was that God did NOT listen to me when I was ordering Him around.  

He knew—all those years earlier—that there would come a time in my life when I would be going through ovarian cancer and would need a lovely daughter by my side, to give me back rubs and friendship, to be my joy and delight.  

If God had listened to me, my daughter would’ve long before been gone from home.  Instead here she was—at JUST the right time—just as God knew all along.

When I reflected on God’s “long-range planning” done on my behalf, I was humbled and ashamed of my bullying and selfishness.   And amazed, too!  Once again—AGAIN!—I am a witness to God working everything out.  What once looked like a { No } was simply my Abba saying { not right now, Dear Deb }.  

It is a challenge at times, when we are faced with difficulties or sorrow, to see the actual blessing that may be a ways off, distant, or even “not on the horizon” . . . but IF we say we believe God when He says “your times are in My hands”, then we must TRUST in His timing.

The other half of this whole issue is believing that even in bad times, there is some good that will be worked.  Our whole thinking is very self-centered, that if we don’t get what we want, (1) God isn’t listening, (2) God isn’t very smart, (3) God doesn’t care, (4) then I’ll do my own thing outside of God’s will for me.  And when we do THAT, then we whine & moan when consequences roll over us and our families.  

My advice:  wait on God’s plan.  He DOES have a plan—better than your frail little human mind can conceive, dear friend.  Way better!  

If you're not feeling God's hand on your shoulder, perhaps it's time to review the path you're on.  How far away have you wandered?   If you think God is silent, maybe you're ignoring His answer.    Could it be that you're wresting control from Him thinking you know better than He what's right? 

"For I know the plans I have for you--
plans to prosper you and not to harm you
plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon Me
and come & pray to Me,
and I will listen to you.
You will seek Me and find Me
when you seek Me with all your heart.
I will be found by you," declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV

Reflect on the course of events in your life.  Develop a thankful attitude even when things appear to be out-of-control and sorrow knocks at your door.  Live what you believe.  

QUESTION:  How has God answered your prayers?

You might enjoy these somewhat related (and entertaining) posts:

Plans?  God Has One!                       Save the Towels!  Save the Dishes!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Losing + Eating = Healthy

P.S.  Apparently I never published this article, I just found it in my blog DRAFTS folder.  I know, I know!  A bit dated, because we're nicely settled in our new-to-us home in Minnesota now--I wrote this while we were in the throes of moving from West Virginia in mid-2014.  The info is timeless so is still helpful!


I started off this year by winning a "biggest loser" contest with some other homeschooling moms (whoohooo!  I lost 12 pounds!!).

So, I was pumped to keep up my losing streak.  If you know what I mean.   Unfortunately winter weather and cold temps kind of hampered my exercising efforts.   As my attempts at getting out and walking fell off, my willpower kind of faded away, too.    And with that fading, pounds re-appeared.   No longer lost, but found.  And not in a good way.   Accccch!

So.  Here I am { one-third of the way through summer and } staring at this flubbery belly of mine and disgusted with myself and how quickly I fell back to my old habits.  

On top of this in-active lifestyle, my schedule changed AND we're staring straight into the barrel of "moving" cross-country (again!).   I guess if you're going to mess things up, that's one way to do it!   

Moving (again!) means I'm doing another decluttering sweep through every crevice and closet in our home.  I've already weeded through my cookbooks (oh no!), but this morning I tackled my recipe files.  This is where I file magazine-clipped recipes.  I came across a few treasures during this "exercise" which really tie into my DETERMINATION to get back to my healthier choices for eating and exercise.

So, permit me to share these little treasures.   I don't know about you, but I need these kind of reminders at eye-level (on the fridge) where I/eye can't miss seeing them and being REMINDED (daily or hourly) when I go foraging!  

I'm putting this in the "Printable" tab up top ^^ for your use and linking it right >> here << .   { If I could figure out how to make an Excel worksheet into an image I'd insert it--and I just might do that (check the bottom of this article for updates). }  Anyway---I might not leave it posted forever, so print or save it now while you have the time/chance.    Feel free to share and use whenever you go shopping!   

The first ten foods on the list are considered to be the Top 10 Healthiest Foods*.  They are or may have/be . . .  

  • good/excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients 
  • high in phytonutrients & anti-oxidant compounds (Vit A & E & beta carotene)
  • low in calorie density = larger portion/fewer calories
  • readily available
  • help reduce the risk of heart disease and other health conditions
*this info came from our health insurer's monthly newsletter (circa 2009) - remember I mentioned I clip magazine articles?  Franciscan-Skemp Hospital, La Crosse WI

The second part of the list includes seasonings or sauces that help to jump-start your metabolism--so don't forget to spice things up a bit!  That list came from our Biggest Loser group facilitator.

Then you'll find the "Healthy Eating Shopping List."  Cut this part off and laminate it to keep with your shopping coupons as a REMINDER of what to put in your shopping cart--prevent last minute shopping brain strain!   I compiled this list over several years and from sources that are lost to the mists of antiquity!   

Last but not least ... some words of wisdom about "food" from the ultimate source of wisdom: God's Word.   These are all from the Old Testament book of Proverbs.   

[S]he who works [her] land 
will have abundant food. 

Do not love sleep 
or you will grow poor;
stay awake 
and you will have food to spare!

In the house of the wise 
are stores of choice food and oil.

[The wife of noble character] 
brings her food from afar...
She gets up while it is still dark
and provides food for her family.
31: 14 & 15

If you loved this article ... you might also like these:

Apples & Dip      Challenging Yourself

Are you a Titus Two Friend? 
Deb Hofland is a Christian wife of many years 
and a mother to seven ... laughing at the days to come! 
 She loves encouraging young women and 
sharing her love for the Lord.

 When she's not writing Titus Two Friends blog articles, 
you'll find her quilting, crocheting, sketching 
or dabbling with flowers and photography.  

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