My Prayer, God’s Will

It’s been such a long time since I blogged last. I’m not sure why. Maybe I had nothing to say, maybe I had something to say, just didn’t know how to say it. I don’t know. So I thought I would write something now. I feel compelled, just not sure what I’m to write about.
I’ll start with the new small group I’m in. It’s sponsored by the ELCA Nebraska Synod offices. “Drinking From the Well”. The small group is about learning how to pray, and how to hear God in those prayers.
If you are anything like me, you will understand what I’m about to say. I don’t really know how to pray or how to hear God in the mist of my prayers.
I prayed for many things over the years. I prayed for ponies, games and toys. I’ve prayed for winning lottery number, and finding that long lost relative has left me more money than I could ever know what to do with. Hey you may even now him, I believe he’s a Prince in another country.  I’ve since  grown up and learned to pray for friends who suffered losses, as well as prayers for celebrations.  However, even with that, I never heard God. In fact most times, I feel like my own prayers were never answered.
For example, I didn’t want to leave my home in 2011 and move to a seminary campus. I loved where I lived, loved my job, and my friends. However, that prayer fell on deaf ears. While on campus, I prayed for help in getting things paid for and even finding friends. Well God provided me a friend or two, but the money wasn’t rolling in. I prayed for a first call, in an area that I could be happy in. Guess what, that didn’t happen either. In fact first call for us, was not where we belonged. So back to praying some more. Yes, we finally found a place to call home.
Wait, did God just answer one or two of my prayers? Maybe, maybe not.
Now, I’m feeling a little lost these days. I’m wondering trying to see those second set of footprints, letting me know that God is there. My prayers continue to change, yet I’m still not able to hear what it is God wants me to do, or where I’m supposed to go, if anywhere.
I don’t even know what my spiritual gifts are. You know the gifts God gave us, to use for His purpose. I’m not talking about being an athlete, or famous writer or anything like that. I’m talking the gifts God has placed within me to serve the church, the body of Christ.
I even get angry when I think of the people who say, their answer came from the bible. They were struggling, and then bam,  the bible was open and the passage they needed was right there. I can honestly say, that has never happened to me.
I’ve heard people tell me God didn’t answer your prayer because (insert whatever here). Or God has a better plan for you. For me those are not comforting words. I know it sounds strange and you’re probably wondering why I say that.
Well here’s my biggest reason…God’s plan for all of us still involves humans. It still involves free will, and decision making. In today’s world you can’t just think you will get the winning lottery numbers sent to you from God. Really the Divine doesn’t work that way. You can’t land that perfect job, because there is no perfect job. You’ll never own your dream house or car or any other materialistic thing you can think and hope for. Why ?You know, humans are never satisfied, we always want more.
So how do we know if it’s God talking or us just wanting? How do we know if its God will for us, or we just want it so bad, we see things that aren’t there?
So how do I find out? How do I pray and hear what I’m supposed to hear? I don’t know, but I do know this;
Philippians 4:6-7The Voice (VOICE)
6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. 7 And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

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Stephen Ministries….What’s That?

Have you ever had a time in your life, when you felt like the world was against you?  Maybe you lost a job, went through a divorce, lost a parent, became an empty nester or just felt like nothing was right in your life.

I have seen a counselor in my day. There is nothing wrong with that.  We all need a specialist sometimes.  Seminary was a big one for sure. I’ve even had to go on antidepressants, until I could get my life straightened out.  That was okay too.  However, sometimes, our care doesn’t warrant that type of assistance.

I know I have felt that way. You have close friends and family, but you can tell, they might be getting tired of hearing about your problems. Or they are constantly offering advice.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  “It’s been six months, time to move on.”  “You did your best, it’s in the past.”  “I’ve got a friend I’d like you to meet.”  Or the dreaded, “God has a plan in all this.”  I want to offer this little nugget; “XXXXX is living because Christ has given her a gift and a faith to survive. Her perseverance is nothing short of a miracle. I have been blessed to have her in my life. Such a will to go on. She has taught me in the time I have gotten to know her that if you believe in Christ, he will care for you.”

The last statement, which is taken from a Facebook post recently, makes it sound as if, those who die, died because their faith wasn’t good enough.  Or maybe my own faith wasn’t good enough. So, therefore, things that happen are because I am not faithful enough.

My Goodness, I don’t think that’s what the good Lord was thinking.  Do we forget to ask God for help or thank God for good and bad times?  Yes we do. We are human.  However that doesn’t mean that out faith; or my faith isn’t “good enough”.

With all that being said, this is where I would like to introduce you to the Stephen Ministry.  The lay-person who takes on this role, doesn’t pass judgement, make “wacky” statements, tell you to “Suck it up”, “get over it”, or “move on”.  The Stephen Minister will walk with you for as long as you need them.  They pray with you and listen to you.

These people go through 50 hours of training on how to listen, not gossip or pass advice. They listen and pray with you, help you sort out what you’re feeling.  They are trained to know when they can no longer handle the situation, and when to refer you to the professionals.  They are held to a very high standard of confidentiality too!  Can you honestly say that about others in your life?  Maybe you can, and if so you’re a very lucky person.  Will that same person get “tired” of your “whining” and break confidentiality?  You know that friend may need to talk to someone too. They might even whine and complain about you.

Stephen Ministers meet with Supervisors who help them walk through how they are helping you. Names and specifics are not shared at any time either. They meet so they can make sure they don’t tell you those things you don’t need or want to hear. They check in to make sure they are not crossing a line, or  setting inappropriate boundaries. What’s even nicer, is that women are paired with women and men with men.

I wanted to be a Stephen Minister, when I heard about the program a few years back. I truly believed I was being called to be a Stephen Minister. I just couldn’t find a congregation with a program after we moved.  Nor was I able to provide the commitment they were looking for, when I did find one.

Now that we are in a new congregation, there is a new opportunity to introduce Stephen Ministries to our congregation and the surrounding community.

Although very overwhelmed in the beginning, I believe I am not called to be a Stephen Minister. I am called to be a Stephen Minister Leader.  50 hours of intense training myself, with a group of close to 400 people all there for one purpose. Different denominations that just want to care for the people, in a Christ like manor. The way Jesus tried to take care of the people.  I like the idea that Stephen Ministers are like Jesus with skin on.  No they cannot do miracles, they are not Jesus. They are people who are just there for you.

They do however share of love of God, and treating people in a caring and loving way. Galatians 6:1-3 says it best:

The Voice (VOICE)

6 My spiritual brothers and sisters, if one of our faithful has fallen into a trap and is snared by sin, don’t stand idle and watch his demise. Gently restore him, being careful not to step into your own snare. 2 Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. 3 Don’t take this opportunity to think you are better than those who slip because you aren’t; then you become the fool and deceive even yourself.


If you are interested in more information about the Stephen Ministry, you will find the web address below.  There may even be Stephen Ministers in your congregation or community. If not maybe you can speak with your church leaders and start a Stephen Ministry program.  If you have questions, please ask me.

Stephen Ministry:  Christ Caring For People, Through People.

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NRSV).

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Rosemary Essential Oil and Monday Mornings!

Ah the aroma of Rosemary! What a pleasant scent it has, while we cook our roasts and sauces. I knew Grandma’s Sunday dinner was going to be amazing when I was a kid.  As an adult, I learned to use rosemary in many different things. Now that I use essential oils, I’ve discovered new ways to incorporate the health benefits of Rosemary, without having to cook a meal.

I have learned about so many of the great benefits that essential oils can have on your life.  I have seen the personal benefits in my own everyday life.

Now, again I want to stress, essential oils cannot cure illness, or should not replace medication prescribed by your doctor.  The FDA has not approved any statements of how essential oils can work for you.  These are all my own personal experiences with the oils, and of those I know who use essential oils in their daily life.  With all that said, let’s get back to talking about Rosemary essential oil.

Monday mornings, are always my sluggish day.  It just seems so difficult to wake up on Monday morning.  I personally grab my cup of coffee and sit at my desk to begin my day.  Surprisingly coffee is not the “wake up” magic I had hoped it would be.  Oh I love the taste of my coffee in the morning, but my morning blast comes from Rosemary essential oil.

Yes you heard that correctly.  Diffusing Rosemary oil, gives me a much better “bang” in the morning, then any coffee or caffeinated beverage.  Caffeine we all know is not good for us. If we can find better ways to “wake up” in the morning, that would be so much better for our overall heath.

Rosemary has been shown to have properties that help with healthy digestion, respiratory functions, and helps to reduce nervous tension and fatigue.

I use Rosemary in my diffuser.  I add just a few drops of  oil to the water and  turn the diffuser on. The scent of Rosemary covers my office. Add a little sunshine to the mix and suddenly, I feel like I can make it through the day! Since Rosemary has been known to relive tension too, my work day goes by so much smoother.

I really recommend you start diffusing that Rosemary.  If you don’t know where to get Rosemary essential oil, let me know, I can help you with that.  If you want it for the whole sale price, I can help you with that too!  Any diffuser can work, just pick one that you like and start diffusing today!

After you try the Rosemary, let me know on my Facebook page or here on my blog, what you like about Rosemary essential oil.

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Breaking the Addiction Coco-Cola Day 30

I cannot believe it has been 30 days since I had my favorite beverage, Coca-Cola.  Think about that for just a moment, 30 days.  A 24 case of pop, runs in my area around $8.99 plus tax.  Sometimes you get the sale price.  Paying full price weekly means, I have saved $35.96, give or take a little depending on sales etc.  That’s also 96 cans of pop in a given month.  Each can has 140 calories in it, which comes out to 13,440 calories consumed in a month.  That is of course if my math is right.  13,440 calories in 30 days. 

With that being said, you would think I would weigh less then I do. I have lost 11 pounds, put back on 6. Lost 4 pounds and put back on 2.  Due to many excuses, I’m back up a total of 6 pounds.  I did stop working out, or didn’t work out as much as I had been.  My calories have been decreased greatly, but I’m not moving. So that means I got to get my butt moving again.

As I reflect over the last 30 days, I cannot help but wonder how real addicts do this? I felt like I was “deprived”, missing something, feelings of unfair treatment, and trying to convince myself that I really “needed” that pop/soda.  Yikes, how must a real addict feel?

I have to be honest and say, I don’t sleep any differently, I’m still always tired and I still miss drinking it.  I will also be honest and say, I no longer get heart burn, or acid re-flux in the middle of the night.  Sometimes the acid would burn my throat so bad, it made me cough and want to throw up.  Happily those nights are mostly  gone.

I fell like, I can make better choices when it comes to picking a beverage through out the day and with meals.  Most of the time it’s water. I still drink coffee in the morning, sometimes tea, and always at least one glass of milk. However, I drink more water now than I ever have. I have started allowing myself to have “fizzy” water.  I purchase Dasani flavored water, zero calories no artificial sweeteners. A eight pack of that is way more expense than a 24 pack of coke, but healthier option. I’m really liking the berry flavor and pineapple flavor. When we were treated to dinner out, I did order unsweetened ice tea, big step since I always order coke.  Another time I opted for a sprarkle lemonade, yes that had sugars in it, I know.

My new goal is this.  If I can make it to my birthday that will be 60 days of being free of the pop/soda.  I’m thinking of allowing myself, just one, as a treat.  Yes, I said allowing myself.  I’m not looking for people to tell me how bad it is for me, and I should stop drinking it all together.  This is my treat!  Now, if this treat, turns into a problem, then I will quit drinking it again.

After this experience I give with my whole heart and soul credit to anyone who has broken a more serious addiction and has changed their life!  You need to know you are a strong person and we can all learn from you.  Addictions of any kind are heard to break, no matter if it’s sugar, smoking, abuse, drugs, or alcohol or any other addiction you can imagine.  It is not easy and a daily fight, “for just one”.

What addiction do you think you should break?  We all have them. Be honest with yourself and make the change.  You will be happy you did.

1 Corinthians 6:12-1312 I can hear some of you saying, “For me, all things are permitted.” But face the facts: all things are not beneficial. So you say, “For me, all things are permitted.” Here’s my response: I will not allow anything to control me. 13 Another chimes in: “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.” I suppose so, but a day will come when God will dispense with both food and the stomach. (The Voice Translation)

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Breaking the Addiction Coco-Cola Day 15

Tuesday 02/28/2017.

Today is the start of day 15 of not drinking my most favorite beverage.

I know I said I would write something every day, however, reality is, it  gets boring to read the same thing over and over.  You know day 1 made it, day 2 still not drinking, day 3…..and the story goes on.

So I figured it was okay now to catch you up.

As I mentioned earlier, I have not had a pop since February 15th.  I had many emotions that have come through my thought process since starting this.  I experienced real withdrawal.  I didn’t really suffer any headaches; I believe that was because in the beginning I did drink my coffee.  I also have had tea.  Both which can offer you that caffeine boost.   I did crave the fuzzy carbonization.

I believe I experienced some crankiness brought on by the fact that I’m being told I cannot have something, even if it’s me  saying it.  I have lost some weight, but I started an exercise program mid-December and started watching my food intake.  So I contribute the loss to all those things combined with not drinking the pop/soda.

I do not see “Coke” as an evil drink, or something I should never have. I think it’s okay as a treat, like any other treat. Think about it, if you eat cake, cookies and ice cream every day, you will have a weight issue.  If you eat chips and dip, fried foods and greasy burgers, you will have a weight issue. It’s not rocket science.  Anything in moderation is okay, it’s learning what moderation means.

I believe our country has an obesity problem, brought on by consumerism and laziness.  I know I can hear you saying, you’re not lazy.  I didn’t think I was either. Heck look at how busy our schedule is right? Well guess what, you may be busy with errands, and taking kids to practices and working 8 or more hours a day, but you’re not busy in your movement.

In the early days, you had to farm your own fields, grow your own crops, raise your own meat, and until modern technology came in, you had to wash your clothes on a rock in the stream.  People got up at sunrise, went down at sun down.

Today we get very little sleep, sit and watch TV, make a quick trip to the store sometimes, but more often than not we grab something from the fast food joint. We don’t “work” for our food.  We aren’t clearing the fields, feeding the stock, cleaning the barn or shucking the hay.   We drive to every location, sit at a desk; sit on the easy chair at home, and again on the bleachers at our kids competitions etc.  You see where I’m going with this.   We lack movement!

Now, we also have learned to genetically modify foods to produce more, that I’m sure isn’t helpful either.  As well as adding preservatives to make things last longer, who know’ s what effect all the chemicals do. However I’m sure that’s why we have all the medical conditions we have  too such as, cancer, diabetes, heart issues, the list is endless.  We are helping people live longer than the early days, but I’m not so sure it’s “healthy” living.

I’m not here to preach to you on being healthy, Lord know’s I need help in that area too.  I am here to tell you, you are strong enough to kick your unhealthy habits. The key is surrounding yourself with support and loving people who stand by what you’re doing!   Surround yourself with those who will encourage you on the hard days, and even not so hard days.  You also have to be able to forgive yourself.  What??? Forgive myself???  Yes, forgive yourself.  We are not perfect. We are flawed and designed to fail.  It’s up to us to determine how to use those failures to move forward.  I also put my trust in GOD and pray through the hard times.  It may not make them easier, and they still happen, but when I look back, it gives me encouragement to keep moving forward.

Philippians 4:6:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  (NIV Translation)


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Breaking the Addiction: Coco-Cola Day 4,5,6

Friday 02/17/2017

I’ve made it through day 4, and the weekend is upon us.  The weekend I think will be the trickiest time of all.  I have more free time on my hands, tend to be out more running errands etc.  So it’s easy to grab a drink through the drive through, when I’m bored, and at the check out line.  I have bought into the whole mind games, of how pop/soda is a wonderful refreshment.  Dang nab it!  It is, for me.  Yes, I’m still cranky.

I warned you I would post daily about this crazy notion of giving up soda/pop.  I’m doing it for health reasons not Lent.

Why don’t I give it up for Lent you might ask.  Well I believe Lent is not about “giving up” things, it’s about deepening your faith with God.  Lent is a time when you give up something as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  I don’t see how not drinking pop/soda will help me understand that sacrifice.  After all when you think about it, after 40 days,  I would be granted “permission” to drink it again.

I think Lent should be a time of reflection and reading your bible. That is a post for another time.

Saturday, 2/18/2017

Saturday was the hardest day yet.  Doug and I took a day to see the sites.  Plus we had friends visiting us for the weekend.  This meant we visited a restaurant too.   I ordered an ice tea at lunch, and then when we visited a bar, I chose an adult beverage. Driving home is where is became difficult.  we stopped for gas and Doug asked if I wanted anything, I said yes a POP really bad.  Happily he didn’t do that, I just continued to drink the water that was in the car.

Sunday, 02/19/2017

Sunday was easier.  We were so busy all day that I didn’t have time to think about drinking a pop.  We took our visitors to Blue Bunny Ice Cream shop in Lamars IA, and met some seminary friends for ice cream. It was a fun day!

Will see if I get through Monday. This morning I woke up not feeling well, and have a cough I can’t shake. It’s at these times, I crave my comfort foods in general and POP is a big one for that.

Thank you for tolerating my first week’s rant and complaints.  It is getting a little easier, but I don’t feel any different.  I haven’t lost weight, I’m still thinking the same fuzzy way I always did. But I will take it one day at a time.

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Breaking the Addiction: Coco-Cola Day 3

Thursday 02/16/2017

Day 3 and I still have not “popped a top”. I once again drank 1  1/2- 34 oz of water.   I’m starting to think I’m going to float away.

I did some research and spoke to some people about flavoring my water with Essential oils.  I’ve come to the conclusion, that in moderation, it is fine.  So 1 34 oz container will have an essential oil flavor I like, and the other will be plain.  I added 4 drops of doTerra Wild Orange.  The water had just a hint of orange, not over-powering. It beats flavorless water.

My dinner was successful, I opted to have un-sweetened ice tea. I do have to give kudos to my personal trainer.  She was at the meeting and helped me to stay on track.  But confession time, the place only offered Pepsi.  I’m a Coke person, so it was easy to say “No thank you, ice tea please”.

So when do I start feeling the good “effects” of no longer consuming my favorite beverage?  Instead of feeling like myself, I feel angry and agitated.  I’m not having caffeine with drawls, but I’m sure that’s because, I still have may coffee in the morning.  I have  two cups of black coffee.  Although my coffee beans are infused with flavor during roasting.

I’m also thinking my soda/pop intake is not the problem.

Lets see how Friday and the weekend goes……….


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