‘Untitled’ (flash fiction #1)

I’m taking a quick break from my usual MyRedJournals entries to try my hand at Flash Fiction (a quick story of 1,000 words). Here’s the deal: read story below, tell me what you think it’s about then I will comment in a few days to reveal what it really is. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think!

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painting by Jodie Wilk/The Porch Baby

‘Untitled’

Man-handled, stripped and sliced on the bias, Rosa’s outer layers finally gave way. Her protective covering that had wrapped her tightly when she was emerging in the sunlight, now lofted downward on a bare breeze before landing unwanted on the polished cement. Wasn’t it only yesterday she had stretched her neck to the near cloudless sky and offered praise for her contentment and provision? She had thought how fortunate she was to be rooted in a grand place with others of her kind, all vibrantly displaying themselves for the one who had brought them there. Of course there were times of plucking and soaking and, afterwards, she always felt depleted and spent. But she had been young then; just starting out. Now that she had released her inner beauty and let all who wanted to view, do so, she didn’t hold back. She didn’t care that some would buzz and linger, in fact she encouraged it. Those pests may have stolen a piece of her, but they could never take her pride.
Then, on a misty, cool morning, the clamp of blades cut Rosa from all she had known. Plucked in her prime and processed. Her prickly supports were no defense to her captor’s eventual purpose. Carried through a dark hall, footfalls echoing on marble floors, Rosa and a bevy of friends were placed on display. She stretched and showcased her inner velvety folds, allowing her fragrance to welcome passersby. I could have been selected to comfort sorrow or profess love, but I, thought Rosa, have been cultivated for this noble goal as cheery ambassador in my father’s house.

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Doggy Dreams – Praying in Our Puppy

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Read My Red Journals below and you’ll see that our family prayed for God to send us a puppy back on April 30, 2003.

Quick recap of my family twelve years ago: no job, no money–at all, 3 elementary kids & hubby & I living in a month-to-month ‘apostle John’-style apartment waiting on God to… to… to do something.  Ok, not just something but get us out! Out of debt. Into a job. Out the apartment. Into a home. Out of ‘I have no clue about our future.’ Into ‘Yes, we can commit to that thing on the calendar because we have a glimpse of what is to come.’

With all of our prayer requests and in need of so many basics, we dared to ask our heavenly Father for one more ‘pie in the sky’ thing–A puppy. We wanted a dog for my kids to grow up with and that I wouldn’t be allergic to. In usual God fashion, He delivered big time. Meet Lucy.

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She picked us, honestly. The day our family of five crawled on the floor to visit a puppy I saw online, the breeder also brought another puppy whom she thought would suit our family’s silly style a little better. As I held the chosen online docile pup, Lucy crawled into my lap, looked up, licked my nose and said, ‘Take me home.” Our hearts melted. Lucy adopted herself into our family.

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On the way home I named her Lucy after Lucy Ricardo because, like Lucille Ball’s character, our dog is red-headed and funny. Her kooky character came out more and more througout the years and we have a doghouse full of stories about…

…her mischievous, stealth-like sneakiness,

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…her convulsive appetite for steak (she literally shakes all over in anticipation of eating steak!), and the way she ministers to us daily with snuggles.

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My Red Journals continues

Thursday, April 17, 2003

In Jesus name I pray for our trip to Austin. Please pour Your blessings on our visit. Grant us safe travel. Please hold all tongues from argument. Let there be only joy & play. Introduce something new. Tell us how we can live there.

Our spririts are high & filled with the Holy Spirit & we confidently wait for Your answer to our lives.

Where will You plant us? Will there be a family dog? Will I own a studio? We have faith in You answering our prayers. Hopefully, they will be the answers that we think we want.

Your Servant.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Thank You, Jesus, for 15 wonderful years of marriage to the man You provided for me. Thank You for our growth together toward You. I pray that our marriage will continue to grow & thrive & that we will always look to You first before anything else.

Lord, Greg received a job offer yesterday with EDS. You do work in mysterious ways! I am first & foremost faithful to Your plan. It’s curious. We have been burned, but we go back armed with Your power to change & advance. Lord, I pray that the leadership at EDS will instill a dramactic plan of integrity & ethics & put the proper treatment of their employees above all greed and economizing. May Greg be a part–a big part of that plan!

We don’t know what kind of offer Steve will give & if they’ll ‘cowboy up’ and own up to their mistakes. I pray for Your voice, Jesus. Let us know if this is where You want us.

Honestly, I am a bit disappointed. I say that without even knowing the full outcome, but the dramatist in me wants the big gasp to catch my breath at the fullest, in one big fell swoop, of Your plan revealed! I want to jump to the sky with excitement! I want to run into the kids’ schools, get them out of class & say, “Our prayers were answered today!” I want to make a memory, spontanuously, of overflowing emotion & praise FOR YOU!

Instead, at the moment, I have the well-trained Wilk reserve…don’t party til the contract is signed.

I’ll PRAISE YOU NOW! You are my God! You have provided for me every day & moment. You taught me in a custom-designed academic class of life & love.

Let’s start making the party arrangements!

Moral authority requires character, sacrifice, time (from “Visioneering”)

Thank You for giving us this right.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Good morning, Lord. Did You get me up this moring? It’s been so long since I’ve woken before everyone else & spent time with You. Need to talk? I’m here to listen.

A party. We’re going to celebrate Your work & blessings & this journey. We’ll have friends & family around just so we can celebrate Your holiness, Your friendship & Your love. We’ll evangelize & realize all together. I pray You use this celebration for Your glory.

Praise You, Jesus. You are the way! You are letting me feel the rhythm inside. You are giving me the fire inside to dance. I can let go of the reigns of this journey. Thank you.

For today I pray for Your blessing & guidance for 1) the job contract–may it include all that You know we need to continue to do work for You; 2) a house; a home–lead us where we can settle & serve; 3) a dog–a new family member who can signify a new beginning & we can all live with allergy free!

Guide us through, Jesus. In Your Heavenly Name I dance!

Amen

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Our family is poised to celebrate! (so are our friends at church & loved ones in Austin & New England!)

We wait on the letter of employment. We step in faith back into EDS. You have told us that if someone slaps one cheek, turn & give them the other…we’re obediant, dear Jesus.

I pray, dear dear Lord, for a dog for our family. I’d like to have a BIG announcement of the end of this journey for the kids. Dear God, please lead me to a dog for our family.

Your plan is holy; Your ways are righteous. We do not understand all, but we accept them with Your blessings.

I pray for Becky & Travis. Please keep Becky healthy through her pregnancy & lead Travis to a great job soon.

I forgot to thank You for leading me to Exodus 40 on Monday. You speak of exiting a journey & preparing, in detail, a big celebration! Wow! Wow! Wow! You are not silent. All glory to You.

My Comforter, My Provider, my Healer, my Teacher, my Father, my Friend, my Redeemer.

My Jesus.

Amen

Oh, yippee..long-suffering …but God…

IMG_0017As I type in my old journal entries below, even I am saying, “Geez! Get on with it already! We got it! They don’t have a job. Haven’t had it for over a year. Three kids in a tiny apartment. Life is hard. Wah, wah. Go on!” If this were a screenplay, I would chop out fifty pages of excruciatingly boring pleadings and cut to the ‘We got the job celebration scene.’ Well actually, before that, I might throw in a scene of me hurling a glass vase across the room, crashing it into a mirror to showcase my had-it-up-to-here moment. Then I would push the story along and keep my audience’s attention and fast forward about five years.

But that’s not real life with or without God. Real life without God in this 10+ years, no-job journey involves fear, worry, doubt, anxiousness, and anger at some point along the way–we can’t help it, we’re human.

Real life with God, honestly involves all those insecure emotions too. But God. God brings HOPE and assuredness. He takes a hopeless situation that we make worse by worrying and heeding false advice, and provides peace and a future.

“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Proverbs 16:1

“Joseph answered, “Not I, but God, God will set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.” Genesis 41:16

But God reassured him, ‘Easy now. Don’t panic. You won’t die.” Judges 6:23

“Bad guys have it in for the good guys, obsessed with doing them in. But God isn’t losing any sleep; to Him they’re a joke with no punch line.” Psalm 37:12-13

“Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” Proverbs 16:33

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:15

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Psalm 9:18

On our own, we would have most likely found a job, earned some money, and muscled our way through our dire situation (albeit we wouldn’t be where we are now with our many bestowed blessing). But with God we carried peace, experienced joy, nestled in the Comforter’s embrace, and grew closer to the Creator of our futures.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Dear Lord~

The anxieties in my heart: 1) wanting to live in Austin with my family & the beautiful landscape; 2) my kids’ negative attitudes towards each other; 3)my weariness with this journey; 4) Greg’s & my outlook towards the discovery of this divine vision seem far apart, but so close at the same time right now.

Everything I’m grateful for: 1) all the amazing things going on in our world now. I can see past the war & the extreme, unfortunate sufferings. You are bringing peace You are lifting up & preparing Christians for Your cause. You are highlighting the immorality in business & leisure. Could Greg’s abilities & insights about integrity in business be primed & ready? You are returning our country to a simpler, other-focused time. 2) You protected Jill this past Sunday! Thank You for holding her close. 3) My job at LCA & how well the play is progressing. You really guide my every action when I’m doing these plays! I feel so close to You. 4) My Hip Hop group at church. They keep coming back & we’re having fun & they’re getting better.

Lord, if Austin is where You want us, please provide an opportunity to move there when school gets out for the summer.

Lastly, I pray for a good time & good weather for Alyson’s visit this weekend. I pray that she will be willing to attend service this Sunday.

I have been tired & angry. Thank You for waiting on me. Lead me, guide me, pour peace over me. Pour peace over our troops, the British forces, our leaders & our enemies & the people of Iraq. Your grace prevail over all gunfire, religious beliefs & stubbornness. Peace & Your face be seen by the POWs.

My heart is filled.

Amen

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Today I am excited to be here now having this time with You. My attitude lately has been shameful, bratty & unhealthy. I ask Your forgiveness & grace to pour over me & make me new. Take this over year-long journey & make me new. Cast the devil away. Don’t let evil penetrate my thoughts, tongue & actions. Teach me, love me, pull me close. Pour out over my husband. Give him peace & rebuke evil around him. Well within my children. Give them air beneath their wings that they may soar above all pain & angst.

Please be with me now as I go to Your Word. Lead & teach me.

After reading Revelations 21-22, I know that it is with You that I am to look toward for answers; not the world. How comforting it is for me to know that You will have this wonderful place for me. You conquered death for me & prepared Heaven for & my family. I am not afraid of this world; it has attempted to sting; evil has had its chance & failed! Ha! I walk by faith & not by sight.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this & pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance & gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Lord, I pray for Jason Eaton who is faithfully serving in the US Army in the Iraq war. I have committed through the Presidential Prayer Team to pray for Jason’s safety during this time. Lord, please protect, guide & minister to Jason. Give him comfort during such scary times. Also please be with his family, giving them peace & faces turned towards You & Your Word; assurance in Your plan.

Amen

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Dear Jesus~

You have renewed my spirit! I feel so light. I see purpose–purpose in waiting. As our family had our Bible study last night (a silly one; all in a giddy mood) I read from Philippians 4:10-20. In it, of course was ‘I can do all things through Jesus Christ which strengthens me’ (v13). You first led me to that verse in 1985 when I was in the Miss Austin Aqua Festival Pageant. I can remember being backstage, about to go on & those words popping into my head. Thank You. What a Comforter you are.

We are successful today!

Amen

Monday, April 14, 2003

Thank You for today. Fill my heart with gladness. Fill my mind with Your wisdom and knowledge. And hold my tongue, only letting it loose for necessity & kindness.

I pray You take hold of our children. No more arguing, attitude & ugly demeanor. Change their hearts. Change our tactics. Lead us to a place where our positive inner light can shine!

Amen

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Lord, just as You give me a complete vision of a dance production or play choreography and set, etc, please give me the complete, unquestionable vision for our family’s life after this journey. Will we live in Austin? Where are Your answers for us?

In Nehemiah’s time & Joshua’s time, You put all circumstances in place for Your ultimate plan to come to fruition. Just as with what is going on now with our nation, President Bush, Iraq & the fall of Hussein. Your divine plan is the reason why the people of Iraq are liberated. Praise You, Jesus, for saving the Iraqis.

How are my circumstances lining up with Your divine plan? We are trying to raise our children in Your eyes for a divine future; we are living and abiding our marriage according to Your guidance; we are trying to travel this journey as testaments of Your grace & our faith in You. The final piece of the puzzle is Greg’s career & my career & how the two separately can work to minister & testify for You. We pray for the answer to this final puzzling question.

I know You are at work in the hearts of my family. Please let us be a daily, living testimony of Your love & grace. How will You place us in Austin if Greg is going to get a job offer with EDS here in Dallas? My heart, Lord, hurts. Heal me.

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature & complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, & it will be given to him.” James 1:4-5

“Blessed is the man who preservers under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

Lord, thank You for letting me store treasure in Heaven. I pray for wisdom in these circumstances., dear Lord of the Highest, my Comforter.

I am Your servant. Send me.

Amen

 

My Ginger Twin

 

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As I journaled in our month-to-month, sparsely furnished apartment I pined for my things.  Like Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man I wanted my belongings about me.  I wanted our stuff that had been crated and locked away in storage for a year.  My grandmother’s hope chest, my mother’s paintings, my bridal bouquet and photo albums; our china, the patchwork quilt my mother-in-law made, our four-poster bed, and lawyers bookshelves–all locked up, far away and inaccessible without a hefty digging fee.  The image of John Wayne taming the shrew in Maureen O’Hara is much like God wrestling with me many days during our ‘prison term’ in the apartment.  I thrashed about as God held onto me during my desperate prayers and journalings.  I was dragged across the meadow and through town like the brattish Mary Kate who refused to be satisfied with true love and didn’t want to learn a lesson.  My friends may have said that I handled our no-job tenure with grace, but often times inside I was a fiery red-head with a spitting Irish tongue.  Fortunately for me, God was Sean Thornton.  He would grin at me, wait for my silliness to subside and envelop me in a hug as I whimpered apologies.

My last journal entry posted here leaves us in Job, indicating that no job had been granted as of yet.  It happens obviously, and Greg and I eventually live out ten years in a beautiful home in Lucas, raising our three kids to legal completion.  But unlike the previous sentence, the day-t0-day living of the no-job journey is not as easily expressed.  My ginger twin may make an occasional appearance, but God remains my ‘quiet man,’ taming me through the tough times and loving me all the while.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Radical faith.  Am I there?  Have I truly given all to follow You?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I think that my ideas of security with a home, etc. are keeping me from You.  Help me to give that up.  I’m trying to design Your plan.  Help me to let go & completely trust You.  “Trusting & believing God is the number one priority on God’s agenda for my life.” (Holy Ambition)  Trash everything else.  Just follow & trust.

Teach me not to question.  Jump off.  So what, we’re where we’re at?  So what we don’t know of tomorrow?  I’m excited of YOUR plan.

God, I pray for a vision of Your plan.  I pray to be patient to hear from You.

Amen

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Dear Lord~

Again, I pray for YOUR vision.  Help me to let go of all of my inhibitors.  Let Your plan shine over all else.

Thank You for this wonderful weather.  I pray that You send us somewhere today that we may enjoy the sun & be closer to You.

Lord, I pray for Frank & Maria.  If it be Your will, please bless them with a child.  Help her to become pregnant and to have a healthy baby to term.

Lord, some considerations now are to investigate Greg starting his own business or take over an existing one with the support of venture capitalists.  Please lead us in the right direction with this research or close all doors immediately.

We pray for a swift action.

Lord, I have yet to pray about the Hip Hp group I’m forming with the youth at church.  I apologize.  Please forgive me.  I definitely felt You lay it on my heart that I should have no regrets about not having had formed the group in preparation for the opening of The Family Life Center.  Lord, I sense something good there, but some elements don’t seem right.  Every other group I’ve started has taken off immediately.  Please guide me in the right direction to lead these girls to get them excited about us.  We need a name, possibly a place to practice.  I need original ideas , choreography, and energy!  Please pour Your blessings on us.  Help us to dance for You & to praise You in a way that will reach to others.

Thank You for Liza having a friend over today.

“Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

Amen

Monday March 10, 2003

Dear God in 3 Persons~

I have just finished the book Holy Ambition and I lack only one thing on the list:  a strategic plan.  I have a dislocated heart, about our national and world struggles, about the dance needs in Austin, about wanting & needing to live in Austin.  I have a broken spirit about these things; I definitely have a radical faith & personal commitment & You have given me a courageous soul.  The only thing I’m lacking is a strategic plan.  And I can’t have a strategic plan without Your vision for Your holy plan utilizing me, Greg, our family & our talents.

Lord, I realize that my choreography, staging and design is exactly how I can be successful for You for Your plan.

I must have the final outcome in my mind & then I can work backwards to figure out how to achieve the goal.

I know that when You give me Your vision & plan, that with courage from You, I can strategize a plan with You to accomplish amazing things along the journey to achieve Your divine plan.

I am chompin’ at the bit.  I am fired up!  I am so ready to jump at Your plan–more so than any other opportunities than have come our way yet.

You are an awesome God  And I say ‘WOW!’

Amen

PS–I have been discouraged & weary, but this reminder of Jesus’ struggles feeds me to go on.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary & lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Dear Lord Jesus~

I pray in preparation for my time with You today; for focus, intimacy, wisdom and understanding.  Please speak through Your Word to me with clear understanding.

Psalm 26 definitely speaks for me.  Verse 1 says, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life.”

My life, in this ‘cave’ has been blameless, aside from the sins You have forgiven me for & I continue to pray for Your power for control.  But the Psalmist says how I feel.  I’ve stayed away from evil, I’ve proclaimed Your name. And as the author, David, writes, “my feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.” (v12)

I praise You now for all that You’re doing & for what You will do for me & our family

Greg & I met with Blair yesterday.  He said & agreed that we’re at that point where all we need is God.  He said that is not a bad place to be.  That is true.  So true.  All we need, can count on & rely on is God.  We know You will provide.  Let us see it coming, O Lord.  Let us be so close to You that we see the answer coming & are not chastised for too little faith.

In 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 You remind me that You have taken care of even my greatest enemy, death (although I actually fear many other things than death itself).  You smacked death by dying on the cross & living again.  I will live again with You!  So it definitely matters what I do on earth.  It is comforting to know I can “…stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the world of the Lord, because You know that Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (v.58)

Amen

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My grandmother’s hope chest that she gave to me and now I have given to Lena. My grandmother had her initials carved onto the right panel; ten years later, my father-in-law carved my initials onto the left panel. I plan to have Lena’s initials carved on the top with room for her daughter’s and future daughters.

Monday, March 24, 2003

To be quite honest, Lord, I really don’t want to be doing this right now.  If it weren’t for Greg, I wouldn’t be.

It’s Monday, the beginning of another week.  We want to go to work.  Lena cried the other day that she has nowhere to go and relax.  We need a home.  We need our things out of storage & around us.  We want & need to celebrate Your victory.

Do You hear me?

I knew You wanted Greg to quit EDS.  You made that very clear & we don’t regret it.  We pray for Your leading and obvious direction for our next move–complete confidence, because we’ll need it in order to be able to ignore the nay-sayers & for us to press forth with Your plan.  Next week will be one year since Greg quit EDS on April 1st.  This can not be an April Fool’s joke.

Hallelujah for the removal of Dick Brown at EDS.  Open doors for Greg, Lord; help him to reinstall the values back in the company.  Let’s go!

Lord, I whole-heartedly pray for Mike & DiAnne.  Their marriage has been strained by their trials.  Why do they have to suffer for so long?  It seems so unfair.  They have been such devout followers for You for so long.  Why punish them?  They need Your intervention immediately.  Please soften their hearts.  They need You so.  I pray that You use me in talking with DiAnne.  She really needs a friend.

This dying moment-to-moment day stuff is very old!  Can’t I just live?!  Yes!  I know there’s a war going on & people overseas & POWs who are yearning for Your attention.  And yes, please hear them all.  Keep them safe.  Save their souls and expand the Christian territory!   Keep the Tabers safe, please.  But help us too.  I am not a life-sufferer; a professional mercenary.  I’m Jodie, a daughter of Christ, trying to do what is right & trying to hang on.

I pray for a miracle today!

Amen

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I’m here again.  Reading Job.

THE BIRTHDAY TRAIL — a family tradition

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My cousin, Paula, made & put this sign at the end of the driveway for Lena to drive through on her 17th birthday–the whole family pitches in to get Birthday Trails done!

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Liza at the end of her 8th Birthday Trail in Canada, 2000–hence the parka:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment living with kids stinks.  Crowded, temporary-limbo-land living.  Our no-job, no-paycheck journey hit the one year mark as of these journal entries below.  And like old fish, the five of us living together in a little apartment with our most promising job prospect dashed, the whole situation just stunk.

I realize that our test of faith at this time wasn’t drastic or dire.  No one was ill, injured, or imprisoned–praise God.  But for a mom with three elementary-aged kids, providing basic school supplies and clothes, along with dance lessons and some kind of birthday & holiday celebrations was an ongoing mental battle that required much prayer journaling over heaping cups of coffee.

To look back on my journals I am reminded of the day-to-day struggles, as you’ll read below.  Thank You Jesus for pulling me through everyday & for letting me vent and rant.  But when my husband and I or my now college-aged kids look back on our year in the apartment without a job, we only remember the good times.

Like the game Greg and Cody played incessantly in the apartment–Greg throwing a palm-sized nerf football from the master bedroom to Cody on the living room couch, most with splayed-out diving catches.  Or our ‘cartoon Christmas’ as I call it.  Our big faux Christmas tree and decorations were in permanent storage and we didn’t have a fireplace.  A friend lent us a tiny fake tree that we placed in the corner of the living room.  We made preschool classic paper chain garland and sugar cookies to adorn the tree and used found fabric for a skirt.  I taped shiny wrapping paper on the wall next to the tree for a fireplace and cut out logs and fire from construction paper.  We push-pinned Dollar Store stockings onto the ‘mantle’ and called her done.  Santa now had a place to visit–whew!

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Our favorite memories while living in the apartment are 1)  bringing our little malte-poo puppy, Lucy, home for the first time while living in the apartment–she now snores to my left under our shared blanket as I blog to you this morning.  Lucy is so adorable, cunning and human-like that she requires her own blog, books, and game app–coming to a store/smart phone near you in the near future–she says in jest with a hint of seriousness.  And 2) Birthday Trails.

Let me explain the Birthday Trail.  I came up with the Birthday Trail concept when Lena was three.  I needed a way to celebrate her birthday in the morning before Greg went to work and give her something to keep her busy and feeling birthday-girl special throughout the day before we had the big celebration that night and/or later that weekend with family.  On her third birthday Lena woke up in her long, pink ballerina nightgown to a paper plate on the floor outside her bedroom door with a note that read: “HAPPY BIRTHDAY LENA!!  FOLLOW THE ARROWS.  She peered down the hall and saw four more paper plates, each with an arrow pointing forward.  Lena tip-toed onto each plate with excited curiosity in her eye.  She followed a trail of arrow-scribbled paper plates through several rooms in the house, climbing over the kitchen counter and under the coffee table (with help, of course).  At the end of the trail was a present–a toy of some sort.  And thus the Birthday Trails became an annual event for each child until they turned 18–yep, three trails a year times 18 (minus 2 since I started when Lena was three) and I conjured and created 52 birthday trails from 1993-2013!!

Through the years, I’ve had to get darn creative–the simple paper plate arrows weren’t clever enough as the kids grew so the trail turned into a trail/treasure hunt with elaborate riddles.  When you do so many trails and are coordinating parties and presents on a strict budget, you use what you have on hand.  Let’s see, I’ve used a bevy of Barbies perched in peculiar places; we’ve created an indoor putting range trail while living in Canada, with the most ingenious hole going from the second floor into a plastic cup on the first floor (Cody got a hole too!); we’ve turned our entire living room in Lucas into Fenway Park, complete with the green monster (we used painter’s tape on the floor & up the walls to define the space, pinned green fabric to the wall & taped several yellow wiffle bats end to end for Penske’s pole)–Cody flipped baseball cards and played wiffleball in the house to earn his way around the bases and receive his gift.

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In 2002, we had just moved into the apartment the week of Lena’s birthday, so we tore up pieces of the moving boxes, wrote on ’em, tucked them all over the place and hid her new boom box in a maze of brown moving boxes.   On Cody’s 18th, the last birthday trail in our Lucas home, the girls helped me to put together a shooting range with a nerf gun for Cody.

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The other pictures are a few more examples of the craziness we create for early a.m. we-love-you wake up calls.  Feel free to copy the Birthday Trail Wilk phenomenon.  My sister called me one year and said, ‘Thanks a lot!  Now I have to stay up all hours making birthday trails for my 3 kids!”  And my kids, nieces and nephews wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I do believe my niece, Sara, who just had the first baby of their generation this year, will be continuing the Birthday Trail with little Wade.

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Wade, the newest member to our extended family; son of my niece, Sara. He says, “I can’t wait for my next 18 birthday trails!”

 

My Red Journal continues…

Monday, March 3, 2003

Dear God~

Pour into me.  Overflow. Take over. Now!  There is nothing left!  You want all of me, You’ve got me!  But I’m angry.  I had it out yesterday.  Cry & scream in the car.  A song on the radio saying, “This is God…I see your attitude, it’s all about love…all I need is a change in you.”  I don’t get it?!  What more do You want?  I know we’re suppose to become like Jesus, but You made me human!  With faults!  I’ve improved!  I’m asking for more!  I’m dying daily & even moment to moment to put You before me!

This is as far as I can go!!!

You know my heart.  I walked on a ledge for You!  I did not sign up to be a missionary!  What is so wrong to want & need security, plans, excitement, a house with a little land!  I am not Job!  Stop having Your game with the devil and testing my faith!  You do not treat someone You love like this!

Enough!

I refuse to give up on Greg & his abilities and possibilities.  You made him a leader.  You’ve prepped him amazingly.  He could do so much for people & business & YOU!  He wants to work for You!  The marketplace is his mission field.

And me!  Why did You send me to LCA if we’re not to be here.  I’m working for nothing AGAIN!  We desperately need the money!  We look like fools.  We have chosen to do this for You so that we could let our faith in Your plan show us & our family that You are the answer!

Yes, yes, yes!  My faith is strong!  The devil has not advanced his piece on the board off  ‘start’ at all.

I also refuse to give up on Your plan for me, Greg & the kids.

If You didn’t let Perot happen, WOW, it will her immeasurable!  But when?  In one month, this journey will be one year without a paycheck.

Lessons I ‘ve learned:

1-It’s all about love

2-Only You can provide peace, sanity, stability (& You can take it away)

3-Patience & ultimately being frozen with few smiles is a process and product

4-I’m scared to death of rock climbing, but I’ve been doing it without the safety gear since we left Texas in 2000; my hands are bleeding & the top keeps getting higher (isn’t it within reach?!)

5-I love You!  No matter what I do.  Childlike faith & childlike tantrums as You watch me grow up.  You have a smile now, don’t You?  You’re pleased with me.  I’m fighting a good fight.

Oh, let me win today…in-my-face, obvious direction Lord.  Please.

Amen

*I am directed to the book of James–trials, taming the tongue, don’t boast about tomorrow.  Okay.

“Out of the mouth come praise & cursing.  My brothers, this should not be.”  James 3:10

My sword to fight temptation.  I’m so sorry for my flagrant mouth.  I pray for Your forgiveness.  At temptation, be with me to make the choice of reciting James 3:10 to keep from evil.

Thank You for Your Words.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

“‘Then you will call upon me & come & pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me & find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.  ‘And will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from the nations & places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'”  Jeremiah 29:12-14

In Chip Ingram’s book, “Holy Ambition” he asks, “Have you repented of your consumer mindset?”  No, I haven’t.  It’s very difficult to not want the things of this world that would be comfortable for me & my family.  Especially, since I’ve been out of my comfort zone for so long–shouldn’t there be some kind of earthly reward?

The book also says to ask You for a ‘dislocated hart,’ a heart that years for Your desires for this world; to have the pain in my heart for others & to let You use me for Your plan.

My heart has ached, to an extent, for all that is going on in our world.  I wept uncontrollably for our country & the misguided terrorists on 9/11.  I knew the second the second plane hit the second tower that all would be changing forever.  Our great nation did not deserve such destruction & all the lives & affected families should not have died physically & emotionally.  But our country has sinned for too long.  The airwaves are demoralized more & more.  We need God more than ever.  You are not PC or allowed through separation of church and state, but You must be in.

I seems that with so many good people right now unemployed, without homes, but looking to You for help that we Christians are being prepared.  We’re being trained to take our country back.  We’ve let the unchurched tell us how & when things will be, but You have said ‘no more.’

Dislocate my heart to yearn for Your plan.  I am so tired of whining about me.  Take my heart & mind away from what I know You are preparing already & point them toward Your goals.

A praise.  Nan, Pap & Alyson all prayed for Greg & the opportunity at Perot.  You are awesome.  Please water those mustard seeds.  Bring them whole-heartedly back to You.

In Your Holy Name & seeking Your plan, Amen.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Radical faith.  Am I there?  Have I truly given all to follow You?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I think that my ideas of security with a  home, etc. are keeping me from You.  Help me to give that up.  I’m trying to design Your plan.  Help me to let go & completely trust You.  “Trusting & believing God is the number one priority of God’s agenda for my life.” (“Holy Ambition”)

Trash everything else.  Just follow and trust.

Teach me not to question.  Jump off.  So what, we’re where we’re at.  So what we don’t know of tomorrow.  I’m excited of Your plan.  God I pray for a vision of Your plan.  I pray to be patient to hear from You.  Amen.

 

 

Laundry–Sorting Sacrifices

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Everyday sacrifice B.C.– Get up, dress, make gruel for family.  Grab a lamb and turtle dove, walk to the temple.  Sacrifice the lamb for having relations with your husband last week and the turtle dove for starting your period this morning.  Earn money by taking in laundry and selling vegetables to pay for next week’s lamb and turtle dove sacrifices.

I couldn’t live like that!  While raising my kids, life was crazy enough feeding the family three times a day, doing laundry, cajoling homework, and wrestling bills.  Add schlepping small livestock to town to atone for my daily living and I would have ended up a mad, beggar woman with a brood hiding under my cloak.  Sex with my husband and menstruation aren’t even sins, but according to the Bible, that was life before Christ.  No thank you!  That’s not living.  God knew that, hence, John 3:16:)

Everyday sacrifice A.D.– Give it up to Jesus when you wake, pray throughout the day for guidance and strength, trust and have courage to follow Him.  And…when you are earnestly waiting for God’s answer about a desperately needed job and ending your financial stresses, you once again sacrifice & just do the laundry.  Read the entries below (2/24/23 & 3/2/13) and this introduction will make sense–God’s sacrifice & my daily pitiful sacrifice of agreeing to His plan, even though it’s not what I like.

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Red silk journal with embroidered scroll heart and key – gifted to me by Greg on Valentines, 2003

MyRedJournals continues with me writing in my second red journal amidst our 1+ year job search and three kids under the age of ten.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

The continuation.

Wholly dependent on You.  Nothing more can be done.  Continual, constant prayer.  Seeking Your face.  Listening desperately for Your voice.  Anticipating.  hanging with my toes on the edge of the line, waiting to exclaim, “All the glory to God!  He did this wonderful miracle for me!  Can’t you see, those of you who don’t believe, that only God could change the course and bring on such sunshowers!?!  Believe, believe!  Believe in Jesus!  He died on the cross to take your sins & to give you a new life!  This is my new life.  Jesus loved me so much that He died for me & He showered me with overflowing fruit!  He wants this for You, too!  Just ask Him.”

We are on the verge with Perot Systems.  It looks bleak.  The other candidate has apparently been given an offer, but the race is still on.  Darcy is doing reference checks; Greg lined that all up.  According to Darcy it is close.

A praise!  We prayed for Darcy’s mind to change to the positive for Greg & You did that!  Thank You, thank You, praise You, Jesus for helping & nurturing.  You change the impossible to possible.

Now, Satan’s final attempt.  An attack of vertigo, swirling questions & doubts, apparent defeat & biases among Brian towards the other candidate.  Cast out all evil, God!  Remove the devil from our presence, Brian’s eyes & ears & the entire decision-making process.  There is no place for evil here!  Only You & peace & assuredness that what You have done before You will do again!

Another praise!  I asked You to move like a freight train & You did.  The interviews came fast & swift.  They were so positive & God-driven.  Thank You for You blessings.  You are my God.

This evening Greg talked with Jay who said a decision has not been made yet.  There are two votes for Greg & two votes for the other candidate and two undecided.  The decision should be Friday or Monday.  You hear our prayers don’t You, God.  My King is Lord of all–even hiring decisions.

We are asking all to pray for us.  Greg asked Nan & Pap to pray, too; a big step.  Thank You.

Amen

Friday, January 21, 2003

Zechariah 4:6-7  “Then he said, ‘This is God’s message to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty–you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few & weak.’  Therefore, no mountain, however high, can stand before Zerubbabel!  For it will flatten out before him!  And Zerubbabel will finish building this Temple with mighty shouts of thanksgiving for God’s mercy, declaring that all was done by grace alone.”

Today I will call Mom & ask her to pray for us.  Please be with me & Mom.  Give her ears to hear and a heart to accept.

We pray again & continually for Your intervention in the meeting at Perot.  Don’t let evil in; let truth prevail & goodness in to what Greg can do at Perot, through You, be apparent.  Cast ALL doubt about Greg’s abilities.

“Anything is possible; in Him all things are possible.  You can have whatever you say; don’t give up ’cause it’s never too late.  Cast your fears away.”  Song by Anointed based on scripture.

Jehovah, King, Friend, the Great I Am, Lord, Jesus.

Amen

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Monday, February 24, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Wonderful counselor.  It always seems necessary to thank You for saving me.  So long ago You made the decision to die for me.  You saved me from my sins & weaknesses, knowing that You’d love me completely, even though I wouldn’t be worthy of Your immense sacrifice.  I ponder this often.  I do a self check–do I believe?  Could You possibly have allowed such humiliation & agonizing pain for Jodie?  You could have left me to this world & our/my feeble attempt at gaining Your glory.  All day long I could bring sacrifices for this and that.  A lamb for this sin, a ram for that sin.  Burning and slaughtering day in and day out.  You could have left my soul to wander along without Your Holy Spirit–oh, how would I exist?  You could have closed off Heaven upon my death…(breathe), but You did not.

What would be required to prove to me You exist?  A glorious, colorful, magical, supernatural poof of proof would have convinced me with starry eyes.  Right here in my living room.

But, a baby.  Sinless.  Leaving behind His Word and teachings and overriding love.  Connecting a moment of His long ago with every moment of mine now, so that I may be comforted.  Blood.  Broken bones.  Wine & bread taken at communion.  A small symbol and reminder of Your sacrifice for my pitiful soul.

Thank You.

Thank You that I matter.

Bring Your Holy Spirit to me.

I could not sleep tonight!  Excitement!  Exhilaration!  What can I do to prepare!  Party preparations?

I am looking forward to the upcoming Bible study “The Heart of an Artist.”  You really know my heart and yearnings.  I have been needing a direction for my study.  Thank You.

Today we start our Family Prayer Journal.  I pray that we pray and express love for one another in those pages & grow closer to You.

Once again, I pray for Your intervention, guidance & Spirit with ‘the decision meeting’ at Perot.  No evil present.  All thoughts towards Greg fulfilling the position of Worldwide Sales Leader/Vice President of Sales.  And as Cody asked of You last night, please provide another job for the other candidate.

In the end…Your will be done ‘on earth as it is in Heaven.’  Courage, please.

In Your Holy name, Jesus.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Dear God~

I believe You are answering prayers.  Liza and I prayed & discussed Liza needing a best friend; one who is mature, possibly older than she.  This morning she is playing with some girls at the apartments in the 4th & 5th grades.  Thank You for this possibility.

I will sing Your praises! I pray for our Home Group meeting this Friday with the missions.  Prepare our hearts (mine especially) for what we will hear.

Please help me to spread Your Good News to someone who needs to hear it.

Amen

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Dear Lord~

Shall I repeat again all that I keep saying.  Sometimes my emotions feels as frozen as the ice outside.  Flowers ache to bloom from below the frigid surface.  Break the glass.  Let all excitement & celebrations loose and wild.  Let the invitations be mailed.  It’s a party in Your honor!…as soon as we get the job.

That is not to be confused that we haven’t publicly celebrated Your gifts thus far and have said openly that we know You will provide.  Please know my heart.

I want to dance!  For You!  Don’t hold me back anymore!

Do I sound like a whiney child.  Should I cease with this incessant yammer of help, help, help?!

Take the focus off of me, us & our situation.  Let me move on!  Who can I help?

Give me a smile today please.  Let me pass it on.

Jesus, You are incredible to go through such trials & never sin.  Thank You for suffering to show me how to live.

Your eyes in mine.

Your hands control mine.

Your thoughts direct mine.

Your feet guide mine.

All through You.

Amen

Friday, February 28, 2003

Dear God~

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul writes about ‘running the race with focus.’  Should I be reminded of my prize in this race?  The prize is not a job, a house, an end…it is my eternal home, it is the victory of salvation of others who observe my faith in trials & it is to hear You say, “Well done good & faithful servant.”

Oh that I may truly feel that in my heart.  To long for eternity and to be rid of the world of suffering.

But, leave me me here to do Your work.

I am faithful.  I am frozen, but faithful.  I pray for overwhelming energy.  I am tired of waiting for the phone to ring!  We just received a wrong number, but just the sound of the ring and the possible ‘answer’ on the other end made my soul leap.

An end, an end!  O hear our prayers.  Hear the prayers of all those praying for us.  Thank You for all those who are praying for us.  How can all of their cries for us be wrong?  What says Your will?

I pray for dancing & cheers & exhalation!  My soul wants to perform for You.  My expressive dance of yearning, of thankfulness and of faith is over.  The next act entitled, “Jubilation,’ is anxious to set stage.  Please bring the lights up…start the music…let me fly!

Amen

Sunday, March 2, 2003

A phone all yesterday.

No parties, just laundry.

Thanks.

 

Mustard Seed into Redwood

 

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Window Painting by my mother. Practical artwork–my dining room windows looked directly into the side of our neighbor’s house. I glued handmade papers to the windows and asked my mother to paint a scene across the three windows to create privacy & beauty. Also, it was an excuse to get my mom to Dallas, have our kids watch her create & have another lasting creation of hers of my own.

 

God plants in each zygote an idea, a desire.  Then we spend the rest of our lives discovering that seed.  Only Jesus can nourish that seed with living water.   If we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can command mountains to move.  So no surprise that this implanted embryonic desire for a specific ‘something’ that starts off small as a mustard seed, can grow into a mighty redwood, with its canopy placed sky high and its roots reaching deep and wide.

Give your life over to God.  Study His word and spend time over coffee with your new friend.  Through conversations, He will woo you and tell you sweet everythings about you.  As you tell Jesus how much you love Him, he tells You how he loves you more.  Then, as with all love relationships, He can’t wait to give you a gift that He has been preparing and planning for a long time.  He hints at, guides, and whispers the gift–your purpose–the implanted desire of your heart.  You clasp your hands in giddy excitement, grinning goofily with shocked amazement at the specific simplicity of it all.  You dive in.  You get to work, which runs through your body like play, and discover that your purpose, the thing that makes your heart sing, makes God smile and serves His kingdom.  Because everything we do is about love and bringing more people, with their tiny mustard seeds, to Him, ready and waiting to water, grow, and present His implanted gift to you.

Thank you for allowing me to attempt a little poetic proselytizing.  It is true.  God wants to give us the desire of our hearts.  In fact, He put those desires there just as He did our lungs, brains, fingers, toes, and brown, blue or hazel eyes.  Give up and give it over to God.  Crawl into His lap like a child and let Him take your worries.  He will smooth your hair, whisper sweet everythings, and water your deep-rooted mustard desire into solid redwoods.

MyRedJournals continues below with me, my family and God journeying through job loss and search…

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Dear Lord,

Everything this journey is about is not for what You will do for me and my family, but how, after growing closer to You & learning to listen more astutely and rely and live on You–FAITH!–this journey is about what I am to do for You.

I am weak & small, but I know You’ll use me whenever, wherever for Your purpose.  I pray for courage to accept Your path & for a mind that never forgets what You have done for me (not like the Israelites–ungrateful babies).

Please Lord, be with Bob now during his back surgery.  Give him, Jill & the kids a peace & a knowing that You are with him.  I pray for a quick, pain-free recovery.

In Romans 5:1-5, You gave me this reminder in order to remain faithful to the lessons of this journey & to You!

“So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in His promises, we can have real peace with Him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  For because of our faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, & we confidently & joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be .

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems & trials for we know that they are good for us–they help us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope & faith are strong & steady.  Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens & know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us & we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”

Friday, January 31st, 2003

You are true to Your Word.  Greg will have an interview with Darcy next Thursday, Feb, 6th!  We know this is Your work.  You are showing Your hand of what You have been planning and the very exciting part of it all is it will  be the beginning of Your continual plan.  Thank You, Jesus!

Believing IS seeing.

Amen

Jan 1, 2010%0D%0AGenesis 1-2-25-the beginning; Adam&Eve%0D%0AMatthew 1-2-12-geneology & birth of Jesus; visit of Magi%0D%0APsalm 1-1-6-blesed by streams of water,  which yields its fruit in season       and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

Another portion of the window art triptik, a three panel window covering made with handmade paper, and painted with my mother’s love.

February 3, 2003

“Praise Him from here below, praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost.”

Thank You, Jesus for all You provide–my wonderful marriage, which is centered around You; my amazing children, 3 gifts from You; our health, especially without health or car insurance; & this journey, with its sole purpose to grow closer to You & to discover what I can do for You.

Lord, this morning I pray for Your vision for me.  What will You have me do for You?  I believe that You have begun to make it clear–the beginning.  I pray to know Your vision; Your will.

Amen

Thursday, February 6, 2003

“Everything is possible, in Him all is possible.  Everything you have to do, cast your fears away.”

Peace.  Knowing. Understanding.  Resolution.  Singing birds outside my window.  Faith in you.  My mustard seed has sprouted like a redwood.  Purpose:  to love & serve You.  Wow!

“Yes I will bless the Lord & not forget the glorious things He does for me.” Psalm 103:2

Walk before Greg today at his interview with Perot.  Peace, focus & Your plan unveiling before our eyes.

Thank You now for using the weak.

Amen

Praying in My Husband

 

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Greg & I were married in a church in Austin and held our reception at Willie Nelson’s place. The Alvin Crow band played all night and I taught my new yankee in-laws how to do the Cotton-Eyed Joe & the Schottische.

As I and my two girl friends strutted around the North Forty dance floor looking for one of their boyfriends, I had a God moment.  Just like in the movies, all went hazy around me as I first saw Greg’s blue eyes.  They seemed to come towards me even though his feet did not move.  The sensation radiating from my inner being must be what it’s like to feel the hand of God.  I had written in my prayer journal back in 1985 that God would let me know when He would answer my prayer for a best friend.  As you’ll see in my journal entries, I prayed often for my future husband, with His answer coming ten days after the last post when we met, danced to ‘Footloose’ and I taught my new yankee to kicker dance.

I pause blogging from my journals starting in 2003 when Greg and I journeyed through job loss while raising our three kids (see previous posts).  Today, we celebrate my 26th wedding anniversary and how God answers prayers.

Below is is an entry into my first prayer journal from June 29, 1985.

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Greg and I met in Austin at the North Forty, through friends ten days after this post.  The night before, on August 16th, my friend Becky prayed with me for my best friend.

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I cherish that I can see my heart on these pages.  I know the date that we first said ‘I love you.’

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And I know when we first prayed together.

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Prayed in and prayed through, our marriage is a divine appointment.  Now, I pray for my children’s future marriages that they too will have the honor and joy of living life for Him with their divine someone.

 

 

 

 

HOPE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD

 

HOPE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD post in MyRedJournals blog--my journals with God since 1983

Liza as Joanie in the musical “Waltzin’ Matilda” at Lucas Christian Academy, 2006.  Joanie is a traveling companion with Matilda, who are both on a journey to leave their familiar, loving homes to discover more about life.  They find out that they need God to protect them and that His love is enough.

Hope is addicting.  It keeps you going.  You look for it everywhere and will accept the tiniest morsel.  You can put your hope in many  things–people, nature–but those do not have an eternal, non-ending supply of hope.  Those will fail and fall short eventually and they don’t have your best interest at heart.  To some, believing in the unknown is any bad four-letter word ready to spew us out like sour milk.  To others, hope is l-o-v-e.  Undying devotion to a divine promise.

I believe I was born with hope.  I don’t have a wiz-bang, up-from-the-ashes conversion testimony.  I’m pretty boring when it comes to that.  I’m more of a day-to-day, one-on-one, live-my-simple-life-as-best-as-I-can-with-Jesus kind of testimony.  I’ve always believed in Jesus–His story, love, hope, and heaven.  And I look for Him and what He’s doing everywhere.  I want to know what He wants my part in His plan to be at that moment.  That is adventurous living in my book.

The journal entries below are me praying to God and Him giving me hope through His Word.  At the time of these entries, it is my family’s one-year anniversary of no job and hope was our only income.  Here, hope is manifested in my new job, Greg’s next interview, and God’s promise for restoration and blessings.  With hope, the outcome is always unknown, but the possibility of what God will do in the process is exciting and endless.

Monday, January, 13, 2003

Another good morning.  Purpose ensues.  I pray for continued awareness of my immediate purpose.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Thank You, Lord for taking me to Lucas Christian Academy.  I was hired yesterday and it is clear that Your hand is over this.  Thank You.  Please let me let go & let You lead me through to find the right script first of all and then guide through each step that follows.

The sun shines today.  My heart is glad & I can’t wait to tell of Your amazing story with me!

Yes, I continue to pray for Greg & his career opportunity.  Please continue to progress his opportunity with Perot.  Please alter Darcy’s opinion of Greg to a positive.  Open his mind to see Greg’s accomplishments & possibilities.

We pray for swift movement with the Perot job for us.

In Your awesome power all is attainable!

Amen

Friday, Janauary 24, 2003

Could today be the day?  Could today be the beginning of our end & beginning?

Dear Lord–How and what do I pray for now?  I have continually asked & repented & given for over a year.  I have learned considerable patience to the point where everything in life is bland.  No need to get excited if it’s all going to dash–just wait.  That is not me.  I’m a passionate person.

Smiles are frequent usually, dancing unexpectedly is common & expected quite frankly.  I have grown closer to You, but I’ve become a different person.  I’m calm, but boring.  I’m yearning, but not obviously.  I’m here, but mute.  Can we strike a balance?  I want all the changes You’ve made in me, but I need to dance, Jesus.  I need to dance from deep down within.  With an obvious spring well of Your love from You.  I won’t be quiet!  I’ll praise You to everyone at every turn!  Bless me today Lord with all of the blessings that You have been preparing all this time!

I pray that You prepare the hearts & minds of the men &/or women of Perot that who will meet with Greg today at lunch.  PLEASE let them spark at Greg’s opportunities & his potential for positive leadership & growth for Perot.  Move like a freight train, Lord!

A miracle on 24th Jan because…”all has ended now.  The weeping of July, August, October and January have ended…your baskets will overflow.”

So much is riding on You Jesus.  It’s been You only that we’ve relied on, please let everyone know that You are there for them too because You were there for us.

Amen  (continued Jan. 24th)

I am quiet to hear You.  Clear-headed.  Quiet.

I had read Exodus 16 this morning (I began reading the Bible in  a year) about You feeding the Isrealites with ‘manna from heaven.’  I also continued reading the books of the prophets.  In Haggai 2 (after the previous chapter saying that August was not the right time to rebuild) You said, (3) “October remembers the temple as it was before…beautiful it will be again.  Then, in December (10) You said that what was done before as a ‘service’ to You was wrong, but that it is (15) all is different now, you have begun to rebuild the temple. (16) Whereas before You expected a 20-bushel crop, there were only ten. (18,19) But now note this:  From today, this 24th day of the month, as the foundation of the Lord’s temple is finished & from this day onward, I will bless you.  Notice, I am giving you this promise even before you have begun to rebuild the Temple structure & before you have harvested the grain.”

Then in the next book of Zechariah 3:7-10, “The Lord Almighty declares: ‘If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will put you in charge of my temple, to keep it holy…Don’t you see?–Joshua represents my servant the Branch whom I will send.  He will be the Foundation Stone of the Temple that Joshua is standing beside & I will engrave this inscription seven times: I WILL REMOVE THE SINS OF THIS LAND IN A SINGLE DAY.  And after that, the Lord Almighty declares, ‘You will live in peace & prosperity & each of you will own a home of your own where you can invite your neighbors.'”

The 4th chapter describes visions that angels gave Zecheriah about the (2) ‘gold lamp stand holding 7 lamps & at the top there is a reservoir for the olive oil that feeds the lamps flowing into them from 7 tubes.’ (11) Then Zecheriah asked the angel about the ‘two olive trees on each side of the lamp stand & about the 2 olive branches that emptied oil into gold bowls through 2 gold tubes (13) ‘Don’t you know?’ the angel asked. ‘No sir,” I (Zech) said.  (14) Then he told me, ‘They represent the 2 anointed ones who assist the Lord of all the earth.’

There are more visions in Chapters 5 & 6.  Chpater 7 tells to keep all promises of God; follow His commands exactly or it will all deplete.  And finally, Chapter 8 leads to God being angry at what everyone has done wrong to her (Jeruselum).  The Lord Almighty says, ‘Get on with the job & finish it!  You have been listening long enough!  For since you began laying the foundation of the Temple, the prophets have been telling you about the blessings that await you when its finished.  Before the work began there were no jobs, no wages, no security.’

It ends with the 11-23 verses about the end of fasting & the promised prosperity!!!

So sayeth the Lord to me this morning.  Thank You, Jesus.  I pray to You humbly, excitedly & with great ancipatoon.

I pray for courage with accepting Your answer & for abiding Your commands exactly forever.

I dance for You!

 

Video

I Wish ‘S” was for SuperWoman

Greg & I always said throughout our journey that we walked around with an ‘S’ on our forehead.  We just seemed stupid.  How does a family of five, living month-to-month in an apartment with no jobs keep doing what we were doing?  We were 10+ months into this journey, which started when Greg was laid off from his job in Canada.  We were able to finish the school year there, move back to Frisco, Texas, enroll the kids back into school and keep searching for a job.  We both looked for jobs, believe me.  But we both prayed fervently about what & where God wanted us to go.  Did He ever say ‘Go get a job at Lowe’s or be a waitress’?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t put the kids into costly activities, such as dance and karate?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t get that car because of what others might think’?  No.  We asked!  Over and over we asked about each step, each purchase or non-purchase–should we or shouldn’t we.  We followed God’s direction every step of the way.  But His direction, as usual, isn’t typical and surely isn’t what the average Joe would say is right.

Doing life without a job & a family according to the world goes like this–1) take any job you can get; humble yourself completely, degrade yourself, if necessary; work long, menial hours; 2) wear a long face; worry incessantly; turn to other pleasures to get you through; 3) anger and bitterness are allowed because the situation sucks and there’s no end in sight; 4) certainly don’t spend money on anything other than absolute necessities, which of course includes activities for the kids; 5) always have something to tell family of your job search progress.

Ahhhhh!!!  Just typing all that makes me crazy!  It suckers me into the angst and lonely feelings that were always lurking and which I had to pray out constantly.

Peace beyond understanding looks like you’re wearing an ‘S’ on your forehead.  You must be stupid for not worrying.  You must be stupid for spending money you don’t have on that.  Here’s the worst–not being able to plan.

People would ask, ‘What are your plans this summer?”

My response–“I don’t know.”

Or, “Where are the kids going to school next year?”

“I don’t know.”

“Would you like to go on this family trip this fall?”

“I don’t know.”

And I didn’t know.  And I don’t know now.  Only God knows.  We pray and plan as much as we can, but always it’s God who tells us our next steps.  During the journey He would only tells us just prior to taking the step where that step would be…and we had to be okay with that.

So if ‘Stupid is as stupid does,’ then call me stupid in love with my Savior.

My Red Journals continues…

Friday, November 15, 2002

Lord, all details of the job search, the play, school & illnesses are spinning out of control.  My head is swimming and I can’t keep up.  So now, I just stop and breathe and look to You.  Calm, calm.  Breathe.  Try to clear my mind and listen to You.  Lord, simplify, clarify and beautify.  All that I’m doing I think I’m doing ultimately for You.  Please make sure that I am.  Only You can solve all of these details & clear my head to make sense of it all.

Dear Jesus, our main concern right now is Liza.  I discovered two small lumps on the side of her throat on Wednesday morning.  Lord, please send us to a doctor to have Liza seen so that we may dissolve all fear.  Lord, take the lumps away.  Heal our daughter.

Lord, Jesus, I gave my children and Greg up to You back many, many months ago.  I know that they’re a wonderful gift from You and I have the incredible gift of sharing my life with them.  But, oh Lord, help me to know what to say.  DON’T!  STOP! It’s all too much!  I love YOU!  Don’t You see?!  Don’t test me this way!  This journey’s path is reaching into the darkness of the woods!  Turn me back on the path with the sun.  Heal her, heal her, heal her and me.

Thank You for Your word, which says to me right now, “The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid!  Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army!  For the battle is not yours, but God’s!”  2 Chronicles 20:15

Feed my soul with Your words.  Take over my thoughts & actions.  Take this craziness from me & leave only PEACE.  Let me see all obstacles & solutions through Your eyes.  Hold me.  Hold Liza.  Carry us through today.

November 25, 2002

I give thanks today for all that You have made possible for all that You have made possible for the Christmas musical!  The props will be done & the set completed (with a lot more work!) & they look fabulous!  Thank You for all of the help!  Thank You for the vision coming to life!  Thank You for Jenn, Helen & Lisa & the entire cast for being so gun-ho for all of my crazy ideas!

I pray now for all of those seekers that our church members might bring to the pay that they might hear all the good news about Jesus.  Please put the play on the hearts of many to come & be changed!  Your will be done.

Lord, now I pray for this other job opportunity with Oracle.  Please, put Your plan in motion.  Please, put Greg in the minds of the key decision makers with Oracle.  We know that the end of this journey will climax with an unfathomable answer.  We wait, once again, patiently, confidently, and expectantly for You.  Your will be done.

Finally, I pray for grace for each of us in this family.  Grace with one another & towards others.  We should act as You would.

Amen

December 3, 2002

So much to do.  Today I pray for so much:  focus, energy, health, productivity, control of frustrations, but first, I come to You to breathe.  Let me pause in Your presence.  Let me feel Your arms take hold.  I want to relinquish all control to You.  How quickly evil wants to take hold, even with the work that I’m doing for You.  Wash out all evil & down thoughts.  Place Your blessings on me.  “Our God is an awesome God!”

Lord, I pray for all facets of the play. Please prepare hearts for those coming to see the play, especially for those I’ve been asked to pray for, the Waltons & the Harmons.  Please be with these families.  Bring them to the play safely.  Plant seeds of Your message, water unyielding growth & sprout saplings into sturdy plants with deep roots in You.  Thank You for the opportunity for all that You would have me do.

You just gave me an idea for a poem “My Gift.”  You just make me sing!

Please be with Jenn, Helen & Lisa & thank You for them.

Amen

Thursday, January 9,2003

Dear Lord Jesus,

I am in awe of Your wondrous power.  I have begun reading the Bible-in-a-year with The Daily Bread & have read the creation in Genesis & am amazed once again.  Dumbfounded that what I take for granted every day was nothing til You breathed it into being.

Now, I am awed at how You are working Your plan for our family.  God, these past few weeks, well, most of December, has been very difficult.  We have cried out ENOUGH!  You know where we stand: no job prospects, all monies due (storage $530, car insurance $1,000, dance costume fees $360, tax prep for 2001 $999 & the list of usuals).

Spring in this apartment would be devastating!  Claustrophobic!  Saying “I don’t know” to every question about our immediate future is excruciatingly OLD!  Greg & I appear as if we are doing nothing!  There is no plan B, as my mom keeps suggesting!  We are solely relying on You!  We know You’ll come through, Lord.

So we’re into the fourth day since the end of the holidays & You are moving.  You are advancing the Perot proposition.  We are praying for Greg’s name to be in the minds of the decision makers at Perot.  That’s #1 of the Miracle 1, 2, 3 prayer.  #2, we pray for the house on St. James in Lucas & #3 allow us to transfer the kids to McKinney or wherever is the right place for them.

Perot is moving along.  Greg received confirmation that he’s in the running again.  Hallelujah.  The Lucas house is still available.  And now, through the Christmas play, You have presented a small opportunity for me at Lucas Christian Academy.  I met with the headmaster Wednesday & observed the class–a production class where I can do anything I want!  Everything sounds great & I’ll get paid for 2 official hours that I’d work at the school.

My main concern is the number of volunteer hours I would put in again for this job.  I don’t want to do this unless I give 100% effort & creativity.  For the past 11 years, I’ve volunteered & donated our money for so many causes.  I’ve always wanted to, gladly, but I’ve been ready for a while now to get paid for my abilities.  That’s the big drawback, but I’m saying ‘yes.’  You have handed this to me on a solver platter, in Lucas, 10 minutes from the Lucas house.  I’m stepping into this with faith, as I should.   So here is my prayer.  Lord, guide me with these kids.  Give me the right show to help them to grow & mature.  Lead through me.  Be my hands, feet & tongue.  Please grow this opportunity into others, bigger, more far-reaching, evangelizing Your name to the masses.  Thank You for leading me to this school & for knitting together all of these details of our lives into the perfect package.  I hold fast to Zecheriah 8:11-23 that our times of mourning from July, August, October & January have ended.”

I have just read parts of the books prior to Zecheriah, which are Habbakuk (which started this journey) then Zephaniah, Haggai & Zecheriah.  In Haggai 2:18-19, You say “From today, this 24th day of the month…I will bless you…From this day I will bless You.”  I know this is Your promise of fruit abundant, that the end has come!  Thank You oh heavenly Father for guiding me all the way!  Through questions & despair, but never questioning You on the final outcome!

You have filled my heart with gladness!

Amen