Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Mercy Seat...

Dear Friend and Family,                                    6/29/12

Greetings and love to each of you on this hot hot day. Predicted temperature of 103 degree with heat index of 110. Whew!!!  Had heat index of 107 degrees yesterday. I went out out around 8:00 and watered my flowers, fed my birds, and put fresh water in the bird bath. My feathered friends were so grateful for the fresh cool water. So I got on the deck as early as possible this morning.

The morning was fresh and beautiful. A pair of downy woodpeckers appeared at the suet feeder with their baby, a first.  I just sat and drank in all the beauty of the day.  After a little while I picked up the Book of Books. I continued  my reading in Exodus.  Moses is on the mount receiving instruction from the very hand of God.  I know that some of the Old Testament law can seem a bit "dry" at times. But if one will thoughtfully "stick it out," there are so many buried truths within it.

In chapter 25, God is giving Moses detailed instruction on how to build the mercy seat:
 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold.
 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another
 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark

 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony.

Okay....I came to a screeching halt here.  God's promise of His Presence to meet with us at the mercy seat.   Ahhhhhhhhh.....we know that during those days God's Presence dwelled there on the mercy seat, between the two cherubims.

The Ark of the Covenant with it's mercy seat always represented God's Presence to the children of Israel. This morning, as I sat in His Presence on my deck I was so awed by the amazing thought that even now in this moment of history, that I, too,
can approach God at The Mercy Seat.  No longer sprinkled with the blood of bull and goats, but a privilege bought for me by the blood of The Lamb! As I rejoiced in this thought, an old song came to me and I just had to sing sing sing.....don't you ever feel that way?

"From every stormy wind that blows, From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat; 'Tis found beneath the mercy seat."
Here tears flowed. I wept for my precious sisters. One whose blood work came back this week.. whose spleen, because of the cirrhosis, continues to chomp up her blood cells;  another whose tests and blood work came back with very bad news. Whose scleroderma is no  longer in remission, but very active, hardening her lungs. It is so painful to see my precious Sis, gasping to breath, to sit with her and hear the serious diagnosis from her doctor. I took them to The Mercy Seat and poured out my pain.

"There is a place where Jesus sheds the oil of gladness on our heads
A place than all besides more sweet; It is the Blood-bought Mercy Seat!"
Ahhh...what bathes a soul with more peace and calm than His sweet Presence in prayer.  I need this peace today Father........

"There is a scene where spirits blend, Where friend holds fellowship with friend:
Tho' sundered far, by faith they meet Around the common mercy seat!"
Here, at The Mercy Seat I meet with so many that I hold before Him in prayer. Many who may even never know that I pray for them. Last Saturday was a very difficult day for me. Our Tisha turned 18 years old. Our precious little girl, who we had fostered since birth, was taken from us at the age of 2 1/2. We've never heard from her since. But for all these years I've been part of her life as I've met with her at The Mercy Seat! Former students that have lost their way, are carried to This Seat. As I lift them before Him, I feel my prayers "bing" from God to where ever they are. God has not lost them from "His Radar Screen."  My prayers bear nieces and nephews to Him.  My prayers reach into a prison cell far away and lift my beloved Brother to Him.

Dear ones, who are you praying for.  Are you suffering from broken relationships? Are there those you love, who painfully reject all attempts to reach them? Take them to The Mercy Seat, a place where you will meet them in such a real way! A place where you will forever be a vibrant part of their lives!  No man can sever the meeting at The Mercy Seat!!  Are you burdened over a lost child? Meet him at The Mercy Seat! There you can pour out your pain...there you can find sweet relief, finding confidence that God has indeed heard your cry!

"Ah! There on eagle wings we soar, And sin and sense molest no more;
And heav'n comes down our souls to greet, While glory crowns the mercy seat."
Now I'm on eagle wings........up up far above this world's cares and heart ache. Into His Presence!

By now, my dear Hubby has joined me on the swing.  We share together, we weep together, we pray together, we rejoice together........we are together! Before The Mercy Seat!

Dear family and friends.........long before you read this email, I was with you, together, before Him at the beloved Mercy Seat!!!!!!!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Julia Kiersten Arrives

 Top, Erica. Below, Julia Kirsten, Erica's new little sister, who arrived yesterday!
Taylor, Erica's second little sister, and Julia..........see any sisterly resemblance?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Family Update......

Yeah!!!!!!!!! Our sweet Jordan Blake graduated from speech therapy today!! He's come so far!

Jon Abram has oral surgery tomorrow at nine. He also desperately needs prayer for help and direction in his job situation.

Erica's new little sister is scheduled to arrive sometime after 7:00 pm tomorrow night!

Stephanie's Little Cupcake could arrive anytime now!  Joe has out patient surgery on Friday. Avon's scleroderma is active again and really creating physical difficulties for Sis.

After 3 1/2 months, I'm 23 pounds lighter and my cholesterol has dropped 80 points! I'm praising God for His help that I asked Him for in this challenge!!  I continue to work on it!

God continues to supply our needs! An omer for each day, just enough!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jezebel, Obadiah, and The Tomato

Jezebel, Obadiah, and The Tomato                                   September 11, 2009
This is a veggie tale, I guess.........                                    (From My Archives)

This summer Jon planted our tomato plants on the high end of our deck. The plants grew over six feet, reaching for the sun, climbing above the deck rail, over the top, through the rail, and onto the deck floor.

One of these plants grew through the rail. However, a small sprout grew back through the rail and bloomed on the outside of the rail. As this little tomato began to grow, it became quite cramped for space..........

As I sat on my deck swing, I watched it day by day. The grandkids soon noticed it and were very intrigued by it. Some of the family wondered why I didn't just pull it off. It was becoming quite misshapen and perhaps even ugly to the eye.

"No," I responded, "let's just let it grow."

As I read through God's Word, so many times I would stare at this ugly little tomato with a growing respect. Taking life from the soil, sunshine, and never considered it's circumstances insurmountable. Ignoring all the other tomatoes around it who certainly had more favorable conditions, my little tomato just grew and grew and grew. Under so much pressure it eventually became very scarred, but yet, redder and redder, bigger and bigger.........
Yesterday morning in my Bible reading, I came across I Kings 18. The rule of wicked King Ahab and his infamously cruel wife, Jezebel............... The Word tells us that King Ahab was more wicked than all his predecessors. Elijah had been in hiding for 3 years by now. But within the palace, the den of iniquity, we find these words........

" Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. While Jezebel was killing off the LORD'S prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)"

In charge of the palace? A nest of evil........ A DEVOUT believer in the Lord? Whew! The image of my "squeezed tomato" immediately popped into my mind! Talk about unsavory circumstances! As I thought of Obadiah, I found myself wondering if in today's world.... will I be able to stand! Will the building pressures and animosity against Christians today cause me to bend or break? One thing for sure, they will test our metal..........

But I took courage from this story of a faithful servant who was not only devout, but actively doing what his hands found to do. What courage it must have taken to defy the wicked queen and save, hide, and sustain 100 prophets! (Sort of a role model for the Ten Booms, huh?)

In Oswald Chamber's, MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, we find these words:

Ministering as opportunity surrounds us does not mean selecting our surroundings, it means being very selectly God's in any haphazard surroundings which He engineers for us. The characteristics we manifest in our immediate surroundings are indications of what we will be like in other surroundings.

We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the big crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of, it will not put anything into us. tomato grew all summer and eventually reached full maturity. It had used all the space possible between the two pickets and out beyond.

Finally, the day came........... I gently worked the misshapen tomato from between the rails and carried it appreciatively into the house. I washed it and cut away the scarring. I prepared my bread as only a Southern gal can do........lots of Duke mayo! I sliced the luscious tomato into thick slices, placed it generously across the bread, loaded it with salt and pepper and then.......... of summer's greatest delights! A homegrown tomato sandwich! Without exaggerating, it was the best tomato I had all summer!

Like my tomato, Obediah didn't allow the pressures around him to defeat him. He could have said, "What can ONE man do? This is an impossible situation! I'd better just lie low and wait it out and hope for the best......."

But as Oswald Chambers said, Lord, help me to use the things I have in my hand today........this moment, this opportunity......... Let me be faithful today in seeking every way I can serve you.

When the squeeze is on, help me to persevere, to reach for the Word, to pray for an open door....

May the fruit of my life mature and reproduce for Your Kingdom!
In His Harvest, Linda

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

The children were all here yesterday for Father's Day. It was a lovely day.

Jon, Amy, and Jon Abram.....yester'years.

I couldn't find a picture of Mark and Erica. Mark is a good father and loves Erica very much.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Helping Hands......

Today Cameron stayed with Papa and helped him in the yard. Erica went went Nanny to town and "stayed by her.." They surely bless our lives!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Like My Father

 This morning, I arose an hour later than usual and went to my deck. I sat on my swing, feeling as though I didn't have the strength to even remain upright. My Bible lay beside me, my cup of coffee in my hand. It was a rain kissed morning. I soaked in the beauty of it all. My gorgeous flowers, my friendly little "regulars" at the bird feeders.

Too tired to even open my Bible, I just sat in the quietness and talked to my Father. He understood all about me. I felt so emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained. I finally opened my Bible to one of my favorite passages, John 14...intending to read on through the precious Great High Priestly prayer of Jesus. But as so often, I didn't make it that far. The living breathing Word began to speak.

I read verse 14, a very familiar one. If ye shall ask ANYTHING in My name, I will do it. I thought of how many times I've used this promise to come to my Father in "crisis moments," or to ask for BIG things, or perhaps a lost soul. Indeed, all these things my Father is concerned about. I began to think of how most of these requests concerned situations or people that I wanted God to change. Perhaps circumstances that made me uncomfortable, or brought me pain.

Then I realized that this promise also meant that I could claim God's grace to CHANGE ME!!  Whoohoo........ Okay, this old, very familar scripture was a WOW moment for me. I began to think of God's grace. Grace for every trial. Grace for every moment. Grace for every circumstance. I remembered that I am not saved to be blessed, but to bless others. I was reminded that God brings all things into my life to perfect me, to "fine tune" me, to mold me.  But most importantly to do His will.

I thought of my relationships. Have you ever had someone come into your life who just "drives you nuts?"  That "gets on your last nerve?" That NO MATTER what you do, it just never seems to flow? That makes you lie awake at night, just exhausted from all the "drama?" Now that's what I call misery!! ha ha  How often have I "whined" before God, wanting Him to "change" that person?  PLEASE make me more comfortable!!!  

I realized this morning that God is tired of me asking Him to change the other person, but that if I ask, His grace is sufficient. Yes, He can change me!!  He wants me to pray for, expect, and embrace His make me more and more like my Father!

Okay, so this is such a simple revelation "how cum's" it seemed so new and revealing to me? Because, God's Word is living, breathing, chastening, directing, new ,and fresh every day! As I always do when a passage really speaks to me, I checked the "sandwich." In other words, I wanted to read the verses that this one was "sandwiched" between in order to get the right context.

Okay, so guess what? The verse before it had just said what I'd just discovered? Hello? How did I miss that? Here it is...And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that I will do, that THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED in The Son! Noooooooooooo. not that Linda might be more blessed, might be happier, might be relieved...ha ha. but that THE FATHER MIGHT BE GLORIFIED!!!

So.......whatsoever I ask...let it be that my Father would receive glory! That His name might be magnified! That His kingdom be advanced! That I BE LIKE MY FATHER!

You know, I love to speak of my earthly father...of how greatly he has influenced my life. Of how he has left an indelible mark on me.  How my heavenly Father longs to do that for me and in me. That other's would see His mark, His influence, His lasting beauty in me. 

That The Father might be glorified.......whatsoever I ask....... Today Father, I ask "let the beauty of Jesus be seem in me." Today, I place myself anew on the potter's wheel. Thou art the potter, I am the clay...

At the kiln, Linda

Monday, June 11, 2012

Art....From the Heart...

 Beautiful, isn't it? Created over long hours from old manila file folders.  Painstakingly created for someone he!

I received this today from prison, from my dear Brother...  Note the lock beside the praying hands. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door.

Our family has prayed together, for one another, with one another, and now alone in a prison cell.  Monty's hopeful release date is August 28th. He still has many battles and struggles. Thanks to all our many many dear family and friends that continue to pray for him!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

From Trash to Treasure......

 Cameron and JB's beds had come all apart, and were replaced with bunkbeds. When the old beds were about to be hauled to the land fill, Jon stopped them and said, "Put them in my shed." He won't waste ANY wood. His creative mind always finds some way to use it.

Erica had complained one day, "How come it's the boys that ALWAYS get to make stuff with Papa in his shop?"  So when Erica was here on Monday, she and Papa started a special project together. Today they finished it.  I kept sneaking out and getting pictures.

The sawed, they hammered, they brushed, they glued... and out of "ashes" arose this little dresser and bookshelf!

I'm not sure who was the most pleased!  At any rate, they had a great time making memories together! out boys!!!  Move over!

Girls rule!!! lol

Sunday, June 3, 2012


 My wonder her middle name is Joy.  She's the glue of the family. Always there for everyone, from daily caring for the dialysis treatment of an Aunt,, from parents and mother-in-law, to children, to friends...Amy has the most generous caring heart!
Please note these pictures....what should have been an hour at the women's heart center on March 5 became a four hour visit. Some serious issues. Once again, Amy became my support person.
Three months later, I'm 18 pounds lighter, and my sky high cholesterol has dropped 76 points. The doctor and nurses were so amazed that I was asked to speak at a Heart Disease luncheon(which I was physically unable to do).
Top photo, grilled chicken. And instead of a cake for dessert, Amy grilled pineapples. They were awesome. Photo two. The night of Erica's graduation party, she had a beautiful iced graduation cake. But Amy fixed, an extremely low fat white cake(no egg yolks), covered with warm strawberries and blackberries, no sugar, etcs., and fat free cool whip. Now, how special is THAT!
Since it is almost impossible for me to cook, the first week, I despaired(flipped a pizza completely upside down in oven). But choices such as fresh fruit and veggies, almost no processed food, and grilling has really helped. But I wouldn't have had the courage without my sweet daughter!  Family! It's THE BEST!!  I love you, Amy JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Bunk Beds

Well..........almost new. Used only about one year. Amy saw these in a furniture store over a year ago and wanted them so badly, but not with a price of $700. I've kept my eye on Craigslist. I found these for $200. Boy, oh, we have some happy boys!!!!!!!!! It was a family affair getting them moved and set up!