Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

       1 Thessalonians 5:11

Vol. 3, No. 2: June 20, 2012      Editors: Nancy & Bronwyn      Design & Production: Harriet

Summer in Seattle

Alki Beach
Alki Beach, Seattle, WA

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.  ~Celia Thaxter


Contents

Click links below to access specific articles.
Rappin’ With Nancy Favorite Books
Upcoming Events World Vision at Taco Time
Sonbeams by Bronwyn The Sistas at the Range
Wendy’s Favorite Quotes Because He Calls Me Daughter
Sista Picture Corner Bonding at Long Beach
My Story Fashion Quotes

Rappin’ With Nancy

The Ultimate Dilemma

Nancy
Nancy

 

THE Ultimate Dilemma: How to make that choice of choosing how and whom to extend MY limited energy and spiritual gifts to and how and to whom to minister to in my lifetime? (given my health limitations)

THEN: How do I recognize those people (including family) that will TRULY use what GIFTS that I bring to them in the healthiest and most meaningful way possible for them and for others they will or can minister to??? How can I minister to people (including family) and NOT feel taken advantage of?

The BOTTOM LINE REALLY IS— how much energy do “I” have to extend to ALL others outside of myself (including family) at this time in my life and with several major health problems.

THEN— how do I feel “Spirit LED” or Spiritually DESTINED to spend and EXTEND my energy on myself and on others?

THEN—what do I do when I can’t extend my energy to those who are desperate for my time but are draining me because of their choices and chaotic lifestyle?

THEN— how do you express that decision to NOT be drained by others choices and tell them that you choose to set healthy limits for yourself so YOU can maintain a healthy environment, balance and lifestyle for yourself.

I actually know ALL the answers to ALL these questions and that is why it becomes so difficult to face and follow through on these difficult decisions. Because I already know the answers and know WHO drains me and WHO will put the gifts and time I share with them to good use for themselves and for others…I actually just need to admit that—deal with that reality and then allow myself to grieve, feel sad, frustrated, concerned and disappointed. I know that a large majority of people will always want OTHERS to take care of them so they don’t have to grow up, make the wrong decision, or have to take care of themselves. Wouldn’t THAT be wonderful!! Actually NOT for me it wouldn’t.

I think I came out of the womb very talented, creative, talking a mile a minute, motivated and independent. I probably began exploring my talents, reading self-help books and setting boundaries and life goals at birth. My mother was not prepared for my choices, my great enthusiasm for life or who Nancy “actually was”— My mother wanted a clean, prissy, obedient “little princess” who never had dirty fingernails, stayed clean, was quiet, performed at concerts – on the piano, sang, did ballet and didn’t question her judgment. My mother never forgave me for fulfilling my destiny and becoming an apple. She wanted to raise an orange and the taste and texture of an apple was really distasteful, irritating and very disappointing to her.

Having an apple in her life must have been like grating fingernails on a blackboard or like being given a pickle when you were expecting “to taste” Chocolate.

I know that a large amount of people WILL always want someone else to give them the RIGHT answers so they won’t have to risk possible failure. Failure is not negative to me. Failure is simply trial and error that is part of life and growing up. Failure is a learning curve to help you make better choices that mature you. I know that some people will never want to take responsibility for their actions and choose to live in perpetual denial. I know some people will never choose to set healthy boundaries or goals for themselves. I know some people will continually sabotage themselves and then want to rely on others to bail them out or to solve their problems for them.

Failure is what builds character and wisdom. Failure is what teaches you how to make good decisions and how to set good boundaries for yourself. Failure is the only way to find success and to achieve self-respect and self worth. Failure is the only way to learn what works in your life and what doesn’t. Failure really is a wonderful gift and is not negative or scary if we choose to view it that way. If we always made the right decision and did everything right we would be so arrogant that we couldn’t live with others or ourselves. I know that some people resent or are jealous of the way a person chooses to live their lives and for the boundaries that they set for themselves. I know that those same people also RESPECT and VALUE those same people because THEY DO set good boundaries for themselves and try to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

God gifted me with the ability to recognize dishonesty in myself and in others and with the desire to make an honest evaluation of all situations regarding others and myself. This is truly a gift when dealing with myself as I can accept brutal honesty and direction from The Holy Spirit (my positive inner voice) and will choose the right path for ME. This wonderful gift becomes a curse when dealing with others in your environment that REALLY don’t want to SEE, recognize or face reality in THEIR life and then want YOU to have to fix it for them. What I see them choosing is usually not what I would choose for myself. I know NO ONE— but themselves can take responsibility for the situation they are living in and for the boundaries they have set for themselves….and that no one but themselves can choose to make healthy choices and set good boundaries for themselves.

God just sent a LIGHTENING BOLT to my “mother logic” saying “ SOME people (especially family) will always be disappointed in how much YOU CAN give to them physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually because they want from YOU what they perceive that they did not receive while growing up and choose to NOT give to themselves as adults. HELLO !!!!! They want from you something that is missing in their life and want YOU to fix it for them instead of them dealing with it themselves.

They have a DREAM or a FANTASY of what you SHOULD be to them and they hold strong to their desire for life to TRULY be a fairy tale and “just the way they have always dreamed it to be.” They want YOU to supply them with ALL their Fantasy NEEDS so they can feel loved and cared for—so you can fulfill their dream concept of what a “parent-friend or spouse ” should be. They feel they deserve your total love, devotion, time and attention whenever they desire, need or demand it. This just doesn’t fit MY concept of how a mature adult or mom finds success in raising responsible children.

The key word here is raising “responsible” children that can maintain responsible relationships!!!

I can’t expect another person to do for me what I am responsible for and can do for myself! I can’t expect others to always be there for me and do my biding for me….just because I want them to and feel I am entitled. I have to recognize and accept that others can only offer what they are ABLE to give and CHOOSE to offer us. No one can be pressured or expected to be there for another person, even if it is a parent or a spouse. It is always a free gift and a pleasure when someone shares their time with us or extends their love, support and help to us. Love and support is never a SHOULD. Love and support is a valuable gift to appreciate and value.

Growing up, maturing and learning how to actually BECOME a healthy, functional and successful adult is a full time and lifelong journey. God has given me the opportunity to view and re-evaluate my childhood memories so I can heal those painful childhood wounds and find peace. I know my mother and father did their best and I know they loved me even if it didn’t feel like it at times. None of us are perfect and we all have fantasies of what kind of prince we will marry and how we will save the world when we grow up. We fantasize how we will live a Hollywood lifestyle and marry a Brad Pitt….but in reality we are just the everyday you and me and neither of us REALLY want a Brad Pitt, do we? Well, I don’t!

I have found having a deep meaningful relationship with God has healed, fulfilled and offered me more love, happiness, comfort and support than I could ever receive from a parent, spouse or friend. I feel so blessed to have God extend his love to me and honored to call Him my Father.

Unfortunately my mother never recognized my true potential and value. My mother never liked me and could never see how “special” Nancy really was and she died fighting and protesting a healthy relationship with me. Unfortunately, I always “married my mother” and my spouses thought they “married an orange”…and they never acquired a taste for “apples.” My earth father loved apples and oranges and was punished for liking apples. Life is so fascinating and challenging isn’t it?

Fortunately my Heavenly Father loves apples AND oranges so I can be “Nancy” and know HE is proud of who “I” am and what I have chosen “to become!”

I feel like I have jumped around a lot trying to get my thoughts together and have presented a lot of feelings and topics… I tend to write as I feel directed or as ideas pop into my head. This isn’t always logical and isn’t always easy to follow….

But THAT is what makes me such an “appealing and delicious apple”!!       apple

Living in Color With God,

Nancy

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Upcoming Events

KidTown Camp

 July 18-21  9:30am – 12:30pm

kidtown camp

VBC is now called KidTown Camp. The program will be a bit different this year. We will offer older kids 4 different “paths” to follow: Sports… Art… Drama… Classic.

The General Price is $45.
$30 for kids of volunteers.

Click here for more information and to register.

 Community Serve Day

community serve day

The 4th annual CommunitySERVE Day is AUGUST 25, 2012!

What is CommunitySERVE Day? It’s the local church REACHING out to our community TOGETHER to share God’s love in practical ways:

• Helping teachers set-up their classrooms for the fall

• Improving under-resourced schools with painting and landscaping

• Other great opportunities

Click here for more information and to register.

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Sonbeams by Bronwyn

by Bronwyn

Bronwyn on Rustlers Roost slide
Bronwyn on Rustlers Roost slide

The Award Goes to: (suspense)…Boyz-N-Berry

A few fashion trends ago, a lady announced on T.V., “Plaid is hot again this fall.” I wondered at the time, “who says?” Is there a “Hot Committee”? Do they pronounce, “We’re the Hot Committee and we say plaid is hot”?

This fall of 2012, the Hot Committee has declared florals, lace, knit tweeds and shawls the hot fashion trend. Plaid is out.

How do fashion trends originate? I searched the Internet to find out. I discovered, to my surprise, there’s a real-live Hot Committee. They call themselves the Color Marketing Group or CMG. This group is a worldwide association of color designers who forecast the trends in color and design, which influences all industries.

CMG actually names a color of the year. Imagine! A color that receives an honor and distinction in the same vein of an Academy Award or Time magazine’s Person of the Year. For 2012, the Color of the Year award goes to “Boyz-N-Berry,” a deep rich purple with slight undertones. If Boyz-N-Berry gave an acceptance speech, it probably went something like, “I want to thank the color spectrum for making me so much more beautiful than ordinary purple.”

The right color, says the CMG, will soothe customers into a more positive retail experience and enhance the bottom line. Translation to designers and retailers: “Push Boyz-N-Berry. We say it’s hot and that means big bucks for you.”

It’s all about the bottom line. Accent your outfits, rugs, walls, shoes, even hair color, this fall with Boyz-N-Berry. According to the Color Marketing Group, Boyz-N-Berry represents elegance, yet has youthful edginess. It is the gotta-have color, or so the CMG hopes you will believe.

Colors don’t only change with each fashion season. They also change with generations. Consider Crayola crayons. As a young child, I crayonshad 48 colors of crayons to choose from. I had red and blue and if I wanted to get wild, I chose magenta. Today, kids have over 100 colors to choose from, some with glitter or fragrance and with names like Banana Mania, Metallic Seaweed, and Sasquatch Socks. Chocolate and Blueberry crayons were discontinued when children began eating them. What happened to plain red and blue?

Maybe the fastest change has less to do with colors and more to do with technology. In pre-computer times, we placed phone calls on clunky black desk phones with rotary dials. We trekked to the library. We wrote letters with ball point pens. Today, we have iPads, Kindle Fires, and Smart Phones with so many apps that my mind spins with Angry Birds and Tweeters. With the wave of a finger, we can have the novel War and Peace or a message from our mother-in-law without leaving our chair.

Personally, I prefer things that never change. Take toilet tissue liners in public restrooms. The white flimsy paper always slips off the seat before you sit down. This occurred when I was a kid and still occurs today. No Velcro toilet tissue liners to make them stay in place. Just the same slip and slide liners. The white tissue liners have never changed color either. Maybe that’s because toilet seat tissue liners in colors, perhaps a pretty teal or peachy coral-pink, might prompt ideas for other uses. I’m sure I’d think twice before sitting on jazzy Boyz-N-Berry colored seat liners. “Wait a minute. Isn’t So-and-So’s birthday coming up? I could use this liner to wrap her present.”

Vitamins never change. They always come in the size of footballs and are designed to gag you as they go down. The color of school busses never changes. They were yellow yesterday and they are yellow today. In 1939, yellow became the standard color for the school bus. The color was selected because black lettering on that hue was easiest to see in the semi-darkness of early morning. Maybe a few people voted fuchsia as the standard school bus color. But yellow won.

The sugary confection called Twinkie never changes. This golden sponge cake with creamy filling is known to be so indestructible it can stay fresh and soft for 500 years. Otherwise, why would Bill Clinton in 1999 include the Twinkie in a millennium time capsule? He knew it would still be tasty and delicious when discovered by the people of the future.

There’s always the possibility that toilet tissue liners will one day stay on the seat, vitamins will be more compact and Twinkies will develop a shelf life and expire. But there’s one constant in our lives that never changes.

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90: 1 & 2 NIV)

God will never change. His Word is forever unchangeable. His design for our salvation is consistently the same. He doesn’t say, “Oh, yeah. Last week you could believe in me and I would give you my saving grace. But I’ve changed my mind. I’m no longer in the mood to do that.”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14 NIV) Jesus said he is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13). The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never end. His faithfulness endures to all generations.

We live in a world full of distractions. Fashions and trends and “pop-ups” on our computer compete for our attention every day. But if we focus our attention on the Holy God who never changes, we’re less prone to wander aimlessly. God gives us a fullness of life that exceeds far beyond the trends of the day.

“God, I want more of you, more of your presence, more of your fullness in my life. Fill me with more of you.”

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Wendy’s Favorite Quotes

curlique

 

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.  ~John Maxwell

You can build up a set of good habits so that you habitually take the Christian way with out thought.  ~E. Stanley Jones

Failure is the path of least persistence.  ~Anonymous

We spend our lives dreaming of the future, not realizing that a little of it slips away every day.  ~Barbara Johnson

The simple fact is that if we sow a lifestyle that is in direct disobedience to God’s revealed Word, we ultimately reap disaster.  ~Charles Swindoll

Just as iron, even without willing it, is drawn by a magnet, so is a slave to bad habits dragged about by them.  ~John Climacus

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Sista Picture Corner

Summer is Travel Season for Carol. Here are a few photos of her summer adventures.

Carol's RV
This is the beginning of summer fun for Carol!

Carol next to Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge in Stayton,Oregon

Carol by the South Falls
South Falls at at Silver Falls,Oregon

Carol at Upper North Falls
Upper North Falls at Silver Falls,Oregon

Sistas, send us your travel pics, pet pics, kid pics, favorite pics. We want to print your pics in our Sista to Sista magazine. E-mail pictures to:

email address

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My Story

by Noel

Noel with her family.
Noel with her family.

Hello There “Sistas” My name is Noel, and I would love to tell you “My Story” or at least the one that is most important to my ongoing story. But first here are some facts about me, I am a wife to a Giant man named Moses. We have been married 17 years now, going strong and in love thank you Jesus. We have 4 kids, I like to refer to them as my Fab 4. Two girls Emma and Chloe, and two boys Solomon and Isaiah. And we have 3, 4 legged friends. We moved here to Washington from Reno, NV. in 2009. I am a retired preschool teacher, and currently I am of course working hard at home to raise those Fab 4 children I mentioned earlier. I really like a lot all things vintage, vw, yoga, crocheted, artsy, tattooed, and musical.

I have been given a truly beautiful life all of which I have only because of my Creator and His amazing love and faithfulness to me. So those are the facts about me and here are some of my favorite details about:

The Lover Of My Soul and how I came to really know Him.

So here is that story…

I am the Vine you are the BranchesIt’s funny, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about God. I’m thankful for that. I was raised in a Catholic home, turned born-again Christian around the time I was finishing up Jr High. I went to a great little private school called St. Theresa’s from Kindergarten until 3rd grade. And I will always be thankful for the basics that my Catholic beginnings gave me, but I am so thankful that my soul search didn’t stop there.

I remember thinking even when I was a young girl having to go to confession once a week, something about this just doesn’t feel right. I would ask my mom, “Why can’t I just go to God and be forgiven? Why do I have to tell a priest about my mistakes or sins?” I really would make up stuff in the confessional because I couldn’t think of anything to tell Father Hanley. Shh… don’t tell!!

I soon realized that what I was feeling in regards to my weekly confessions with a stranger, was exactly the heart of God.

The Lover of My Soul didn’t need a go between.

The Lover of My Soul doesn’t need a priest or a pastor to guide me.

The Lover of My soul wanted me to know that his most precious Holy Spirit longs to do those things. His Spirit waits patiently to do those things.

But I didn’t know all of that until around the time I turned 14. It’s hard to believe that I was the age my oldest daughter Emma is now, before I realized that my relationship to God could be so much better than it was. In my short 2 years of Jr. High without God’s Spirit leading and guiding me, I lived a lot of life. I shudder to think of where I would be without the intervention that took place the year before my High School career began.

My family of origin went through some major life changes around that time. They started to talk about God all the time. We started to attend a very different church. They were suddenly reading that dusty book called the Bible. And really life was never the same.

I don’t have a singular moment in time when things changed in my heart in regards to my relationship with Christ. It was more of a series of significant moments. My conversion isn’t one with lots of bells and whistles but it is my favorite story.

The story of how I came to know Christ can’t be credited to any person, place, or thing. It was all God’s calling on my life. It is a calling that he has on every life. To come and walk closer by his side.

I’m so beyond grateful for the gift of my salvation, and that I answered that call over 20 years ago now.

I know now, more than ever before what I was truly saved from.

And I will spend the rest of my days thanking and praising The Lover Of My Soul.

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garden path

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.   Proverbs 3:5-6  (NIV)


Once upon a time plaque

Favorite Books

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas

reviewed by Sheryl

Amazing GraceWhenever I read a book that I cannot stop thinking about and applying to what is important in my walk with Jesus I just HAVE to tell people about it. Such is my experience after reading ‘Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery’ by Eric Metaxas.

This biography is about William Wilberforce an English Parliament member (1785 to 1833) about whom the movie ‘Amazing Grace’ is written. The biography covers Wilberforce’s entire life from childhood to crazy college co-ed to English House of Commons member and friend of famous Prime Minister William Pitt, to marriage and family. What I love about the story is how real Wilberforce was and how this one man, with the power and love of Christ, changed the entire moral and social outlook of England including the amazing 20+ year feat to end slavery in the English empire. He was not an attractive man by the world’s standards, he was a sickly man, he was far from a perfect man…he honed his oratory gift in the gambling clubs of London! But once convicted with the price Jesus Christ paid for his, Wilberforce’s, sins and the love Christ taught, Wilberforce moved head long into putting his time, network and mouth to change in England. Most interesting to me was the fact that when Wilberforce came to Christ, after his initial election to Parliament, he lamented whether to stay in government or go into the ministry. He was mentored by John Newton and others (one of his faith mentors was George Whitfield) to stay where God had placed him, in government, and see how the Lord would use him. Boy, was has he used! He is credited with abolishing slavery in the British Empire, he made the way for missionaries to go to India, for much social reform in England including helping the “orphan, widows, and people in prison”.

Though Wilberforce is credited with much of this reform he was certainly not alone. Also quite interesting to me was fact that Wilberforce had a mentorship group of other seasoned, multi-focused, diverse groups of friends who met together regularly to share ideas, network, pray, encourage and do the work the Lord called them to do. This group had a core representation, they actually all lived in the same neighborhood, but as others came into London, who had a cause or gift to share, they were also welcomed. Please know…this group was mightily used by God because they KNEW The LORD and KNEW HE was in charge and without HIM they were but filthy rags. Lovely, encouraging story.

We too, who love Christ and want to see His Kingdom come, should be encouraged by Wilberforce’s example and fellowship. The power that lived in Him also lives in us!

Hugs, Sheryl

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World Vision at Taco Time

by Nancy

I wrote a short story for those of you who remember Miles our homeless friend whom we all fell in love with Christmas of 2010. We lost track of him after he went into permanent shelter living to prepare him for work. He has been going through a lot since then and I got to again be his friend at church and at Taco Time. What a draining and exciting, wonderful day I had sharing the Lord with Miles. I am very proud of him.

World Vision at Taco Time 3/25/12:

We heard a great sermon today at my church. The head of World Vision was our speaker and he was a powerful motivator that had me convinced to support a child in Kenya. I already support a pastor in Kenya, a missionary in Uzbekistan and also 4 homeless men in Redmond. I am always ready to serve or support whoever God brings me. In my heart and mind I asked God to clarify if HE was leading me to take on more people to financially support. Within a few minutes I had my answer. NO, and here is why.

Miles, a homeless friend that I have known almost 2 years was waiting for me to notice him at church today. He was sitting on the stairs alone crying. My friend Gail said is that Jeff waiting for you??? I looked and motioned for him to come sit with me which he immediately did. I wanted to stand up and give him a BIG hug but hesitated for a minute because it was in the middle of the sermon. Then I thought Neil needs a HUG NOW and I am the only one who can give it to him!!! Not only did he get a hug but it was a meaningful, tight, loving hug!! Who cares if it made someone uncomfortable? God said NOW and I have learned to OBEY! Yes sirrey. 🙂

I asked if I would be able to talk with him after church and he said yes…but I am not doing well at all. I could tell Miles was different and had changed since we last talked 9 months ago. I am so thrilled that God gave me the skill to listen, be emphatic and love Miles for how God made him. All I had to do was BE AVAILABLE, LISTEN, NOT be judgmental, offer him lunch and give him a few hugs when he needed it. 3 hours and 4 ice teas later, Miles had calmed down, felt listened to and quit crying. I learned he had been newly diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and how much the system was not equipped to help him understand it or get the help he needed. He cried several times..clearly frustrated and afraid for his future. He said if I vent to my friends they will tell me what to do or take a hike. If I talk to you….you will listen and not feel like you have to solve my problems and that is ALL that I need today..to feel accepted and love just for being Miles!!!

Miles stated what he needed very clearly and asked for help. He needed bus money so he could get to some Eastside planning meetings that he has to attend to get the support that he feels chronically homeless people like him need. He has made a proposal to be presented to a homeless council and it was exciting to see his passion as explained his plan. He said “I don’t want CASH” because it is too easy to buy booze or just waste it. Please go to Safeway with me and just put money on my bus pass which I did. He asked if he could wash his clothes and shower at church and I said absolutely!!! He was SO excited and relaxed when he left. He was VERY stressed and anxious when he arrived. God gives us just what we need…just when we need it. My stress level went up a lot today but I have the skills to relax and decompress. Miles doesn’t, so God gave him a friend to assist him when he needed it. Thank you God!!

Thank you God for giving me the necessary skills to offer a safe haven to those that you bring me, IN YOUR NAME. Thank you God for helping ME feel loved, valued and useful when I use my God given skills. Thank you God for always taking the time to guide us when we are lost and for not giving us more than we can endure. Thank you God!

Living In Color With God,

Nancy

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crown

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test,
that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.     James 1:12  (NIV)


The Sistas at the Range

by Wendy

Tuesday was ladies day at Wade’s shooting range and since we had a one week break in our bible study schedule, Velma had a wonderful idea about us going to shoot pistols. Okay, so everyone wasn’t super excited and decided it wasn’t for them. But six of us thought it was a super fun outing. Nancy’s arthritis kept her benched while Marty, Linda, Carol, Velma, and myself thoroughly enjoyed shooting at the targets. I had never shot a hand gun in my life but the young guy at Wade’s was very helpful and kept us safe. He is in one of the photo’s helping Marty to use the sights. The photo with the targets in front includes everyone but Velma who wanted to keep shooting. She could have spent most of the day there shooting.

Of course lunch is always in our plans so off we went to enjoy yummy food after being exhausted from shooting.

This is something I’d always wanted to try but needed my sista’s to make it happen, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Our God is so good to us.

Our small group tries to do life together whether helping out others, supporting and encouraging each other or just plain having a fun time.

Marty and Nancy
Marty and Nancy

Marty and Linda
Marty and Linda try out their new skills.

Sistas holding up their targets
Right on target. Don’t mess with the sistas!

sistas at lunch
The sistas at lunch. (L-R, clockwise) Nancy, Linda, Wendy, Linda, Velma

Comments from the sistas on the day’s experience:

Marty ~ Going to Wade’s Gun Shop was a good experience. We learned gun safety and (if you wanted) how to hold a gun, then to aim and shoot. I thought it was very worthwhile to learn to understand and respect guns. Remember ~ proper, wise handling and storage are imperative!

Nancy ~ I think our group is so healthy because we all support each other “EVEN” on the shooting range. 🙂 Wades Gun Club in Bellevue was exceptional in offering us instruction and support. It was a very fun and happy Bible Study Group day!!!

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Because He Calls Me Daughter

by Kerry

Kerry
Kerry at age 5

Recently at my church, people were asked to give a short, written testimony in front of the congregation during service. One by one they each walked to the front of the stage, holding a large cardboard sign with “Why?” written on the front, meaning “why Jesus?”. They then turned the sign around to reveal written on the back why they’ve chosen to follow Him. It was a very moving display, because it showed how varied the ways are in which we need freeing and healing. Some testimonies I could really relate to, on a personal level, while others just made me happy that they’d been freed from that thing that was holding them back; the God we serve is multifaceted, and gives us each what we need, where we are. I’ll admit, by the end, with maybe 40 people standing on the stage holding their signs, I was crying unashamedly – I love the way God loves us!

It got me thinking, how would I answer the question “Why Jesus?” on my “cardboard testimony”?

Since I can remember, I’ve believed in Jesus, His death and His resurrection – and that as a result, I was “saved”. But up until about 4½ years ago, at age 34, I was not living a life that either showed that belief, nor understood fully what Christ had done for me…He came to set us free, to save us, but that’s only part of His gospel. I’ve since learned that Jesus is King, and that He reins over His people with mercy, grace, peace, justice and righteousness – all of this flowing from His great love for us. He came to give us abundant life, in the here and now!

Like many young women, I searched the things of this world looking for the love that He created us to long for, only to come up empty-handed, with a few scars in the process. I’ve always felt that my earthly father really did love me, but as he and my mother divorced when I was three, and the weekends I spent with him were fewer and fewer as I got older, he really was not part of my life during the time when I probably needed my “daddy” the most. I was vulnerable, and an easy target. It breaks my heart to look back on the girl I was; to see her searching, confused and trying so hard.

When I finally learned that my searching was in vain, that the love I’d longed for was there all along, it was life-changing! I was freed from the shackles of insecurity, of fear, of doubt, of giving up my identity to please others! I discovered that God’s love for me is so vast that my mind cannot even begin to comprehend the fullness of it! I learned that I am valued, precious, protected, adored…that I matter! That my identity is found in Him, and He is good!

So, I’ve decided that my short “cardboard testimony” answer to the question “Why Jesus?” would be “because He calls me Daughter”! I have a Father who is in my corner. One who knows me, who sees me, whom I can call “Papa”. And One who will never give up on me, no matter how many times I stumble, hurting myself, others and Him. He is perfect, and so is able to love me perfectly! He will never fail me, He always has by best in mind, and He will never tire of me telling Him that I love Him!

My prayer is that the young ladies and women of this world would come to know Jesus as I do. To know that we can trust Him to shine His light into the darkest corners of our hearts, revealing old hurts, but at the same time healing them, bringing freedom ~ and life!

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 dove

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.   Philippians 4:6-8  (NIV)


Bonding with Naomi and Birdie at Long Beach

by Nancy

Since my health has prevented me from traveling away from the greater Seattle area in 5 years, I was hesitant to go to Long Beach with my son Brent and his wife Maggie last summer. I was going to babysit the girls while they fished. My 21 year old grandson Ryan agreed to help me with the girls…ages 3 and 3½.  The entire trip from driving 8 hours to the 4 days we stayed was a delightful hoot, an honor and a blessing. This was the best of all situations for me. To help your son and his family relax and play together…to bond with MY 2 PRECIOUS adopted beautiful gifts from God…and to have an adult grandson….for 4 wonderful days. God gave me an opportunity that only HE knew would ROCK MY SOCKS OFF and it did in every wonderful way!

Naomi and Birdie (Jessica)
Naomi and Birdie (Jessica)

I has been 42 years since I had a baby so not only was I rusty…I had forgotten what a full time job 2 babies so close in age could be.  🙂 Naomi and Birdie are sweet, relaxed, patient and loving; however I forgot how to unscramble baby talk so it was quite entertaining to guess what they needed and what they wanted to eat or do. Our first encounter was trying to figure which clothes belonged to whom and then get their fingers to stay together so we could get their tops on over their heads. Birdie was notorious for pulling her arm back or spreading her fingers out just when you felt you were winning and that she was almost dressed. Ryan and I got better as the days progressed. My 2nd mistake was to not keep the car seats and stroller at the hotel while they were fishing. My 3rd big mistake was to think I could carry a double-sized-oxygen-tank on my back while carrying Birdie or chasing them around in the parking lot. My logic was bigger-tank-longer-lasting-oxygen which is true but way to heavy for someone who has Spinal Stenosis. My 4th was to think I could push my walker (to carry my oxygen) in the sand with a kid on it to boot!!! Go ahead and laugh because we sure did when we got all of 1 foot and put it back in the car. Ryan even tried and he couldn’t push it either. You know what….I should have asked little Naomi to try…kids can do some amazing things. Oops, forgot to tell you my logic when I packed only one pair of shoes AND only the rubber ones with holes in it so your feet can be cool and the shoes can be rinsed out. Well picture sand and “holy” shoes when you’re trudging in the sand. 🙂

Naomi
Naomi

Listening to me whine you would think we were blocks or miles away and had to drive to the ocean but we were the 1st hotel and just had to take a LOOOOONG sandy walk to get to the even deeper sandy beach. Well, with lots of rest stops we finally made it to the sandy beach. I poured out 5 #’s of sand from each shoe….then tried to find a piece of driftwood to sit on to be assured I could stand up when ready to leave or chase kids. ALL driftwood had been burnt and the girls would have loved getting charcoal all over their sweet, clean little faces. After landing in the cold sand (it was 98 degrees when we left Seattle and 61 when we got to the ocean just 4 hours away) I started feeding the girls the mini Ritz crackers with cheese filling. Imagine them getting one side in their mouth and dropping the cheesy side in the sand and reaching down to pick it up to eat….Ugh! I quickly tossed the sandy Ritz crackers away from Birdies reach and MAGICALLY…7 Seagulls appeared out of nowhere!!! Surprisingly the girls didn’t freak out and Ryan loved taking pictures of them flying around us so it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The girls have a cat named Pepper so the seagulls became Pepper to them each time they flapped their wings. We made it back to the hotel with both kids and lots of sand. We still had the key and although we were all worn out…it was a wild, fun and crazy adventure.

Although we had worn the kids out getting them dressed and walking to and from the beach…they did NOT want to go into the institutional looking cribs that the hotel had for them. It was still 4 hours before Brent and Maggie quit fishing but Ryan did an outstanding job of keeping them happy and content until mommy and daddy came home. NONE of us wanted to cook so we went out to dinner. Naomi fell asleep sitting up in a restaurant highchair with no back and eventually her face just fell into the plate below. Birdie just kept on eating and smiling and both girls were pleasant, happy and easy to feed and distract all the time. What a JOY these precious children are. What a gift from God placed right into our families waiting arms!!!

Birdie with a fish head
Birdie with a fish head

Well, the second day we made sure we had car seats in MY car and a stroller for walking but quickly found out that my car couldn’t take all the children’s things and my walker, so learned just another valuable parenting lesson. It takes a lot of “things” to take babies on a trip AND it is NOT as easy as parents make it seem when they are out in town running around with little kids. It ALSO takes a lot “of things” to take a 70 year old grandma, on oxygen and with health problems. I started to wonder how I had survived with my 4 kids, an absent husband, the first 2 kids only 13 months apart…with all 4 in 7 years and with NO car and no car seats. I did have a washer but no dryer 🙂 but just never focused on the bad. I just stayed in the present and loved having my 4 beautiful happy little kids every minute of the day.

Ryan was just a delight to be with. He is such a thoughtful, considerate, loving grandson at age 21. I never had to ask him to help out or pitch in. Naomi and Birdie just loved him and one day Birdie fell asleep on his shoulder. How precious! He drove my car for me and was so careful and trustworthy. He brought CD’s that he thought I would like to listen to and all around we had a delightful 4 days that could have potentially been a total disaster.

How can the trip fail with a great son and daughter-in-law….a considerate grandson and 2 beautiful and sweet little grand babies to share the trip with????? We all remained flexible and worked together as a team. What a glorious trip. Oh and most importantly…Brent and Maggie caught a lot of salmon and crab to take back home.

But to me the best part was traveling with a loving family and sharing LIFE TOGETHER. IT JUST DOESN’T GET BETTER THAN THAT!!!!

Living in Color With God,

Nancy

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Fashion Quotes

contributed by Bronwyn

I base my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch. ~ Gilda Radner

I do not have three-thousand shoes. I have one-thousand and sixty.   ~ Imelda Marcos

When in doubt, wear red. ~ Bill Blass

I don’t design clothes. I design dreams. ~ Ralph Lauren

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world. ~ Marilyn Monroe

A fashion is merely a form of ugliness so unbearable that we are compelled to alter it every six months. ~Oscar Wilde

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