Monday, March 30, 2009

Who Or What Is Upmost In Your Heart Today?

At the Well Blog Button

This is the question to ponder today as we gather at the well. I was stunned that this was the topic question, because it hit home for me today.

Tonight I am having a women's gathering in my home. One of my daughters is starting in a business where she sells merchandise through home parties. I committed to host a party for her to help her get started. So, today my mind is going from one thing to the next, and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of 20 plus ladies crowding in my livingroom.

I am trying to clean and make my home inviting. I am baking and thinking of how to make my goodies appealing. I am thinking what I will wear. I am answering the phone when ladies are calling to confirm they will be here. And I am getting a little anxious about it all.

I know that I need to be still and let God calm me down, and I know that I need to start my day in the right way by focusing on Him first. Then he can direct my path and give me peace and make me calm.

I am not all that social, and don't have many large gatherings in my home outside of family. It makes me stressed. I always want everything to be just right, and I fear that it won't be. Do you do this? Or am I the only one that gets all tense when hosting parties?

In the long run I know this is silly. Because all of the ladies that are coming are nice Christian people. They will just be happy to join in and help my daughter by looking at the merchandise and purchasing something from her if they find something that they like. They will chat with the other ladies and have a good time.

Why do I make it a great big deal in my mind and stress out so much? I know this isn't what God wants me to be like. He wants me to be given to hospitality. He wants me to do this with the right heart attitude, and not to stress.

I am going to try to surrender my stress to him, and my fears, and just enjoy the time with friends.

Please say a little prayer for me today, so that I can be a gracious hostess and think less of me,...and more of others. That I will put Him first today and every day.

Ok,...I must get on my knees and pray about all of this. You pray too ok?
Thanks! I'll let ya know how it goes.
Linda ... Truthful Tidbits

Friday, March 27, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude: The Lemonade Award

This is the Lemonade Award,... and I was recently given it by my friend @ Buildeth Her House, ...for having an "Attitude of Gratitude". I am humbled by her recognition. She also is an inspiration to me. Please go to her site and be blessed by her attitude of gratefulness!
I thank you so much for awarding my blog. I am pleased that you have found it worthwhile and pleasing to God.

I am awarding this Gratitude award to 10 blogs that I love. I follow them faithfully, and gain so much from them. They lift my spirit and make my heart sing! Some of them have faced great difficulties in life, but have not let those keep them down. They just keep trusting the Lord, and they make "lemonade" from the lemons,... and just keep on going! They bring glory to God.

Please visit their blogs. Share in some of their lemonade and be refreshed!

God's Girl! Loving wife and mommy to three girls. Newly alive with overflowing love for her Lord. Eager to share Him with others. Overcomer, exchanging fear for faith.

Young, fun, mommy to two little girls. Married seven years to her high school sweetheart. Hooked on Jesus,...and on crocheting! Has her own crocheted hat business. Cares and prays for others! Posts their prayer needs on her blog

Wife, mom to two boys on earth, and three babies in heaven. Serves her God in ministries with a compassionate heart. Prays for all of her blogger friends and always offers encouraging comments. Loves to sing, pray, read, write...and laugh with her sweet family.

Dee Dee
Pastor's wife, married to her high school sweetheart for 32 years. Mom to a soldier son, and two beautiful daughters. New grandma experiencing new joys.
Ministry leader, and giver of encouragement!

Lisa "Lolli"
Artistic and multi -fauceted wife, mother, and grandma. Serves her family, her church, her fellow bloggers and her God with zeal. She has a loving and joyful heart, and a zest for life. Always bringing a smile with her comments.

Loves being a stay-at-home "missionary mom" to five children. Living out God's calling in Indonesia. Always offering hope, love and encouragement from God's word. Inspiring!

Sold out to Jesus! Married to the love of her life, Luke. Mom to two great teenagers who keep her young. She calls herself "spazzy", I call her fun and invigorating. Heart of gold! Always tuned in to people's needs. Daily offering prayers and encouragement to all of her blogger friends. Love her lots!

Encouraging women to turn their eyes upon Jesus. Sharing her life with God first, then husband, son, family, friends, and sisters in Christ. His Word is always on her blog, hope and encouragement for all who visit.

Author of the book, "In Faithfulness He Afflicted Me". It is the story of God's faithfulness in her life when she lost three of her nine children. She desires to give people hope, in a world filled with sadness and sorrow. She wants to help hurting people find hope in God, and joy in life so they can dance again. Thus the name of her blog is called, "Dancing Barefoot",...on weathered ground.

Lynnette's daughter...(above). She has experienced loss at a young age, but has coped by God's grace, and is a lovely, well rounded teenage. Inspired artist, who loves the Lord, and serves Him through all her gifts of expression,, music, writing, and caring for others with her all of her heart.

Congratulations to each of you! Keep up the good work of serving God, and encouraging others. You've mastered the art of making thirst quenching lemonade from the lemons in life.

Love, Linda ~~~~March 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grandma's Hands

This is a picture from about 3 years ago of 10 of our 11 grandkids. Harrison, the youngest one wasn't born yet. My Mom never got to see any of my grandkids. But in heaven someday we will all be together!

If you would like to take a walk down memory lane with us today, click on the box above and join in.

This is a re-print from last year. I wrote it before I joined in on Wednesday's Walk, and none of you ladies have read it, so I decided to post it this week.

Grandma's Hands ~~~By Linda Hogeland

Recently I read a little story titled "Grandma's Hands" and it touched me. It had a picture along with the story, of several generations of female hands in a circle, telling a story all it's own.

I look at my hands and think how old they are looking. I have thought back to the days when they were pretty, with long painted fingernails at the end of each finger. I used to be proud of my hands,...and was complimented on them lots of times, and was told that I had "pretty nails". (Especially when I was working at a jewelry store for several years and I spent time caring for my hands more because I had to show jewelry and try on rings for people.)

I think back further, to my hands as a child when I used to have excema rash on my hands and I remember how they would itch so badly, and I would scratch them and wring them together so much that they would crack and bleed and make my life so miserable until they would heal. They were not a pretty sight and I was ashamed for people to see them, so I would often stick them in my pockets and try to hide them.

I would have "flair ups" throughout the years with the rash on my hands, and especially during the years when my three girls were babies and I would rinse their dirty diapers out in the toilet and then constantly be washing my hands after each diaper change. Turning little night gowns and socks, and baby clothes right-side out while folding laundry would be agony to my cracked, sore fingers. I would slather vaseline liberally over my hands again and again to keep them lubricated so that I could bend my fingers and move my hands enough to complete my "daily duties" around the house. (I think every door knob was covered with a coating of vaseline back then, as well as the steering wheel of my car!) Ha!

These flair ups and outbreaks on my hands continued for years and years as I am sure even my girls can remember. And even as I type this, I have a couple of places on my fingers that are red and itchy, from washing and cutting up vegetables just last night.

Maybe these problems with my hands have been a little "thorn in my flesh to keep me humble?" I don't know. But I am thankful that I have two hands,...and I have always been thankful since I grew up with a mom that only had one arm and one hand! She was in a car accident before three of her four children were born and she lost her right arm. She had been right handed so she had to learn to do everything with her left arm. Mom always had such fortitude,...and she worked so hard with that one arm.

That leads me to another story. My friend Kathy who lived in Derby, went to see my mom when she was in California visiting her mom one time. When Kathy got back to town she said an interesting thing. She said,..."your hands look like your mom's hand". I looked down at my hands when she said that, and I agreed,...they did look like mom's. Mom only had her left hand, but it is my right hand that especially looks like my mom's. The same callouses from holding pencils too tight, and the fingers are shaped the same. Since my friend Kathy said that to me I have often looked down at my hand and thought of my mother.

Over the years when my girls were little I would put my right hand behind my back and try to do normal things with only one hand. Things that my mom would have had to do, like changing a diaper, or washing dishes in the sink, or pulling up a zipper, or tying a shoe. I suddenly would have new compassion and admiration for my mom,...and just how hard her life must have been, raising 4 kids alone with only one arm, and one hand. A couple of years back when I broke my right elbow I did it again,....I thought , "how did mom ever do all that she had to do, with only one arm?"

Yet, as I look back and think about it, everything did get done. All of the important things! She could still touch my face and dry my tears. She would wrap her arm around me and draw me to herself and provide me with comfort and safety. And she would point that finger towards me in warning when I needed correction, and still deliver a swat or two when I needed it. That left hand typed letters to her family in Texas, and to her many friends over the years, and addressed many Christmas cards. And it also steered our car to the little white steepled church year after year. We attended Siver Acres Community Church, in Santa Ana, California. I love those memories of being in that church Sunday after Sunday, and Wednesdays too, with my mama.

I liked the nap time stories my Mom would tell me, about growing up on a farm and how she would have to help make butter, and pick cotton, and work hard with her hands, just like her brothers did, and like her sister Ethel did, even though Ethel was 16 years older than she was. She'd tell me about washing their clothes on a wash board and having to wring them out and hang them up to dry. And how she learned to kill chickens and pluck them and cut them up for dinner. I remember falling off to sleep as she went on and on with her childhood tales of growing up on a farm in Merkel, Texas.

Long ago and far away are those times, but my mom is as close to my heart as ever.
I don't dwell on the memories of her in the nursing homes, but on the happy years with her when I was growing up.

When I looked at the photo of the hands, and read the story that was with it, I was just moved in my spirit. I don't have any memories of my grandma, and I know my girls' memories with their Grandma Tate are few, but I still hold dear MY memories of her with my girls.

She did love them so much, and she kissed on their little chubby cheeks, as they wrapped their chubby little arms around her neck. She had a comfy lap to crawl up into, and an ample bossom to nestle against as she would draw them close to her heart with her one arm. She always wore lipstick, (just like I do), and when she'd give my girls kisses, she would always leave her mark! (:>)

Mom always had a big purse with loose change inside, and she'd give my kids nickels, dimes and quarters,...and sticks of gum. All of her grandbabies would ask for gum when they would see her, and so we nicknamed her "Grandma Gum!", cuz that's what the kids would say when they would see her.

She would take a hold of their sweet little hands and kiss them and tell the girls that she loved them. And she would sing "Jesus loves me" to them, and "Jesus loves the little children" too. All too soon she got feeble and weak and she spent way too many years in nursing homes, and that is so sad. But through all of our long distance phone conversations throughout the years, she kept up with us, and I am sure she smiled when I would tell her all about my girls.

The very best thing is that we will all be reunited together in heaven with Jesus someday, and we will get to spend all of eternity with her. The Lord will let my girls see the true heart of their dear Grandma Margie. And since she will be perfect in heaven and have both of her hands in her spiritual, glorified body, all of us girls can join hands and form a circle of love.
We can even let our boys in the circle as we praise the Lord together forever more!!!!!!

We should take a picture of our hands someday when we are together, I'll put my right hand in, in memory of mom, since that is the one that looks like hers, and then my left one for myself, and then my girls and their girls. This can be our own "Grandma's Hands" story.

Before too many more years pass by, my girls might be grandmas too, and they will have their stories to tell. Isn't it great to think how the love we hold in our hearts just keeps getting passed down through the generations? Take a few moments to picture your "Grandma's Hands", and think of all of the ways she has touched your lives,....and pass the stories on, so Grandma can live forever in your hearts and in the hearts of her descendants.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Godliness and Contentment

If you'd like to join in, click on the box above

Tuesdays In The Word ~ From I Timothy 6 ~ Godliness and Contentment

It was so good to re-read I Timothy 6 today and be reminded of where true contentment comes from. So often we feel discontent, or uneasy, or harried, hurried, or frazzled, in this hectic world of ours. In this high tech society there is always something coming out that we are tempted to try. Things that are said to make our lives easier, or more up-to-date. Along with these new conviennces comes so much stress to first of all,… pay for these gadgets,… and then the stress to learn how to use them. Then not long after we learn how to use them, they become obsolete and the cycle continues.

Foolish lusting over things that rich men have is a temptation and a snare. Some men drown into destruction and perdition because of the love of money and possessions. Verse 10 of chapter 6 says that the love of money is the root of all evil. And goes on to say that they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. This is not good. It is very, very sad!

The remedy is to flee these things as it says in verse 11, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. These are things worth laying hold on,….as is eternal life. Of course our eternal life comes only from accepting Christ into our lives. And then we are to live out our faith,…doing good works after we are saved. Trusting in the living God, who richly gives us all things to enjoy,…and not only to keep them for ourselves, but to share them with others, distributing and communicating!

In I Timothy 6:6-8 it says that,… godliness with contentment is great gain. We brought nothing into this world and we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

It is not the things that are evil in themselves,…but do we give our hearts to them,…and always want more? I think that the more we have, the more discontent we become.

My prayer is that I can once again strive to please my Lord with a meek and quiet spirit. A spirit of contentment and thankfulness. How about you?

Let’s go back to the basics sisters,…and be content and godly women. Being thankful for all we have and willing to use it for His glory.

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits ~~~March 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Life Is Like A Merry-Go-Round!

Have you ever felt like life was like a merry-go-round? Like you are going up and down and all around, but not really getting anywhere? Sometimes I think we all can feel that way. Day to day routines can seem...well, just that,...routine!

I have always been a play-it-by-ear kind of gal, and I think that suits me better than planning and setting goals that I don't think I can attain. I know some people could not function without schedules and routines and plans,...but I like to just let the Lord take me along and show me what's next!

I think that I am this way because my mother was this way. When I was a little girl we might start a project on a Saturday morning like, out a cupboard, and along the way we would find all sorts of things we had forgotten that we had, and we would get sidetracked. We might find a photo album and turn each page and smile at the memories. Or we might find a card or a letter and of course stop and read through it too. Then we would continue to straighten and tidy up the cupboard until the next little treasure would pop up and detour us. Maybe several hours later we would finally have a tidy cupboard, but even better than that we had taken a sentimental journey together along the way.

One time we were cleaning out a walk-in closet that had gotten quite out of hand, and when we were about half-way finished I found a little red patent leather purse that I had left there once when I was "playing house" with my dolls inside that closet. When I opened the little red purse I found several dollars worth of change inside! I was so excited, and I asked my mom if we could go to town so that I could spend my new found money. Well, it was Saturday,... and it was lunch time,... so we stopped what we were doing and we headed to town and ate lunch at Woolworth's and mama let me buy some fudge after lunch with the money from my little purse. Then we returned home and finished cleaning out the closet again. My older sister said I was spoiled,...but I think I was just greatly blessed to have a fun mama.

As I got older, a Saturday job might involve moving the livingroom furniture so that we could vacuum behind it or underneath it,...and that's when I discovered that I liked to rearrange the furniture. It was just so exciting to move it in a different position and redecorate the room. Then for many days afterward I could admire my work and feel like I had really accomplished something!

I also did this with my bedroom decor a lot as a teenager,... and this rearranging hobby continued on into my married life. I was always changing things around and switching trinkets around in the rooms to give them a new look. I guess I am not the type of person that likes routine so much, but I like to "mix it up a bit".

Oh I had to go to school everyday as a child of course, and we went to church every Sunday, and each day we had to do the dishes, and make beds and such. But my mama was always ready for a new adventure, like a walk in the park or around the block, just to break up the routines of life.

We often would go visit friends and force them to stop their routines too. A good visit was refreshing and we could all go back to the day-to-day business of life soon enough. Or while we were sorting laundry and putting in loads, the phone would ring and my mama always had time to take a break and chat with a friend who needed her.

Maybe my mom wasn't so good at teaching me to finish what I started before playtime, but she would always say that, "this can keep till tomorrow,...and if tomorrow never comes, then it didn't matter anyway"!!!

What is a merry-go-round really for? It is a place to enjoy yourself and use your imagination, and listen to some perky music,...and to try to grab the brass ring. It is not meant to be hum-drum and boring, and for a little child it is exciting. But adults find it extremely repetitive.

Maybe we should be more child-like. Maybe we should be more like my mother and take a few adventures along the road. Remember the merry-go-round when Mary Poppins rode it? The horses escaped and went on a fun adventure with the people on their backs.

Let's make life an adventure and really look for ways to enjoy it when we are doing our daily chores. And let's try to grab the brass ring!

Linda ~~~March 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's All In God's Hands!

Fifteen years ago I would never have dreamed that my husband John would be playing golf today with a Christian evangelist who is holding a revival at our church! Because fifteen years ago my husband was not a Christian.

I wanted my husband to be saved so much, and I would pray for him all of the time. In fact 15 years ago I had been praying for him for over 14 years! At times I thought he would never get saved and I was tempted to give up praying. But I continued on, and I whined and I begged and I pleaded with God to save my husband.

I had prayed for him to be saved so that I could have a Christian husband. And so that he would go to church with me and I wouldn’t have to go alone. I had prayed for him to be saved so that our girls could have a Christian father. I had even prayed for him to be saved because I didn’t want him to go to hell and spend eternity there, because I loved him so much. But one day I heard a sermon on the radio, and the preacher said when you pray for your unsaved loved ones, simply pray that they will be saved to bring glory to God. That was a new idea for me, but I began praying that kind of a prayer. I would say, “Lord, just save John in your timing, and in a way that will bring you the most glory!”

Well it wasn’t immediate, but God did answer that prayer in just a few months time, and my husband gave his heart and his life to Jesus! So with the total time being 15 years of praying for him,…I had a new husband. And I was so excited and I couldn’t stop praising God for saving him.

Well now it has been over 14 years since my husband became a Christian. His spiritual birthday is in December. I remember the cold December night when our staff evangelist came to our home and we all sat at the kitchen table and he carefully showed John his need of a Savior by going through the ten commandments and explaining to John that if he had even broken one of them he was guilty of all, and that it is impossible to get to heaven in his sinful condition without the shed blood of Jesus, who died for his sins on the cross.

John had always gone to church as a child and he knew about Jesus, but he didn’t realize that his sins would keep him out of heaven unless he laid them at Jesus’ feet and confessed that he was a sinner. He had always thought it was good works that got you to heaven and he always thought he would work at it later when he was ready to clean up his act. He thought that he would be a hypocrite if he claimed to be a Christian and kept doing the things he liked to do without changing his “bad habits”. And until that point he wasn’t ready to change.

But Norm showed him how he could never be good enough to deserve heaven. He showed him how he just needed to confess that he was a sinner, and that those sins made him worthy of death and hell, and they separated him from a Holy God who loved him so much, that while he was a sinner, dead in his sins, He sent His son to die in his place. All he had to do was believe God’s word and accept the free gift of eternal life, that Christ paid for with His sufferings and his death ,burial, and resurrection.
Norm told John that he just needed to trust God and believe what he said in the scriptures. He said he could then give the Lord his life and He would change him through His power, and through the Holy Spirit as he yielded to Him and as he lived for Jesus.

The new joy in my husband’s life was evidence of his new faith. He was a new creation in Christ with new desires. He had a bold testimony of how God had worked in his life, and how he had delivered him of 30 years of “bad habits”,…which he now called sins!
People saw a change in his life.

These last 14 years have been some of the happiest years of our 32 year marriage. John is not perfect, and neither am I, but now we have a Christian marriage where we can pray together for our needs and for the needs of others, and God gives us grace to face what each day brings us.

If you are discouraged because you have been praying for an unsaved spouse or loved one and it hasn’t happened yet, I would like to encourage you to keep praying for them! Pray with new vigor. Pray that God will do it in His perfect timing, in His perfect plan, and in whatever way that will bring Him the most glory.

Our life is supposed to glorify God. This should be our purpose. We need to love Him and serve Him. And we need to give Him the glory for all He does for us everyday.

God is always faithful. Even though we fail, He never fails. We can trust Him with our lives and the lives of those we love.

Keep praying, and keep trusting Him for the answers to your prayers,….in His timing, and for His glory. It’s all in God’s hands!

By Linda Hogeland ~~~March 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Today we had an evangelist speak at our church. His name is Morris Gleiser, and he is such a good preacher! He was born in Texas and he has a nice southern accent. He lives in Indiana now. He reminds me of Andy Griffith when he played Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry. He just has a small town, easy going attitude. He has done revival meetings at our church a few times and I really like his easy to understand approach to spiritual renewal. He will speak again tonight at 6P.M.... and then Monday through Weds. at 7P.M. at Calvary Baptist Church in Derby, Kansas. I wish everyone could hear him bring the truth of the word and such a good challenge to move closer to God.

I think we Christians all need a shot in the arm now and then, of good "old time religion". And we need a reminder that we need to "fan the flames" and "rekindle the love that used to burn so fiercely in our souls for our Lord. We too often get lukewarm. The Bible tells us that He wants to spew us out of His mouth if we are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm,...and I can understand this saying. A lukewarm cup of coffee for instance is so unappealing. A steaming cup of coffee is good, or even an iced coffee, but lukewarm makes me want to spit it out.

Can you imagine what we would feel like if our spouses or our children just had a lukewarm love for us? If we never knew where they stood when it came to loving us, we would be sad and worried that we were losing them. I can see why the Lord wants us to really LIVE out our Christian life with zeal. I can see how we don't make anyone thirsty for Christ when we are just lukewarm Christians.

I don't want to be that kind of a Christian, but I think I am at times. I have been praying for revival for myself, my family, my church, my friends, my country, and the world! But it must begin with me! And it must begin with you, and my family and your family. If our friends and neighbors see Christ in us because we are loving and kind and friendly and helpful,..then this brings glory to God. But if we claim to be Christians but don't walk the walk, then we appear to be hypocrites and we drag Christ's name through the dirt. How can we witness to others and share what we know when we don't even know the Lord as intimately as we should?

When we stand in His presence one day we will give account of the things we did for Him. Will we be ashamed because we haven't done what we should have? I think there are many times we could have shared Christ by yielding to Him and by planting seeds for Him,...but we back off, chicken out, or just aren't on fire for Him the way we used to be. I do desire to rekindle the warm love that I felt when I first came to Christ. Don't you? Remember the excitement we had when we first came to Christ and we felt His forgiveness? It was wonderful!!!! I am desiring renewed excitement and revived zeal in my love for the Lord.

I do believe that all things work together for good to them that love God, them who are the called according to His purpose. I am glad that I answered that call years ago,.. and that I came to the Lord and that He accepted me into His family. I have security, and a promise of eternal life with Him. God is faithful even when I haven't been. Some more good news is that He forgives us when we fail, and He gives us another chance to serve Him better, and to walk closer with Him.

I am thankful for my loving Father, and I am thankful for my salvation, and I am thankful for renewal and revival. I am thankful for my church and for my pastor, and for a traveling preacher like Morris Gleiser who goes around the country to so many churches, encouraging people to really love the Lord and live for him.

When Morris speaks and brings the word, you almost expect Barney Phife to come out from somewhere too because he really just makes you feel like your listening to a good ole' boy speaking to you on your front porch in some little town somewhere. I think Jesus was sort of like this in his ministry to the people when He walked on earth. People were drawn to Him. Well, I want to draw people to Christ that way too. I want to just be real and to share Christ with others in a sincere and loving and comfortable way. I want to lift up hope to those who feel down hearted.

The Lord has been so good to me and loved me so much since I have been a Christian. He has brought me through so much. I have been able to turn to Him during the loss of many loved ones in my life and He comforted me and helped me to go on. Through illness and pain, through bad times, He has walked the path with me. And He is always with me in the joys and miracles that have happened in my life. I know He loves me. I know He loves you too. We need to acknowledge His love and give Him more thanks and praise for all that He does for us. And we need to share Him with others.

I am anxious to see where God is going to take me now, and what He has in store for my future. I want Him to use me to encourage someone. I want to stop being lukewarm. How about you?

May we all find revival,!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Life-Less Trees Outside My Window

(This is a repost from back in Dec. because I am going to a funeral today and didn't
have time to write a new post)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Life-Less Trees Oustide My Window

As I look out my window today I see some trees without their leaves and they look so life-less, and indeed they do appear to be dead. However they are not dead, they are just going through a normal process. The leaves have gone from green to gold or red and then they turned to brown and fell from the tree and have blown around in the changing wind until someone rakes them up and puts them into large bags and sets them out for the trash man to pick up.

These bare trees look cold and empty and not very pretty at present, but I know this is just for a short time and when autumn and winter have passed, spring will bring them tender shoots once again on each of their branches and the barren looking sticks will flourish with lots of healthy green leaves to sway in the wind. Some of the trees will also flower and lovely white, purple or pink blossoms will be abundant, and this will bring delight to all of those who pass this way.

But during the barren times I can't help but feel a sadness and a longing for the fruitfulness of the tree to return. I think that I am going through a similar time right now because I have not been well and therefore I am not flourishing. I have not been active, or able to enjoy the routine things that daily life involves. I have felt like my strength has drained and my leaves have fallen. But I do know that this is just a passing season of my life, and before too long my life will return to normal.

When the snow comes the barren trees will appear to be dressed again with glistening white coats. Or sparkling ice, like jewelry, will dangle from the formerly bare branches. This will bring needed moisture and it will be good for the trees. And I will be able to look out my windows and enjoy the wintry white wonderland and my spirit will be lifted.

God has a reason for each season of our lives,....and He knows what we need to go through and how to prune us so that we can bring forth abundant fruit at His appointed times. I am so thankful that things are not always what they appear to be,...the trees are not dead,...and either am I! There has just been a quiet time where God wants me to be still and dwell in His presence. My trial has been so small compared to what some people experience. I am not complaining, just reflecting on what God wants me to learn at this time of my life.Yet I will admit that I long for the warmth He will bring and look forward to the new life that will soon appear, and the growth, both on the trees and in my life.

If your life is looking a little bleak, and your branches are feeling empty, don't despair the Lord is always near and He will hear your whispered pray. Don't lose hope, hang on to your faith in Him. Open your eyes to the beauty that can be found even in the autumns of our lives or the cold dark days of winter.Sometimes we need the quiet, still, moments. And before too long we will be seeing new growth sprouting out from the dormant areas in our lives if we yield ourselves to Him, and let His strength flow through us like sap.... bringing new life and new energy to us once again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

He Wants You To Be Free

Why do you travel the long winding road,… stumbling along the dark way?
You need not carry your burdens alone,…give them to Jesus today

Lift from your shoulders the cares that you bear,… and drop them at our dear Lord’s feet
“I’m more than able to carry your load,”…He whispers in melodies sweet

Our pride tells us,…no…we can do it alone,...and onward we press down the lane
But Jesus repeats in His gentle, kind voice,…“my child let me carry your pain”

We doubt and we fear, and we shed many tears as we struggle to do it our way
But He follows along,…when we’re weak, He is strong, and He picks us up day after day

Won’t you turn to Him now, at His feet humbly bow, and release your great burden to Him?
He is loving and fair, and your burden He’ll bear, and you won’t have to struggle again

And the peace that He brings will make your heart sing as you walk down the path by His side
And you won’t feel the pain or the sorrow again, since your burdens you shed with your pride

You’re free now to dance down the lane in a prance, or run and jump in the air like a child
Your Lord loves you so, and He’s glad you let go, and He watches you now with a smile

“Now isn't this better than struggling alone?”… He says…, and you quickly agree
Why did I carry that big heavy load when you wanted for me to be free?

By Linda Hogeland ~~~March 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

I Remember

I remember days gone by
Days I sat on the front porch and read a book
Days I felt warmed by the sun as I pumped back and forth on a swing, going higher and higher, then springing forth jumping to the ground with daring adventure

Days I planted jonquils, hyacinth, and tulips in the ground, and the days I gloried in my work as I saw them push forth from the warm earth
Feelings of accomplishment, when all the while it was God doing all of the work!
Yet there was an awe and wonderment as I watched them grow

I remember climbing trees, skipping through my days with ease
Carefree days when all I could see was all of the beauty surrounding me
Summer evenings, crickets chirping, fireflies sparking
Watermelon dripping from my chin as I held a slice and took huge and refreshing bites, spitting forth seeds in abundance

I remember homemade ice cream, icy and cold with fresh strawberries on top
Hot apricot cobbler fresh from the oven, with sugared crust and milk to cool it down
Beans and cornbread, butter melting inside, warming my tummy on a cold autumn day
Crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and biscuits with jam on a Sunday afternoon

I remember running until I was out of breath, skipping and jumping with glee
Hopping in the hopscotch outline, picking up my lagger with ease and tossing it in each square hoping not to touch the line
Singing songs while jumping rope, doing Double Dutch, and red- hot- peppers when I jumped as fast as I could, panting with sweaty face,… yet loving every minute

I remember naps in the sunshine, lying on a blanket in the grass, an occasional ant tickling my leg as it made it’s long journey
Butterflies winging their gentle way across the breezy blue sky, their colors bright and cheerful as they fluttered, sometimes landing briefly on the flowers making me want to capture them

I remember roly-poly bugs so innocent and slow, curling up into little balls as I’d flick them with my fingers to set them in motion
Fuzzy caterpillars inching their way to who knows where?…always way-laid as I’d pick them up and let them tickle their way down my arm or leg as I watched in amazement

I remember rain on the windows, puddles on the ground, rubber boots splashing
A red raincoat with white polka-dots, making me feel happy as I put it on
Umbrellas turning inside out in the wind as it pulled me along
Carrying me to and fro as if I weighed nothing
I remember ducks waddling around the lake as we walked through the park
Shady trees along the banks, birds chirping in those trees
Buzzing bees, occasional stings, tweezers pulling out the stingers
Poison ivy on my body, pink lotion drying up that oozy rash

I remember roller rinks and organ music, concession stands and friends everywhere Couple’s skate, skating backwards, shiny floor, and stitches in my chin as I landed on my face,… and people dodging and darting all around me so they wouldn’t find a similar fate
And Roller Derby on TV, where both men and women were in brutal pursuit, elbowing one another, each wanting victory

I remember feeling contentment as I sat for hours playing jacks, tossing that little red ball in the air as I gathered cherries in a basket, pigs in a pen, or scratched the match, or did around the world
Being in my own little world blocking out any chaos around me
Feeling safe knowing my sweet mother was just inside the door

I remember school days yielding to summer
Slower pace, and times at the beach
Floating on my back in the pool
Splashing away from each other as we played Marco Polo

Wrapping myself in a colorful towel, it bringing warmth to my youthful body as I stood dripping on the concrete
Laying poolside in the glaring sun, toasting myself, looking brown as a biscuit
Freckles sprinkling across my nose and cheeks

Sundresses with bright patterns, stringy straps tied in a bow
Elastic on top and flouncing bottom, twirling freely as I’d spin
Popsicles red and juicy,… snapped in the middle to share with a friend
Licorice ropes and candy necklaces adorning my wrists and neck

I remember my little white church with it’s steeple
Ringing the bell that called the neighborhood to worship
Vacation Bible School and all of the fun activities
Learning about Jesus and loving Him more with each story I learned from the Bible

School’s return, new shoes a size bigger, new books, pencils, paper and friends
A different teacher, new challenges, field trips, projects, and recess,…best of all recess!
Tether ball, four square, hanging on the bars, racing the boys and winning
Smiling, giggling with girlfriends, sharing secrets,…and walking home together

I remember coming home each day and finding mother there
Home was a safe harbor,…food to eat, comfort to be felt…
Love to be shared,….I remember! ~~~By Linda Hogeland

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Blessings Of Motherhood

She Looketh Well . . . Blog

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The Blessings Of Motherhood

I have been blessed by God in my life,… in so many wonderful ways
He made me His daughter,… and gave me three girls,… I found it a privilege to raise

I shall never cease thanking Him for these great gifts,… and I’m giving Him all the praise due.
And this is a story I’m eager to share, and I pray it’s a blessing to you

What I like best about motherhood?…well let me see,… it’s a question that’s complex and deep
But one of the joys when my girls were so small… was watching these precious ones sleep

And snuggling them close to my heart in a hug was a pleasure so warm and so real
Just knowing that God gave these children to me is a wonderful,… miracle deal!

Oh yes, I did have to “give them away”, when they married and moved from my home
But I keep them close always inside of my heart, and there they can never far roam

The love that I have for them just multiplied, when they, their own children bore
And now I find blessings all over the place when their families knock on my door

It’s tiring yes, when the living room’s full and the chatter is at a full hum
But the joy that it brings when the family sings, makes my heartstrings gently strum

The time passes quickly and comes to an end and they leave one- by- one through the door
But the love it remains, and the memories I gain, gather up and I keep them in store

I treasure the calls and the sweet little voices I hear on the end of the phone
It reminds me of those,… I heard everyday,… when my girls where still at home

“I love you mommy,…can I have a drink?,…. Or,…can I go out and play?”
Voices I loved hearing,… duties I loved doing,… and wish I could still do today!

You may think you want freedom, and time for yourself,…. but I would think again
For soon enough,… they leave the nest,… and your time seems… never to end!

Some days you just wish that they could drop by,… and visit with you for a bit
But their time it is filled with their motherhood skills, and they don’t find much time just to sit

But this is ok, and it is the way ,that the Master has rendered His plan
My daughters grew up and in so many ways I accept what He’s dealt from His hand

But I count it a blessing,… to have been given these gifts… from my dear loving Savior above
So I would tell you today,…treasure them while you may,…and enjoy them and give all your love (:>) By Linda Hogeland

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Am Held

She Looketh Well . . . Blog

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I am held in the palm of my Savior’s great hands
He shelters me there in the raging storms
And protects me from all elements of harm

I feel cradled and safe, like a newborn babe in the hands of her capable father
His hands are so large there is room to move about and I don’t feel trapped
I feel comforted and secure from the troubles in the world

I feel cushioned from the blows that Satan tries to fling at me
From the assaults that my enemies try to inflict
I feel the warmth of His hands and it is soothing to my shivering fears

Like a baby bird in the safety of the nest, He feeds me as I nestle there
He not only protects me, but He is letting me bide my time until the fateful day
When He lets me try my wings to see if I can fly

If I am not prepared He catches me and never lets me fall to my death
But swoops down and scoops me back up in His loving embrace
Where He holds me once more

Are you held?
Do you know the sweet contentment and the security only found in Him?
Do you feel His presence and His great heart of love that beats for you?

There is no feeling like it in all of the universe
The same God who holds the stars in space, will hold you close
And you will feel the breath from His beautiful face, breathing love upon you

You need never feel alone when you are encircled by the everlasting arms
Or held in His magnificent hands
You need only say,…Father here I am, pick me up and never let me go

He more than welcomes you
He is gracious, generous and kind
He is pleased to carry you wherever you go

You need never feel alone when He offers you His presence
Why would you refuse Him?
Please let Him hold you, as He holds me, and all those who want to be…. held

By Linda Hogeland………March 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Beauty of Creation

From the vast expanse of darkness looming all around
Came the voice of the Creator, and the glowing light was found

“Let there be!…”was His great statement,… and it quickly came to pass
“It is good!”…..was then His comment,…light divided from ..darkness

And God called the light the ..“Daytime.. and the darkness He called ..“Night
And the evening and the morning were the first day,…His delight!!!

His delight to form the waters ,…and divide the firmament,…
And then he called it “Heaven ”…and the second day was spent

Let the waters under heaven be gathered to one place
On the third day dry land appearing brought a smile upon His face

God called the dry land “Earth”,… and the waters He called “Seas
He saw that it was good,… and He was very, very pleased!

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth,…the grass,.. the herb,.. the seed
And the tree yield forth it’s wondrous fruit
,”…..and it was good indeed!

The fourth day brought the seasons and the signs for days and years
Greater light, and lesser light”…He also hung the “stars and spheres

And then on the fifth day,… He put the “fish” into the seas
And made the “fowl” to fly above the earth with graceful ease

On the sixth day he formed “cattle,…and every beast after it’s kind”,..
man in His own image”, and “ dominion…on all they’d find

On the seventh day God rested,…and we,…should do the same
Let us drink in all creation,….and praise His Holy name!

Be in awe of His great power,…His mere “Speaking” brought great things!
Gaze on all creation’s splendor,… and sweet anthems to Him bring….

Hallelujah,… He is worthy,…Hallelujah to our King,
Let us praise our Great Creator,…He created us to sing!

If we don’t the rocks will cry out and the trees sing forth His praise
I will worship my Creator and sing praise through all my days!

By Linda Hogeland Feb. 2009