Archive for June 2012

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My front garden in full bloom….. way to early!  Usually this is what it looks like in July!
This morning I was blessed by a wonderful, well known scripture.  Prov. 31:25
The ESV says it this way:
Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in times to come.
The NASB says it this way:
Strength and dignity are her clothing, she smiles at the future
I have to admit when I read it this morning, I scoffed at myself.  I did not feel this truth at that moment.  But then, God wooed me to remember that this is His Holy Word, His Love Letter to me and this is truth for me.  I thought and meditated on this verse and slowly my heart softened and I felt the Spirit lift my head and bring me back to the place of knowing my strength is in Him, my Hope is in Him.  In Christ, I DO stand with strength and dignity, and IN CHRIST I can smile, and will be laughing at the future. Smiling now, rejoicing soon…….
Just keepin’ it real!
All day I went to this verse and believed it and let it settle deep in me, in those places where I am prone to wonder, not wander as the beautiful hymn of old says, but to wonder…..  And soon my wondering turned to awe as I rested in this great God who knows all that I do not know, has everything that I need ready and Who is good in ALL seasons of life.
He has not changed and will not change.
This I rejoice in….
Blessed with strength and dignity
Joyce

Posted June 26, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Spiritual Life

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I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help?

My help cometh from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth

He will not allow my foot to be moved

He that keepeth me will not slumber

Behold, He who keepeth Israel shall never slumber or sleep

The Lord is my keeper and the shade at my right hand

The sun shall not smite me by day nor the moon by night

The Lord shall preserve me from all evil

He shall preserve my soul

The Lord shall preserve my going in and my going out from this day forward and forevermore!

Psalm 121 – written in first person

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is good news to:

our family as we wait for fish to arrive – and gives me hope as I drive to Two Rivers today, again, to buy fish to make orders

to a young man lying in Milwaukee at Children’s Hospital fighting to survive Leukemia

to our friends who may lose their home

to my friend who’s children have all walked away from God

to those who wait in hope for God to answer the dearest of prayers for miracles on their behalf

to those stuck in a situation in life that is hard but must wait for their deliverance to come

to our hired man who sits each night in jail, pondering who this God is and how to trust in Him

for single dads who just want to spend time with their children so that their children will know that they love them

for those of us with insecurities that leave us perplexed and a bit bristly….

for the wife who waits for her husband to choose to love her and come home

for the person who is struggling to be thankful fro all things in life and may feel a bit abandoned by God

for the lonely who long for friendship and love in human form

for all of us who walk this planet earth as aliens, clearly knowing we do not fit in and that this is not our home

~~~~~~~

I am resting in Psalm 121  today

Blessed to know where my hope is found~

Joyce

Posted June 21, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Spiritual Life

Why We Serve The Local Body of Christ   Leave a comment

The Gospel is all about relationship — God, doing all and giving His very best, so that we can have relationship with Him through His Son Jesus. The Word is full of examples of Believers serving each other and we are told in Galatians 5:13 to serve one another in love.  Yes, this does mean day to day using our homes and our talents and our money to serve others in the family as well as our neighbors and folks in our community, but, it also means in our local church within the ministries that God has led your church to be a part of.  Whether you attend a home-church or a traditional church with a building etc.. (which needs a LOT of helpers to maintain!) we are al needed to serve one another where we are.  We never lose by doing what God says.. if He says serve one another then there is glory to be given to the Father when we do, and we receive a blessing ourselves in the process.  The blessing comes in many ways, peace and joy in our hearts, knowing that others are helped to worship God or by our work are more comfortable as they worship or have what they need, all of which expresses love for each other.  And when we are thanked we have the opportunity to express our love for that person and reflect the praise to where it belongs…. to our Heavenly Father!  I know this makes serving sound so fun, and it really is, even when it is hard and sweaty work, even when folks are grumpy.  Maybe that doesn’t happen in other churches  🙂     Believe me, we know serving can be down right difficult at times but because this serving one another gives God glory — that alone is the reason to carry on–  in love!

Word to parents — in this consumer driven age we live in it is urgent that we teach our children not to be takers and  consumers of the church.  The greatest way to avoid this is to model being servers ourselves and always incorporating our children with our work.  Well, maybe not if your a deacon– 🙂  it might not be appropriate to bring your children to a deacon/elder meeting  🙂   Have your children help when you pick the flowers for the altar, mow the church lawn, wash the church windows, teach the littles in Sunday school, paint the walls (we will be doing this in the coming week as a family with others from church)….. the list goes on and one — all serving.

This doesn’t touch on the Spiritual gifts that we each bring to the body, but with physically serving first the natural flow is to then seek for the Holy Spirit to reveal to all of us our unique giftings and offices that we are given for the glory of the Lord and to benefit one another.  It is all so exciting and good when we are all working/serving one another in love.

I can hear someone asking….”what if life is too hard to do that right now?”   God’s loving Word addresses that as well- 1 Cor. 12 speaks to covering one another as needed.   I have had times when I could not play piano due to just having had a baby or struggling with something in my life where I just needed to focus on God so much that it would not have been pure to be at the piano with large questions and issues exploding in my heart.  I have had sorrow when I just needed to not teach for a couple of weeks so I could grieve and heal…  There are seasons that God takes us through in our lives where it is a time to be still, and be served….. and it brings such joy to experience that as well… to receive the love and ministry.   And when I am ready God puts me right on track stronger and better able to serve having rested in His presence and having been loved by the body.

The pictures below are just goofy pictures others have taken or we have that are not to brag about our family  (that would be gross) and steal God’s glory, they are just to show fun ways our family looks for and grabs the chance to serve– in love.

I am at the piano and Melody our youngest is on stage singing with the worship team — this was at our wednesday night practice.

Here we are again… All of our girls have sung on the worship team as well as Annie and Melody have worked doing the computer and tech stuff for church and creating power point slides and keynote presentations.

Having parties to celebrate being the family of God…….. who just happens to love the Packers!  I mean… we at Bethel love the Packers…. maybe God cheers for them as well!

…..” I wonder how I can get that blonde on the piano to settle down and to quit making mistakes when she plays”…..

or

…..”I wonder if the pianist even notices I have turned her piano mic off!”….

Our daughter Melody snapped this one morning after mic checks as she could get away with it better than me!

This is where Rick always is for every service as he is the sound man for our church and does a great job.  We have rarely (in thirty-one years of marriage) been able to sit together.  So rarely, that when we do, I consider it a date!  That is not sacrilegious….. God whole-heartedly approves husbands and wives enjoying sitting together in His house.  🙂

This is Rick at the latest annual meeting for our church.  Annie had made all the screens for the presentation and this was the first time her father went high tech and ran the programs from Annie’s Ipod.  He did very well!

How about serving the body by grabbing all the faceless male teens and beautiful young women in your church and taking them to a great youth conference — trusting God for strength and sleep!  🙂  …. or just having them over for pizza and games!

Other ideas—

bringing treats to someone shut in or recovering from illness and singing a few hymns with them!

being willing to be in the nursery!

I am so excited because our new nursery schedule has changed and now the nursery is going to be only available after the music, this is so that the children learn to behave in the worship and to join in– babies too!   This also means that I can now serve in the nursery and I am on a week from Sunday.  I can’t wait to bless some parents by rocking their babies and telling their little ones about Jesus and how much He loves them.  We are a pretty family friendly church so we most often have the children in the service all the way through but I hope I get to bless someone!   🙂

Look around — pray for an opportunity

and serve one another in love!

Blessed to serve and to be served!

Joyce

Posted June 12, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Spiritual Life

Commercial Fishing Update   Leave a comment

As always, being a Commercial Fishing family has kept us on our knees and asking for faith.  I wrote last fall about the lack of fish in our fall season, the season that basically keeps us afloat for the year.  Spring fishing which usually starts around the first of April can also be a boost for us after a three month stint with no income but taxes to pay instead!  We hope and prayed starting in February for a good spring.  It was not to be, due to winds which kept the guys from lifting more than 2-3 times a week in a good week.  The winds, combined with lots of slime in the nets have a made for  a dismal spring season as well.

Last year we started buying fish from fishermen who fish a zone in southern Lake Michigan in the month of July and sadly, we started to buy fish from them again last week.  This is not how fishing has ever been before and it is making us all wonder what is happening.  The guys in the south are catching and are having no problem so that says the fish are still plenty in the Lake, just not in the northern zone.  That is good for our friends in the south but not so good for we northern fishermen.  The greatest stress is that here in Door County, whitefish is on every menu in every restaurant in Door County and many serve the famous Door County Fish-boil.  We serve to three restaurants which are well-known and go through a large amount of fish either filleted or chunked for the fish boils.  One is the Old Post Office restaurant and they serve only a fish boil.  So, that brings my husband some stress as he knows our fish are needed to meet their needs.  The law of supply and demand is wonderful when the supply is bountiful but not so much when the supply is low, or non-existent, or being bought at a price which makes our earnings minimal.

 

So, we practice faith in our wonderful God who supplies all of our needs, over and over again.  Our God that gives us peace when we cannot see how it will all come together~   And He is faithful, and He always is.  This week Rick has been out every day so far, the first time in 11 weeks of fishing and we are thankful for every fish he has caught.

A few weeks ago I was rounding the bend in Gills rock and saw Rick’s boat way out in the fog.  In thirty-one years of being married to a fisherman I have never caught a picture of him coming out of the fog and thankfully my camera was with me so I headed straight to the dock with the intent of capturing the beauty of a fish tug coming out of the haze and into sight..

The guys made it to shore and I caught some fun pictures of them working together, Rick, Andy and Matt, our new hand.

 

 

Someone likes to play tough guy with the camera!

 

The boss!   Notice the one box of fish–  not too good– but we are grateful.  The pink fleshed fish on top are called Lawyers and are a delicious fish despite being considered a “junk” fish.  I got all excited thinking we could have them for supper as we had not eaten any for months, but Mr. shy guy up above had already called them for himself and had done the hard work of skinning and boning them so I did not say anything.  He is a sweet guy and I know that if I had mentioned anything about wanting the fish he would have given them to me —  see…..  fishermen are not all as tough as they like to act.  In fact, there are some really sweet ones especially my husband!

 

This is an amazing moment because all of the guys actually cooperated with my taking this picture and looked somewhat cheerful!  These are great guys and Matt, in the middle, is really coming along with learning the ropes of fishing and all that it entails.  Andy, on the end is our part time hired man and such a great guy, we enjoy him so much and he smiles ALL the time!

So that is fishing as of right now– praying for better lifts to come— thankful for every fish we catch and every safe day out on the Great Lake Michigan.

Blessed because we TRUST in GOD not fish!

Joyce

 

 

 

Mentoring and the Cross   Leave a comment

 

This is the beautiful cross from the Chapel at the Fort Wayne hospital where Cassidy works.  The Chapel was so peaceful and lovely and this cross was stunning.  The colors spoke to my heart from the peacefulness and the tranquility of the blues, the joy of the yellows and reminder of royalty in the purples to the fiery power of the reds…. all emotions that are evoked in me when I see the cross.   Had there been time I would have loved to sit there in the calmness of that room to meditate on God’s Word and speak to Him.

Matthew 10:38  “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

I Cor. 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The cross— looking at a beautiful cross whether made of wood or stained glass, (neither of which represent well  the cross of Calvary anymore than the sapphire  and diamond cross hanging from my neck as a true representation would be marred from nails and blood if we are to be at all honest) reminds me, deep in my soul, that this is the symbol that speaks of what christianity is all about — love- promises kept, power and forgiveness and sacrifice– lots of sacrifice…..

The verses above from Matthew and 1 Cor. have always encouraged me in the mentoring part of my life because mentoring takes sacrifice which may seem hard at first and while in the midst of some seasons but, when looking back it it pure glory to God. What may seem foolish to the world, and those I mentor, is still POWER to me oh praise the Lord.

Some times of mentoring leave me wondering why I am investing in these folks who do not respond to this power or respond with little sparks which are blown out quickly by the world and satan, over and over again.   But then I am reminded that it is not by me or through me, it is simply the cross—-  and then I relish in days like yesterday as my sweet young friend came for prayer and Bible study, who, after years of mentoring is in a crisis that has brought her to the cross in such a way that it is literally changing her every week when we join together, this cross is not foolish this time and she is not  embracing it half-heartedly keeping the world’s views right beside the Word of God.   She is experiencing the power as it sheds her heart of her own sin and tenderizes her heart to embrace the beautiful ways of God and as we cry and laugh and share what this mysterious power is doing in our lives and ….. we embrace the cross.  Actually, I think we cling to the cross recognizing that it alone and the God who orchestrated the cross and our Salvation is our highest need.   Laying down our sins and choosing to follow and obey God, we experience the hope of the cross and it fills us with the knowledge that we are royalty as daughters of the King of kings and we rest in peace, and we have joy overwhelming our hearts and we rise up as women with power — women of VALOR as Prov. 31 speaks.  Women of the cross!

Mentoring is much about “we”.

— when I started mentoring I perceived mentoring to be  where I was always “above”, the more knowledgable one and wiser.  In some ways this is  true to some degree — but so many more times I have found that mentoring is like being yoked with someone where we walk together in life but because I have walked with God longer it is I who knows the road and helps to keep the other on track and moving forward.  Being close to someone in mentoring brings (more often than not) times where God  speaks to my heart and challenges me and I learn alongside and grow equally as much because I must know what I believe and be strong to stand against the enemy as he hates mentoring that is done for God’s glory and centered on the cross.  Mentoring, although sacrificial  ALWAYS produces good in my life and it will in yours as well.  It is not so much about “me”….. but about “we”.

Blessed by the cross today,

That changed me and continues to change me

That I am loved by God so that

I can love others…..

Joyce

 

Posted June 6, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Photos, Spiritual Life

Virginia — Getting our Kristi Back! First stop Ind. and Ohio   Leave a comment

Since we live in Wisconsin it is impossible to head East without having to go through Chicago. If there was a way to avoid it my husband would have discovered it as he and Chicago have a 30 year feud going on and most of the time Chicago wins.  Now it is a different story for me.  Chicago, sans the Bears, and I get along just fine.  Case in point — I arrived at the Ill. border and had Annie text her father to let him know where we were.  Rick responded “good luck” as he always grimaces and starts to mutter under his breath as we cross the state line.  We cruised through just fine on that Friday afternoon, using the Whittington I-Pass and one hour and 40 minutes later we were crossing into Indiana.  Annie texted her father back to let him know we were heading into Indiana.  His response?  “You are one lucky woman!”  My response?  “Don’t I know, I married you!”

Friday night we stayed at Cassidy’s house, our “dark-haired-daughter” as we lovingly call her.  It was so fun to see her home and tour the hospital where she works in Fort Wayne, and the hospital was beautiful in every way.  We sat up taking and catching up on life and enjoying being together.

Cassidy and the girls!

 

Bruce and Marcia taught us a really fun game which Annie did not do too bad in the playing of!

 

This is my dad’s brother then his son, me, Claudia then my brother Bill, then Marcia.  We had so much fun at their house with a delicious dinner and playing games and visiting.  It was so good to be with them again in their home.

 

It was such a beautiful day that we took off to do some hiking at a beautiful park near their home.

 

After our hike we went to the quaint old town of Chagrin Falls where my brother lives.  When I was sixteen I went to work near here at a Christian camp and being back in the area of towns with a town square and amish near by warmed my heart.  I just enjoy the Amish so much as well as historical old buildings which Chagrin Falls has plenty of.  Here are the Chagrin Falls behind my lovely daughters.

In one of those old stately buildings was a very gourmet ice-cream shop with lovely brick walls and wood floors and the widest variety of ice=cream flavors I have ever seen.  Chocolate/cayenne anyone?   I had salty caramel and it was delicious.

 

 

Jeni’s splendid Ice Cream was the name of the shop and here is my brother with the girls outside of the building.

 

Saying good-bye to my brother was hard as I see him so rarely.  He works hard and I wish he lived closer so I could help him out with some hot meals now and then as well as helping him care for his place.

It was precious to be back in this neck of the woods and to spend time with family that we live so far away from.  Getting to meet my cousin and his sweet girl friend was a bonus as well as Claudia who is dating my brother.  Connections are so important in this day and age of living far from one another and I am thankful for the opportunity to visit and get to know these two women.

Blessed in Ohio,

Joyce

 

 

 

 

Posted June 6, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Family, Uncategorized

At Liberty —   Leave a comment

Kristi and her dear friends.  We missed seeing her roommates as they had already left by the time we got there.   I was so happy to meet these sweet girls and see the kind of young women that Kristi had become close to while at college.  God is good!

As we waited for our table to be ready at the local diner, Kristi and friends took in a game of Ninja, very entertaining to say the least!

Here is Kristi “gloating” a bit in that smile as she just bested her cousin Tyler who is grounded beside her!

After a wonderful dinner with all of Kristi’s good friends, I believe there were fourteen young men and women around the table, we headed out to Walmart to get a few groceries.  Tyler had to ride in the back as all seats were taken.  I told the girls to let Tyler out of the back of the car but soon discovered that when a guy is trapped or needing something from a female, it is the “Liberty Way” to have the guy tell the girls, or girls in this case, that they are a princess!   That is one way for females to gain compliments!  🙂

On Tuesday morning we had a visit from our dear friends J and M, and baby A just a few weeks from being born!   We had a delicious breakfast together, shared life and had a precious time of prayer together before they needed to head on their way home. What a treasure to be entwined in life with such a precious brother and sister in the Lord.   They delight my heart and give me great joy!

Lacey got to practice her camera skills while taking this picture of my sister Angela and my mother and me as we stood in front of Liberty Mountain. Angela was picking up her son Tyler from college and we were able to enjoy a 24 hour family get-together in between loading our student’s life’s possessions and praying that it would all fit!

My mother and I.

The boys took in a game of basketball in the gymnasium on the campus.  There were a bunch of guys playing and the girls ligned up along side the court to watch —  the guys were pretty involved with the game but after the girls started cheering for their cousins it became apparent to those on the floor that there were watchers.  🙂

The cousins in action

Annie and her Aunt Angela

It was all hands on deck when it came to loading—

And we have never been opposed to child labor— never!   Our motto is teach them young to enjoy working and being a helper!   Lacey was all of that and enjoyed being a part of the big girls!

And here is the proof that she, Lacey, loved it!  It is more than precious to see my daughters loving on their little niece and it delighted my heart to see Lacey and Annie holding hands and skipping down the side-walk together at Liberty.  I just had to laugh as I wrote this as sidewalks are a novelty to us as well, the nearest sidewalk for us is two towns down the peninsula!

Kristi took us to her favorite place on campus for meals which had a covered outdoor eating area.  We had so much fun eating delicious flat-bread meals and being entertained by our children telling stories.

These cousins never seem to tire of being together and making each other laugh —  rich, wonderful memories!

If there is a frozen yogurt within a mile of my sister, she will find it!   She loves these yogurts places with tons of toppings to put on your dessert.  We enjoyed our treats and then headed back to the motel.  Of course the cousins had not had enough cousin time so they went to Walmart together and took in a game of Mission Impossible which they like to play —  the fun just never ends with this bunch!

After breakfast together in the morning we headed on our way having packed as much as we could into the last 24 hours and also praising God that we could get everything to fit in the car along with the cooler for meals.   Amazing!

Posted June 5, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family