Monthly Archives: September 2016

Wise Wednesday 9/28/16

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It’s funny how different, members of the same family can be. Growing up, my mom, youngest sister and I loved to read.  My middle sister on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it and often tried to “rescue” us while we were lost in a book.  (Annoy us may be a better way to say it!) And in my own family, my better half, son, and I of course, love to read.  My daughter would rather do almost anything else than pick up a book.  The differences don’t stop there though….when my son and husband find a book they love, they’ll read it over and over until the cover is worn out.  I on the other hand, only want to read a story once……

Uhhhhh……unless of course, it’s the story of my life! Then, I want to immerse myself in those chapters which were set in my comfort zone and had happy endings. I long to linger with those characters who’ve meant so much to me.  I’ve survived all the adventures, challenges, disappointments, and triumphs that have been woven together to create my story. Rereading it is safe.  I like safe!

Then….the page turns. A new chapter awaits. What’s a “play it safe, memory hoarding, stay on the sidewalk, status quo” kinda gal supposed to do?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 

 We know there are volumes of things that can go wrong….cliff hangers, plot twists, surprise endings….and they can make us want to slam the cover shut and demand a rewrite! But, I’m learning (slowly) it’s exactly those things that help develop OUR character and make our story richer.

 A chapter in my book of life came to an end yesterday.  Perhaps one is ending for you as well. It leaves us with a choice. Are we going to reread the pages we know so well or are we going to trust with all our heart, turn the page, and start discovering the paths that await us in our new chapter of life?

Sisters ~ Wise Wednesday 9/21/16

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It’s been there from the beginning.  That bond. The connection. Stronger at times than others, but always there…..sisterhood. I’ve recently returned from seeing my sisters. It was a quick trip, but being in their presence, even for a short time, fills an empty place in my heart. I’m lucky, no, blessed to have the two beautiful (inside and out) sisters that I do. They get me. They challenge me. They support me. They cheer me on.  We may be separated by miles but we share a relationship so close that when one of us is suffering, we all three experience the pain. Celebrating? Joy abounds! Sad….tears are shed in unison. My sisters are part of me as I am of them. We walk through life together sharing experiences, observations, frustrations, and victories. And laugh?  Oh my! Do we ever laugh! (mostly at each other and ourselves)  As the big sister of the family, I couldn’t be prouder of the women my sisters have become!  They truly are my “Gifts from God”!

“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (KJV)

Murunga’s Miracles: The Secret Weapon

Miracles of Living Hope

Marilyn Uhl will be the first to tell you that establishing and running Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya could not happen without God. She will also tell you that the longer she’s in Africa, the stronger her faith grows. Marilyn has seen God work things out in strange and powerful ways even when she didn’t believe He would.  “I don’t know why we don’t have total faith because He never lets us down.” she reminds us. “He might not answer us the way we want or when we want, but He always has our good in mind.”  The Living Hope journey continues with these true stories of the miraculous ways God is working in the lives of Marilyn and her students.

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Murunga’s Miracles:  The Secret Weapon

At times, Murunga still worried that he would wake up and the life he now knew would be nothing but a dream.  No longer would he be a graduate of Living Hope High School or a Hospitality Major in college. Thinking back to where he was just a few years ago to where he was now, felt almost too good to be true.

But here he was, on his detachment (internship) at the museum.  Murunga enjoyed the work and had so impressed the museum manager that he’d left Murunga in charge while he was away. Things were going smoothly until Murunga looked out the window.  What he saw sent chills down his spine and put fear in his heart.  FIRE! Smoke and flames rose from the grass down the hill from the museum and were headed his way.  Not knowing what to do, he picked up the phone and called the only person he knew he could depend on.

Marilyn listened to Murunga’s panicked voice on the other end of the phone line.  He quickly reported that he thought someone must have thrown a cigarette down and now the grass was ablaze.   She heard a click on the other end and Murunga was gone.

Not five minutes later Marilyn’s phone rang again.  The pitch of Murunga’s voice told her that the situation had worsened.  Words spilled rapidly as Murunga described what he saw out the museum window.  Not only had the fire grown but now the wind was whipping the flames in a path that led directly to him and the museum he’d grown to love. All he could think about were the ancient artifacts and precious pottery that would be lost, never to be replaced, if the fire reached the walls of the museum. Murunga needed a miracle and he needed it at that very moment!

Rushing outside, Marilyn found a large group of girls sitting together washing greens for supper.  She recounted all Murunga had told her.  They immediately put down the greens and with Marilyn, they began to pray together: some in English, some in Swahili, and still others in their own tongue.  They prayed fervently in unison, their voices becoming louder and louder with each word.

The ringing of Marilyn’s phone sent a hush through the group.  It was Murunga. In disbelief he announced that for no reason at all, the fire had died.  He couldn’t understand why the flames that had been furiously consuming the dry, brittle grasses had suddenly gone out.  His confusion didn’t last long however, as Marilyn explained that she knew why the fire had been extinquished; they had used a “secret weapon”…..prayer.

That day has significant importance for Murunga, Marilyn, and the students.  Not just because God provided the miracle of extinguishing the fire, but also because it was the first time the “secret weapon” had been used.  Oh, prayer is a regular part of the day on the Living Hope campus, but on this day there was nothing regular about that prayer!  Those Spirit filled words lifted to Heaven-when everyone was praying for the same thing, at the same time, and determined not to stop until something happened-changed everyone. They gained a new understanding that together, their prayers are powerful!

The Secret Weapon is now a vital part of life at Living Hope High School.  Murunga continues to learn much as he works in the once threatened museum. But the most important lesson he’s gained is the knowledge that God offers us great power in prayer; a power we don’t use often enough; a power that can put out a fire in a field and at the same time light one in the souls of those who accept it.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya

For more information on Living Hope High School, go to www.livinghopehighschool.org

Wise Wednesday 9/7/16

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) / Pixabay

Funny how things work out. My last post compared a TV show ending with a season of my life coming to an end (“It’s a Wrap”) and today I actually watched the last show of a favorite series of mine. In this final episode, the writers “wrapped up” the life stage each character was in and let us get a glimpse of what new season awaited them.  If a wonderful show has to end, this was a perfect ending.

My wise words today come from the farewell lines of character, “Detective Vince Korsak” and oh, how they spoke to me!

“I hate endings, the truth is I hate beginnings too.  I like middles, the steady sameness- comfortable- forever. But, I know you don’t always get to pick when life changes so I have no choice but to embrace this and I’m going to make it the best version of the next step that I can.”

I so often find myself digging in my heels and clinging to the “steady sameness-comfortable-forever”, but we all know that isn’t how life works. Change happens! Our endings probably won’t be perfect and we may not have a clear vision of what’s to come; but whether you’re retiring like Detective Korsak was or walking into a new career, welcoming a baby or leaving your “baby” at college,  keeping pace with teenagers or slowing your stride to care for a parent, or even moving forward with tearing down an old house while waiting for a new one like me; let’s embrace the path we’re on and be determined to make it the “best version of the next step that we can!”