Sunday, September 27, 2009

Circle of Life

This mural was painted by Michael Johnson, a former student of mine. I absolutely love it! I love trees in the first place, but the addition of the celtic circle is just so interesting to me.

The never ending circle is the most commonly seen design in Celtic artwork. The most popular interpretation is that the complex, interlocking weaving of the knotwork is representative of interconnecting forces of life, a very important concept in Celtic philosophy. It could also represent the endless circle of life, with no beginning, no end.

A favorite song by a favorite group of mine- "Circle of Friends". I heard Point of Grace sing it live! It is a beautiful song about the wonder of so many friends, who have their share of troubles on this earth, demands of the world, loneliness, trying to fit in, hurts and sorrow...but we all know that we can count on each other to be there for us within our circle of friends. The REALLY amazing part is, we share one Father, and we share the prayer that we'll gather together in heaven one day.....our circle of friends.

Love to all the friends I have met along the way!
We were made to love and be loved
But the price this world demands
Will cost you far too much
Spent so many lonely years just tryin' to fit in
Now I've found my place
In this circle of friends

In a circle of friends
We have one Father
In a circle of friends
We share this prayer
That every orphan soul will know
And all will enter in
To the shelter of this circle of friends

If you weep, I will weep with you
If you sing for joy the rest of us
Will lift our voices too
But no matter what you feel inside
There's no need to pretend
That's the way it is in this circle of friends

In a circle of friends
We have one Father
In a circle of friends
We share this prayer
That we'll gather together
No matter how the highway bends
I will not lose this circle of friends

Among the nations, tribes, and tounges
We have sisters and brothers
And when we meet in Heaven
We will recognize each other
With joy so deep (joy so deep)
And love so sweet (love so sweet)
We'll celebrate these friends
And life that never ends

In a circle of friends
We have one Father
In a circle of friends
We share this prayer
That it will not be long
Before all will enter in
To the shelter of this circle of friends

That it will not be long
Before all will enter in
To the shelter of this circle of friends

Circle of friends

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

God gives me everything I need

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

How does one teach the 23rd Psalm to a group of preschoolers? What does it mean to them that after the people crossed the Red Sea to escape the soldiers who were trying to harm them, they were starving? What does it mean to them that God provided quail and manna?

When the question was asked of the children in my Sunday School class,
"What does God give you that you need?"

Their 4 year old answers-
("I shall not want")

They may have a few different ideas than we do as adults, but what they are getting at is the same. Are we sure we know the difference between a "need" and a "want"?

"God gives me everything I need". Say it with me kids..."God gives me everything I need". We say it at the beginning of class, before the lesson, after the lesson, while we are cutting and gluing and when we say our prayer of thanksgiving before we part until next Sunday. "God gives me everything I need". It will be etched on their minds, hearts and tongues. How wonderful! ("He leadeth me in the path's of righteousness for His name's sake").

We really do have all that we need (and then some).

Our son, Brandon is in the process of adding some new shelving in a couple of closets, but before I can organize everything on my nice new adequate shelves, I have to take everything out first. ("Thou preparest a table before me")Do you know how much is actually in a pantry, how much is tucked, stuffed, piled, and perhaps used very rarely if at all? Some people would be thrilled to have a portion of what was in that pantry! ("My cup runneth over") Which things are wants and which things are needs?

"God gives me everything I need."

-a son who is a carpenter, willing to help his mom make her life a bit easier. ("He restoreth my soul.")
-a wonderful job, which allows me the extra cash it takes to make my life a bit easier.("Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life")
-pans and gadgets and medicines for most of what ails me just to make my life a bit easier.
-and food and MORE food. Yes, God, gives me everything I need.

When Jesus celebrated His victory over sin and death, He chose to send gifts to those He set free. He could have chosen to give us anything...knowledge, spiritual growth, protection and comfort during all of our trials. In the end, when Jesus celebrated His victory over sin and death by giving to those who had sinned against him. He chose to give us all of these things and so much more!

I am asking for prayers for my friend, Mary Jane today. I stopped to visit her and she remains the pillar of strength and determination. She said, "I have everything I need. We are well taken care of." She does not wish for prayers to be well. She would like prayers for pain management and peace.("Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me")

She knows where she is going..... ("and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever")

God gives us everything we need. -preschool memory verse adaped from Psalm 23:1

Thursday, September 17, 2009


You're my life's one miracle
Everything I've done that's good
And you break my heart with tenderness
And I confess it's true
I never knew a love like this til you.

You're the reason I was born
Now I finally know for sure
And I'm overwhelmed with happiness
So blessed to hold you close
The one that I love most
Though the future has so much for you in store
Who could ever love you more?

The nearest thing to heaven
You're my angel from above
Only God creates such perfect love
When you smile at me. I cry
And to save your live, I'd die
With a romance that is pure at heart
You are my dearest part

Whatever it requires,
I live for your desires
Forget my own, your needs will come before
Who could ever love you more.

Oh, there's nothing you could ever do
to make me stop loving you
And every breath I take
is always for your sake
You sleep inside my dreams and know for sure
Who could ever love you more?

Picking out a song to sing for a little baby girl's baptism Sunday-Beautiful Baylee-

Crying my way though this song-

Missing my mama-

Realizing the magnitude of the gifts I have been given in this life.

Realizing that my job on this earth has been to give life to my precious children

Realizing that that precious gift of children has continued into the next generation

Wondering how I could EVER love all of those people so much, but I do.
I am so proud of my Brandon, big strong husband and Daddy...................
Happy, Happy Birthday, my dear Tyler.......................
Love you forever, Marissa Rose, "the sweetest flower that grows"....

Each child I had was the love of my life.
I love each one the most.
Each grandchild is the love of my life.
I love each one the most.

Mom always said...."Life goes on", and so it does. Her Morning Glories still grow-
She did what God had placed her here to do.
She gave birth to nine amazing miracles. Her other "glories" still growing-
She said, "When it comes to blessings, I'm richer than most."

Each one of us has given birth to our own children and countless grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mom loved each one the most!

Hug your babies and remember.......

I now know the reason I was born, and I love each one of you the most.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Thank you to my friend, Marilyn for my post today. I just watched an incredible slide show that is near and dear to the heart of an art teacher/photographer. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks, Marilyn. You made my day! I need to remember ALL of my blessings!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekend Pictorial


1. Relating to, characterized by, or composed of pictures.
2. Represented as if in a picture
3. Illustrated by pictures

From Latin pictrius, for PAINTER!

Amazing to me is that I have just one more interest in my life....that of taking pictures....and that it can be verified as another type of PAINTING! Now that we have cameras and computers, there is just no end to the editorializing one can do. "When I was a girl" students really hate it when I start a sentence with that! But truly, when I was a girl, we did not all own cameras. My family must have had some kind of camera for those old black and whites we used to see, and I wonder how in the world mom could afford to develop them, and how in the world did we ever fill up a film? I think they came in 12, 24 and 36? If you were in a hurry to have something developed, you would definitely choose the 12 exposure. 24 and 36 were more economical, but you had to think about how you would ever take that many pictures. Pictures were such a luxury and required so much planning. Now one can take hundreds of photos and post them onto the computer in minutes.

Mom snapped pictures of us on Sunday after church, quite often it seems. We were all lined up by age in front of the cellar door. Sometimes, just for kicks, we would line up by height, and if we were being silly, by cuteness, or by intelligence. It always led to many laughs, but picture taking was really a special event. I don't have many pictures when I was a child, but more in high school. Mom probably let me borrow her camera on special occasions. I remember one camera that was a rectangle shape with a flash cube you had to attach to the top, and one had a long bar of flashes. One camera held all the pictures on a disk that you could take in to the store. There was no editing, no cropping, no color enhancing. Just take in the disk, and get them all printed and pay for them all, good or not. Later, we had the old rolls of film. Some cameras even had you pushing a lever a couple of times to advance the film. If you forgot to turn on the flash, you still had to advance it, and most likely take another to get one with a flash as the first one was probably no good. Please, please do not open the camera or all the film will be ruined. It couldn't get too much sun or get wet or it would be ruined, and again, no cropping, no enhancing....just take it to the store, get it developed and pay for the whole roll, good or not. I still have a box full of negatives, waiting for the time when I could ever possibly use them. I am not sure if any photo business would be able to retrieve any photos from those ancient negatives. I remember the 110s, the 35m., the disk, the instamatic...all not so user friendly to most friendly users.

We are so fortunate to live in the digital world with my love of taking pictures. Now, EVERYONE owns a camera, and most know how to edit and crop and enhance on their computer. If the pictures don't look good, just delete them. If you make a copy, you can mess with that, and if you don't like it, delete it, or revert back to original if you are on your computer or at one of those photo stations in the store. Crop, color, desaturate, brighten, sharpen, add text, can even print one in several different colors. No longer do we need black and white film and colored film. No longer are we at the mercy of printing the entire roll, good or not. It takes just a touch on a keyboard to change the photos you have taken.

There are so many things that give me joy! Today, share with me my love of taking pictures and my love of editing them. Thanks for sharing my weekend in pictures with me.
Children, grandchildren, volleyball, farming, digging in the dirt, taking pictures, some beautiful weather, the beauty God has placed all around us, time to look, and eyes to see! I am so very blessed!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mustard Seed

It began here, for me anyway, a tiny little church in Lester, Iowa. On a good Sunday, there may have been 40 in attendance. I remember visiting at the invitation of friends, wondering what all the excitement could be about, and knowing that I had not felt that kind of excitement about anything, much less church, for a very long time. We visited one Sunday, most likely taking up the pew of a regular attendee, but no one minded that. We felt welcome, immediately loved and accepted and finally, we were at home. I cried much of the way through that service, listening to a heavenly choir of women's voices and thinking I would love to sing in that choir someday. I thought it was the most beautiful place and had the most beautiful music I had ever heard.

This past Sunday, we were blessed as lay speaker, Dan, told us about his journey to this church. He said their family had visited many churches and even stopped attending church for a while. At the prompting of their daughter, who wondered just when she would get to go to Sunday School, they decided to try the little white church just a few feet from their home. "The population that day went from 24 to 30" with the addition of their family. "We probably took up the pew of one of the regulars, but nobody cared." He said, "It wasn't about building a church. Our vision was never growth. It was...I found Jesus here. I found gold and I want to share. I found a morsel of real food among the rocks."

Before long, with the word spreading about this place of love and peace and acceptance, and invitations flying around the county, we outgrew that building. No longer would we have people sitting in the lobby or in the basement. The pulpet had even been removed to give us a little more room for chairs in front of the pews. There was no more room for expansion. We moved next door to the old furniture store, Ageson's Interiors, which once had been an elementary school. I have posted one photo of that building below. There was a grand gym with a balcony that became our sanctuary, and the showrooms and old classrooms became Sunday School rooms. To make enough room, some students continued to travel next door to that little white church for Sunday School, and the Gerbers held one class in their home. The word continued to spread. Plans were made for a new building. Land was secured, labor was donated...God blessed us with carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, painters, roofers, craftspeople of all sorts.

Shown below is our Methodist Church today.....Seeds of Faith Methodist Church in Lester. Pastor Don says often, "Who would have ever guessed this, in Lester, Iowa?"

It really is the story of the mustard seed. We started so small. A group of faithful women prayed for babies and families....and they came. The church was dying, nearly extinct and these women prayed and said, "Mountain, move!"

"And Jesus said unto them..."If you have faith as a grain of mustand seed, you shall say unto the mountain, "Move from here to here, and it shall move, and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

This is the cross at the first church. It has continually been the reason for all of this. He is the One who brought us here. He is the One who carried us from building to building. He is the One who kept us together through our growing pains. We have tried to live by the verses in Galatians 5:22-23..."But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."
The cross at Seeds of Faith. We will do our best to abide by these fruits, to keep planting those seeds. He, in turn, will keep us together through the next stage. Growth means change. Change sometimes means conflict. Dan told us, "Seeds of Faith is on the radar. We are walking down the narrow road and people are watching how we will handle it. People have watched us grow and thrive. People know we are moving and shaking, and now people know we are in the midst of a great change in leadership. It is not about any one of us. It is not about any individual. We have to be a united front. We have to stay together and face this as one. Life changes. Life goes on. The old must become new. Whatever our numbers are, whatever they will be, we are one!" (Thanks, Dan!) May we never forget what brought us together, unconditional love, that which made me visit, that which made me stay, that which fills my heart with joy! John 13:35 says, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another." How wonderful to be known by your love! How wonderful to love and accept and care for others. How wonderful to have the promise that no matter what the path, no matter where the process leads us, He will carry us through! How very wonderful!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Memory Lane

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice."

I took a trip down memory lane last night and this is where I found myself!
Brandon's Kindergarten graduation is on top. He is now 26! His 2 lb. baby twins are in preschool!
The next photo is Tyler's Kindergarten graduation. He was 3 months old when I began teaching. He is now 23 and has enjoyed 2 more graduations and opened a business.
Last but not least, we have Marissa at her graduation from Kindergarten. She is now 16, driving a car, and getting her braces off on Thursday!!! Look for photos! In the blink of an eye, she will be graduating from high school!

Where have the years gone? I am now saying good morning to my grandsons at preschool, and we are practicing raising our hands, walking quietly in a line, using the big boy bathroom and washing hands to the ABCs. Seems like just yesterday I was there with my own children!

And the man handing out the diplomas, the same principal all of my children enjoyed, is our pastor, and after many years, he has decided to retire. Not a worry yet, but those wheels are turning....What if we get someone who doesn't do things like we are used to having them done? What if we don't get someone right away? What will happen to our church? Will we continue to grow and thrive? Will we fall? Will be lose people?

"Rest", He says. "Relax", He says. "I will take care of you".

In Matt 6:34, He said, "Therefore DO NOT WORRY about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:27-29 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

In fact, God has commanded us NOT to worry, so by worrying, you are really disobeying God's commandment.

Luke 12:22-26 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, or what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’”

Proverbs 12:25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up

Matthew 6:25 That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

Time is passing, no matter what we do.
Time is passing, no matter how we handle it.
Time is going to pass, weather we worry or not.
Turn it over to the One who can carry it with you and FOR you when you are weak.
Life goes by so quickly. Don't blink. Don't worry. Don't waste time in distress or unhappiness.

1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you