Category Archives: My Journey

Give Me Jesus

Have you ever experienced one of those days, when through no effort of your own, you found yourself reading or viewing or listening to something that really shook you to the core? It may have been a passage in a book,  the lyrics of a song or a portion of Scripture.  Something that opened the floodgates of emotion and sent the tears freely flowing?  A divine moment when the Spirit of God pierced your heart and you felt the conviction of sin and the love of God simultaneously?  When the presence of God was so tangible and real that you felt the need to fall to your knees in His presence?

This has happened many times in my life – some I remember very clearly but others are tucked safely away in the recesses of my mind and are now faded memories without detail.   However, what I DO remember clearly is that each time the Lord has allowed me “to stand on holy ground”,  I did not come away unchanged.  Each and every time He has drawn me to Himself,  I have felt the conviction and burden of my sin followed immediately by my confession,  then the lavish outpouring of His love, forgiveness and restoration. 

Just this past week, as I was searching for Christian music videos, I happened upon this one – Give Me Jesus – and felt led to watch it.  It’s performed by Fernando Ortega for The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as a tribute to Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell Graham (June 10, 1920 to June 14, 2007).  I don’t know if it will affect you as it did me, but it has caused me to think about my own life and wonder – do I desire only Jesus?

As I watched the tribute once, twice and then three times, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “When I come to die, what will my children remember about me?  Will they say that I was a great cook and could bake a delicious scone? Or will it be that I planned fun family vacations and sewed elaborate Halloween costumes for them? Or will they recall the many backyard tea parties and coffee times we had together?  Will my life be the sum total only of the things that I did for them?

Who will my children say that I was?  Was I a gentle, loving mother who served them faithfully and taught them to love Jesus or will they remember the days when I was still being refined by the Lord and the words I spoke to them were harsh or cruel and I  spanked them in anger?  Will they have any memories of me praying for them or patiently listening as they shared their burdens?  Will they know, really know, that the one thing that I wished for them all, is that they would come to love the Lord with all their heart and soul, mind and strength?  

If David is called to bear the burden of being a widower, what will his memories of me be? That I encouraged and respected him and challenged him to go deeper with God? That I was faithful and loving and patient?  Or will he remember all the times I threatened to leave him, unable or maybe unwilling to overlook his shortcomings?  When my days have come to an end, will he look at my wrinkled, old face and say from his heart, “She was so beautiful!”

As I ponder these questions in my heart and have dared to share them openly with you all, I know that Jesus is near…revealing, once again, my sin and my daily need for His forgiveness…given freely because He is faithful and just.  I know that He is speaking graciously and lovingly to my heart and telling me that it’s not too late to leave a legacy of love behind me.  And I know that now is the time to “come deeper” with Jesus and delight myself in Him.

And someday, if someone were to ask me, “What is the greatest desire of your heart?” 

I want to be able to respond this way… “just give me Jesus.”

Do you desire only Jesus?

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

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

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

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under My Journey

A Season of Change

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I love most about Autumn.

It has it’s own particular smells and sounds that I look forward to each year – the acrid, but not unpleasant smell of decomposing vegetation and the crunch, crunch, crunch of leaves as I walk through the woods.  And the colors!!  Have I mentioned the colors? 

In my opinion, the Fall palette is a true feast for the eyes – orange, yellow, red, russet, burgundy and brown.  Brilliant and shocking…earthy and restful! But more than these, what I savor most is the gentler pace of life that embodies these months of September through early November.

After the sunshine and heat and the hectic pace of summer activities, Fall is a time for slowing down – a winding down of the activity clock – and a time to prepare the heart and home for the long, dark winter that follows closely on the heels of Autumn. There’s always a bit of panic inside of me, knowing that months of extreme cold and darkness are just around the corner. But before they arrive, God opens up His storehouses and gives us all an amazing gift – ABUNDANCE!

Everywhere I look, I see the generous hand of our Creator…

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

Bushes and brambles laden with ripe berries;

Fields of corn ready to be harvested;

Apples trees littering the ground with ripe fruit;

Deciduous leaves -yellow, orange and red – putting on a display of color that fills our senses with awe and wonder;

The recent harvest of brightly-hued squash and and pumpkins piled high at the local Farmer’s Market;

October sunsets – rivaling the turning leaves with their own ethereal display!

For four to six weeks each Fall, His flora is displayed in all of it’s glory and then like clockwork, a subtle change begins to happen.  The temperatures begin to fall; the angle of the sun declines;  the days grow shorter and all of Nature inhales one last, deep breath.

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

In a last flurry of activity, I cut down the frost-blackened flower stems in my perennial garden and cover them with protective layer of leaves. 

I fill the bird feeders and watch as the residents from the northern boreal forests make their annual pilgrimage down South. I pull out my wool socks and sweaters and I make thick, hearty soups and bake chewy-crusted breads filled with grains and seeds. 


And I bake pies…lots and lots of pies!

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

When the leaves have all fallen and the grain harvest is in, I find myself trudging through the frosty fields of corn stubble – my Springer spaniel leaping and racing before me in search of pheasants; a small 20-gauge shotgun resting in the crook of my arm.

When the gales of November start blowing (and they really do!) I curl up on my couch and I read book after book, sipping on hot, spiced tea to counter the chill that threatens to creep into my house and aging bones! And before I know it, the past summer and all of it’s activity becomes just a fading memory.

The weeks pass, the white flakes begin to fall in earnest and all of Nature exhales one last time. It’s time for the yearly rest that God has ordained, so the earth lays down it’s thick blanket of downy snow, then gently slips into the long and silent, white sleep of winter.

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

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease”.

Genesis 8:22

1 Comment

Filed under Minnesota, My Gratitude, My Journey, My Travels

Cottage by the Sea

Come my love and live with me
In a sweet little cottage by the sea
Where roses grow around the door
And flowers bloom for evermore
Inside my cottage clean and neat
A big brick fireplace will give out heat
Outside the birds will sing all day
And on the beach the children play
So come my love to the cottage by the sea
And see how happy we will be.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on This Life of Wander.

We hit a bump in the road…a very big bump that turned our marriage upside down and threatened to put asunder what God had joined together.  There are times when life gives you more than you can handle and there is no energy left over for words…when making it through each day is all you can seem to accomplish and the answer to your problem is nowhere to be found.  Such has been my reality these past few months.

It’s part of the human condition…trials and tribulations…but they still come as a surprise to me and unfortunately, always seem to send me into a downward spiral of hopelessness and despair.

However, in the midst of the turmoil, we were able to travel to the Pacific Northwest where we spent a very quiet, restful and restorative week in this little stone cottage by the sea.  What a joy it was to wake up each morning to this beautiful view…

And to glimpse these snow-capped peaks on the way to the store!

And during that time away, I felt God speaking to my heart, encouraging me to trust Him and the perfect plan He has for each of our lives.  That I can do.

We came home feeling calm and hopeful.  The worst of the storm seems to be behind us and I’m learning, anew, to put my trust in the Lord.  Today is a new day and His mercies are new every morning!

I think I’m ready to face whatever trials life has to offer.

2 Comments

Filed under My Journey

Do this in remembrance of Me…

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

In memory of the Savior’s love,
    We keep the sacred feast,
    Where every humble, contrite heart
    Is made a welcome guest.
    By faith we take the Bread of Life
    With which our souls are fed,
    The Cup in token of His blood
    That was for sinners shed.
    In faith and memory thus we sing
    The wonders of His love,
    And thus anticipate by faith
    The heavenly feast above.

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

Blessings to all of you this Easter season as we once more ponder the wonder of the Cross…the greatest act of love and mercy the world has ever known.

Leave a comment

Filed under My Gratitude, My Journey

A Woman’s Work is Never Done

I really should be cleaning my house today but for some reason I just can’t seem to muster enough umph to get started.  I’m beginning to think that my age has something to do with it. Yes, that’s it!  I’ll blame it on my age!

Early on in my married life, I used to love putting my house in order on a daily basis even with three little children underfoot and the demands of a home-based business pulling at me. I found a secret delight in dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, cooking gourmet meals and lovingly serving them to my family on heirloom china.  Every afternoon, at exactly 3pm, I’d put out coffee and home-baked goodies for whoever happened to be passing by.  Now, it doesn’t even bother me if the dust bunnies under the bed, grow to look more like sizable rodents that could devour a small child, or if the meals I make lack any creative flair and are served on paper plates.  Hmm…I wondered what has happened to me?

Before you begin to think that I’m feeling sorry for myself, I’d like to point out that I’m sure this feeling of work apathy has plagued women for hundreds of years.  And I’ve got a name for it..it’s called drudgery – distasteful, dull, hard or menial work. Who wouldn’t agree that housework falls into this category? Much of life is like this, but I’m learning that in God’s kingdom, even drudgery has it’s place.  According to Oswald Chambers,

“We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises – human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us the we have to do exceptional things for God – but we do not. We have to BE exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people…and this is not learned in five minutes.”

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

Lord, I ask for your grace and mercy today. Help me to choose a humble and proper servile attitude, even when life around me seems mundane and monotonous. Let the work of my hands and the meditations of my heart glorify You today. Amen.

2 Comments

Filed under My Journey

Confessions of a Baker

I think I was 7 or maybe 8 years old when I made my first cake.  I don’t remember what it tasted like, but if I concentrate hard enough, I’m sure that I can still smell it baking in my shiny, new Easy Bake Oven – a Christmas gift from mom and dad (or should I say, Santa?)  It’s funny, the things that happen in our childhood which forever influence who we become as adults.

A boy spends months playing with his toy chemistry set and then goes on to become a renowned research scientist.  A young girl finds and cares for a wounded bird, compelling her to follow her passion into the field of veterinary medicine.  At the time, the incident may seem inconsequential, but it leaves an indelible impression on the heart of that small child.  Well for me, baking this first cake did the trick.

I am a baker.

For clarification, you will never see my name alongside Julia Child’s. My kitchen will never be picked up, spoon by spoon, pan by pan, and transferred to  the Smithsonian for display! I will never be as well-known or accomplished as Martha Stewart and I have no desire to ever publish a cookbook or see my name in print.  No.  I bake because something inside of me is compelled to put flour and sugar (and other tasty things) into a bowl and turn them into something delicious and beautiful.

gooey...sweet...yummy

I find it intoxicating to serve a pan of freshly baked scones or brownies to an expectant crowd.  And if the weeks go by and I’ve ignored this inner calling, I can’t rest until I’ve popped something into the oven. If you doubt me, I have a story to share that may convince you.

About 15 years ago, when I was going through a very tumultuous time in my life, I attended a women’s conference at my local church. The speaker, a woman known to have an effective ministry, was sharing a heart-felt message to a full house of women, many of them seeking answers to their own life’s struggles.  I was there for that very reason. For years I’d been grappling with the questions, “Lord, do you know who I am? Do you really care about the details of my life?”  Towards the end of the evening, the speaker extended an invitation to those who were needing prayer to come forward. I didn’t quite bolt to the front of the church, but it was close to that!

As the speaker went from woman to woman, I prayed to God, asking Him to speak something to my heart….some detail of my life that only He (and I) would know…a proof that He was really there.

Eventually, it was my turn for prayer and before speaking, the woman placed her hands on my head and paused for a moment. She then exclaimed, “Oh…we have a baker here!”  What a moment! A word from His throne, directly into my heart…a confirmation that the same He, who held the very world in His hands – cared enough to dispel the doubts of this one, seemingly insignificant child.  From that day on, I never doubted that I had a Father who, as the Bible says, “knows the very number of hairs on your head.” I’ve not always acted in accordance to that Truth – but I believe it unwaveringly. It has been etched indelibly upon my heart.

Do you struggle with these same questions? Do you ever doubt that He knows or even cares about the minute details of your life? If you answered either of these in the affirmative, then I challenge you to do what I did – ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a way that you will understand without a doubt.  Then wait for His reply. The answer may change your life.

Too scary a thing to do? Well, let me fill you in on a secret…you are known… and loved deeply.

Let your heart be at rest.

Carey – the baker

4 Comments

Filed under My Journey

Winter’s Snowy Grip

Yesterday was a glorious day!

The sun was out and shining bright, causing the snow to melt furiously. The temps rose slowly and by late afternoon it was almost balmy.  Actually, it was about 40 degrees, but to the true Northlander, that is balmy!  The trickle in the alley turned to swift flowing rivulets and all afternoon I heard the drip, drip, drip of the Spring thaw.

The gardens on the south side of my home were completely uncovered and I knew that soon…very soon, the crocuses would be pushing up through the layer of leaf mulch, revealing their coats of many colors – purple, lavender, yellow and white.  I felt for sure that today would be their unveiling.  Alas, I was sadly mistaken.  When I got up at dawn today, this is what I discovered….more snow!  You will find my lament below.

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

As the hours of daylight lengthen and the birds begin to sing;
I watch the skies and earth for a harbinger of Spring.
A shoot of green,
A willow bud – fuzzy, gray or white;
A songbird from it’s southern home, heading north in flight.
But all I find on this drear day, when waking from my bed;
Is winter’s cruel and snowy grip, taunting me instead.


Leave a comment

Filed under My Journey

Time to Rearrange

I’ve heard it said that most people don’t like change – it makes them uneasy and puts them on edge. As you can see by the new look of this blog, I’m NOT one of those people!  I love change!

When my kids were little and I was first learning how to make my house a home, I would rearrange my furniture on a weekly basis.  I don’t know why, but I found it to be a very relaxing activity that eased my stress.  Some people jog…I move armoires!  My daughter E., however, was born with a completely different temperament than mine. She would come down the stairs in the morning, see that I had put the couch and t.v.  in new locations and would promptly burst into tears.  I tried to calm her anxiety and explained to her that change was good and inevitable.  I don’t think she believed me.  She still dislikes change, but she’s gotten used to my quirks and is no longer adversely affected by my need to rearrange!

When I first went to WordPress, I had a clear idea of what I wanted my blog to look like but hard as I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to bring it to fruition. Because I love to travel and love things that are old, I was hoping to create something that had the look of an old, weathered parchment,  document or map.  Never one to back away from a challenge, I went back to the WP website and after many hours of reading through tutorials and  trying out different blog themes, I figured it out!  However, I could use your help.

I’ve posted a couple of different layouts and would appreciate your input here.  Do you like the background theme I’m currently using, or do you like one of the other themes better?  If you click on any of the photos below, it will increase the picture so that you can view it better.  I truly am open to your input, so feel free to express your opinion. Thanks so much!

Old parchment

Ancient ocean map

Weathered letters

7 Comments

Filed under My Journey

Compelled towards gratitude – part 2

As I left the office of the ob/gyn and headed down the hall to the lab, it felt like I was dreaming. The lab tech was very gentle and tried to assuage my fears, but all I kept thinking was, ” How could this be happening to me? What am I going to do if the tests come back positive?”  The results would be available  in a few days…I’d have an answer then.  There was nothing to do now,  but wait.

It’s strange…the thoughts that go through a person’s mind when they learn that cancer is a possibility and they’re waiting for the results of a blood test and biopsies.  The mind has a way of conjuring up scenarios…most of them negative.  I wish I could tell you that my thoughts never strayed to the morose, but then I’d be lying. At times, I was plagued with them. How is my family going to cope with this new financial burden? How are they going to bear it, if this family of 5 becomes a family of 4?  Will I live long enough to see my children grow up? To see my daughters married? To hold my grandbabies in my arms? I know that many of these thoughts were premature, but I’m just keeping it real.  I was afraid…not of dying…but of inflicting pain upon the people who were dearest to my heart.  My heart was full of sorrow.

It’s times like these that you run to the Word and look for something…anything that will anchor your soul to the truth.  I poured over the pages of my bible, but I didn’t find something…I found Someone instead and He was just waiting for me in the words of Isaiah:

3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)

…in perfect peace – שלום שלום shalom, shalom, “peace, peace, “i.e., peace upon peace – all kinds of prosperity – happiness in this world and in the world to come.  Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be forever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is for ever. Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials.

…whose mind is stayed on thee; or “fixed” on the love of God, rooted and grounded in that, and firmly persuaded of interest in it, and that nothing can separate from it; on the covenant and promises of God, which are firm and sure; and on the faithfulness and power of God to make them good, and perform them; and on Christ the Son of God, and Savior of men; upon him as a Savior, laying the whole stress of their salvation on him; upon his righteousness, for their justification; upon his blood and sacrifice, for atonement, pardon, and cleansing; on his fullness, for the supply of their wants; on his person, for their acceptance with God; and on his power, for their protection and preservation.

… Trust ye in the Lord for ever,..In the Word of the Lord for ever and ever, that is, at all times, in every state and condition, in times of affliction, temptation, and darkness; for he will support under, and in his own time deliver out of every trouble, and cause all things to work together for good; and trust in him always, for everything, for all temporal blessings, and for all spiritual ones, and for eternal life and happiness; for he has them, has promised them, and will give them.

He gave me a wonderful gift that day…a renewed awareness of who He is.  He is the Lord God Almighty. He is my Savior. He is my portion forever.  He is my perfect peace…my shalom, shalom. And when I needed it most, He spoke these words deep within my heart and I knew that whatever the outcome of the tests, He would be right beside me and would never leave me nor forsake me. He is the anchor of my soul.

I got the call from the lab just 3 days later with the result of the CA-125 blood test: normal.  The results of the biopsy arrived a day later: benign. Normal and benign. Two very simple but beautiful words. Another gift from God.  How can I show my thanks to Him for such a wonderful gift?  By never again taking for granted, the sacredness of life.   To love the life He’s given me and to recognize His presence in each moment, offering up words of gratitude. By learning to live fully…content…peaceful…one day at a time.

2 Comments

Filed under My Journey

Compelled towards Gratitude

This may seem like a strange confession – but I never intended to blog.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have anything to say against this form of written expression.  I truly enjoy reading what others bloggers have to say and have compiled a blogroll of favorites that I’ll be sharing with you in the future.  I simply never intended becoming a blogger because I didn’t think I had anything to say that would be of interest to others.  But as the phenomenon of the blog continued to increase (there are now over 170,000,000 blogs to date), I began to ponder some things in my heart. Why would a person willingly choose to allow their personal journal (journey) to be viewed by the public? What was the catalyst behind this new and growing craze? And was there something cathartic about this experience?

I recently asked a friend why she blogged and she told me that as her husband’s disease progressed and his ability to communicate deteriorated, blogging satisfied her deep need to converse with others albeit the written word and not the spoken.  In addition, it had given her the means to leave behind (in written form) a legacy of love and  family history that would be read and cherished by her three daughters and their families after she was gone. That I get.

But for me, there was no desire to put into written words the thoughts, hopes and dreams that were dearest to me.  I had no compulsion, no inner drive to risk public exposure or the possibility of censure.  These things were stored safely in my heart and, thank you very much, that’s where they were going to stay! To even contemplate such a thing was ludicrous. My life was my own, to do with as I pleased. But then something happened that changed all that – I thought I was about to lose it.

I won’t go into great detail, but a medical issue arose in mid-January while I was vacationing in Florida. Upon my return home, I went to see my doctor and he suggested that we act immediately. Blood tests were done posthaste and an ultrasound and biopsy with a specialist, would follow one week later.  When the initial blood tests revealed that my symptoms were not due to a hormonal imbalance, anemia or hypothyroidism, the list of potential causes became shorter albeit more serious.

The ultrasound revealed some possible culprits – endometrial fibroids and ovarian cysts. A bit of research on my part revealed that these growths were almost always benign and could easily be taken care of.  I breathed a big sigh of relief. It wasn’t until sitting in the examining room of  the ob/gyn that I began to comprehend the seriousness of the situation.  According to the doctor, one of my ovarian cysts was abnormal and possibly cancerous. I would need another test – a CA-125 blood test to be used as a marker for cancerous tumors.  If the test came back negative, then I had nothing to panic over. A positive test would mean surgery and another biopsy.

to be continued…

Leave a comment

Filed under My Journey