Posted by: karenpelletier | February 21, 2017

Undeserved Privilege

Taking a trip with young ‘uns is almost always an eye-opening experience.    A couple of weeks back we attended Winter Retreat at Camp ACCOVAC in Clifton Forge, VA. It was a great retreat because we had 88 campers and helpers from all four of the conference camps.  There were some new faces as well as some not so new faces that we are growing more and more attached to.

It is exciting to have such a large group that many of us had to sleep on the floor on mattresses.  Now, I’m not saying a bed wouldn’t have been a welcome addition to my weekend, but that is not THAT important when you just get to spend time in the presence of God’s children.

As we traveled up, we met up with the group from Camp Pocahontas for dinner.  We were excited to see the folks from Camp Whitney and ACCOVAC, and of course, we love our entourage from Campalachian.

During the weekend we traveled from the camp to a small ski slope at the Omni Homestead Resort.  My van was navigated by a young man who is legally blind but got us there safely.  I was just a little concerned… but we got there with NO PROBLEMS.  Tony had the privilege of driving the “lift van” from Fellowship Church that we lovingly call “The Beast.”

Tony had the privilege of driving the “lift van” from Fellowship Church that we lovingly call “The Beast.”  Some of the kids from one of the other camps rode with Tony in “The Beast” and had a conversation about the kinds of ministry that they could do IF ONLY they had a van like ours.

It is really kind of a strange thing.  We don’t always appreciate the things we have like “The Beast.”  Some people wouldn’t want to drive the beast locally, let alone on a road trip filled with kids.  I’m not saying that a new van wouldn’t be WONDERFUL… but do we need it to do ministry?  I don’t think so.

Do we need new and shiny?  Nope.  We need to be obedient.  God will take care of the rest.  Do we need perfection?  Nope.  We need to be obedient and loving.  Do we need a perfect plan?  Nope.  God will take us step by step as long as we focus on Him.

Romans 5:2 says that “Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand.”  Our job?  Obedience and love one another as He loved us.

Romans 5:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Posted by: karenpelletier | July 9, 2014

God is so Good!

What a week it has been – and it is only Wednesday.

We have had our yearly birthday/anniversary marathon. It has been good. We have a few things to finish doing after camps and trips are over. But, I would be amiss if I didn’t take time to say a great big thank you to God for what he has been giving me this week.

God has given me the biggest gift I could ever have imagined – and because it is really personal I guess I shouldn’t spell it out for the world to see. But thank you God for the best gift of all – early on Tuesday morning. My heart is thrilled.

Tonight – after finishing my final birthday baking – while on prednisone – and trying to get packed for Maine – then followed by a wonderful midweek service at church – God gave me text messages that I have been waiting for over a year and a half to receive.

Thank you God – for your faithfulness. For you love. For your extravagant gifts – wrapped up in a pretty bow. All for me. Thank you for bringing me through the valley to a time when I see His goodness around every corner!

Posted by: karenpelletier | July 5, 2014

Camp – it will change your life!

Last Sunday afternoon I had the task of driving the church lift van up the mountain with 5 rambunctious boys age 9 – 12. Some folks I know would have shuddered at the thought… but the boys were EXCITED about the trip, so off we went on our 42 mile trek. The clouds engulfed us as we went up the mountain in fog so thick that I nearly missed the turn onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once there, we stood in line and had discussions with the lady in charge about which boys should not be with who, who needed what medicine, and just exactly how active my son should be with a cracked bone in his foot. I caught a ride down the mountain with another set of parents after helping yet another sobbing boy who was suffering from an early episode of homesickness. From the start of the week, I could tell it was going to be an epic week for someone, but I wasn’t sure for who.

On Friday morning we made our journey back up the mountain to pick up the boys and head down the mountain in the church van that stuttered a bit as I had taken it up the mountain not even a week prior.

One of “my” boys had come home sick. Another one of “my” boys was going to be picked up by his mom, but I had 3 boys who had spent the week literally on the mountaintop to bring home. The homesick boy hugged me to show me that he had MADE IT through the week – successfully! I was pleased to find out that my son had not hurt his foot and knew he had experienced a good week from the hoarseness of his voice. One of “my” boys I was to bring home was having a hard time to reconcile that he had to leave this wonderful camp experience and go back to the daily grind of his normal life. He wouldn’t respond to the many attempts of some of the men at the camp, so I offered to try. He was a bit reluctant, but he did get up off the ground and walked with me. We spent some time talking and he did come back around to finish out his last camp activities. The boys had their lunch, they loaded up their stuff and said our good byes. Once again I headed down the mountain for what I expected to be a quiet ride down the mountain – and honestly, I just hoped the van would make it without any issues.

It was not a quiet ride. Instead, the boys that I had brought up the mountain were changed. They had grown. They had experienced something very real. You see, the final night of camp was an epic night for these boys. There was an altar call. My son offered to go down with a boy who looked like he was wanting to go. Daniel, accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. What a blessing. But, it was more than that, Henry had also prayed the same prayer, but this time with Isaac leading him through it. The boys were changed. They were made new – indeed, they were new creations! Isaac was changed, not because he prayed the prayer. You see, Isaac had made the decision many years ago – but he was changed because he had the experience of helping a friend follow his Lord. Hallelujah!

This ride – our 42 miles down the mountain was different. They boys sang camp songs with their hoarse voices. Silly songs. New songs. Old songs. Songs about THEIR Savior! Then they talked about what they should do next. They talked to me about the decisions they had made for Christ. One of the boys remembered that Richard had told them that new Christians should start reading their Bibles in the book of John. So, what did they do? They didn’t just talk about it. They DID it. The opened Daniel’s suitcase. They found his Bible. They found the book of John and started taking turns reading. What a blessing. Changed boys. Boys with a heart for Christ and following him. Boys would could talk to each other about the single most important thing in the world. Boys who will be able to make a difference in our world. I got to see it. I got to be a small part of it.

I am so thankful that I got to see it. I got to experience it. I got a real blessing. And, in case you are wondering – the van made it down the mountain – without a stutter. God is So Good!

Posted by: karenpelletier | December 18, 2013

The Sounds of the Season

Last night was the annual Winter Concert for my school.  In the normal tradition, the three choral groups sang first with a break and then the three instrumental groups.  This year we had Gideon singing in the 8th grade Chorus and Isaac playing in the 6th grade band.

The first choral group sang, they did a great job.  But, because I teach at at the same school, I recognized some of our more unique students in the school.  You know, some with some special needs.  They looked so proud and happy to be part of a group, performing along with students who don’t quite have their potential issues.  Their voices didn’t necessarily blend or match the way some may have hoped they would.  But, the students were certainly making a joyful noise and doing their absolute best.

As I sat there, I recalled some conversations that have occurred between me and the wonderful student teacher who graced my room for the last several months.  You see, he is a coach through and through, a great one too.  I, however, am the eternal band geek.  I have become a soft-hearted old momma type.  Now that I am half way to 90, I appreciate things differently.  I have felt for a long time that if a student makes the cut and gets to stay on an athletic team, they should get to play.  Over the years I have watched students make the cut, only to warm the bench.  In my head I know that you need to play to win, but seems to me that everyone ought to get the chance to play – be the star at least sometimes.

Let me tell you, that in the choral concert…. every student got to sing.  The same thing happened in the instrumental portion as well, every student got to play.  Isn’t that how it is in life?  We all get to play.  We all have the chance to make a difference.  The students who maybe didn’t sing the notes perfectly, made a difference in my heart last night.  How?  You see they did it with their enthusiasm.  They did it with their joy. They did it with their smile.  They did it with their love of what they were doing.  Without wonderful, caring, loving teachers, who knew that folks would just have to understand if the music wasn’t quite as perfect as they knew how to make it.   The special needs students who got to shine brightly wouldn’t have made a difference in my life.

Those my friends, are the sounds of the seasons that we need to be focused on.  The sounds of LOVE.

Posted by: karenpelletier | January 1, 2012

A New Year … With Lots of Old Memories

In the early morning of the first day of 2012 I know that I have 4 boys sleeping in the tent and 3 girls sleeping downstairs and 1 hubby sleeping still in my bed.  I find myself in the half-light of the Christmas Trees still up in the kitchen.  A bit of a mess from yesterday’s cooking extravaganza, when I could finally focus on some holiday treats.  Feeling so blessed that just last evening we had our table full of good friends and family – even if I was still in my jammies and the house was not clean.  It didn’t seem to matter that we had to move stuff to eat – and then move it back yet to work… or that we hadn’t REALLY prepared for company.  Instead we enjoyed the fellowship of good friends and family.  What more could I hope for … really?  Nothing.

I live a very blessed life.  I have a job that I love.  A husband who loves me.  A large healthy family.  Very few true “worries.”  I know that the things we have and the life we have is provided by God.  It would not be, if he were not here taking care of the smallest of needs.  Thank you God for being so very faithful and loving to me and my family!

I just spent a few minutes “updating my Facebook status” and my “profile pictures.”  Today I chose an oldie from 1987.  One from Camp Nomacca the summer that I was lucky enough to be on a Summer Ministries Team in Maine with Sabrina and Albert.  It wasn’t a year after the picture was taken that our team of 3 was down to 2.  Albert had been in a head on collision with a drunk driver and died.  The heartache was unbearable to lose a friend so young.  As I look down the picture at the face of folks I have loved, so much has changed.  No, not just hairstyles and clothing, but we’ve grown up.  Debbie Raymond is no the Grandma of four children and her youngest was but a young school age girl in the photograph.  Ronnie Chavez is married with a couple of girls.  I have a large family of 5 and a grandson.  Elaine’s kids are now grown and she is a pastor’s wife. Valerie has been married more than once – just like me – and I know has endured hardships.  Sam has a shinier crown like his father had and his children are nearly grown and has a blended large family of six I think.  John has two young ones, one from overseas I believe.  Allen has a nice young family of 4.  Tim has had children and adopted children and has had a ministry with Sabrina for years.  Andrew is married – but I don’t know about children for him – he is all grown up though and I’m sure serving the Lord.  I saw Roberta in Maine last time I was home, looking as happy as ever.  Tracy still lives there too.  Becky lives in Arizona with her family but was home last summer to visit her folks.  I hear that she might like to move East again one day.  Albert died in 1988.  Becky lives in the Bangor Area and Holly died a couple of years ago.  Very suddenly.  Julie keeps in touch with my sister and I don’t remember the other girl’s name from Canada -but with a little searching I could probably find it.  Sabrina is a wonderful mom and amazing woman.

So, why the walk down memory lane?  Why the reflection on the folks who I have loved?  I have loved them because they were my family at the time.  They have spread all over the country.  They each have their circle of influence.  The youth workers who spent time with us, molded us, had no idea what we would do or where we would end up, or where their circle of influence would reach.  Seeds were planted.  Many many many “plants” grew from the seeds.  God has taken care of each of us and some have stopped living this life on Earth.  I am most comforted by the fact that He knew the plans.  He knew how long we’d be here.  He knew what would become of us, and he still became the sacrifice for us.

So, in 2012 what will God do through me?  What seeds will He plant in my heart?  What circle of influence will I have?  What difference will my life make in 2012?  I have no way of knowing, but I do know that I will strive to keep my eyes on Him and have faith that he has the rest of it all in control.  Just like he did for my “family” in that old photograph.

Posted by: karenpelletier | December 31, 2011

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: karenpelletier | December 25, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

When I consider the plans that God has for me, I can’t begin to see the big picture that He does.  I figure that I am doing well if I know where things are going for the day that we call today, let alone how he will orchestrate the beautiful things that God has for me.  I know that He has a plan that is bigger and better than I could plan for myself.

There was a time when I thought I knew what God wanted for me.  I thought that I knew where I was going to be and grow old and every single road I would travel.  I did not know.  I only knew the time that he had revealed so far.  I still don’t know my whole story – the beginning from the end.  Truth be told, I don’t know how this story will go for the rest of the time on this planet, but I do know one thing.  I want to be doing the things that God has planned for me.

You see, I know from the events of this season, that God has been planning the recent additions to our family for a lot longer than I could have imagined. This holiday season, our family has grown a new branch, the Richtmyer branch.  I have always felt that you didn’t have to share biology to be family and God has provided this new branch for us in what I feel to be miraculous ways.  I know that God has planned this long before I could ever have imagined it myself.  You see, I believe that God had it all in His plan that we would find our way together and there are too many “coincidences” to think anything else.

Dennis and Faith grew up in New York.  Tony and I grew up in Maine.  But, here we are together in Bethlehem, North Carolina.  Dennis and Faith have one “older” daughter, Kyrstin, who just-so-happens to fit smack dab in the middle of our Anna and Emily.  They have two boys, Andrew and Adam, who just-so-happen to fit perfectly with our Gideon and Isaac.   The icing on the top of the layer cake of young ‘uns is baby Emma and she is a sweetheart.

It has been years since we had a crowd for Thanksgiving.  This year we had 19 people here.  The only “real relatives” were my parents here from Maine, but we were surrounded by people we truly love.  People from Tennessee, New York, Maine, Vermont, and North Carolina – but all family.  For Christmas we got to go play at the Richtmyer home for Christmas Eve and stuff a pew with 11 “family” members.  It hasn’t been all that many years that I sat in the pew with my kids feeling alone – since Tony spends his services in the sound room helping out with the computer work.  What a blessing to spend time with loved ones, worshiping our Savior.  We are so very blessed!

Tonight, on Christmas Night 2011, we got to relax (some in our jammies) and listen to 7 happy children play Monopoly – well until they weren’t happy any more… we visited, we shared, we ate Chinese Take Out and sang,  ♪♫Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra… ♪♫Ra.. ♪Ra.. ♫Ra!♪♫  The girls visited in the “girls room” (since the Richtmyer home has a nearly identical layout to the White home) the boys played in the basement.  All were happy… satisfied… and loved.

I am so thankful that God created the Richtmyer family to be part of the White family – from many miles away and planted us both here in Western North Carolina.  Through every single trial and thing that we could not have seen as a plan at all.. through the mountains and valleys, I believe that God planned this season – for the girls to fit so nicely together and the boys to do the same.

I am anxious to see what God has planned for 2012.  How will he fit things together for His best plan and for ours.  Thank you God for taking such good care of one such as me!

Posted by: karenpelletier | December 18, 2011

♪♫ Music In My Heart ♪♫

Making music together is one of the most intimate things that two or three or four people or more can do together.  As a child, music was always important.  I always LOVED it when Mom dug out the accordion and played the Beer Barrel Polka or Whispering Hope.  (Coincidentally it never struck me that those two songs were a bit odd to play together – but for me as a child they were perfect!)  It was loud, it was fun, and my sister and I would sing at the top of our lungs! Grammie and Grampie Doody had a cassette player and would make tapes of Sherri and I singing.  Grammie would make us sing for as many people as would listen.  When we went to Connecticut Grammie’s sister Wilma would have us sing and even pay us (probably not even a dollar – but I was impressed!)

When Sherri and I were little girls we were invited to go to Vacation Bible School with the Kierstead family.  We went to the little church down in Sleepy Hollow and loved it.  Before the closing program, the Kierstead girls told Sherri and I to SING LOUD.  When Mom and Dad heard us practically yelling at the top of our lungs …♪♫ THE B-I-B-L-E YES THAT’S THE BOOK FOR ME… ♪♫ I STAND ALONE ON THE WORD OF GOD THE B-I-B-L-E! ♪♫  I believe that Mom and Dad told us NOT to sing that loud again.

As we got into our teenage years (in fact I’m sure it was 1983) I learned how to harmonize.  I know that the first time I really “heard” the harmonies was when I was playing Alleluia in a flute duet with “Andrea Nichols from Ashland.”  The “from Ashland” part was not really part of her name but it was almost always said – since we had another Andrea Nichols and she was not “from Ashland.”  I have no idea why we were playing that song or why we were practicing it in the Brown Cottage – but we were practicing for something.  Every time we sing that song in church, the harmonies take me back to that moment with my friend – from Ashland.

After that time I almost always put myself in the alto section of whatever group we were with.  Whether it was the Northern Lights Youth Choir, or singing choruses in Youth Fellowship with Bob Davis, or singing good old hymns with Elmer Tompkins at Sunday Evening services at State Road Advent Christian Church, I loved singing parts with people who I loved.

At Christmastime a group of us girls would go Christmas Caroling on Christmas Eve in the morning.  We would sing for anyone who was unfortunate enough to be working on Christmas Eve.  We always went to Maine Farmers Exchange – which happened to be on the second floor of a building on Main St. in Presque Isle.  We would promise ourselves that we would not go too fast – because inevitably we would start to sing and be gasping like a fish out of water for enough breath to finish.  We would end up laughing our heads off after the first song – because we did it again.  We would ride the elevator to the top of the Key Bank building to sing for Linwood Raymond.  I think he was on the third floor – and it was the tallest building in our town.  Linwood would stop and listen and share our songs with folks far away – and he would cry.  Linwood was always easy to love – and he loved us right back.  Another stop was to Anne Blanchard’s house near Presque Isle High School.  Anne’s kids were very young when we started singing to them.  They were nearly grown by the last time I remember singing to them.  I think that we became a part of their holiday tradition I know they were part of mine.  I looked forward to that singing event most of all every year.

During a dark time in my past I lost the ability to love music and sing with my friends.  I lost my way through that dark tunnel of divorce and depression.  Emerging from the other side, music was difficult at best.  It was something that had been important but I didn’t know how to grasp it again, but in 2002 when the holiday season was approaching I experienced my own Christmas miracle.  I had told Tony that more than anything I would like to find a church to go to – just to sing some Christmas Carols.  It wasn’t but a day or two later that I received a Shirleygram in my mailbox.  It turned out that Dave and Shirley Ross were taking a pastorate in a town called Bethlehem.  I had no idea how to get to Bethlehem or where it was, but guess what, it was only 15 minutes through the curvy roads of Dudley Shoals.  Dave and Shirley were moving over Thanksgiving weekend.  They would be there for Christmas.  I had an answer, a place to sing some Christmas Carols where someone loved me.  We called and asked permission to come to their church.  Dave said yes – of course.  We had a place to go – and carols to sing.  I was excited, nervous, and oh so thankful that God had provided a place for my family.

I had no idea what the gift of a church would be to my family – although I should have known.  I simply asked for some songs at Christmastime.  I got so much more.  I got a family.  I got a sense of belonging.  I got a place where I could sing those familiar alto parts and learn some new ones.  I found a place where I could make music again. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 God is always true to His promises, but that dark tunnel blinded my eyes.  I am so thankful for promises that I didn’t even realize that I should hold onto and He kept them in spite of me!

This Christmas I have enjoyed singing with my kids.  Anna is now 17, Emily 15, and Isaac is 9 and one of the thrills of this holiday season (aside from the Dinner Theatre, Billy Graham Library, Christmas Drive Thru and many parties) has been to teach my children to sing “Christmas is Coming” the way that we used to sing with Sherri, Holly, Kori and others who joined us through the years.  It is no small feat for my children to sing parts and a round – and we may not be quite concert ready – but I am thrilled with it and proud of them.

I am so very thankful for music in my past, present and future.  It is truly a gift that I treasure and hope that will be as important to my children as it is to me.  After all… ♪♫”Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!  Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.  If you haven’t got a penny then a ha’ penny will do.  If you haven’t got a ha’ penny then God Bless You!”♪♫

Posted by: karenpelletier | December 12, 2011

My Eyes Are Still Stinging From the Wood Smoke

It is really in a good way that I wake up this morning still feeling the smoke in my eyes from the Christmas In Bethlehem Drive Thru.  Each year the churches in Bethlehem, NC work together to produce a dynamic living drama of the story of the birth of our Savior.  There is no formal script.  There is an unlimited number of cast members.  The flow is dynamic and spontaneous, all except for the focus of the evening.

As you wander through the village you see families portraying a variety of jobs and businesses.  None of the businesses are really what any of us do the other 362 days of the year.  I sit in the Census Takers Booth counting all who have come to be registered by a decree from Caesar.  I spend my time near Roman Soldiers who guard a jail.  Just through the gate to the city I hear the blacksmith pounding out a new horseshoe for the horses that ride by.

Over to my right I see shepherds out in the field and a multitude (ok 2 at most) of Angels stand over them proclaiming the good news that a Savior has been born.  The story is familiar to many of us.  The story of the true meaning of Christmas.  What a wonderful focus for 3 cold nights in December.

The biggest blessing of the Drive Thru Weekend doesn’t come from the costumes or the people who have built the make-shift village in a field.  It isn’t the CD’s that the people have to listen to in their cars.  No, the biggest blessing for me is the sense of community and belonging that tears down walls.  You see, in Bethlehem, we are all dressed in a make shift “authentic” Bible Times costume.  (Ok, maybe it is a piece of upholstery fabric with a head hole cut and tied with a string about your waist.  On our heads we wear what could pass as a cover for the arm of your sofa, secured with head squeezers of various colors.)  But when I walked into the “Village” for singing, devotions and prayer, on Friday night after a harried day and week I felt relaxed.  I felt at home.  I felt that I am part of something bigger than me.  Something bigger than our church.  Something bigger than we could really ever know.

Families began streaming into the village shortly after 6:30.  Some drove through – and there were times that when I looked into their eyes, that I wondered if what they were driving was there home.  Some just came to be fed in the Fellowship Hall.  Some visitors didn’t speak much English – but the story translates itself.  A babe, a savior, born unto us this day… came as a tiny baby … laid in a manger.

As you leave the Village of Bethlehem, you see the Manger, the Cross, and the Empty Tomb.  You see, the story doesn’t stop there with a baby being born and people dressed with sofa arm covers on their head.  The story is really about the greatest gift we could ever receive.  One not tied up in pretty paper and bows.  One who came to be the Savior of the World.

There is so much that happened over the 7 1/2 hours of Christmas in Bethlehem.  So many stories to tell.  So many faces of wonder and delight from the youngest to the oldest, from the skeptic to the softest of hearts.  We may never know what a difference the Christmas Drive Thru made in the roughly 2000 people who participated, but I know that for me and my family we will never be the same.  

Posted by: karenpelletier | July 30, 2011

My Chains are Gone, I’ve Been Set Free!

You never really know what is going to happen or how it is going to happen… but I sure do have a story to tell after our family trip to Maine.

I went on the trip feeling a bit of stress (and our last-minute purchase of a van surely didn’t make it any less stressful.)  I thought that the meaning “for me” of the Exodus 14:14 scripture was revealed with a smooth van purchase, but as it  turns out it was just the tip of the iceberg.

We had an uneventful and quick (if you call 20 hours a quick trip) trip to Northern Maine on Friday night and Saturday in the middle of July.  The only casualty of the trip was my legs that swelled and made some pretty beautiful cankles for me.  After relaxing, drinking, and putting my feet up, they returned to normal.

Isaac began complaining of a toothache Saturday night, but (in my mother-of-the-year) way, I gave him a tylenol and blamed it on Isaac being afraid to sleep out in the camper at Grandma’s house.  I ended up sleeping with him that night and Tony slept with Gideon.  Sunday he seemed fine and we went to the Ashland AC Church and then down the river in Kayaks until a storm blew up and we had to shorten our trip.  Sunday night he again complained, and I agreed to try to get him into a first thing Monday.  Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the dentist agreed to see him at 11:30 and off to the dentist he went.  His mouth began to swell, he had an abscessed tooth and started antibiotics, but Tuesday his face had doubled in size on one side… and back to the dentist we went.  They extracted his tooth, and drained the infection.  By Thursday he was still swollen… back to the dentist and they upped his antibiotics.  There… I was still… the Lord fought my battles and got us not one, not two, but three dentist appointments with dentists who aren’t even accepting new patients.  God is Good!

While the tooth fiasco was unfolding, Tony was given some very encouraging news.  Someone who had been angry with me for more than 3 years, told him that they knew that the way they had treated me was not really the way they wanted it to be and wanted to “try again” with me.  You could have blown him over with a feather.  The relationship is healed.  I stood still and the Lord fought my battles.  Healing is good.

Anna and Emily attended Camp Nomacca as senior campers.  There was a bit of fear and trepidation that stemmed from the possibility of their biological father showing up and making things difficult for them.  They had a good week.  No incidents.  Old relationships were rekindled and new ones forged.  We stayed still and the Lord fought our battles.  He has protected the girls from what surely could have been emotionally upsetting.

After going back down the river with my mom, sis, niece, nephew, friend, and children, I began to feel – no so good.  I had a spot showed up on my leg.  I thought maybe a fungus or bite or something.  Either way it got to be a BIG spot – oh about the size of a tennis ball in diameter – and swollen… with a dark spot in the center.  Tony took me to the doc.  We were first in line.  The doc said it was a bite of some kind.  (Maybe a spider – maybe not.)  She gave me prednisone and an antibiotic and sent me home with directions to have me email her on Tuesday if I was better, and to come to her office in Fort Fairfield if I wasn’t.  I emailed her … she thought my description was encouraging.  (Today I look nearly all better…)  God is good.  He got me to a doctor who understood, took time and gave me ways to follow up before heading back to the land of Sweet Tea.  I stood still, and God fought my battles.

My girls wanted to go to State Road Church on the second Sunday we were in The County.  Folks were warm and wonderful and that day, my heart grew softer yet again.  The God of the universe who has so many better things to do than to worry about all of my “little issues.”  There were many people in the church family who were on vacation.  But, God arranged for old friends to meet once more in His house.  Folks I hadn’t seen in years and years and years.  I couldn’t sing without tears.  To worship with people I have missed for a decade and a half.  Healing is good and it comes from God.  The sermon was about the transformation that only Christ can do – and thinking back through your own personal history as a follower of Him.  State Road was a very important era in my life.

Family camp at Nomacca was wonderful.  It was there that I finally knew that my chains were gone, and I’d been set free.  You see, when you follow God and strive to stay in the center of His will, the battles will not be yours, but His.  I only needed to show up.  I needed to be present.  He took care of the rest.  I couldn’t have orchestrated the week and a half that we had.  I wouldn’t have wanted to try to do it.  God did it.  Easy as pie.  How awesome is our God?


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