About Grandma's Ramblings

As a pastor’s wife for years I have shared God’s Word to all ages from young children to adults, led women’s retreats and mentored young women. In my “golden years” of retirement as I am no longer able to do all those things, I still want to help others. With my blog Grandma’s Ramblings I hope to challenge, encourage or just give someone a laugh. I have worn many titles in my life: daughter, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife. I have fought a battle with breast cancer, became a widow with two small girls at 34. Blessed with a second chance at happiness when I married again I gained four more children. Together my husband and I have six children, 20 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. If you like my blog, I hope you will share it with others

Food for Thought

So enjoying my current study on “Encounter the Spirit” by Carolyn Moore.

A few “nuggets” from her study:

  • …what if the whole reason you are where you are is to participate in God’s plan for his people?
  • Church has a lot of observers, not enough worshippers.
  • What if the time of waiting is more important than what you are waiting for
  • Some are hoping they have been saved from hell but have no clue they have been saved for joy.
  • Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.
  • It isn’t our behavior Jesus wants to change….it is us.

My Hero – Barnabas

Often I hear Christians talking about different Bible characters that they look forward to meeting in heaven. Names often spoken are Paul, Peter, John from the New Testament or King David, Elijah or Jeremiah from the Old Testament.

For me, my hero from the Bible is Barnabas. I can’t wait to meet him.

We first meet Barnabas in Acts 4 where we are told his real name is Joseph.  But the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas “Son of Encouragement.”

And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

I love that thought.  To be a person that so encourages others that he becomes known not by his real name but by the nickname of “The Encourager.”  That has been my prayer – that I would be someone who encourages, builds up, strengthens others.

The next time we meet Barnabas the gospel has been received in Antioch.  When news of the new group of Christians there reached the church in Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas to meet with the Christians there.  And there again he encouraged.

News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.   When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.   He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

We see Barnabas having success in the work at Antioch.  So what did he do?  He headed off to Tarsus to find Saul (who became known as Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament). 

Barnabas had been Saul’s friend when he first became a Christian.  The church at Jerusalem was afraid of Saul because they knew how he had persecuted the Christians.  But Barnabas, stepped in and told them Saul was a new man. 

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Barnabas brought Paul back to Antioch where the two of them worked together sharing the gospel with the new church there. For a while the story mentions “Barnabas and Paul.” Then later it becomes “Paul and Barnabas.” God had clearly called Paul to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. But I find it interesting that it was Barnabas that helped Paul step up and fulfill the call of God on his life.

Later when the two of them began their second missionary trip, the young man John Mark wanted to go with them. Paul refused to take John Mark with them because he had left them halfway through their first missionary journey. Paul was not willing to give him a second chance. But Barnabas was an encourager. He separated from Paul and took John Mark with him while Paul chose Silas and began his second missionary journey.

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”  Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,  but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,  but Paul chose Silas and left,

Interesting, in Paul’s later writings he mentions John Mark as being a helper in his ministry even saying in 2 Timothy 4:11:

Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

Some Bible scholars believe John Mark was the one who wrote the Gospel of Mark. Our story of the good news might have been incomplete without the encouragement of Barnabas.

My prayer is that I would be like Barnabas and be an encouragement to everyone I meet.

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thesssalonians 5:11

You all can line up to meet the great men and women in the Bible. Me – I’ll be looking for Barnabas. I want to tell him thanks for the great example he left us.

Bittersweet March

The last part of March is full of memories for me.

It was March 29 I married my first sweetheart. Lonnie had just come home from a journey of duty as a Marine in Vietnam. We were married and quickly headed out to the USMC base in Quantico, Virginia. We were blessed with almost thirteen years of marriage and given two beautiful daughters, Rebekah Rose and Jessica Lynn. This March 29th we would have celebrated 54 years.

Happy times!

Tragically on March 24, just days before our thirteenth anniversary my beloved husband was killed in an accident. He had told me he had a special evening planned for our anniversary. I often wonder what it would have been.

Sad times!

Three years ago, on March 22 my second husband had emergency surgery for a brain bleed. That was one of the longest days in my life as I wondered if he would live – and if he lived, would his brain be injured beyond repair.

Scarcy times!

So thankful he recovered and is fine now. I tease him that if he had to pick a time to be seriously injured and facing possible death, he could have picked a better date than two days before I lost my first husband.

So – this time of year as I reflect on what March has brought me – good and bad – one thing stands out in my mind. Through it all, the joy and thankfulness that God brought Lonnie home safe from Vietnam and allowed me to be his wife; the sorrow and pain of his death; the fear of losing another husband; the joy and thankfulness that Paul’s life was spared – through it all – God has been there. He has given me the strength in all circumstances.

So March makes me thankful that I am His child! It reminds me that no matter what life may bring my way, with God at my side, I am victorious!

My Miracle Man and His Art

It was three years ago today that my husband’s life was on the line. How thankful I am for these three years God has given us – and I look forward to more. Today I say “Thank you Jesus!”

Grandma's Ramblings

About this time two years ago my husband fell in his art studio in the basement of our condo. It was a Thursday and because Covid had just started, we were not sure about going to the doctor. He felt fine so we went on with our daily routine as normal.

Until Sunday. After church on Sunday he complained of a severe headache and being nauseated. I drove him to the emergency room where I was told to go home and wait. They would call me after examining him.

When he went in to the ER he looked and acted fine to me. The only thing I was going on was his comment of the terrible headache he had.

About an hour later the ER called and told me a CAT scan revealed bleeding in his brain. They had called the main hospital in Lansing, the capital of our state…

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Are You Someone Who Cooks or Someone Who Loves to Cook?

Another excellent Bible study today using the book “Encounter the Spirit” by Carolyn Moore.

Moore noted that there is a difference between someone who cooks and someone who IS a cook.

Many of us cook because we are hungry and need to eat in order to live. We probably know little about the vocabulary of good food. We often buy products that are quick to put together, just wanting to get something on the table at the end of the day for our family to eat. We cook because we need to eat.

Then there are those who love to cook. They enjoy trying new recipes, experiencing with different spices. They get joy by sharing their meals with others. They cook because it brings them happiness. My youngest daughter is one of those who love to cook. Any time she hears of someone that is sick she quickly makes a meal to share with them. She is a pastor, and she often bakes treats for Bible studies she leads or for any time of gathering the church may have. Her cupcakes are not just a cupcake. She tries different ingredients and decorates them in different themes.

RIP cookies for a Halloween school party
Muffins with marshamallow, Hershey candy bar and so delicious!

So it is with our Christian walk. We can be someone who follows Jesus or we can be someone who LOVES FOLLOWING Jesus.

Jesus said in John 15:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 

Someone who tries to keep His commandments because that is what a Christian is supposed to do. Or, someone who follows His teaching out of a heart of love for Him.

More importantly, we can be people who are full of God’s joy – and love sharing that joy with others. We can seek to allow God’s Spirit to overflow from us to those we meet who are struggling with a difficult time in their lives and need that joy we can share.

My prayer is:

“Lord, help me to truly love you and follow you in gratitude for all you have given me. Help me to obey you out of a heart of love for you and not out of some sense of duty. There are so many who are in need. Open my eyes to see them. Show me how I can help. You have given me many resources. Help me to use all that you have given me to help others. Use me to draw them to you.”

Please join me this Lent season in this prayer.

I’m Still Growing! How About You?

The women’s weekly Bible study I attend is currently studying a small group guidebook called “Encounter the Spirit” written by Carolyn Moore. Each week’s study has a portion called “encounter” in which Moore offers ideas for applying what we have studied that week.

Since I am soon turning three-quarters of a century, I found her suggestions for thought very interesting.

She talks about how we plan for the future. Questions she presents are:

  • What will I be when I grow up?
  • What kind of job will I get next?
  • How will my children grow up?
  • What will retirement look like?

Looking at those questions, I realize I already have answers for those.

  • At almost 75 I think I can say I am grown up (although I still may not always act like it).
  • I am not looking for another a job.
  • My children are in their 40’s and 50’s so I can see how they have grown up.
  • Now in my eleventh year of retirement, I know what that looks like.

Still, applying planning for the future in a spiritual sense, her questions have me really taking a deeper look at my spiritual life. Even in this last stage of life, I desire to grow up spiritually.

Some things for me (and hopefully you will also) to ponder are:

  • Where do I want to be spiritually in six months?
  • How do I want to use the spiritual gifts God has given me to bless others?
  • How can I grow closer in my relationship to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Although I have grown up physically and my body is beginning to let me know that this life on earth is coming to the final chapter (don’t mean to sound morbid, I plan to stick around for quite a while yet), we have been designed for eternity. That tells me there is much more growth for me spiritually and mentally.

Join me in this journey of ever seeking to know more of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and grow more like Jesus each day.

This Sums It All Up!!!

I have a birthday coming this spring. As I realize I will be three quarters of a century old and I have fewer days ahead of me than behind, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the years gone by.

Interesting – sometimes I cannot remember what I had for lunch but memories of life when I was five or six are so vivid.

If I had to say what these reflections have led me to conclude about life so far, this song says it all. Committing my life to Jesus Christ at six years of age was the best decision I have made.

Life has brought joy and sorrow, moments of great excitement and moments of despair. But through it all, I see the goodness of God.

What Kind of Fast Does God Desire?

We have entered the season of Lent – 40 days of prayer and fasting before Easter as we reflect on the suffering of Jesus Christ and examine our own hearts.

For some churches this is a very big part of their services. For others, little, if anything, is said about this season.

Growing up in a church that did not emphasis Lent, I have come to really appreciate it as an adult.

While the Bible does not specifically mention anything about Lent, (the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. began this observation), the Bible is full of calls to fasting and prayer.

  • 1 Samuel 7:6 – the people fasted in repentance.
  • 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 – the people fasted for protection
  • Ezra 8:21-23 – the people fasted for direction and unity
  • Matthew 4:1-11 – Jesus fasted in preparation for His public ministry.
  • Acts 13:1-3 – the people fasted in preparation for expansion of their ministry.

There are hundreds of ways people observe this time of prayer and fasting. Some actually go without eating for a day; others miss a meal for one day or throughout Lent. Some give up a specific food or drink that they normally have each day.

The idea is not just giving up something, but spending the time that would be given to a meal or a favorite food in prayer.

But Lent is not about giving up to make us feel “holy.” If we do not take this time to really reflect on and seek God for spiritual direction, vision, right living, compassion….the list could go on and on….our sacrifices of food or favorite things are meaningless.

Isaiah 58:6-8 tells us what kind of fasting we should do in this time of Lent.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

I Didn’t Recognize You With Your Clothes On!

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One story my husband hates for me to tell – but I get such fun out of telling is the Sunday a visitor showed up at church.

My husband loved to get out of the office and into the community.  He felt just sitting at a desk all week was not the best way to be a help and influence to the community.  Since he is a Pepsi fan (I always said if he needs a blood transfusion they could just use Diet Pepsi instead of blood), he always stopped at the local Casey’s for a soda while he was out visiting.

Stopping two or three times a week at the same Casey’s, he became friends with the cashier and often invited her to come to church.  She always had some reason why she could not come.

Then one day she surprised my husband by showing up for the morning worship.  As my husband greeted her in the foyer, she loudly proclaimed, Pastor Paul, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!

I wish I had a camera with me that day to get a picture of the shocked look on his face.  Then, a second later, a picture of the woman’s face as she realized what her comments sounded like and her face turned all shades of red.

Looking around at the congregation that stood by very puzzled at her statement, she explained what she meant.  “I mean, I always see you in jeans and a t-shirt.  I have never seen you in your suit and tie.”

While my husband hoped that everyone who heard her first statement also heard the second one, I just stood there and laughed and laughed!  I still tease him from time to time that I did not know he made pastoral calls in the nude!