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Things I learn

Leo Daniel equals Unconditional Love

I’m in a temporary home with all my pictures lurking somewhere in my garage so thank you for the pictures I just gleaned from Facebook.Leo and his only real daughter, Melissa ūüôā His favorite girls are below.

When I was a little girl there were constants in my crazy life. Mom always loved me. Nanny was always down the hill in case we needed anything, Grandpa always fixed things and you would find him in the kitchen. Leo would always show up and there was an instant party. 

Leo loved all of us, all eight of us kids, our spouses, our children, our friends, the more the merrier.

My mom and Leo became friends at age 14. Through their marriages and Mom’s divorce and through the many years they have remained friends. Let’s not forget to give credit to Joan, who through Leo put up with all of the chaos for low these many years. Haha, now I really think Joan secretly enjoyed every minute of it.

Leo spent his time entertaining. He was a school teacher by profession but an entertainer by heart. As long as I have memory I remember Leo playing the piano and all of us singing along. The songs go on and on. We all have our favorites, the Irish sing alongs, Sound of music, I’ve been working on the railroad. He could belt out The Impossible Dream and Climb Every Mountain like no other. Then there was Polonaise, he would play to remind himself and us of the classics. Polonaise is on my running playlist.

He unselfishly opened his cabin in the woods for us. If it had not been for That cabin we would have never vacationed away from home. We would pack up on weekends, or for a week in July and pile in their home. The fun we had playing outside, swinging on the swing, playing capture the flag and oh dear, piling in the back of the pick up and going on some wild rides in the woods where Leo had been wandering all his life.

Holidays; Christmas, New Years Eve, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day all came to life when Leo was there or we were at his house.

He loved us. It was never conditional, He just LOVES. Leo and my mom treated everyone who walked through the door the same. They were welcome and loved. Leo taught us in a tumultuous time of racial unrest that everyone, yes everyone was the same. 

My pa is in the hospital not sure of where he is but with Joan, Melissa and Michael constantly at his side. My heart hurts. Leo taught us, albeit unconventionally (giggling) and a bit groovily (is that a word?) this one thing; John 15:13 (NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I’ll end with Elelweiss; we tuck ourselves in bed and he plays our lullaby….

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss,Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever.

Love you Pa ~Susie

 

 

 

Surrounded

Gus and I are enjoying the breezy, 87 degree day out here on the high desert mountain.

I am such a dreamer. If only this, if only that. How about, “if I would just do?” I have a beautiful setting, a husband who provides security, love and encouragement. My job is just that, to do my job.

So here I am out on this lovely patio writing and working. Hebrews 9:13 gives a list of old testament examples of sacrifices used to purify us, only to point to verse 14 (from the Message) which says; If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.

All I can do is be obedient and He produces something I could have never imagined.

So my book is coming! I am quenched in the desert and loving every minute of it.My recreation! Who would have guessed!?

Last game of the season tonight. It has been fun and I’ve made many new friends.

Washed in the Blood and so very thankful ~ Susie

 

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

John 14:12-14 NKJV “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

v 23-26 NLT¬†Jesus replied,¬†‚ÄúAll who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.¬†¬†Anyone who doesn‚Äôt love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.¬†¬†I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.¬†¬†But when the Father sends the Advocate (Helper) as my representative‚ÄĒthat is, the Holy Spirit‚ÄĒhe will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

Jesus asks so little of us, Believe, Obey, Love. This whole 14th chapter of John speaks of how much we are cared for. Ask, obey and love Jesus, that means you love His Father and therefore He will send His Holy Spirit to teach us. We just have to LISTEN and obey and do.

Oh please listen, love Him and ask Him.

I am celebrating the Joy of the Lord.

There are so many twists and turns and uglinesses (is that a word?) in this world but Jesus is on our side. This is a great team to belong to. Just DO IT! Walk with Him, talk with Him, ask Him, keep His word.

Feeling so Loved ~ Susie

 

Below the Rim

Dennis and I wandered to the Grand Canyon Saturday for our first, hopefully of many adventures below the rim. We hiked the Grandview Trail which is a “not maintained” trail east of the National Park. We were unsure; the trail is listed as “difficult” in the national park service website. The website also says the hike back up from the 3000 ft altitude drop will take twice as long. Our fledgling hike was about to begin well equipped with sunscreen, hats, new camelbacks and walking sticks, we began our decent.

The trail was surely rocky

God’s handy work, He put steps in for us. As I’m walking down these stairs, I imagine the thousands of animals who have worn this before us. It is truly fascinating.¬†

Dennis stayed put while I hiked so you could see the path and distance to the next switch back. 

Of course what goes down must go back up! Wow, wow. I have to say, physically it is easier climbing up than going down. Cardiovascularly it is breath taking¬†going up :-0 By the way, isn’t he cute?

This is just a beautiful shot from the Coconino Saddle which is at mile 1. We met a woman who guides and she told us not to believe the “twice as long going back up” advice from the hiking guide. She said that was for teenagers who cruise fast down the trail. It would be equal amount of time. Because it was our first time we didn’t want to push it, we did not hike the entire 3 miles to the Horseshoe Mesa, we thought we would hike 2 hours down and see how long it took us up. So we dropped in elevation 3000 ft along the path to the Horseshoe Mesa then turned back. Well she was right! It took us just under 2 hours to hike back up. Listen to experience, I guess ūüėČ

God and all His wonder is evident every step of the way.

Psalm 145:4-6 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.

Awed by His Majesty ~ Susie

 

Moving right along

Last year at this time I was cruising the interstate in our white pick up truck with my mom and Gus, pulling a U-Haul trailer. Dennis was following with his mom in his car. Micki and Roger were in Phoenix with my car. I did love the group move. We are here, building a home and anchored in life in Kingman.

The Grand Canyon

Since Easter I have been camped out in the Gospels. Because Kirsti was in Luke I followed, so we can talk about it of course. I’m like a bee to honey (or as a bat to a Saguaro blossom as we learned in the Saguaro National Park Saturday) when it comes to reading or learning about obedience. I can’t stay away from it. In Luke 3 Jesus gets baptized by John, He then goes into the desert for forty days, starts preaching and in chapter 5 he begins calling His disciples. He already has a crowd following Him from Galilee. He comes to a lake, steps into an empty boat and asks the owner, Simon to let the boat out a little way so He can teach from there. Simon does. Then He tells the fisherman to take his boat out to the deep and lower his net. Simon replied, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing;nevertheless at Your word I will¬†let down the net.” They caught so much fish the net was breaking. ~Luke 5:5

Yesterday my pastor preached on obey. He took the word apart. Essentially it means to move toward and listen intently. So listening intently to Jesus, living in the loving embrace of our grace giving God we move toward what He says. “OBEY”. If we choose Christ we choose to move toward His teaching. Eventually we can’t live entrenched in sin because we’ve moved over to life in Christ. Moving on.

Pastor Kent preached from John 14.

John 14:23-26 “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Obedience overflows from Love! God loves us so much, His words are there to guide us and keep us on His path to victory.

We start here with pliable and moldable hearts.

Oh Lord, I pray that our hearts long for You and we feel the love You have for us. I pray we Obey Your words and live a life full of promise.

Obedience moved us to the west. We walk this out with hope in Jesus to fulfill His plan in our lives. We praise you Lord!

Off to pick stain colors and change door choices ūüôā A lovely day in store.

Loved ~Susie

 

Marathons

It’s all about training.

If you are on Facebook you could hardly miss that Brett and I ran a marathon last Sunday, February 19, 2012. This was a first for both of us. It all started when he asked me to run the Chicago marathon last fall. Well Brett got deployed to Afghanistan so we missed the Chicago and chose to do the Austin Livestrong to give him time to train.

The above pictures were the day before the race, full anticipation of what lies ahead for the next day.

Lined up and ready to run!

I showed Kirsti I got to 23 miles!

I received a message on Facebook from Samantha that said, “You would think after all the metaphorical marathons, this wouldn’t be that intimidating” Amen to that!

Today we will talk about¬†training. I can’t let this slip by.

My self portrait of the finish. Vanity? Haha! It was an accomplishment I wanted recorded.

I’m kinda a rule follower. As I was growing up, I hated to let people down; I didn’t like getting in trouble and I really wanted attention and people to like me. Therefore, I followed rules and well got into some trouble but really tried to avoid it at all cost. So when given the challenge of training for a marathon I did two things; talked to Mike Haverdink (well Kirsti mostly) because he is a successful marathon runner. Secondly, I found a training schedule the Livestrong marathon organization recommended. Now mind you, I did veered from the schedule now and then but the majority of the time I followed it. I didn’t want injury or failure.

This may be seriously corny but doesn’t a marathon reflect life? We run the race, Hebrews 12:1. As we are running the race we need to be prepared. 2 Timothy 2:15¬†¬†Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The only way to run the race God has set forth and to divide the truth is to study the word, train if you will. Ephesians 4:14 says we shouldn’t be like children tossed to and fro by every wind of new or better ways of doing things. When a trial, temptation, cunning proposition comes along, the only way to stand strong is to be trained and complete the race God set before you.

Studying ~Susie

 

 

 

 

 

Soil

Here in the high desert we have ROCK, beautiful rocky ground. This is terrific for a foundation, not so much for tilling and planting. We (us Arizonians) have to bring in black dirt if we want to plant flowers or vegetables or grass.

I had an episode, “I got caught in the cares of this world”. Last week it happened; maybe hormones maybe cares, none the less I sunk. I get depressed, have a pity party of one and sink. I’m being brutally honest so that I can talk about sowing. The only thing that brings me back is reading my bible. When in a tail spin that is even hard. Well it’s hard to have a pity party if you are reading about what a great God we have or about how He gently loves us (Luke 7:48-50). Jesus saves us from our sin. He saves us from many, big, small, whatever kind of sin but forgives just because we have faith to ask.

Then in my reading I’m taken to Luke 8 when Jesus tells the parable of the sower. Oh geez, now I’m in it up to my neck! I love when I start reading and God takes me right where I need to be at that moment. Verses 1-21 tell the parable and the explanation follows. Please go to it and read it’s so good but here it is in a nutshell.

  • Seed=word of God
  • Seed thrown on the wayside= gets trampled on, the birds eat the seed interpreted as devil steals the word.
  • Seed on rocky ground=receiver receives, gets excited but gets tempted and forgets what he learned.
  • Seed in the thorns= receiver receives and the cares, riches and pleasures of the world choke the word and she gets defeated.
  • Seed on good ground, rich soil= receiver receives with a patient and good heart and thinks about what he read. This person’s life, “is authentically externalized because it is no longer what we do – it’s part of who we are.” ~Beth Moore

When the word of God is a part of us, we can go to it, jump in and wrap ourselves in it and be comforted, rebuked (corrected) or just have our eyes opened to something new and beautiful for the first time.

I guess the key would be to not get into the briar patch in the first place. “Don’t throw me in the briar patch!”¬†¬†(for those of you old enough to remember the Song of the South). But we all fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) No excuses, be like the tree planted by the river, it gets so much nourishment that it can’t help grow big and strong. Like the Cottonwood trees here in the west, they seed by the River and grow and grow. Lets get so engrossed in the love of Jesus and so thankful to be where we are right now, we don’t have time to be tempted, choked, defeated, swept away or unthankful. We just keep our eye on the goal God has for us!

Then that joy overflows 

 

Anticipation

It’s 1 am. Can’t sleep.

I’m fasting this week. I’m not telling you I’m fasting so you think any certain way about me. I’m telling you so I can tell you about the crazy that goes on in life when you fast.

So I decided with my friend and my sister we would fast this next 2 weeks together. We all have prayers to pray, and needed that one on one bonding time with God that you only get when you fast.

In that bonding time, crazy stuff happens. My fast; no pleasant food (starbucks, sweets, bread), no meat. But I’m also training for a marathon so I needed to have a good carb/protein dinner tonight for my long run in the morning. So I did a complete fast from 6pm yesterday to 6pm tonight and ate dinner, chicken, sweet potatoes and corn.

Here’s the crazies….

I live in a truck stop town. Within 2 miles from my house there is Burger King, In and Out burger, 3 McDonalds, Carls Jr., Sonic, Kentucky Fried Chicken, well you get it. I’m not a fast food eater. I do love McDonalds’ fries and Carl’s Jr burgers, but on any given day I drive by with no regard to any of them. Yesterday I suddenly had this NEED for a Sonic burger. I mean, I needed it. I was hungry and this whole walnut, pea and brown rice mixture (which was delish) wasn’t cutting it! I made it past the Sonic without stopping but I’m telling you my body wanted a burger bad!

Today I got a barrage of thoughts, I was so overwhelmed. What about this? What about that? Oh my goodness, how can anyone do anything unless I jump in and help or give orders. I was treading water just about to physically spin around.

Whoa! Then my mind gets in line with God. I love how He reels me in. Do I find comfort in Him or not? Do I really trust God to see me and those I love through? Are the burdens I feel real or is it a distraction or the Holy Spirit provoking me to pray. Do I need to act or rest?

I find comfort in Christ. There is this picture I have over and over in my mind of falling into a large comfy hand, it feels like the best hammock you have ever sunk back into. This hand cradles, yet it is firm and ever so gentle and warm. After my reeling moment, I find peace.

In Paul’s epistles I find so much wisdom and truth about who, where and what I need to be. One of my favorite things to do is to pray these scriptures and reword them with the prayer being for my wisdom or Dennis’ or my children, etc.

Eph 1:15-20 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.

I want to know what God is calling me to. I want to recognize the mighty power God has given me to have authority over Satan and his guile to threaten my family. I want to be wise and understand All God has for us. We’ll never comprehend all He has for us, it is too much for us to imagine. I do know it is good (James 1:17), it is peaceful and God is longsuffering as He watches us and longs for us to ask. James 1:5¬†If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Oh my sweet, sweet Lord. I am so thankful that You take great care over the things we worry about and You teach us to ask instead of worrying. I appreciate your gentle ways.

Loved by the King of Kings ~ Susie

 

Birthday, Bryce Canyon and Earings

Dennis and I married December 7, 1996. We were adults with a lot of baggage. 4 previous marriages between us, different traditions and just a different outlook on life.

If there is one thing Virginia Schmitt (my mom) loves is a party. She loves to “do” for other people. She never forgets a birthday, would have a party for anything anyone ever accomplished if it were possible. So I grew up celebrated, I remained celebrated by my mom into my adult life. Isn’t everyone? Dennis is of the belief birthday parties are for children.

Enter years 1, 2 and 3 of our marriage. No birthday celebration year one. So years 2 and 3 Virginia the party maker shows up to 2017 Hall St (our residence) with a cake and presents! No one is going to ignore her baby’s birthday! Between year 3 & 4 I finally explained to Dennis, “Birthdays are important to me. I like to be celebrated!” Year four, mom shows up with cake, Dennis is hiding a birthday cake in Erin’s bedroom! He got it! Years 5 to now, Mom lets D handle it.

I have to say, I have been spoiled with attention these past years by my children, my friends, my family and my husband. I like it.

I’m going to admit things about my week that are self-centered, selfish and all around not pretty. I started the week with Samantha graduating from Cosmetology School! Yea, this is an exciting milestone in her life. Also, my dear friend had surgery and I couldn’t be there for either of them. ¬†Here’s where it gets ugly.

I said Samantha graduated, Friend has surgery. Was this about me? Of course it was about me. I¬†couldn’t be there for them. I¬†couldn’t take Samantha to lunch. I¬†couldn’t take dinner to Friend or clean up her kitchen or do jigs for her as she has done for me time and again. See as long as our eyes are on I’s¬†we spiral.

I sunk and fast. Sniff, sniff, I have it so bad, sniff, sniff. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday by Thursday I’m neurotic! I tell Dennis, “I plan on being mean today.” As if he hadn’t noticed.

Thursday he says, “What do you want to do for your birthday?”

It doesn’t matter because I’m not going to be happy no matter what he does. I think to myself.

Friday morning I ask him sulkingly, “Are we going out for dinner tonight?” He replies, “It’s Friday, date night, of course.” Then he adds, “I thought we could go to Bryce Canyon tomorrow for your birthday.” Since I took geology in 2000, Bryce Canyon was high on my bucket list. That geological phenomenon only exists in the small town called Bryce Canyon, UT.

Fairytale Canyon

The unique, artistic license God took in that tiny corner of the Universe is the epitome of creation.

Are you feeling sorry for me yet? It gets better. Saturday morning, he pulls a present and card out of his bag. The card is perfect and so thoughtful and the gift; a stunning pair of ruby and diamond earings.

We had such a glorious day in Bryce Canyon,

Us

the weather was perfect we flew in late morning stayed for a few hours and arrived home to watch football, eat “The Big Salad” and enjoy a quiet evening together.

Seriously awful right!?

I say I’m thankful. Am I? 1 Thes 5:17-18 ¬†pray without ceasing,¬†in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ¬†How about Phil 4:8; just meditating on the right stuff. Or 2 Cor 10:4-6¬†For the weapons of our warfare¬†are¬†not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,¬†casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,¬†and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

God is so faithful. My life is so blessed beyond what Dennis and I ever imagined or hoped for. But I still gave into the high thing that exalted itself against God. I

Thankful and Repentant ~Susie

 

 

Always Changing

There is Hope and fear in change. God is always good so even if the path isn’t exactly what we think it should be; it is good.

Ruth 1:16 “For wherever you go, I will go;and wherever you lodge, I will lodge.”¬†¬†I wonder if when Ruth said this to Naomi, was she sure? Did she look around and say, “who said that?” Or was she so full of love and faith she felt it wholeheartedly?

In Genesis 13 when Abraham had to separate from Lot, he knew it was right but it had to be tough leaving his closest relative.

Timothy, was left in Thessalonica with Silvanus to run the church. They communicated with their mentor Paul via letter. I bet they longed for the time he would visit.

Here I am with my husband and we are separated from all we love. We know in our gut and our heart it is right. But there is a detachment that is real and sometimes tough to take. Then on the other hand this new adventure has opened up a window of opportunity spiritually and in our personal growth. Ecclesiastes 4:12 A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Today we will visit another church here in Kingman. The search is on for where we belong in the body of believers in Kingman, AZ. 1Corinthians 12 tells us we fit somewhere. We are relying on God to show us the right place to connect. Our comfy choice quickly became uncomfortable. We have to choose how to look at our search; we can whine that we don’t have what we once did or we can believe what is written and know that God has a place for us to be a part of His body here and now. The beauty is that we are doing this together. I’m not gonna lie, I waiver between the whine and the Truth!

Dennis was planning on working half day on Friday. We made an appointment together. It was not imperative he was there but always nice. Well the half day became a full day. I went to the meeting without him. In the past when this happened Dennis would come home bemoaning the fact that he had to stay. Not the case on Friday. He came home and said, “I love it here! I love the fact that I can care for the people here.”

Last weekend we attended the Kingman Rodeo.

Rodeo!

This was my second visit to a rodeo. I was actually fun. The announcer and Rodeo clown banter back and forth the entire rodeo with corny, yet family friendly quips and routines. The animals and the talented people who ride them are fantastic. Micki and Roger, Mary and Greg and Mom attended Artprize last weekend. We chuckled at the difference. Dennis justified it by saying we now enjoy both fine art and rodeo! We are so well rounded!

I have also figured out a way to shop for the things I need sans Meijer (oh how I miss thee!). Of course I don’t have “One Stop Shopping” but KMart and Safeway are doing the trick.

The important things in life from Amazon.com

Amazon.com has really come in handy for the things you can only find in a larger metropolitan area.

Honestly I have my share of pity parties. For you who know me, you know! Then I continue to “lift my eyes to You, Lord” Psalm 123:1 I have a choice how I view life and what we are doing. I choose LIFE Deuteronomy 30:19.

Striving ~Susie