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I am awaiting surgery to have yet another hip replacement. My most recent replacement (2014) has recently failed and broken pieces are protruding into my pelvis. There is concern that an artery could be poked so I am on crutches and waiting for ‘the call’ to go into hospital.

Since I am not going to be able to minister in traditional ways as a pastor’s wife (such as having group Bible studies at the church) I will be writing posts to share things God is teaching me. God commands the older women to teach the younger in Titus 2. There are many things I am still learning or have learned the hard way over the years. By God’s grace, and with His leading, I hope to encourage you in your walk with God. I am calling these posts Titus 2 Thoughts. I will be posting these on my blog, PurpleGrandma.com. Please sign up to receive these in your e-mail feed if you are interested in receiving these directly.

I wrote the following recently with ministry women in mind, but the principles apply to us all. Do what God has given you to do for now. Do it with all your heart. Do it as unto the Lord. Do not always be wishing you could be in a different place doing different things than what God has allowed for now.

I would appreciate your prayers for both the surgery and the writing.

As a young ministry wife and mother of five small children, I often felt dissatisfied with all the maintenance work that fell to me just to keep our family functioning. This was not what I had envisioned as ministry efforts! Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and, in the years that we homeschooled, teaching, wore me out and consumed most of my days. Yes, I taught Sunday School, held ladies’ Bible studies, organized ladies’ retreats, showed hospitality to travelers and church families, and helped with many details of our church plant, but I was exhausted, miserable, and felt that God could not possibly want His workers to be occupied with what I thought of as busy work. If I could just hurry through my responsibilities surrounding my family, then I would have more time to ‘do ministry work.’

God in His wonderful sovereignty allowed me to became ill. No one could accurately diagnose what was wrong with me. I grew weaker and could do less and less of the things I thought would please God. I could barely get out of bed, much less teach or evangelize. What must He think of me? I felt my limited service and the continuous encumbrance of mundane matters meant I wasn’t doing my job and so God must be sighing with displeasure at my deficiencies.

I struggled from my bed one Wednesday night to prepare for the mid-week service held in our home. Bud was teaching through Romans. He opened the Scriptures and began reading chapter 8,“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.”  The words pierced my struggling soul like an arrow from my Maker. ‘No condemnation.’ Years ago I had accepted His sacrifice as payment for my sins and understood now that I was positionally without sin – without condemnation because of the work of Christ on my behalf. There was absolutely nothing I could do to make God love me any more or any less than He already did. I was ‘accepted in the beloved’ and had ‘peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!’

Soon after God allowed me to see that the most important ministry I had was with my children. We only have one opportunity to rear them for the Lord. No retakes on childrearing! If, by God’s grace, we could point these five little sinners to Christ, if we could proffer them God’s Word and embody authentic humility, grace, and forgiveness, this would be ministry work just as important as any other.

Sometimes I am amazed that our five children are all from the same parents. Such a diversity of personalities, abilities, and interests! It grieved my soul that I never worked to get along with my sister, and I was determined to teach my children to prefer one another in love. There are so many biblical principles that must be followed to foster this in a family. Every conflict, every argument, every disagreement provided an opportunity to grow in sanctification. Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.  Be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to wrath. In love prefer one another. A soft answer turns away wrath. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. By God’s grace, a regular application of Scriptures and spiritual principles over many years has worked in the lives of our children so that each loves God and they all love each other. And as adults, they all love and serve the body of Christ.

Ministry work may not look like you expect it to. Allow God to direct your life of service and praise Him for every opportunity He allows for you to serve Him.

 

 

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By request, here is the story I posted on Facebook last week.

My husband loves the ocean. He loves walking on the beach, floating in the water, and swimming in the surf. Many of his favorite memories involve escapades at beaches near his childhood home. The few times we have been able to vacation at the beach since our marriage have been enjoyable and refreshing for him.

I am not much of a swimmer, and staying out in the sun too long gives me a headache so I was surprised at our last beach vacation several years ago to discover how much I loved the beach, the water, the shells, and the sound of the waves gently lapping the shore.

Recently our church blessed my husband with a bonus week of vacation. We headed to my husband’s beloved beach after attending a conference. His sister and her husband joined us, in part to celebrate the 38th anniversary of our double wedding. We could walk across the street from our rental and be at the beachfront in minutes. My husband was ecstatic!

After a couple of cold and rainy days, Friday’s sunny skies and increased warmth promised a relaxing day in the water. The four of us meandered down to the beach and I shoved on an inner tube-style floatie before we walked out into the ocean. Due to some current mobility issues, I’ve been unsteady on my feet and was grateful for my family’s help getting into the water to avoid being knocked down by strong waves.

We bobbed and floated and swirled and chatted. Up and down, this way and that way, sometimes drifting, sometimes carried toward the shore by strong waves. My sister-in-law and I were talking and bobbing up and down, up and down when I noticed that my stomach had questions.

Suddenly I had that terrible sense of impending doom in the pit of my stomach and realized I was going to parbreak. I barely had time to tell my husband I thought I was going to lose it when he grabbed one elbow and my brother-in-law grabbed the other to quickly impel me to our chairs on the sand.

Too late. I leaned over as a huge wave struck from behind and all questions my stomach had were launched into the surf.

So, dear friends, the sea and I are currently at an uneasy impasse. I want to be at the sea and enjoy her many charms, but do not appreciate her mockery of my delicate sensitivity to motion.

Can this conundrum be settled? We shall see, yes, we shall see.

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Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from the past few weeks.

We’ve been traveling for much of the past three weeks. We had many blessings during our time away so I’ll share a few of them here.

1. Conference We attended a conference in North Carolina for our mission organization. It truly was a blessing to reconnect with old friends and make new friends during the conference.

2. Beach After the conference was over we headed to the beach for a week. My husband grew up on the South Carolina coast and was longing for some time in the ocean. We had a week full of fun and interesting experiences, though the ocean is not my best friend right now. Want to know why?  I shared my story on Facebook and will repost it on my blog in a day or two.

Boardwalk at Holden Beach

The mighty Atlantic

Holden Beach, NC

3. Family How wonderful to spend time with family and old friends! My husband and his three siblings were together for a few hours one evening and three of them spent time together later in the week. Nieces, nephews, and some of their children made time to see us and long-time friends made a point of touching base with us throughout our stay.

Three of four siblings

4. Southern food There’s just something about southern food that is special. This northerner picked up a few favorites years ago during my fifteen-year sojourn in South Carolina so it was fun to return and taste the cuisine again. Sweet tea, shrimp and grits, scallops and crab, various styles of barbecue, fresh, juicy peaches, and even black raspberry jam (a favorite from my growing-up days in Ohio) plus some interesting new gluten free items were all culinary highlights of our trip.

5. Garden Leaving for the States a few days after Victoria Day meant I had to scurry to get my garden in before our trip. Our daughters kept an eye on things for me and I returned to thriving herbs and kale with the promise of peas, carrots, beans and squash later this summer. Oh, and the flowers my husband planted are doing well too.

Cheerful pansies

Lovely lavender

Fresh kale

Here are a couple more pictures from our trip. If you use any of my photos, please credit Deborah Talbert or purplegrandma.com. Thanks!

North Carolina forest

Interesting evergreen

Hope you had many blessings to be thankful for this week!

 

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Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

1. Spring! After all that snow in April we have finally been enjoying exceptionally warm and sunny days. Three of our daughters came over Monday night and we grilled shrimp skewers and ate outside. Anna made another British Cooking show recipe for the family to enjoy.

Alberta skies

Anna bakes our day!

2. Provision We are rejoicing that this week God provided Anna with a better paying job.

3. Vocabulary I love words. I love the nuances that words give to a sentence or story. I love learning new words and playing games like Balderdash that teach new words.

Sadly, I’m not a very good speller. I used to ask my mom how to spell certain words (my mom was a wiz with spelling and grammar.) She would ALWAYS tell me to look it up in the dictionary. This did not make sense to my young mind. How can you look it up if you don’t know how it is spelled? And, of course, she would then say, “Sound it out.” So, I would look it up, sound it out, and learn something.

But when I was bored I would sit and read entry after entry in the dictionary just for fun. I learned about forms and tenses and definitions and punctuation, and pronunciation (I just had to look up that spelling!) and all kinds of helpful details.

This week a young man came to our door selling security systems. (He reminded me of a young Larry Fitch, a man I first met in my college days whose life has blessed my family at various times in the years since.) This salesman was giving me his spiel in a friendly, non-pushy way when out came the words incremental and decremental. Now, incremental I knew, but decremental? That was new to me. I’m afraid I heard little of his talk after that. I was turning the word over in my mind and delighting in the fact that a techy kid at the door taught me a new word!

4. Progress I have about half of my culled books ready to sell. Yay for sorting and purging!

5. More deals The first Tuesday of every month two local grocery stores offer a percentage off your shopping that day. One offers 15% and the other 10%. I made it to both stores this month to pick up items each stocks that the other does not. When I got to the checkout at the 10% store, they were giving customers 15% off that day. That was an unexpected blessing.

Thanks to everyone who told me my FFF link wasn’t working. I think I have it fixed now!!

Some pictures of my cute grandchildren in China

Clover field beauty

This stuff is itchy!

Brotherly love

Here are some custom order cards from this week for Purple Grandma Designs

For a 102-year-old mom!!

Custom order card

Custom order card

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Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Windows open and birds singing. We have had a weird, weird April weather wise. Last weekend brought a big snowstorm followed by a few spring-like days. The forecast is for more snow this weekend. Sigh. Despite the fickle weather, I am extremely grateful for the days when we can open the windows and air out the house. It’s nice to hear the birds singing, too. And spring can’t really be that far away for us, can it?

Technology Yesterday I had to go to Costco to take care of a problem with my husband’s new glasses and pick up a few things. I was walking down one of the main aisles and saw a display of drones for sale. I find technology fascinating (though my proficiency with it does not match my appreciation for it!) and mentioned seeing the display to my husband. We had to go back today to fix the glasses problem and while there, my hubby wanted to look at the drones. Long story short, we came home with an early anniversary gift for him. It was fun to watch him figuring out how the drone worked. An adopted granddaughter stayed glued to his side mesmerized by the buzzing and flying of the drone.

More technology My daughter-in-law does an amazing job of regularly posting photos and video clips of their life in China so those of us in North America can keep up with their lives. I’m grateful for the technology that makes this possible. Our youngest grandson is recovering from whooping cough and our oldest grandson from a stomach bug. Even though we can’t be there with them to help, we can pray for them during these times and have peace that they remain in God’s care at all times.

I love, love, love this picture of my grandson in a backpack in the change room while his mama is trying on clothes.

Taxes, part one. I finished all the accounting and other necessary information for our Canadian taxes and have turned it all in to our wonderful tax lady. Now I just need to pull together the papers I need for the US taxes. The hard part is done, and because we live out of the US, we have an automatic extension to file each year. Doing taxes is probably my least favorite responsibility and I am always very relieved when that work is behind me for another year.

Beautiful violets My African violets continue to thrive and it looks like I need to transplant them again or maybe prune them. My black thumb has evidently been banished and I am able to keep plants alive. Speaking of which, I am very eager to get my garden planted, but we need the weather to cooperate first. Last week of May is usually the earliest things get planted safely here.

I tried a few different filters on my violets photos. Which one do you like best?

For those of you who are friends on Facebook you have read the two installments about the ‘our’ ducks. Here are a couple of pictures of Drake and Dessa Duck, new neighborhood residents.

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Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Family birthdays We have three family birthdays in March and one in early April. Last Monday night we enjoyed a family dinner to celebrate these birthdays. I made cards for each person based on their favorite colors and a favorite activity of each. I forgot to take pictures of the cards, but each person seemed to enjoy the personalized cards. The non-birthday girl, Anna, made a beautiful and delicious Party Pyramid Pavlova, based on the recipe from Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off fame.

Community I have been blessed beyond measure to be included in fellowship with my children and their friends. Last week I celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday by joining with her friends for Saturday brunch at Café Linnea. We enjoyed warm fellowship and delicious food together. My pedagogic training was in secondary education, and much of my counseling experience is with millennials.and post-millennials. I truly enjoy engaging in conversation with teens and young adults so last Saturday’s outing was special.

 

Renovations Renovations on our main bathroom are almost finished, and it’s looking great!

Weather finally changing We had a surprise dump of snow earlier this week. Thankfully it all melted by mid-afternoon. I guess the farmers are happy for the moisture and I’m glad for the overall warmer days. Right now it’s raining and I’m glad it’s not snow!

Bonus When we upgraded our phones this week at Costco we were given several hundred dollars in Costco gift cards as an unexpected bonus, an unusual deal which really was the best deal of the year!

Here are a few snow shots and hazy sunset photos from this week.

 

 

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FFF heart.

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Birds singing Our central Alberta weather has been mercurial this month. From bitterly cold to record breaking warmth, we’ve experienced it all within the same week. Wednesday was that record breaker for us and it was lovely to open windows, watch the snow melting and even hear some birds singing. I don’t care what the groundhog says, I’m ready for spring!

Reliable transportation My husband and I were reminiscing about our previous vehicle and how we had to guess when we needed a refill because the gas gauge was broken. We tracked mileage which helped, but we never mastered the refill game and ended up running out of gas several times. That is no longer a concern with our new vehicle and we are very grateful for the provision of this new car.

Family night My husband is not much of a games person, and though I really enjoy playing board games, I do not get to very often. When we were in China in December our son introduced us to the game Dixit which, surprisingly to me, my husband enjoyed. Our girls bought him Dixit for his birthday last month and we played it on Monday. It was lots of fun!

Thoughtful spouse My husband asked me to make Valentine’s cards for our daughters and since the girls are big Star Wars fans, I made them Star Wars themed cards I found on Pinterest. My husband gave them the cards with some candy and flowers on Monday night. I’m so grateful that he wanted to do something special for them on this holiday that can leave singles feeling lonely..

My thoughtful husband

My thoughtful husband

Unexpected sales One of my girls took some of my Purple Grandma Designs Valentine’s cards to work to see if anyone wanted or needed a card. I was amazed and blessed that she sold every one of them! These sales help pay for my supplies so I can also give away cards to bless and encourage others.

Here are the last of this year’s Valentine cards from Purple Grandma Designs.

img_7997 img_8000

I snapped a few phone shots of people snowkiting in some fields near our home. I did not even know what it was called – had to look up parasailing on snow and found out it’s called snowkiting. My phone does not take the best pictures, but this will give you an idea of what I saw.

Snowkiting near Beaumont

Snowkiting near Beaumont

February sunset colours

February sunset colours

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