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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.

See this picture? I took it today. It is a blue sky with clouds and sun. I am very thankful for that blue sky after a long stretch of dismal gray days. See this second picture? I also took it today. No more snow in the yard! Shadows from the sun! I am extremely grateful for the snow being gone, for sunshine, and for blue skies!

We seem to attract interesting animals in our neighborhood. Drake and Dessa Duck showed up again this week, hanging out on a neighboring roof and complaining about the late April snowstorm. Yesterday this rabbit was spotted ‘running laps around the house’ as my helper, Kathleen, pointed out. See how he hides in our brownish grass? Amazing to think that he was pure white just a few weeks ago. At least we have not had any visits from the moose that were spotted outside our town earlier this week.

Yesterday when I was out shopping I passed a grocery cart with two little girls in it. The younger one grinned and waved as I walked by and the older one scowled at me. I’m not sure why, but this made me really miss my own grandchildren. It is easy to focus on what you do not have, but it is not profitable or even proper for a Christian to do this. I am so blessed to live at a time when I can regularly see or speak to my family in China through technology and spend time with them at least once a year. This is what I will focus on: just a little over two months before they get here!

I don’t regularly buy Tide unless it’s on sale. At the store, all the varieties had sale prices on the shelf tags except the one I prefer. When I took one to the front to get the price checked, the Tide I liked was only $2.50 a bottle! I zipped back to the display and grabbed three more bottles. Good deals on things we need are always a blessing.

I discovered an interesting-looking gluten free scone mix this week made by the Namaste company. I have tried and liked several of their other products so I was hoping this would also be good. I made it today and am very happy with the results.

Here are a few of the cards I have been working on for Purple Grandma Designs

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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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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.

What a winter this has been for sickness! I have been struggling with viruses for most of the time since we returned from China at the end of December. The calendar tells me it is now spring. I will be extra happy when the calendar and the weather here both agree that it is indeed spring!

16 Personalities It has been fun and deeply enlightening to explore and better understand the elements that make up my personality. This new awareness that I am indeed an introvert and what that looks like practically, has been truly helpful. This month I was asked to answer the questionnaire on 16 Personalities as part of a study my husband and I are doing on biblical stewardship of money. According to this test I am a Mediator and my husband is Logician. The point is, from my perspective, to understand how God designed each of us so we can live and work together with greater understanding and harmony.

Ministry Wives’ Fellowship Yesterday we enjoyed a Ministry Wives’ Fellowship at one of our local churches. We were challenged to respond biblically to hardship and pain in our lives. The time of fellowship was a blessing and an encouragement.

Progress on sorting books Over the past few weeks I have made significant progress in sorting through and paring down my library of about 1,500 missionary and church history biographies. I have a few more shelves to sort through then I need to finish looking up prices for the ones I am selling. Hopefully, in a few months, I will be ready to e-mail out a list of books for sale.

Pictures of the grands I love that my daughter-in-law and son regularly update us with photos of our grandchildren. They will be with us this year in July, which is only a few months away. Yay!

Flamingo GF chicken Over the four years that I have been gluten free, I have tried a number of gluten free products. Some were ok, many were truly awful, and a few were good. Occasionally we have chicken strips or chicken nuggets at a family gathering. Sometimes I wish I could have just a taste of one, but of course, if I do, I will get sick so it’s not worth it. Recently discovered gluten free Flamingo Chicken Strips made by Olymel. We bought some on a special deal and I made them this week. These chicken strips are very, very good. I love crunchy stuff, and these have a pleasing crunch with no weird taste or texture. Even my husband thought they were delicious!

Primarily due to sickness I have not been out taking pictures lately. Next time I hope to post photos of new cards, as well as some new rural Alberta shots.

 

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