Friday, June 30, 2006

As a young girl in grade school I was outgoing and generally made friends easily. The transition to Jr. High was painful and awkward for me. My sister and I were tall and we were very skinny and so that also meant that we were flat-chested as well. In 7th grade we also had braces and we had worn glasses for a couple of years. Everything seemed to change in relationship to boys and girls. Prior to 7th grade I had been friends with a lot of boys, we all hung out together on the play ground and had a great time. Of course there were the secret crushes but that is all that they were for us. We knew that we could not date until we were 16 years old.

I was not prepared for the endless tormenting that I received; I think I heard every flat chest joke that was ever invented. The cruelty of some of the students was almost unbearable at times and the actions of some of the boys would now be considered sexual harassment. At school I became withdrawn and I only really talked to my friends that I trusted. I felt ugly, stupid, clumsy, and inadequate most of the time. I really began to struggle with school and I had no desire even go.

Eventually I learned to survive and even joke about some of the teasing, though it hurt deep inside. My families love for me, my faith in God, and my friends became my anchor for me during that difficult time. At home and with my friends I was very talkative and outgoing but at school I became silent. I felt like I didn’t have anything important to say and I didn’t want to add anything else to endless list of what some of the kids teased me about.

In the spring of my sophomore year I had to take a speech class. I dreaded the thought of getting up in front of my peers and talking. But what they didn’t know and what I didn’t fully understand at that point was that I loved to talk and that it was as natural to me as breathing. Just ask my family….they could tell you a lot of stories.

My twin sister Jimella had done well in speech and of course I didn’t want her to surpass me in one of my favorite pass times.

I prepared for my first speech by rehearsing in front of a mirror over and over again. It was a good thing that we had two bathrooms in our house. I prayed and prayed and that God would give me the strength to be able to talk in front of everyone and that I would not mess up. I felt calm and peaceful and as I opened my mouth to talk it just flowed. I surprised myself, my classmates and the teacher with my ability to talk in front of people.

I even one best speech for the first round of speeches. I was thrilled and it was the extra confidence boost that I needed. The book that we studied for speech class was “See You at the Top” by Zig Ziglar. The book was about the power of positive thinking and I loved it. I would devour the chapters and eagerly write my next speech. For the first time in many years I was finally excelling in one of my classes. I could easily understand what Zig had to share with us and in time it became part of me.

At the end of quarter the class would always vote on who was the most positive person in the classroom. They would receive a copy of the book that we had been studying. I wanted to earn that title and I wanted that book. I prayed about it a lot… but some of my old fears came creeping back. I’m not good enough and I’m not one of the popular kids in school, this is beyond my reach. But then I would remember what God had to say about me and what I was learning about positive thinking from Zig Ziglar.

The big day finally arrived and because I had received the most awards for speaking and quite a few other ones I was an automatically put on the ballot. On the ballot was also one of the most popular boys in the whole school. I knew that I had done the best job I possibly could and that whatever happened I would be okay.

You cannot imagine the joy that I felt in my heart when I won the award and the class shouted and cheered. The boy that I had won against came and told me that he was glad that I had won and that he had voted for me because I deserved the award the most.

As I was presented that book I knew deep in my heart that God had helped me achieve this goal to show me that I was special and that I did matter. I also decided that someday I was going to meet Zig Ziglar and have him sign that book for me. My next writing I will share with you how I met Zig Ziglar….. The story will be entitled: "I danced with Zig!"

In closing I would like to share with your this scripture passage: "1 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you."
Isaiah 43:1-4 (NKJV)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Night lights of summer
I sat in awe and wonder as I watched the tiny night lights that sparkle like dazzling diamonds against the black velvet of the night sky. The dance of the fireflies captures my attention even though I am no longer a child. They are fascinating creatures and I cannot help but think that God created them for our enjoyment. There are over 136 different kinds of fireflies and you can tell the difference by the patterns of their lights. It is only the males that we see up in air displaying their lights and strutting their best moves in hopes to catch the female’s eye. The females in turn stay close to the ground and their patterns of light are the same and so if they are interested in they will flash a message back to the eager males. And so they will follow the rituals of their mating dance.

There are some naughty female fireflies that will mimic the lights of another species and the male will fall quickly into her trap; and instead of the delights of the mating rituals he is quickly gobbled up for a midnight snack instead.

My favorite scene of these tiny twinkling creatures is when they seem to be hanging over the fields like a blanket of Christmas tree lights. I cannot help but think of the verses from this Psalm

“9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously." 11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. 13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.”
Psalms 96:9-13 (NKJV)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This week’s writing is in honor of my Father, James Moorhead. This week-end the Moorhead clan will gather in Minnesota to celebrate the 40 years of love and blessings my parents have shared with each other.

Dear Dad,

They say that King David was a man after God’s own heart because of his love for God. I can truly say that you have been a Dad after God’s own heart and for that I am eternally grateful. The Bible verse that comes to mind, “and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (RSV)

At a young age I remember us gathering together after supper to do our family devotions. There were many times that I thought, oh I wish we could hurry up and get this over with we have things to do. But you taught us that nothing was more important than spending time together in God’s word and praying together as a family. You and Mom stood firmly together in teaching us “The Faith”. We never had to wonder on Sunday mornings if we would go to church or not, we always knew where we would be together in the Lord’s house on Sunday Morning.

I have so many fond memories of sitting and talking about God’s word. I knew that I could come to you and Mom with questions that I had about God and you always took the time to talk about my questions.

You and Mom were very strict and at times I thought it was so unfair; and of course as you know I voiced my opinions loudly. You never backed down on the decisions that you and Mom made. Now as I look back; I see it was another gift that you gave to us. I wasn’t mature enough to make those decisions and you knew it. Anyone can be a parent but it takes an exceptional person to be the parent that God has called you to be. You and Mom both knew that you answered to God before anyone else. The life of a Godly parent is filled with patience, wisdom, long-suffering, understanding, and the ability to love and forgive your child even when you do not feel like it. We saw the image of God reflected in the love that you gave us as children. Thank you for the example that you and Mom showed us day after day.

Thank you for loving and honoring Mom; we knew that you both deeply loved each other and that was a precious gift to us. As we gather to celebrate your Marriage, we know that it was something that you both had to work at. To many people walk away when things don’t go their way but you showed us the way that God would have us live.

You have taught us that loving God and honoring Him is far more important than the riches of this world. How many times did you give up getting a newer car so that you could provide for the needs of your children? I never heard you complain; you were selfless when it came for providing for your family.

I love you Dad. I’m so thankful for all of the lessons that you taught me about God and life. Thank you for being a Dad after God’s own heart.

The following Psalm reminds me of you and the lessons that you and Mom strived to teach us.

Love always,

1 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 9 O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. 10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing. 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Who is the man who desires life And loves length of days that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.
Psalms 34:1-22 (NASB)

Friday, June 09, 2006

My Grandma’s family lived in Wisconsin when she was little girl and her family was used to the finer things in life. They were considered to be quite wealthy and had money to buy the things they wanted and needed.

Grandma’s Father longed for more and heard there was farm ground in Minnesota that would yield wonderful crops and that would mean more money. So he bought farm ground in Northern Minnesota without seeing it.

When Grandma’s family arrived in Northern Minnesota they admired the beauty of their surroundings. Their delight soon turned to horror when they realized their farm ground was filled with rocks and that it would take countless backbreaking hours to make the ground tillable.

The luxurious lifestyle that they were accustomed too vanished and faded with all of the dreams and hopes that they had for their life in Minnesota. The children quickly learned how to work hard and did not waste energy on complaining. Their Mother provided encouragement to them and also provided a buffer protection against angry outbursts from their father.

Their garden was planted so they would have nutritious food to eat. Hunting became a means to provide meat for the table and to prevent starvation. Berry picking was not just a great adventure it was one more way to provide food for the family table.

The family found hope and joy in knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They loved to sit in the evenings and sing and play various instruments. They found peace in spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.

Grandma met and fell in love with Sid Moorhead. Her family did not approve because he came from a very poor family. It was ironic as Grandma’s family did not have money either. They wanted better for Grandma so she would not have to go without. Grandma knew that she had found a true treasure in Sid; and so they decided to elope. Grandma often said they did not consider themselves to be poor because they were so happy in their life together. They always had food to eat and a place to stay that kept them warm. They knew that had more than what most people had during the great depression.

They lived in a one room house, which I have seen. It was not much bigger than a modern day playhouse. After my Dad was born they had to buy a dresser for him. They found one for $6.00 which was a large amount of money for them. They paid off the dresser 50 cents a month.

As a young girl it was difficult for me to comprehend on how they could survive on so little. Grandma and Grandpa always told us that God had provided for all of their needs. Their faith in God meant more to them than the riches of this world.

25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matt 6:25-34 (NKJV)

Monday, June 05, 2006

This week I’m honoring my Grandma who is 91 ½ years old. This past week has been filled with heart-stirring memories of long ago summers spent at my Grandparents house in northern Minnesota. They lived on the bank of the Rainy River not to far from where it flowed in to the mouth of Lake of Woods. Each summer we would spend at least a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we were always filled with anticipation at the thought of all the adventures that we would have. We had cousins who lived close by and so we knew that we would have time to swim and fish with them. We loved to get prepared for a special hunt in which we would collect frogs and toads of all shapes and sizes. We would grab our buckets and run down the ravine as fast as we could to gather the frogs with our hands, it never occurred to us to use a net. It was a challenge to catch the slippery and sometimes slimy little creatures. When we would tire of the chase we would run to the orchard to see what we might discover amongst the branches.

At night-time we would sit and talk to Grandma and Grandpa about life, faith in God, and we would love to hear about the stories of their child hood. They taught us a lot about God and trusting in Him. They shared their love of nature with us and taught us how to respect God’s creation and to take care of it. All of these things coupled together with what they had taught our Dad and he shared the same lessons with us.

I have marveled this week at the memories that keep spilling to the forefront of my mind. Breath taking moments from so long ago but I can recollect them like it was only yesterday. These memories of my mind that I have held dear to my heart are so close that I can almost reach out and touch them.

My Grandmother’s mind is beginning to slip. The strong Matriarch of our family is now no longer able to stay by herself. My Grandmother is the oldest of 11 children. They lost their mother when they were young and so Grandma became the “Mother figure” to her siblings all of these years she has kept track of them, bossed them around, prayed and cried with them, and said good-bye to them as they left this earth to join their Savior in heaven.

Grandma and Grandpa had four children; and little Joan died when she was four month’s old. She was called a blue baby and there was nothing the doctors could do to fix her tiny little heart. Grandma and Grandpa spent all of their money trying to find help for their precious little one. There was no money to buy a camera or to even afford having her picture taken. They never had a little picture to remember their sweet little baby girl. They found comfort in knowing that their little lamb was in the arms of Jesus, and that some day they would be with her forever.

Grandma is always taking care of someone and now she needs the care. It will not be easy and it is more painful than words can describe how it feels to know that Grandma’s mind is not the same. I talked to her for a little while today and she kept saying how good it was to hear my voice. We talked and laughed together for a little while. There are some things she can remember and other things that she cannot.

Grandma knows Jesus as her friend and Savior and my prayer is that she can hold on to that sweet comfort and joy in the days and months ahead.

I will share some more ramblings and memories in my next couple of writings of an amazing woman, of whom I honored and blessed to call my Grandmother.