What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


by Chelsa
Lately I've been collecting caterpillars to show the children who come to our farm field trips. One of our caterpillars made a chrysalis in the container I had them in, and when I checked it today, it was a beautiful butterfly. Look at the utter transformation! From a lowly, spikey, crawling existence, to a beautiful, delicate, flying machine. I want to be transformed like that! Makes me wonder what we will look like when we get to heaven. I'm excited!!!
    This Gulf fritillary butterfly (Agriaulis vanillae) just came out of her chrysalis, and the caterpillar is what she looked like a couple of weeks ago. Amazing!  These caterpillars like to munch on my Passion Vines. That is where you will find them.

This is the same butterfly with open wings.

She's drying her wings in the sun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


by Chelsa

 I am so thankful for what God is doing in me. HE is the giver of all good gifts! It's been 3 months since He healed my mind. I have had no negative thoughts about myself. Praise God! 

But after a month or so after my healing, I began to wonder when my joints would start to feel better, since I've stopped attacking myself in my mind.  Much of the literature on natural healing I've read about reversing Rheumatoid Arthritis states that:
 "if the emotional trigger can be stopped that causes the negative thinking about yourself, your symptoms can be reversed and go into remission."   

I have been striving so hard to get well physically...eating healthy for every single meal, being careful not to damage my inflamed and swollen joints, as well as looking inward to see if there is any unconfessed sin or anything in my life that needs to be turned over to God. I have been running to Him with all I have. Even though I am SO GRATEFUL to have my mind back, sometimes I get  impatient on getting well physically.  It's hard for me to keep surrendering the timing of my physical healing to Him. 

But God is good! He knew just what I needed. And He gave me something so beautiful and so comforting that I am now more than happy to be content where I am. 

 This is what happened:

My friend Elizabeth invited me go to the Beltway Ladies Retreat with her April 24-26th. We had a great time worshiping, listening to powerful testimonies, and sharing what God has done in our lives. On Saturday night of the retreat, after all the sessions were over, we were asked to spend some quiet time alone with God. That is when our cabin leader passed out the encouragement cards. (These cards were written by the ladies prayer team at Beltway as they had been praying for months on behalf of the women coming to the retreat.) 

I am not a member of this church and they don't know me or my situation, so when I got my card I wasn't expecting much. But as I laid on my bed, opened my card and read it, I was astonished! Oh my!! That was the most amazing card I have ever received, and I don't even know the person who wrote it!!! That still blows my mind. How can this person, who doesn't know me or my situation say things that penetrate me to my core? I know this was a prophetic word from the Lord, even though my church upbringing didn't talk about these things or even believe prophetic words still happen. 

I have written lots of encouragement cards in my life. But I have never written one where I asked the Lord what I should say. It's never even crossed my mind. I always tried to write something special for that person, but how much more special would it be if it was a word from God. Can that even happen?

Apparently it can. After I got this card, the Lord led me to I Corinthians 14 where it talks about speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy. I've read this passage many times but I didn't really know what to do with it (since some say these gifts passed away with the apostles). It says,
    "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy...the one who         prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort...the one who             prophesies edifies the church..."               I Cor. 14:1,3,4

My card was prophetic because it did all of the above...it strengthened me, encouraged me, and comforted me in unbelievable ways I can't explain.  For the last several years I have believed we can have these spiritual gifts, and this experience proves it to me even more. 

Before I share my encouragement card with you, I have to tell you what I have been doing. First of all, I have been doing a lot of resting since I've been sick. Our family does a lot of manual labor jobs and I'm not able to do much in that area because of the pain. Second, I have been seeking God with all I have in me. God wakes me up in the night to spend time with Him and He gives me a different song every morning which is exactly what I need for that day (it's truly amazing!!!) Third, I've been wanting to walk in step with the Spirit and let Him lead me to minister to people. And finally, I've woken up to the fact that there is a serious spiritual battle going on and I want to join in the fight to help set the captives free.

Here's my card:

Dear Chelsa, 

I asked the Lord for a word for you and I saw a huge cliff with a gorgeous waterfall flowing over the edge of it.  About a quarter of the way down there is an opening in the rock behind the waterfall.  I feel like the Lord is saying you have been in this place resting.  He wants to renew, refresh, and cleanse you.  He has placed gifts inside of you that others need.  He is saying "Do not be afraid, I am with you." 

I then see you walk to the edge of the opening and step under the waterfall. The water cascades over you as you stretch your arms out wide. Everything that is not from him is being washed away.  And everything that he has deposited in you is being refreshed and drenched with Living Water- Truth, Identity, Gifts, Grace, Love...

When you are ready, you can dive into the water below. The Lord has something exciting in store for you!   

Immediately after reading the card, the Lord gave me a song. Waterfall by Chris Tomlin. The lyrics match the card perfectly.  I heard:  "Your love is like a waterfall raining down on me."  Around the next 3 hours or so, I just laid in my bed thinking about my card and listening to my song and feeling so content to just rest underneath His waterfall and let Him handle everything. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. I am now happy to rest in His timing, instead of striving to somehow fix it myself.

The next day I wondered if there was a scripture in the bible about a waterfall. I don't ever remember reading about one and I wanted to look it up when I got home. But Elizabeth beat me to it. She texted me the next morning with Psalm 42:7-8 which says, 

"Deep calls unto deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.  By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me--a prayer to the God of my life."

God cares about each and every one of us so deeply and He is so detailed in the way He shows His love for every individual if we would just open our eyes to see. Isn't it just like God to put the waterfall verse right next to the songs in the night? I feel like He put that in there just for me! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Steele's Birthday Battle

By Creg

Scared Yet?

The Magnificent Seven

Steele had a late birthday celebration with 6 friends playing several games of capture the flag; air-soft style. Air-soft is a style of weapon that shoots 6-mm plastic BB's from realistic looking guns. The BB's can travel up to 250 ft. when fired from a higher caliber rifle. And yes, you actually try to shoot your opponent.

After dividing up into two teams, each team chose a base station down in a ravine on our property, with the tree-house being in the middle of the battle zone.

When the game started each team advanced to the middle zone looking for a hidden flag and trying to avoid being shot. When the flag was found you had to make your way back to base with the flag to secure victory.

They played quite a few versions of capture the flag in 3 hours and then feasted on chili dogs.

Steele's CM-16 Raider & accessories

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Georgia Trip

By Creg

Steele making a shot on their volleyball court

We recently spent a week in Georgia visiting friends & family. We spent 5 days in Whigham staying with the Plath family. They have 9 kids and a 47 acre farm. Our kids really like spending time with their kids. As you can see in the pictures we had a blast in a variety of activities. Perhaps the biggest surprise was our enjoyment of square dancing. Every Friday night in a small town called Cairo they have square dancing at the library. We reluctantly went along to be gracious guests, but it turned out to be the highlight for some of us.

From top: Steele, Micah, Lydia, Moriah, Isaac

Then we drove to Atlanta to spend two days with Chelsa's aunt & uncle John & Dyna Koehler. The boys spent a day at the 2nd largest aquarium in the world while the girls spent some time downtown. The next day we went hiking with John & Dyna and had some great meals & conversation.

Steele with Micah & Ethan on the pond

Friday night square dancing. Sterling with Hosanna on the left. Steele & Moriah on the right.

Steele & Sterling at the Georgia Aquarium

Steele & Creg

Overlooking the Chattahoochie River

Friday, February 27, 2015

Rheumatoid Arthritis

by Chelsa
(Ed. Note: This is part 4 of  "I've Been Set Free.")

Ever since my feet and hands have been hurting (since April 2014), I have been doing tons of research on Rheumatoid Arthritis looking for alternative natural solutions. I don't want my hands to end up looking like that picture on the left! And I don't want to take pain killers that have awful side effects.  I don't want to just cover up the symptoms and stay in disease. I want to find healing. I want to find the root cause and fix it. I have found lots of information on how to treat it. And what I have discovered is that since it is an autoimmune disease, it can be reversed or put into permanent remission by a healthy diet and serious emotional therapy.

Even though I was doing all I could with my clean diet, I knew I would never get well physically if my mind wasn't restored. Praise God that he healed my mind. Because of that, I am confident I will find physical healing in His timing.

God has been putting different people and circumstances in my life to help me in my journey. Just yesterday a friend of mine sent me a book called A More Excellent Way (Be in Health - Spiritual Roots of Disease - Pathways to Wholeness) by Henry W. Wright. In it she flagged some pages she thought I might be interested in. Oh MY! I read it and it was fascinated!  Here is an excerpt from the book about auto immune diseases. You don't hear this at the doctors office!

The body attacks the body because the person is attacking themselves spiritually in self-rejection, self-hatred, and self-bitterness. There is a spiritual dynamic that comes in which the white corpuscles are invisibly redirected to attack living tissue while ignoring the true enemy which is bacteria and viruses. As the person continues to attack themselves spiritually, the body finally agrees as the white corpuscles start attacking the body.  That is a high price to pay for not loving yourself.

Even though the medical community now associates autoimmune diseases (including lupus, Crohn's, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple schlerosis) with fear, anxiety, and stress, I have come to the conclusion that most autoimmune diseases are primarily the result of an unloving spirit producing feelings of not being loved, not being accepted, self-rejection, self-hatred, and self-bitterness coupled with guilt.  In fact, it could be said that autoimmune diseases are primarily a self-hatred disease with a fear-anxiety-stress rider attached to them.       pg. 161

Rheumatoid Arthritis  p. 178
In Rheumatoid Arthritis, basically there is a proliferation of white corpuscles that congregate in the connective tissue of the skeleton, and like Pac-Man, start to eat away and destroy the material. It is degenerative, and this is so classic that I end up saying it just the way I'm going to say it:

"as the person attacks themselves in self-hatred, so the body conforms to that spiritual dynamic and attacks itself in return."

The only way to be healed from Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases is to accept yourself once and for all and to get the self-hatred, the guilt,the lack of self-esteem and the junk out of your life.

I've been devouring the book to say the least! That was exactly my problem. It sounds like what I was doing to myself before God healed my mind.

Father, thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you for people, places and circumstances you have provided to lead me to healing. Help me to continue to walk where you lead and to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. I denounce the spirit of fear, in Jesus name, and step boldly forward in your goodness and love. Give me words to declare your glory and praise. Give me wisdom and discernment to hear your voice. I do not want to be deceived by Satan ever again. I want to be by your side at all times- even in my dreams.

Below is the song I woke up to this morning, and again God, true to himself, gives me the exact words I need for the moment. (I didn't even know what the song was about) Isn't God AWESOME!!!

Hope in Front of Me  by: Danny Gokey

There's a place at the end of the storm you finally find
Where the hurt and the tears and the pain all fall behind
You open up your eyes and up ahead
There's a big sun shining
Right then and there you realize you'll be alright

Lord I'm Ready Now

by Chelsa
(Ed. Note: This is part 3 of  "I've Been Set Free.")
This is an entry from my prayer journal from February 27, 2015

 "Lord I'm ready now"     (song I woke up to)

Oh. My. God! You are so incredibly AWESOME!!!! This is amazing, how you are working on me. I truly feel led by the Spirit in a strong obvious way. You have orchestrated it all and I am so humbled, blessed and thankful. You have been so patient with me and merciful and kind. You are beautiful beyond description. Too marvelous for words. But I want to try to record at least a glimpse of what is happening in my utter transformation.

The phrase you gave me this morning I've heard before.  The night you spoke to my mind years ago during a worship service saying,   Be ready. Someone is going to come to you.  And I said in my heart  Lord, I am ready now.  And I was. Because you were alive and active in me. And it was incredible what we accomplished together. Those were the days when I felt like heaven was living inside of me. My mind was in a constant state of worship for 3 solid months. 24/7.  I remember how peaceful I felt, how bold and empowered I acted, and how on fire I was for you. So excited, lost in your love. It was glorious.

But then somewhere in the middle of it all, the day we stepped on the cruise ship for our family vacation, heaven left me. I stepped off Mt. Sinai. My mind came back to earth and its never been the same since. I mourned the loss. Begged that it would come back, but it never did...

Until now.

I feel it coming back. It is unbelievably awesome.

It's been 40 days from the time I began this journey in my prayer journal to the time I shared my story with the assembly on Sunday. 40 days of being in the presence of God. And my face is glowing. Radiant.

And last night you declared to me that I'm ready. I'm ready to come off the mountain and share what I've learned from you. I'm ready to walk in step with the Spirit so my face will never fade. I have discovered the secret of living for you.

Both Monday and Tuesday night I had vivid dreams. And both were troublesome.  In the first dream something was pulling me out of bed, dragging me out by my feet. And there was Creg walking by and I blurted out "I think (a certain person) is full of demons!"  And he said, "What are you going to do about it?" I barely mumbled  "I'm too tired to think about it right now" and I fell asleep. Then the bed began vibrating loud and strong. I know the demons were doing it so I told them to leave. I spoke truth and they immediately disappeared and I was completely at peace and totally relaxed as I slept the rest of the night.

The next night I had another vivid dream. I was furiously yelling, screaming and throwing things because Sierra wouldn't let me read her book. I found out she had let Creg read it and I completely lost it. I remember being so frustrated and angry because I thought God had healed my mind.  If he truly had, I wouldn't be acting like this.

In the morning I woke up with the words These are the moments I feel courageous. God is with me. I can face this. That made me feel better, but there was still this nagging feeling of uncertainty.

I told Elizabeth about the first dream when I met with her on Tuesday and she was pleased with the outcome and the peace I felt. She texted me the next morning : "Any more dreams last night?" So I told her the second dream. She replied, "How did you respond?"  I told her. She said, "I think it was just that little gremlin you saw trying to make you doubt what God did. Tell it to get lost (in Jesus name) ;-) and declare truth over it. Then sing and dance the victory dance!!!"

I followed her advice and my mind has been great ever since. But all of this has gotten me to think about my struggles. Before you healed me, I finally realized that I truly need you every moment because I was getting so bad emotionally. I couldn't function unless I got up and spent one on one time with you or shared with the others what you have been doing in my life. That last week it truly became a battle every minute. I knew I couldn't win without your intervention. After you healed me, I was so thankful and I shared my good news every day, several time a day, with anyone who would listen, and I felt great. But during the night I'm just sleeping. I'm not in your word or giving my testimony. So Satan is trying to gain a foothold there. I've never really thought about dreams much, and I don't normally remember them. I'm so thankful you've given me Elizabeth because she has experience in this area and I knew that. That's why I thought to bring it to her attention.

Now that I am aware of what is happening, I can ask for your help. These dreams have taught me something. That even though you healed my mind, I still need you every minute. Not to help me function and make it through the day. This is so much bigger. This is another HUGE thing that has happened to me -as big as my healing- 

I have come to understand in a real tangible way that to live as you created us, as you designed us in Christ, we need you every minute to function, to be able to walk in the Spirit.

This is a HUGE breakthrough for me! I've always prided myself in being able to handle things on my own. Now I know that is Satan's biggest lie. I can't do anything right without your help. That is sinful and prideful for me to think I can handle anything even for a second without your help.

 These scriptures just flooded my mind and they have new meaning for me.

"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13 (That implies I can do nothing without him)

"I am the vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:5 (Jesus makes it clear that we can do nothing without him)

Here is the song I woke up to that spoke to me.

Sheer Joy

By: Chelsa
(Ed. Note: This is part 2 of "I've Been Set Free". Read "A Spiritual Look at Looney Tunes" first.)

I was so happy I couldn't contain myself. My mind felt so free!  The demon or spirit or evil force had disappeared completely from my body. I was totally at peace and filled with the Spirit.  It was the most glorious feeling I've ever had. Indescribable really.  I felt like the demon possessed man whom Jesus healed. He was sitting there, dressed, and in his right mind. I feel like I'm finally in my right mind. After my healing I was giddy for days. I couldn't wipe that silly grin off my face. I would spontaneously laugh or let out this satisfied sigh all throughout the day.  I wanted to hug and kiss anyone in my vicinity because God was so good. I felt amazing. I've never been drunk, but someone could have mistaken me for it.

All I wanted to do was to share this good news with everyone I knew. This experience has caused me to ask lots of questions about how we deal with dark spiritual forces. I'm trusting God to lead me down the perfect path in this area.

Now that I have experienced the freedom from demonic forces holding me captive by speaking aloud God's promise over myself in that moment of hopelessness, and then that spirit of fear and despair being cast out, I have to share this with others. I have to help others with their satanic prisons- to help give them the tools they need to allow God to set them free.

This is crazy talk to a lot of people I know. It sounds way too "out there" radical, charismatic. People may think I'm crazy. I may be persecuted for what I believe and how I'm going to live now that I know this truth that people today have demons or evil spirits.

Just the other day as I was sharing with a friend about what had happened to me, another person walked in the room while I was talking about the demons and I felt a little embarrassed. I sounded crazy to myself.

God help me stand strong and remember what happened to me. To remember the feeling of release and freedom I experienced, the sheer joy and happiness and peace that enveloped me for days. The confidence I felt in telling others what just happened to me. I am asking for courage and boldness and passion to speak truth. When I feel timid, remind me of my story. Remind me who I am.

A Spiritual Look at Looney Tunes

By Creg
(Ed. Note: Read Chelsa's blog "I've Been Set Free" before you read this post)

Last week I took three Parker kids & three Istre kids to the Ft. Worth Museum for a day of fun & learning. We saw an I-Max called "Journey to the South Pacific" that was filmed in West Papua & followed a local teenager as he learned all about the sea life there. Including swimming (and feeding) huge whale sharks!

The main exhibit at the museum is currently a celebration of Chuck Jones art work. He was the main artist for Looney Tunes and it showed a lot of his original works and ideas about drawing Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, and the Road Runner. Something I found hilarious was his simple rules for drawing Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner cartoons. Here they are:

Rule 1
The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “beep-beep!”

Rule 2
No outside force can harm the coyote-only his own ineptitude of the failure of the Acme Products.

Rule 3
The coyote could stop anytime-If he were not a fanatic. (A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.)

Rule 4
No dialogue ever, except “beep-beep.”

Rule 5
The road runner must stay on the road-otherwise, logically, he would not be called road runner.

Rule 6
All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters-the Southwest American Desert.

Rule 7
All materials, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme corporation.

Rule 8
Whenever possible, make gravity the coyote's greatest enemy.

Rule 9
The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

As I read those rules, and knowing Chelsa's story she told in the previous blog, I couldn't help but think about these rules through a spiritual lens. Let's look at a few of them. 

Rule 1
The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “beep-beep!”

Satan cannot drop an anvil on our heads, but he can sure present little lies to us.

Rule 2
No outside force can harm the coyote-only his own ineptitude of the failure of the Acme Products.

Usually, what gets us in the most trouble is our own ineptitude in dealing w/ Satan's lies. And sometimes we are harmed by the failure of those who are supposed to be helping us. 

You know the Acme bricks that the coyote orders to build a wall to catch the RR? Then those bricks end up collapsing on the coyote. That's me. I've been a brick that is supposed to support my wife but have, w/ criticism that wasn't always constructive, ended up helping in her collapse.

Rule 3
The coyote could stop anytime-If he were not a fanatic. (A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.)

Sometimes we think, “I can do this, I just have to try harder.” When what we really need is to stop relying on ourselves & give things over to God.

Rule 4
No dialogue ever, except “beep-beep.”

Satan doesn't need to be visible or say much, just a little occasional nudge.

Rule 8
Whenever possible, make gravity the coyote's greatest enemy.

While gravity isn't our greatest enemy, often-times it's our simple selfishness?

Combine our selfishness with our pride & stubbornness and we end up living life like Wile E. Coyote. Trying to do something that's impossible on our own and wearing ourselves out. Not to mention spending way too much time falling off cliffs.

I've Been Set Free

By Chelsa

Woo Hoo!!! God set me free! Ever since I was healed, I have had this compelling urge to tell everyone I know about what happened to me. I'm sharing my story because I want you to know that it can be your story, too. It is a modern day testimony of God's mighty hand working intricately in the life of an ordinary woman to empower her to walk in the Spirit.

But before I share my testimony, I need give some background information.

Several years ago, when my children were little, I began to ask God to wake me up in the mornings so I could spend time alone with Him. And He was always faithful to do it. Those were special times. We had beautiful moments of intimacy together as I sat quietly in His presence, reading my bible, memorizing scripture or prayer journaling.

After several weeks of doing this, I began to notice something lovely. Each morning He would, oh so very gently and quietly, awaken me with a song. It was so subtle that if I was not paying attention and thinking of Him, I would miss it.  Usually it was a phrase that would repeat over and over in my mind. And not only that, but it would be a different song each morning. It was absolutely incredible. This happened to me all the time when I was walking in step with the Spirit.  God would fill my mind with songs. 

I can remember waking up so excited, like a child on Christmas morning, eagerly expecting gifts from Him. I did this for months and slowly God began to fill me and transform me and use me in the lives of other people. God was leading me to minister to people, and he was doing amazing things.

The enemy didn't like what was happening in my life so he found one of my many weak spots and deceived me.  Somehow in the middle of all that good, I allowed Satan to sneak in. My pride slowly took over and I began to think I've got this trusting God thing figured out. So instead of getting up early to spend time alone with God, I was getting up early to encourage the people God had brought to me. (Which would have been fine if I had made another time to get nourished by my Provider). 

But I did not. I was too busy. We have a family business. We homeschool our 4 kids. We're active at church. We homestead on our small farm. Blah, blah, blah...I've got this. I can handle it.

What a lie!

I slowly drifted away from God. I wasn't walking in step with the Spirit anymore. I was trying to be the savior instead of letting Jesus. It wasn't something I was doing on purpose. I still loved him and tried to follow him and I loved talking about him to others. I just wasn't going to him to get nourished daily as before. This is key.

This neglect on my part, as well as going full steam on adrenaline for months at a time (in the name of following God), as well as some major traumas in my life, sent me into a downward spiral so bad that I got an auto-immune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. But that is not even the worst part of my story because I know that auto-immune diseases can be reversed by serious lifestyle changes in diet, in emotional wellness, and most importantly, spiritual transformation.

The worst part of my story was my emotional wellness. I've been so driven my entire life striving for goals I set for myself that I didn't have time to deal with negative emotions. I wasn't taught how to handle them except by brushing them off (more like stuff them in), keeping a positive attitude, and keep plugging away. Don't let them get you down. Be strong. So I thought I was fine. But apparently I wasn't. These things always catch up to you eventually. For the last 2 years or so my emotional stability has been declining at an alarming rate, especially this last year since my feet started hurting.

I'm still trying to figure out how this all started, but I do know that my husband, Creg seemed to be the trigger for my emotional crashes. He would mention something small that needing tending to, like dealing with one of the kids and I would twist his statement into something entirely different than what he was intending. It always started with a lie. What I “heard” him say was

“You aren't doing your job. Why can't you stay on top of things? You're a bad mother. You're a bad wife. You aren't helping Creg the way he needs you to. You are so stupid. You can't do anything right. All you do is mess things up. You are such a loser. No one needs you. You just get in the way.”

On my good days those thoughts sounded ridiculous. I've always prided myself for being able to step up to the plate and being able to handle anything that came my way. I'm strong and tough. I'm not a quitter. I will work harder, try harder, do whatever it takes to get this done. I can do it. And I will.

But my good days were becoming less and less. And it got to the point where it was happening every week, sometimes more. And wouldn't you know it just happened to land on Sundays. I don't think that was a coincidence. It happened on the days when I could get encouragement from the body.

Several times in the last year I've had to sit in one of the dark rooms in the back or sit in the car and wait until church started before I came out and sat down because I couldn't handle talking to people. If they asked me “How are you doing?” I would just fall apart and cry because I couldn't lie about how I was feeling. Just a week and a half ago I didn't come to church on Wednesday night for the first time in my entire life because I couldn't handle it emotionally. This was getting out of control. 

"Am I losing my mind? Am I going crazy?"

For months I've been telling close friends “There is something wrong with me. I can't handle Creg's constructive criticism anymore. It just knocks me for a loop. I know its not Creg, even though that's how it starts. He has been so gentle and kind. He is not the problem, I am.”
People were telling me no, no no, it's not all your fault.  You are getting older you know. Hormones are changing.  It's normal to feel this way.

Normal??? I sure hope not. This was misery. I felt unloveable. I felt worthless. Sometimes I was full of fear and despair. I was sorry my family had to live with a failure like me. I felt like Creg was just tolerating me. The poor guy. He deserved so much more. It would be better if I was gone.

When I read the bible, I see that those feelings are not God's design for my life. They may be the world's normal, and they are most certainly Satan's normal, but they are not God's normal.

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline”

I knew something had to change or I would go crazy and probably never get well physically because the mind is deeply connected to physical healing. I knew I needed to change everything in my life that was not in line with following God's design for living. So I started with something I could do myself. My diet. I stopped eating sugar and anything processed. I ate only whole foods that he made, not man made food. I was completely dedicated to this process and read that it could take 2-5 years before symptoms would start to reverse, depending on the person. I was determined to follow this to the tee. I was not going to cheat at all on this diet, so I could get well faster. This was a huge factor in helping me heal. But I knew that a healthy emotional state was the real key to getting well. And I didn't know what to do.

But God did.

He sent me a friend. I met Elizabeth Fry when she came to one of my herb classes I teach. She emailed me and said she was interested in coming to my class. She thought we might have a lot in common. And we do. She loves to garden and use herbs, she homeschools her daughter, but most importantly, she is completely surrendered to God. He is her everything. You can tell they are close friends. She asks him what he wants her to do in decisions big and small. I have never met anyone like her.

I was so drawn to her and that Spirit inside of her. We ended up inviting her and her family over for dinner one night. It was amazing to hear how God was working in their lives and it reminded me of when God used me like that. It rekindled something deep inside me I longed to have back.

 They invited us over a few weeks later and then we had them over again. By the end of the evening Elizabeth asked me if I'd like to meet with her more regularly, weekly. I couldn't believe my ears. I smiled and said “That would be lovely.” But on the inside I was weeping with joy because I was so overwhelmed by God's love. I could hardly believe that she would even want to spend time with me, and I could hardly comprehend how God would love me enough to send me such a godly friend to help me through this mess I was in.

So we began meeting once a week. She didn't know this at the time, but I considered these doctor visits for my soul. And I knew I needed to meet with her every single week without fail. I felt desperate for her help, which is quite humiliating to a person who has prided themselves in being able to handle everything that comes their way. She would listen to me share my struggles and then she would speak truth to me, she would read the Word and she would pray over me. She told me I was listening to lies. She encouraged me to speak Truth out loud whenever the lies would come, to start prayer journaling again, and to read a psalm and a proverb everyday.

I began my intentional emotional and spiritual healing regiment the morning of January 13, 2015, 40 days ago. The songs God woke me up with and the Word I read was my spiritual food. My journaling was my exercise. Elizabeth was my Immune Booster to jump-start my healing process. And family and friends were my vitamin pills giving me the supplements I needed to make through the hard days.

As I went through my rehab program I began noticing a trend.  God was wanting me to be free from my bondage of feeling worthless and useless. He began using songs to speak truth to me. At first I just meditated on the phrase I woke up to, but then sometimes I felt led to google the lyrics and read all the words, especially to the songs I didn't know. My kids were being little detectives, trying to help me figure out who sang the song because most of the time, I didn't know. I think this is significant. I sort of knew the tune or maybe one little phrase, but certainly not all the words. Most of the time I didn't even know what the song was about!

For the past 40 days, I've had a different God song playing in my head every morning when I wake up. It has been absolutely incredible. This use to happen to me all the time several years ago when I was walking in step with the Spirit.  God would fill my mind with songs.

These songs have transformed my thinking about God. He used them to minister to my soul. Each morning they were the exact words I needed for that day. I also got them throughout the day as well, but I wasn't always able to write them down. This is nothing short of miraculous. I don't have time to share each song and what they meant to me, but I will share some of the phrases I received so you can get a glimpse of how detailed God is in speaking truth to me.

He's making me new
And the voice of truth tells me a different story, and the voice of truth says “do not be afraid”
Let it go
We were made to thrive
I'm holding to the One who holds me
My chains are gone. I've been set free.
You dance over me while I am unaware. You sing all around, but I never hear the sound. Lord I'm amazed by you. How you love me.
I need you, oh, I need you. Every hour I need you. My one defense, your righteousness. Oh God, how I need you.
I'm running to the One who knows me, who made every part of me in his hands.
He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me.
The Creator of the universe concerns himself with me.
He is jealous for me.
My God and I go in the fields together. We walk and talk as good friends should and do.
We are not forgotten. We are not alone.
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that he loves us.
He is mighty to save.
He knows.
I'll sing out loud. I won't be silent.
You're an overcomer.
And I will call upon your Name.
All to You I surrender.
******I hear freedom calling...my God is near.*****

These may not mean much to you, but they are everything to me. They gave me strength and stamina to handle the devils lies. Also, Col. 3:16 has so much more meaning than it use to.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Elizabeth's suggestion of reading Psalms and Proverbs also spoke healing words to my soul, especially when I was struggling emotionally. In the Psalms it talks a lot about “Lord, save me from my enemies.” I don't feel like I have any human enemies in my life, but if I substitute 'Satan's Lies About Me', in the place of 'enemies', that fits perfectly, since it is the lies that are defeating me emotionally and spiritually. It seemed like each day I struggled, the Psalm I read was perfect advice for me. I didn't hand pick these out. I was just going in order as they came. Some days I had time to read a psalm and sometimes I didn't. The verses that spoke to me I recorded in my journal. I do want to share two of them. The first one is the very first entry in my journal. It says:

“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.”

The second one is the one I read the day before I was healed. It is prophetic.

“O Lord, I rejoice in your strength.
How great is my joy in the victories you give;
you have granted me the desire of my heart
and you have not withheld the request of my lips.
You welcomed me with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on my head.
I asked you for life, and you gave it to me
Through the victories you gave, my glory is great.
Surely you have granted me eternal blessings
and made me glad with the joy of your presence.
For I trust in the LORD-through the unfailing love of the Most High-
I will not be shaken.
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength.
We will sing and praise your might.”

Here is the account of my healing. It happened in my bedroom Wednesday night  February 18th, 2015. The beginning of the story actually started Tuesday when I met with Elizabeth. I was feeling really good because I had been sharing with people all that God had been showing me lately. I know I talked to several people, including Rachel, Brenna, Melody and Brigitte. Now I was telling Elizabeth. I told her that I have finally realized something. I can't function without God's constant intervention in my life.

On the days I got up to journal, I could function. On the days I slept in and didn't spend time with God, I cratered. This was a huge revelation. None of us can function as God designed us to without his daily, hourly help. This is true for everyone, but it is hidden because it seems like we can handle things. The symptoms do not show themselves because we hide them with our pride. Now I'm at a place where I can't hide it anymore.

Last Sunday night I felt weak again emotionally, like I was headed to the bad place again. I could feel the trigger coming. Normally I don't get up on those days to be with God, but I made myself get up Monday morning. I had a song, a phrase.  “I'll sing out loud, I won't be silent.” I wrote it down. I didn't feel like singing. But I told God that today was going to be a little experiment to see if He would help me survive the day.

 I decided to google the words.
And Lord you know it, sometimes the morning
It hits me hard. Don't really feel like trying.
But I remember you and all you do.
I make the choice to use my voice...
And sing out loud.
 No I won't be quiet. 
I'll sing and shout.
 I cannot be silent. 
You put the music in my heart, its screaming out.
I feel like jumping, feel like dancing for you now.

After I read that and journaled about it, I did feel like singing! I was amazed once again by the perfect timing of the words and the details of showing me his love. And to top it all off my bible app on my phone lighted up and I glanced at the verse of the day. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” The song Overcomer by Mandisa pops in my head.  This is so awesome!

I felt great the entire morning, so much better than when I woke up. But after lunch, I began feeling sad again and I thought, I need God more than once a day. I need him every hour, every minute!  We were busy and I couldn't sit and be with him. Later, Brigitte called and wanted to come over for a bit and hear all about what God was doing in my life. So I took a quick nap and got up to visit with her. I felt weak and sad, but as I shared with her about God, I suddenly felt empowered and full of joy and energy. And so did she.

As I was telling all of this to Elizabeth she shared some scriptures with me.

I Peter 5:6-9

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety of him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
RESIST HIM, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God off all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.”

James 4:7-8
“Submit yourselves, then to God.
RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

I wrote those verses down in my journal so I could remember them. You're supposed to remember to take the medicine the doctor prescribes. Right? We continued to share God's goodness with each other and I felt so pumped and energized. Being intimate with God brings LIFE! And sharing it with others is like an IV hydrating your body and pepping you up. We prayed together and hugged and I left her house feeling on top of the world.

The next day I went to Holistic Choices Wellness Center on South 7th with Anita Fowler RN, where I've been going for some bio-magnetic therapy for my Rheumatoid Arthritis. During the bio-electric magnetic therapy, I lay on a table with my feet almost hanging off. One person puts a special magnet on a certain place on my body while the other lady grabs my feet and pulls my legs and touches my feet together. The feet should line up perfectly every time. If one of your legs draws up, that tells them something is wrong. They did this for 270 different sights on my body to check for imbalances and disease. This was my second visit. On the second visit they also do emotional therapy with the magnets and I was really looking forward to that, even more than for my physical pain, because I really believed my emotional pain was worse and that was hindering me from getting well physically.

For Emotional Repolarization Therapy you lay on the table and they place a magnet on you, but this time they give you a handout to read aloud. There are 15 statements that they test to see if you really believe them. The first one says:

“I love and forgive everyone in my past for whatever they have said, done, or thought about me to make me not love myself. So now I love myself.”

Then the lady pulls your legs and touches your feet together and says “Yes, she believes that about herself.”

Then I read the next one.

“I love and forgive everyone in my past for whatever they have said, done, or thought about me to make me not be loved. So now I can be loved.”

“No. She doesn't quite believe that about herself.” So the other lady writes that down. I go through all 15 statements. Here they are in order.
  1. I love myself
  2. I can be loved
  3. I can love others
  4. I am worthy
  5. I am not fearful
  6. I can be healthy
  7. I can do whatever it takes to be healthy
  8. I can be wealthy
  9. I can be happy
  10. I am confident
  11. I am humble
  12. I am joyful
  13. I am not frustrated
  14. I am patient
  15. I am restructured, regenerated and restored with the energy of life to every aspect of my being.
Out of the 15 statements I only believed 6 of them. They were: I love myself, I can love others, I can be healthy, I can do whatever it takes to be healthy, I can be happy, I am humble. All the others I failed. So that was my homework for the week. I must speak these 3 times each, twice a day for 21 days to retrain my brain. After that they asked my subconscious questions like “Is this inherited? From your mothers side? Fathers side? Are you ready to begin healing in this area? And my feet answered those questions. I could feel it! It was quite an interesting experience to say the least. They prayed over me before I left. I left there feeling good, knowing I had something I could work toward to get more emotionally healthy.

That night we had Wednesday classes at Hope and Damon was talking about the difference between thinking something and actually saying it out loud. And how sometimes you feel differently after saying it. He asked for examples and I told about my experiences lately of sharing what God has been doing in my life and how that energizes me and makes me feel better in every area, spiritual, emotional and even physical. I don't hurt as much in my feet and hands after I share like that.

But for some reason, after church I started feeling a little down, like no one really cared about what I had to say. I was heading down that road again. So before bed I decided to do my homework. Maybe that would help. I sat on the edge of the bed and read my paper. “I love and forgive everyone in my past for whatever they have said done, or thought about me to make me not be loved. So now I can be loved. I love and forgive everyone in my past for whatever they have said, done, or thought about me to make me not feel worthy...

I started feeling desperate because it was not working. I was getting worse. Tears were forming in my eyes. Creg came in to take a shower and I said “I feel like I'm going to that place again.” And he said “Why? Can't you stop it?” “I don't know why. I don't want to go there. I even shared at church tonight, but it didn't feel right. I don't feel better, I feel worse!” He felt sorry for me and hugged me and went to take his shower. I thought, “I need to call Elizabeth to pray for me.” But then I remembered the scriptures she had given me the day before. And I decided to say them out loud.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
I resist you devil. In Jesus Name.”

IMMEDIATELY, I felt better.

I was not sad. I was not desperate. I was completely at peace. All the fear just disappeared, melted away. I decided to read my paper again. “I love and forgive everyone in my past for whatever they have said, done, or thought about me to make me not feel worthy. So now I am worthy.” And I believed it! I felt confident it was true. I went through all of them with the same assurance. I started laughing. In awe of what just happened. Creg came out of the shower and I pronounced: “Something really huge just happened to me. Everything's okay now. I'm good!” He was a little surprised and asked what changed. So I told him everything.

As we laid in bed that night, I said “My mind feels so good right now. I don't think I have ever felt this good in my entire life. I can't really explain it, but my mind feels free, light, aired out, clear headed. It's like all the pressure has been released. I am healed. I know this is permanent.” I couldn't stop smiling laying there on Creg's chest. I felt so relaxed. Peaceful. Full of happiness. Relieved. Thankful that the madness had stopped.

I was ready to sleep, so my eyes closed. To my utter shock, out of the corner of my eye, a dark face with glowing red eyes appeared. My eyes flew open, and thankfully, it went away. I cautiously closed my eyes a second time and now a different, smaller green-eyed face appeared. What in the world was going on? It seemed like they were peeking around the corner to see if they could come back in! I opened my eyes, mind racing, and remembered the story in the bible about the man who had a demon cast out of him and because he didn't fill his mind with God, the demon returned, bringing with him 7 demons more wicked than himself and the state of that man was worse off than before.  I began asking God to come in and fill this empty place. I want you to live here. When I closed my eyes again, all was well.  I fell asleep, completely at peace.

The next morning awoke with a victory chant “I hear freedom calling...my God is near!” Here is the youtube video of the lyrics. The words are perfect. Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Frozen Winter

By Creg
Our barrels used to collect rain water were frozen solid in mid-stream
As our goats were gamely trying to "skate" their way through the corral so they could greet me at the gate with their food I couldn't help but laugh. The ground is usually solid dirt but with the rain, sleet & freezing it has become a slick ice rink.

Our chickens faced a similar dilemma in their pen. Our pig Porky made things worse for them by being his usual annoying self by chasing them at times, causing the hens to frustratingly flutter & slide, sometimes into each other.

Although the animals prefer the sunny 70 degree days we were thanking God for the moisture.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Day at the Museum

By Creg
Sterling gets ready to avoid being hit by a gun shooting paint balls 
 We are members at the Ft. Worth Museum so we make several trips during the year to see whats new. This time they had a "Myth Busters" exhibit based on the popular TV show. This trip we took Grant, Madeline, & Jackson Parker with us. It was a lot of fun.

Sterling won a contest between he, Grant, & Jackson and his reward was being shot at with a paint ball machine. He tried to dodge the ball so it would hit the gong behind him. He was hit the first few times, but when they shot it from the equivalent of 250 feet he was successful. The floor was very slippery from all of the oil from the bullets so that made it that much harder.

They also had a section where you could throw a playing card and try to make it stick in the target. There was a radar gun that showed how fast you threw the card. Grant's fastest throw was 32 mph!

Stainless Steele exits the phone booth after becoming a Super-Hero

There was a video booth where you could drive blind with the help of a friend telling you where to go.

Does your toast always land butter jelly side down when its dropped? We found out how many ways you could actually knock your toast off of a table to find out.

Steele prepares to pull the tablecloth out from under an unsuspecting customer.

It worked! I'll bet Steele gets a big tip.

God's Promise of Rainbows & Fruit

By Creg
This was taken after a recent storm north of our property. We weren't able to find the pot o' gold.

 A rainbow is sunlight shining through drops of rain. The different colors in the rainbow depend on the position of the rain drop as it falls & reflects the sun. That's how the fruits of the Spirit work in our lives as we live life in a variety of positions. As our life (the raindrop) circumstances change, the Holy Spirit (the sun) will provide the light (love) that colors (virtues) our lives in a variety of ways. When we are in a chaotic situation the Spirit brings peace, when someone does us wrong the Spirit brings self-control, when our world gets rocked the Spirit shows faithfulness. Remember it's the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of you.