Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

The Prayer Wives are Coming! The Prayer Wives are Coming!!!

praying wifeWow. Truly this was an event of prayers heard around the world.

It is day 3o of the the SHMILY Challenge along with the reading of The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O Martian.  I look back over the last 30 days and I am so excited and thankful that I was able to be a part of something so big.

My friend Amy at Dandelion Seeds, had wanted to have a group of women read this book together, a chapter a day throughout the month of June.  Amy, and her husband Mike had prayed that if she sent out the word to her email and Facebook friends, wouldn’t it be cool if 250 women around the world all did this together?

Within days of Amy putting the word out the emails were flying in…. friends told friends…. and so on… and so on…  by the time the dust cleared, Amy had 1,730 women involved in this but would guess the count to be closer to 1,800.  The dream – was God size…. so how do you handle such a large group?  Amy communicated through out the process with her blog, and Facebook Groups… she did an amazing job and if you look at the comments on her blog from women all over the world ( seriously – Bahamas, Ukraine, Philppians, France, Japan….  you will have to look at the cluster map on her site!)

SO – my little input here in Brainerd?  God sized as well.  If you know me, you know that Al and I are business owners.  We own an excavating company and this time of year is crazy busy for Al.  He is up and prepping for his day at 5:30 am each morning and usually not back in the house until between 8 and 10 pm at night.  We dont see much of each other this time of year and for me, with two grown kids and a lot of alone time – it can be quite frustrating.

To sum this up without getting too wordy (hopefully)… I read my chapter daily (almost or caught up if I missed a day) and I prayed a lot more for my husband than I probably ever have.  Along with this I took Amy’s SHMILY (see how Much I Love You) challenge as well and found little ways to show my appreciation of how hard he works.

Here is one example:  I thought it would be kind of neat to change his name in my cell phone to something more meaningful.  It took some thinking as you dont have a lot of space to use but I came up with “A GREAT MAN”.  I thought it would be cool to get calls from and make calls to A GREAT MAN.

This hit home just a couple days later.  I had forgot about the cell name change and I hadnt used it.  On a Sunday evening Al and I were getting home from an event around 8 pm and he said he had to go back to work in the office.  I was so frustrated that he had to go to work AGAIN that I verbalized that and not too kindly.  Our office is on our home property so he walked out to the office and I stormed into the house.

I thought about this a while and knew that he didn’t want to go back to the office any more than I wanted him too.  I had just put more stress and pressure on him by loudly expressing that.  He was prepping the next days work and I knew it had to be done.  I went to call him to apologize and when I picked up my cell to do that, I seen it.  A GREAT MAN.  I knew that I was in the wrong and I did apologize and offer to help him.

Over all this was an incredible learning experience and exercise for me.  Many times, the prayer I was saying for him… I knew was also for me…. patience and priorities…. kindness and peace of heart…  I took more time to listen to God through all this and made it a priority to help him more instead of feeling angry that he was so busy.  All in all this book helped up communicate better.  I would recommend this book to any married woman.

Check out Amy’s posts if you have some time.  Pick up the book I will repeat this book again soon.  I also have a copy of this book for giveaway on One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.  Stop be there and sign up.  I would love to offer this treasure.

June 30, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 3 Comments

Monday Mind Dump

You may have noticed my Monday Mind Dump has gone to the draft land of where “few are brave DeChantal Ex stuff 009enough to travel”.  As much as I love dumping all this more than likely useless stuff in my head from the previous week, Summer has finally shed some “LIGHT” on our area (as opposed to the endless cold and rainy days) and with that comes many things in my little corner of the world:

  • Lawn Care (oh yeah – that’s all mine…)
  • Weeding my existing garden area
  • planting the patient hostas who have sat outside since memorial weekend waiting to sink into the ground that I have planned for them, but due to poor weather conditions and business… they wait
  • Yard projects, like staining the yard swing that sits now on my front deck sanded and waiting….. and waiting…
  • Low tree branches that I need to deal with… oh they will get theirs….  LOL

Oh and then there is the stuff that I just have going on:

  • filing invoices for our company (one of my least favorite tasks)
  • hiring for our company ( we had a late start up this year and now it feels like we are going full speed ahead and I feel a month behind…)
  • The spare room that has become the “oh I know, I’ll put this here until I have time to deal with it” space….  really, really needs a facelift…..  or maybe dynamite….
  • MANDATORY working out in some shape or form for a minimum of 20 minutes 5 times a week.  No exceptions…. unless, NO – No exceptions!!!
  • Invites need to go out STILL to the McKinney Cousin event August 1 here at my home that I just need to DO.
  • Book reviews that I love to do…  they are always going and this time of year the sun tends to call me outside to the deck to read…..  (see One Persons Journey Through a World of Books)
  • Cooking…. I don’t know when it happened, but now that the kids are gone… I really don’t enjoy planning meals.  Supper is another’ task each day that I never know what I am planning to make.  I wish I was more organized at that…

Anyway – enough of that.  Last week we had some decent weather for a few days there and I did get a few things done although I dont think I ever did fit a bike ride into it.

This week I am excited to start planning my Blogeversary event!  Yup…. if you look at the right of this page you will see a little count down and it is coming up next week!  I am actually going to plan a contest and giveaway for that event that will take place on both blogs, this one and One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.  Stay tuned… I hope to post that by this Thursday.

Anyway – got to run….  going to the gym, doing payroll, calling interviews, filing invoices, planning what to make for dinner and maybe a break late afternoon for a bit of reading.

Oh… and for fun, go and answer this question about your favorite indulgence book… there is a giveaway too 🙂

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Monday Mind Dump

When Chocolate Covered Almonds Attack….

Ok…. what is it with me and candy in the house?  You would think it would not be an issue.  I am a almondgrown woman.  I should be able to have better control.

I recently bought some chocolate covered almonds for Al (DON’T LAUGH!  They really were for him!).  Al doesn’t ask for much and I wanted to treat him since he is working so hard with our business putting in long hours and our time together this time of year is short….

ANYWAY – I bought the good stuff…. the kind you scoop yourselves, put them in a pretty jar and he enjoyed them while we played cribbage one evening.  However Al – can eat a few and be satisfied.

So last night I am up WAY TOO LONG reading after midnight when I should have just went to bed…. I looked over at the jar and swear they were chanting my name.  (Yes, in little almond voices I hear, “Sheila!  Sheila!”…)

I decided to have a few, I mean after all, almonds are good for you  right?  I think I read somewhere that chocolate is too….  next thing I know… I have eaten most of them and the ones remaining I am trying to reposition in the jar so it doesn’t look like I just had my own personal almond fest.

I am pretty sure they started it.

June 27, 2009 Posted by | Insane Moments | Comments Off on When Chocolate Covered Almonds Attack….

You are there…

I just finished reading and reviewing the book From Pain to Peace by Pat  psalm 139Bluth.  Pat is a local author who I went and listened to her speak last week in Nisswa.  I had went to school with her daughter who was killed by a drunk driver in 1985 and wanted to hear Pat’s faith story.

While reviewing the book I found scripture that spoke to me in such a way, it caused me pause.  I actually stopped reading and read again the scripture.  And then again.  And then, again.

The scripture I am referring to is from Psalm 139:

1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand! 7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.

As I read Pat’s book and her time of great grief, I hit upon my times of grief as well.  Reading the above scripture reminded me that even at my lowest low, God was there.  He is always there.  I don’t know why that hit me so profoundly but for some reason it was one of those crazy “aha” moments.

I am sure that each of at different times in our life can look at our situation and forget that God is there.  God is there.  At times we need to really just stop and rest in that knowledge and let Him do His work in us.  There is such comfort in that.

Today – think about where you are and what is going on in your life.  God is there.  Look at the God piece in your life.  Look at the God peace in your life.

See the review for Pat Bluth’s book, From Pain to Peace

June 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on You are there…

Mid Week Adventures

My friend Adrienne would agree with me that when a plan comes together – even spur of the moment, Adrienne and Ione should take full advantage of it.  So when Adrienne called me this afternoon to see if I could go for a bike ride this afternoon to Nisswa, I excitedly agreed.

We met on the trail at 2:20 pm and while biking the 18 miles to Nisswa we discussed the Pat Bluth book talk that was going to happen at 5 pm.  Just so happens, that talk was taking place in Nisswa.  My original plan was to do the bike ride, then drive to Nisswa for the talk, but as Adrienne and I enjoyed catching up with each other… another idea developed – we would just stay in Nisswa, catch the talk, and then bike back to Brainerd.

Once in Nisswa we enjoyed watching minnow racing and a nice lady took a couple pictures for us on her camera and said she would email them to us.  (Adrienne and I are both bloggers and oddly enough, neither one of us had our camera for this adventure!)

We biked to the church the talk was being held at at enjoyed an incredible hour where Pat Bluth shared the tragedy of her daughter Tammy’s death in 1985 by a drunk driver.  It hit me personally as I went to school with Tammy and was there at Hasse’s and was one of the many witnesses to this tragedy.  I purchased Pat’s book after the talk, From Pain to Peace (see it on my book blog).

We then biked back to Brainerd as the sky darkened.  When we had a little over two miles left it started to rain but we really didnt mind.  We had such a great afternoon of talking and catching up that the 36 miles flew by.  I was sorry to see our time end together, if not for the fact my next stop was a late dinner with Justin and Chance.

Thank you Adrienne for a memorable afternoon!  Lets do this again soon – maybe further next time!  🙂

See Adrienne’s blog here for Whitely Creek Bed and Breakfast

** Photo Compliments of: (Thank you Donna!)  Looking at the Pine and I discovered that Adrienne and I were “spotted”  so there is another photo here:  check it out

Donna Evans
Online Director

June 18, 2009 Posted by | Just me | 1 Comment

MInk Lake Work Camp – Spring 2009

Spring has been a long time coming this year… yet finally, we are starting to see the signs of flowers popping up, lilac bushes bloomed late but are offering us a fragrant welcome whenever we pass near, and yes, Mink Lake Camp has once again had it’s prep week before they start taking in campers.

Last week Bob and Sandi Colbenson made their trek to the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais, Minnesota where they will be for the next three months giving their hearts and time to Mink Lake Camp.  Shortly after their arrival, the people that had committed to help during this week started trickling in.

The projects were to clean up camp by cleaning out the cabins that had remained unoccupied for most of the winter months, fix the dock, mow the lawn, clean up the wooded areas of downed trees, branches, shrubs, clean up the Prayer Garden area, paint the outhouses, burn the wood debris, clean out the kitchen cupboards, clean the kitchen, clean the main Lodge, refill the wood shed, and more.

While this may sound like a lot of work, it really is a good time.  You get a chance to hang with people that in many cases we just see in passing.  Working together on these projects builds a sort of unity for Mink Lake Camp and those of us who are pleased to be a part of this yearly event seem to become a sort of team… like we alls hare the same secret of what a wonderful place this is.

Mink Lake Camp is not all work and no play by a long shot.  The work team shuts down about 5 pm and after dinner there are opportunities to canoe, kayak, swim (for the brave!), sauna, walk, go for a bike ride, play boardgames in the main lodge, read, whatever!  One group took a ride up the Gunflint and observed moose and wolves earlier in the week.

There is much to love about Mink Lake Camp.  It becomes a part of you.  I for one have made that trip to work the camp four times now and each time, no matter how full my agenda is…. no matter how hard it is to get away and be part of camp set up… I get there, breathe it all in and am so thankful that I came.

Thanks to Tara Wenstrand, and Sarah and Haley Goodrow for the pictures in the slide show.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Just me, Life thoughts | Comments Off on MInk Lake Work Camp – Spring 2009

Audio Book Giveaway!

cemetary danceI have two audio book contests going on at my book blog!  These look great!  Enter here and post your email to be entered:

One Persons Journey Through a World of Booksscarecrow

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Book Thoughts | 1 Comment

Who am I?

Life is certainly never dull. I have always prided myself on no matter what I was dealt – I could handle it.  I was that kid in school who had been through the family tragedy and come through the other side.  I was that same kid when I went through the accident that left me in a coma for 10 days with a 10 % chance of  surviving.  I was like, to paraphrase a Harry Potter line…“the girl who lived”.  Friends and family would  comment how I held it all together and in a way that established who I was.

I suppose all people in one form or another experience depression.  In the early years I used to wonder why they couldn’t hold on to the positive – I tended to label those people who couldn’t pull themselves out of the ashes – weak.  By High school I felt people just needed to “suck it up” and move on.  Really, get over it.  Then at 29 I experienced my first real knock you flat on the ground depression.

At the time of the car accident that took my mom and step dad’s life I was a young mom and we had been walking with God if not intentionally, then at least occasionally.  The accident knocked the air out of me. I remember many of my prayers, crying out to God to bring me through.  I could visualize a darkness in my mind—almost like falling off the edge of a tread mill.  If I did not move forward, I surely was going to fall into the darkness.  I was not this weak person I was suddenly seeing in the shadows… so I battled on and through…. For about a year.

I stayed busy.  I didn’t allow down time to let me think too hard about what I had been through.  People who didn’t know me prior to the accident, had no idea what I had been through.  At the one year mark, I left my job for three months to pull  the pieces of me together that were starting to fray and pull apart.  That decision was probably one of the best things I have ever done.  This bad time wasn’t without purpose. Number one, I knew that even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I had to trust God at all times in all things. I felt like the Psalmist who saw all his enemies closing in around him. He would cry out to God and not see His hand in all of this. Nonetheless, he would end the Psalm with hope, trust, and belief that the Almighty knew what He was doing.

He was very gracious to carry me through that period. God also taught me how to have sympathy and compassion on those who’re going through similar things.  I started to see in a new light how we all have things in us—be they amazing tragedies, or incredible heart breaks.  We don’t all wear them on our sleeves.  We do not know what each person—even in a room like this, carries with them every day.

It’s in these times that the Christian must especially hold fast to that which they know to be true from Scripture.  That God is good all the time. That everything which happens in our life is furthering the purpose of God (which is a good purpose). That God is with us through even our sorrows. That his purpose is more important than our temporal comfort. Though I have not experienced again what I did 13 years ago (an almost paralyzing depression), I have had my moments where I can feel it creeping in. Sometimes I have a sorrow looming over me for a few hours.  Sometimes, a few days.  And yet, because of the faith God has graciously given me, I cling to His promises. He has brought me too it—He will surely bring me through it.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

-Psalm 62:5-7

(I bring this devotion today because the beginning of June is always hard for me.  I hit the anniversary of the accident on the 6th and it rips me apart.  Thank you Key for walking with me this year.  On the 7th is, or would be, my sisters birthday.  This year she would be 35.  She died in the fire at age 5.  Not a year goes by that I don’t wonder what it would be like to be an Aunt to her children, to see what type of woman she would have been…. And definitely how great it would have been to have her all these years with mom and dad gone so I would have someone to talk to who is at that same level of pain.

And now today , in June – I go to the funeral of a dear friend who died of a heart attack last week.

I again lean against God to hold me, even carry me, through these times.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 4 Comments

Tour of Lakes – June 6, 2009

The Tour of Lakes bike event took place yesterday morning – Key and I started at 6 am, meeting in the Forestview parking lot at a brisk 39 degrees (it is June right????)

There were many riders there dressed in different types of layered outerwear, from rain gear to sweat shirts, winter caps, face masks, gloves – and even some so brave they tackled this event in shorts.  BRRRRRRR!!!!!!

This was Key’s first bike tour event and I was thrilled to do this with her…. our goal was to do the 70 miles, the longer of the two routes, the shorter being 35 miles.

The route was awesome!  We enjoyed the roads that had been selected for this tour, a lot of scenery and little traffic.  At our first stop off of Lower Sullivan Road had great eats like the breakfast burrito, fresh fruit and plenty of it, as well as granola and candy bars you can could grab for the continued ride.  The volunteers running the stops were friendly and fun to talk with.

Back on the trail we continued through some “a little too cool” wind, around hwy 210 to around the Legacy golf course and back on great little roads with beautiful homes on the lake.  Key, who enjoys motorcycling made a note that she had to ride this area again as the roads were good and the scenery beautiful.

Our second stop was off of the Gull Dam Road and there we had a chance to walk a bit and warm our hands and feet.  They had cookies and fruit to enjoy.  A fellow “Tour of Laker” took a couple pictures of Key and I.  At this point we were right around 20 miles into the ride.

We hit the road again and found our way into Baxter off of Olivewood Drive (having no idea how the roads that we were on connected to this area – but we were pleasantly surprised!).  We traveled down by Whipple Beach and encountered a near miss for a car that was almost hit by a man taking down trees at his home and one went right across the road.  We were far enough away to be out of the danger area but it was still a bit freaky.  From here we went all the way down Clearwater road, up Inglewood and over to Cherrywood where we stopped in the driveway of a home that was purchased by Brett and Kate Richmond and had a picture taken just for them.

As we neared the end of the 35 miles we had made the decision, along with many of the other bikers we had chatted with, that the 35 was going to be our destination for this tour.  The clouds held back the rain but looked as though they were going to burst forth any minute.  While I was bummed that we didn’t complete the goal I had set…. I agreed the wind was a little cold to do the second part of the tour – even Key, being such a trooper said she would go as far as I wanted to.

We finished well….  grabbed out 20 year anniversary cups and headed to Coco Moon for a hot cup of coffee and conversation in a warm environment!

Kudos to all those involved in making yet another Tour of Lakes event a success.  I imagine it takes many hands to pull this off each year and pull it off as smoothly as it always is.  Thank you.

Paul Bunyan Cyclists (who I plan to be joining soon!)

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Insane Moments, Just me | Comments Off on Tour of Lakes – June 6, 2009

30 Days of Prayer SHMILY Style… 18 miles of prayer

So – brief update on where I am coming to the end of day three….  yesterday I hit the bike trail behind Movies 10 and biked to Merrifeld and back – using this quiet time to be my prayer time for Al.  So what can you cover in 18 miles?  As it turns out – a lot!

  • Prayer for patience (for me)
  • peace and rest for Al as he works so hard at our business
  • prayer for God to open my eyes to ways I can support Al better005
  • prayer for our business
  • prayer for more time together
  • prayer for a gentle spirit – (me again)
  • prayer for doors to open
  • prayer for my eyes to open to the big picture
  • prayer for “SHMILY” opportunities

It is possible to pray for 18 miles.  The ride was peaceful and I just gave it all to God.

I made one of his favorite dinners…. meatloaf (heart shaped) and garlic potaoes with peas.  I also made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting with SHMILY written on in.

This morning I started my day with prayers for AL and his day… I read again in our book, prayed my way through my morning prep and throughout the day as I was able.  Tonight, I am still waiting for him to get home, but worked with him in the office this late afternoon and shared the weight that the business can often carry.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment