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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Thank You!"

Sunday I heard a young man say, Thank You to God. The tone of his voice and the hesitation and emphasis on these two words revealed the depth of his love for His Lord.

One of the first lessons Dad and Mom taught me, was to say, Thank You... There are many reasons to say 'Thank You'.

How I wish I had used the heartfelt phrase more often when I was growing up! So many times when I could have thanked those around me for their love and caring – God and my parents first.

I began thinking of reasons to say 'thank you' in my life. Perhaps I hesitated saying a thank you. Because it was considered more cool to use a 'put-down', a squelch, a 'dig', rather than looking into the eyes of a person and saying a joyful 'Thank You'.

As I think of my childhood, I think about the times when my parents gave that extra 'loving-you' gift that told of their love. Countless things Dad and Mom made to give me, the many hours Mom spent teaching me to play the piano, and the times that Dad was my #1 Critique Master when I sang a song as Mom accompanied me. Although it was difficult for him to carry a tune, he knew when music was good. I can still see him in his chair in the corner of the living room, listening intently. The crinkles around his eyes spoke of a ready sense of humor and laughter.

Then my brothers. How often we three played together, no matter whether it was baseball, a green walnut fight, de-feathering chickens, helping Mom can a variety of fruits and vegetables, listening to Dad's Sunday School stories. We were very close. Did I ever say thank you to Jim and Gene? Did I appreciate their friendship and brother-ship? We simply accepted that we were 'family' in every sense and continued the growing-up business.

While sorting things for the big move, I found card after card from my dear husband declaring his love and thank you's through the years. Does he really understand how important he continues to be to me?

One of the dearest gifts we have received were two children's books from our children with their memories of our life together. A true 'thank you' personal gift. We will always cherish these books.

Then there are the cards and letters from our children that in essence say “Thank you” to us for being their parents. No matter how many mistakes we made as parents, they are still appreciative. Who knew, as they grew up in our homes that all too soon they would write a 'thank you' that blesses us.

What does a 'thank you' mean? A 'thank you' gives worth to another. A 'thank you' comes from a humble and grateful heart. A 'thank you' is looking outside of your own needs and being aware of some one else's caring and sacrifice. A need for thank you in a church family is often heard and practiced, especially in our church family.

When something wonderful happened while I grew up, I often heard Mom's voice ring out, Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

It didn't matter who was around, when the urge to thank God came, Mom sang. Does this thankfulness come with age? Does it come without teaching to be thankful? Being thankful for little things is taught at an early age and does not automatically descend upon one with age. It is an attitude of gratefulness and humility.

Thank you comes easily to me when I walk and look into the unfathomable clouds above me. I swing my arms open wide and say, “Thank you, God”!

Dear Lord, Thank You
That is all I can say
For Words fail me, as I
Think of you this day.
Thank you, thank you,
Each moment, it is true.

Thank you, God for being my Rock, my Deliverer, my Healer, my Advocate, my Shepherd, My Bright Morning Star, My Prince of Peace, The Almighty, My Creator, The Ancient of Days, The Alpha, My All in All. Even the skies are cannot hold all my thank you's to our Lord God.

Even Jesus gave thanks. He thanked God, His Father. He often gave thanks, and in doing so taught us to be thankful.

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. John 11:41

And we are admonished to give thanks! Here are two scriptures than example our thankful hearts.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18

And we give thanks for others. So many times another's Christian actions emboldens my walk with our Lord:

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? I Thessalonians 3:9

And the final most important prayer and prayer that gives of the genesis of thankfulness!

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. Revelation 11:17


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anna Daisy's Journal

One summer day a tousled towheaded young girl contemplated the June bug that landed near her as she stood on the cement driveway. The iridescent colors on the back fascinated her. Such a beautiful jewel-like creature that was named after her birth-month. A June bug.

Birthdays are special days in our family and celebrated with family. Being the oldest child in our family, I watched my brother struggle to blow out his one birthday candle. After three times Mom gave me the honor of blowing out his candle to help my little brother. The next day I blew out my three candles.

Birthdays at our house meant homemade ice cream. Dad's birthday meant apple pie with homemade ice cream and Mom's birthday meant peppermint ice cream. I always marveled at how the world came to a stand-still on Mom's birthday. Dad didn't have to deliver mail, there was always a parade and lots of fireworks. Although there were always chores to do, a picnic with homemade ice cream made the day very special, because Mom was special. Later I learned that it was the birthday of our country – still, on the 4th of July I can hear the whirr of the turning handle of the ice cream freezer.

This summer, I don't have time to contemplate June bugs, as we plan to make a move after my dear husband's birthday in October. In preparing to pack, I pulled a red notebook from a shelf, wondering just what it contained. The cover, in Mom's distinctive handwriting said – Journal of the 85th year, 1992. The first entry was date.

This is not the only Journal Mom wrote, but one with which I identify. My birthday, June 16th, was my 83rd. In just two years I will be as old as Mom was when she wrote the journal. What did she think about, this diminutive little lady? Her entries began January 1, 1992 and the last entry was November 26, 1992.

Quotes and Observations:

January 1, 1992 – I thank God, my Creator for giving me birth, July 4, 1907 an I praise my Lord and Savior for giving me a second birth 12 years later. These are only the basics because He showered me with blessings through the years. Christian parents tutored me in living; a husband loved me wisely; and three children taught me how to love. And their children will live out my tomorrows in future generations.

The “Basics”. Mom didn't include where she lived, new clothes, vacations or possessions. Does this mean these are not the basics? Instead she implies the briefness of time on earth – with the phrase, “And their children will live out my tomorrows in future generations.” A continuity of the thread of faith through the generations. And any one grandchild or great grandchild of hers can break that thread of learning and teaching of faith in Jesus Christ of generations.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. I Thessalonian 4:7

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

How true are her words, “and three children who taught me to love.” Love can not grow in a sterile environment, but in a shared relationship of family. Learning to love as God loves takes a life time. Sometimes learning to love the unloveable is the most difficult. Learning to love through sacrifice creates compassion and patience. And most of all, understanding of our Father God's love for us, his children. Our four children have taught me how to love, and that love is unconditional and forever and extends to their children and their children's children and beyond.

My thanksgiving is endless as I face this new year. I live, even though death has beckoned me many times. Yet I live to face my 85th year with trust in God, a thinking mind and good health. Whatever this year may hold, I pray God gives me grace to walk serenely in faith. That prayer gives me joy and balance.

I read these words and can see Mom's chin become set in a path of discipline. I can almost hear her words, “I will give Thanksgiving!” Why? Because it is commanded in God's Word – Rejoice and again I say rejoice. No matter what happens – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18. God's ways are not our ways – we can not understand the answers to the important “Why's” of our life. Rather than ask why, ask, “What is God trying to teach me?”

Anna Daisy goes on to contemplate that because of her family's genes and health, she believes she has five more years. Actually, she died six years later at the age of 91.

That gives me five more years to breath and plan, to eat and think, to work and write. Five more years! What can I accomplish to make a difference – to leave an indelible imprint on those who touch m life? Five more years to pray for miracles in the lies of my six children. (I bore three and they gave me three more). I claim them all for God. I also want my eleven grandchildren and their spouses to belong to the Lord. I want my 26 great-grandchildren safely in my own Shepherd's fold.

The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field. Psalm 103:15

How many times I have read the most important longing in my great grandparents and grandparents' heart was invariably – “I want my children, grandchildren and spouses, and their children with me in Heaven.” What did they know? They knew that only through Jesus Christ can this Heaven happen for their children and grandchildren. They knew that the only security is Heaven. Not possessions or government. It is their personal faith and relationship with Jesus Christ that causes them to see clearly. At 83, I understand. For our greatest desire is for all our children of various generations to be with us, and so live their lives – not breaking that fragile thread of faith.

A New Year begins: God spoke to me from the pages of Genesis and Matthew this morning and I talked to God. He knows my thanksgiving and my intercessory prayers. Although world powers tremble, the visible church falter and my children stray at times, my anchor is sure. I know the sun shines brightly behind the clouds that veil my present sky. I look forward with joy into the year of 1992.

And now in 2012, my prayer echoes Mom's prayer of thanksgiving and continuous prayer. The world powers continue to tremble, the visible church falters in its leadership and purpose, and we and our children go astray at times, and yet God is in control. Our anchor is sure. Though the sunshine in our lives grow dim, we know who holds “Tomorrow”!

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. Psalm 50:1

My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Psalm 62:7

Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre. Psalm 150:1-3

Anna, our dear daughter, also responded to Grandmother's Journal., she entitles hers "The Grace To Walk Serenely in Faith". We wrote in the same room at the same time. I love this togetherness in writing!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It is an ongoing discussion – this Retirement Thing. I maintain that the definition of the word means “getting tired again” – Re-Tired – it is not always an easy phase of life to achieve. I have been Re-Tired for fifteen years....and find life exhilarating with new mountains/challenges to scale. New challenges that begin with, “I wonder if I could....”

As I watch our first retiring child prepare for a life of ease, I wonder what new vistas he will find in life. He will find his way into 'Re-Tire-Ment' and a new way to 'get tired'.

While preparing for a new phase in our 'Re-Tire-Ment', I found stack of yellowed papers, notes that my Dad, Herman Siemens, gave Mother long ago. They chronicle the life of a Rural Mail Carrier from 1945 to 1963. Dad became 'regular' employee of the post office in 1935 – a cause for family celebration. When the school nurse who declared my teeth were 'regular', I announced, “My Dad is regular, too!”

Dad drove 73 miles a day in the countryside that featured dirt roads that became slick in the rain. He delivered mail to 202 mail boxes that represented 218 families. Families.who soon became close friends through the years. Dad accumulated 33 years of serice.

Our four children remember the treat of going on the 'mail-rock' with their Grandpa. Miles and miles of roads on a summer day were interrupted with patron's hellos and a picnic with Grandpa Siemens on long summer days were long remembered. Their joy reminded me of the fun of riding in the parcel post truck when a young girl with my Dad.

Dad grew up on the farm in western Oklahoma with three brothers and one sister. Nothing was more fun than a Siemens reunion and listening to stories of growing up on the farm. The laughter has echoed down through the years and manifested in his sense of humor. Dad had a deep faith in God that grew deeper. Dad always wanted to do his best and help others. Being a rural mail carrier gave him the opportunity for quiet time with the Lord and helping others.

What did those notes contain that Dad received? Each one could be a story, bringing laughter, tears, or heart ache. Space will not allow all of these brief vignettes, but here is a sampling, mis-spellings included:

The elderly bachelor never had much mail, but he had an old lard can tied to the post for his packages. Just before Christmas this note was in his box: To mail carrier, If I should have a package, put it in the can, or if it can't go in just set it on ground. He did get a large package just a few days later. It easily went into the lard can!

Then there are social obligations that must be kept: Dear Herman, Would you please put this wedding gift in I's box at Carlton? They will deliver it for me. The boys have the pickup and my daughter has the car, so I have no way to go. If there is a charge on this delivery, put the amount on the bottom of this note and I'll leave the money tomorrow. Thanks a million.

A frequent note that came often: Mr. Mail.Man, Please leave me 50 cents Worth of stomped. Envelopes. You have them. Think you. The next note came with the exact wording except it was for 75 cents.

With some very good apples came this note: Mr. Siemens, we have apples if you care for them. They are all gathered at the house. Here is a few for you to see. The hail scared them some. Thanks.

At the increase in of stamp prices came this one: Are stamps 4 cents now? If so, will I have to pay more to forward these letters to my son? Here is 84 cents for stamps. Many thanks for the nice apricots.

There never seemed to be any racial trouble. Integration in the countryside was alive and well, even if they had little in common or knew their names. Mr. Siemens, I don't know if I've spelled this name right or not. It's that old yellow black man over west of here. Wish you would cancel the stamp and drop this today. (They like the the same day service on the route with notes that read “Mr. Seamon, would you drop this letter today? As ever.”)y

A pretty young coed wrote: Dear Mr. Siemens, Here I am again asking another favor of you. Would you please take this quarter and put an airmail stamp on this letter to New Zealand? I believe it is 25 cents per I think that will be enough. Thank you very much. Sincerely.

Gifts – if you come to the house: I have something for you at the house – Steve (a box of tiny baby rabbits)

Here is your water melon. Hope it is ripe (It was)

Ice box melons for you. Will have larger melons ripe soon, so be looking for one.

When inquiring, “Who is Mary Jane?”: Mary Jane is my 6 week old baby girl. She is expecting a package from Mrs. C of MO.

The inevitable licking of stamps....: Find $1.00 in box, please stamp two letters and leave reminder in stamps. Thanks Mrs. J..

Wouldn't it be nice to know that our mistakes could be rectified with a call to Mother and a note from her: Dear Herman, Do us a favor, will you? BJ called us last night from college and wanted us to see that a letter that she wrote to her Grand is removed from the mail before she gets it. The reason for this is that her Grandmother's sister died and Grandma is all upset about that and our daughter's letter was in a facetious vein about Christmas, etc., and she is afraid her letter will further upset Grandma. When the letter comes (postmarked S...) put it in our box, will you? Thanks.

The pretty blonde wrote: Please leave my package standing by the mail box. I will get it right away!

Forgetful husbands helped: Mr. Seiman, will you please mail this package? Bob forgot it this am when he went to town. You will have it insured for $3.00 and thank you a million. Mrs. B

Dad delivered baby chicks, putting them in the coop with water and feed, arranged for music for a wedding, translated a letter in German for one mail recipient. The farmer who came to help with a newly graded road after a rain, or a pull with a tractor when stuck in the snow. Or at Halloween, a note attached to a cardboard box...Please leave mail here. The kids ran off with our mailbox. Romance blossomed as Dad noticed a blushing lass at the box waiting for a special letter.

When I think of his faithfulness to the work God led him to, I am reminded of this scripture.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. Psalm 101:6

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. Psalm 111:7

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. Proverbs 12:22


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Precious Words

The word 'precious' denotes something of worth. The word 'precious' was not used much when I was growing up, except in the song... Precious memories, how they linger / How they ever flood my soul / In the stillness of the midnight / Precious sacred scenes unfold. (Randy Travis)

Precious Memories – made up of Precious Words. Words of worth that one treasures and remembers over and over.

As a young Mother, I felt as if I needed a recording of the words I used so often with my children....Close the door....Don't slam it....Do your chores.....Don't hit your brother....Share....Eat everything on your plate....(and with three boys) Put the toilet seat down.

One day as my children raced through the door, I automatically said, “Don't slam the door!” as it slammed after them. Under my breath I muttered...”OK, slam it, just mind me.”

My mind rehearsed the precious words that I have heard in a life time of over 80 years. You can hear a lot in that time...

.I love you.

.I am proud of you.

.You did a great job on that.

.You look great.

.You made it.

.I'm so proud of you.

Later my Precious Word list includes:

.I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God...

.Congratulations, you have is your diploma...

.Will you marry me?

.I do....

.You have a son...a daughter...

.Blessings to you.





What makes these words 'Precious'? They speak of unconditional love. Unending love that lasts beyond death. Little did we know as we had children that this parenting phase lasts a life time. Parenting requires words spoken with love...even if it is....”Don't slam the door!” Parenting requires patience and unending trust and hope. The Phases of Precious Words go from the nurturing, discipline and teaching to praying. Each new grandchild and each new great grandchild is another reason for praying. Being prayed for and praying for others are the most precious words there are in life. It is the ultimate!

My Suderman grandparents came to visit, and we were enveloped in their love like an aura of goodness. I didn't realize it then, but it was unconditional love, laced with prayer. Grandpa's prayers took us to the throne of God to kneel at His feet. I remember when Mom told me that after Grandpa died, Grandma Suderman would take off her hearing aid at night and pray before she went to sleep. There were no outside interruptions as Grandma prayed....for each of her children and grandchildren by name each night.

Precious Words. Prayer Words. Names. Words that are precious, speak of love from the heart and make a difference in eternity. As a young girl, I led the singing in a revival meeting. A group of people joined hands and hearts together after the service in prayer. As the they prayed, I suddenly was drawn at attention, for I heard a specific prayer for me. I hardly knew these people and yet they prayed for me by name. It still brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Precious Words happen in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Parts of the scripture have made me understand the importance of prayer as a heart-felt communication in the relationship with Jesus. A relationship of unconditional love encased in the precious words of prayer.

Daniel 9:21-23 - while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, c

Daniel understood the preciousness of prayer. The words...'as soon as you began to pray...' were emblazoned in flashing lights in my mind. The 'what if' of not praying and the consequences that could have been are overwhelming. Then I read the last five words again....for you are highly esteemed.

Encouragement from Gabriel, from heaven. Daniel heard precious words from Heaven.

Then I read from Psalm 36:5-9, words that let me know that King David knew the secret of precious words – they come from God!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.