The Last Waterfall of the Trip – And I Missed It! Post 9 – From “The Getaway . . .”

Daddy bought a new Kodak 3 mm in 1955, so my family, including my brother and sister, inherited a plethora of photos, most preserved in slide format. Some years ago, I transferred these slides to digital form, saving them on disks for my family.  I’m nostalgic, to say the least. I thrive in a mid-century décor shop. Program my TV to record 40’s and 50’s  movies on Turner Classic. So when I view those digital photos or browse through my mother’s photo albums, I seem to “go back in time.” And I love it! You’ve read my posts about times past, I’m sure.

On this getaway trip, Ron had been gracious to help me revisit and recreate scenes and moments from 1955, when as a little girl, I had first visited these sites in the Porcupine Mountains and the surrounding areas of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with my family. For instance, in a recent post, you might have seen photos of my family at The Lake of the Clouds in 1955 and Ron and me in the same location on this trip. So now on this last day at the campgrounds, we packed up and hooked up our little “home away from home.” As we left the Porkies, we stopped one last time at the Welcome Center to pick up a souvenir in their gift shop. We encountered two young women who had just entered the park, coming from the two waterfalls to which we were headed: Bond Falls and Agate Falls. I showed them the photo on my phone – the one I wanted to “recreate,” taken of me at Agate Falls 65 years earlier!

Little Kathi at Agate Falls – 1955. Photo taken by her Daddy.

“Oh,” one of the young women said, looking at my photo. “That’s not Agate Falls – it’s Bond Falls. We were just there.”

“Oh thanks!” I replied, thinking I must have incorrectly marked the photo. 

“Ron, we need to be heading to Bond Falls,” I suggested.

So we left the memorable Porcupine Mountains en route to one of the most beautiful falls in Michigan: Bond Falls, discarding our plans to also visit Agate Falls.

It was a lovely drive. The parking area was full. Even during this time of dreadful Covid, people ventured out – eager and desirous to seek beauty in nature. It took a bit of time to find area to park our vehicle and trailer, but we found shade on this hot summer day!

We discovered the turbulent waterfall just a short distance up the trail, where we began our effort to find the exact location of the 1955 photo my Daddy had taken of me.

Back and forth, up and down the old cement steps along the shaded east side we hiked, stopped, and photographed, always looking for just the “right spot” from 1955. But it just never seemed right. Had the direction of the water changed in all those years?

We followed a trail over a footbridge and across the river to the opposite side – the west side. On that west bank, I stepped down to the riverside and placed my feet on what I hoped might be the exact ground upon which I had stood as a tiny girl in 1955. I hoped the scene was recreated, but it just didn’t seemed right.

By this time, as you can imagine, after days of hiking in search of waterfalls, Ron and I were nearly “waterfalled out.” Bond Falls was beautiful. We had seen it, the mosquitoes were swarming us, and now we were ready to trek back to our pickup and travel trailer and continue our venture. But still, in my mind, the recreated scene just hadn’t seemed right! 

The sun was lowering when we left Bond Falls, and having no purpose to visit nearby Agate Falls, we instead drove on to L’Anse at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, to visit more once-familiar sites and recreate yet more photos from those years ago.

It wasn’t until weeks later, in making the final revisions to this article that I reviewed online photos of Agate Falls and suddenly realized my mistake: The original photo was indeed taken at Agate Falls – not Bond Falls. My childhood pic and another photo of Agate Falls reveal the obvious:

Little Kathi at Agate Falls 1955
Agate Falls Today

I had missed the true waterfall – Agate Falls, a most important memory. I realized my mistake:

I had quickly taken the advice of a well-intentioned, kind young woman, rather than double-checking my own photos and plans. I had accepted her statement instead of following my own instinct and knowledge.

I was saddened but not surprised. It wasn’t the first time I had practiced poor judgment and had been unwise in my decisions! And of course, it brought about regrets. Once again on this “Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place, and Wisdom,”  I had learned a lesson about wisdom in a most unexpected manner.

Proverbs speaks much about wisdom:

There is a way that seems right . . . (But it isn’t!)

He who walks with the wise grows wise. (Obviously the young women weren’t wise regarding waterfalls)

. . . and perhaps most important or applicable to my situation, in Corinthians:

my faith must not rest upon the wisdom of others, but upon God’s power. . .

Of course the lesson is much greater than finding the correct location, the correct waterfall. It’s in finding God’s will, in following God’s plan instead of following people. People will never have the answers for me, but God will. He will lead me, if and when I seek Him. And I can always seek Him in prayer and through His Word.

The good news for me regarding Agate Falls is that there’s a possibility that Ron and I will be in the area again next summer. It will be our first stop on our journey. As we walk the path to Agate Falls and hear the rush of water, my eyes will feel a bit of rush, as well, and a mist will roll down my cheeks,  knowing I’m finally in the right place. Ron will hold the camera. I’ll step close to the water’s edge, the beautiful falls in the background. I’ll  squint a bit, looking at Ron but seeing my Daddy holding his Kodak 35 mm.

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And, thank you for reading my writing! Click here to read the next and final post in this series: Post 10.

Who Knew the Time Had Changed? There’s a time for everything. Post 7 – From “The Getaway…”

When I was a teenager, I had a clock radio much like the one pictured. Mine had a “snooze” button on top, which I used a lot! An analog clock is rarely used today, is it? Instead, we most often look at the digital clocks on our dashboards, ovens, and especially on our phones. Occasionally, when Ron and I are driving, we’ve crossed a time zone line, and one or both of our cell phones didn’t “catch up!” That was confusing. Well, something similar happened to us during our time camping in the Porkies.

Who would think that in the middle of a mountain drive, in the middle of a huge state park, but all within just one county and one state – Michigan –  one would come across a time zone division? Well, we did! Much to our surprise, this huge park has two different time zones.

So, by the time we reached the Lake of the Clouds at the top of Porcupine Mountains, the time had changed from 1:30 to 12:30. Since we didn’t know about it or expect it, it was quite confusing! We viewed the beautiful lake and landscape, hiked 3.5 miles through the deep woods, over roots and red slate rocks, straight down .5 mile to the base of the huge lake and up again in hot, sticky damp heat, and were totally exhausted, so it was even more confusing! Again, I had packed a picnic lunch in a wicker basket, including a red-checkered tablecloth (in keeping with the “time frame” of the 1950’s when I had first visited this site). The clock in the vehicle showed one time – our cell phone showed another. So now we wondered ~ What time is it anyway?  It was later than we thought! We assumed we had much more time than this!

You’ve probably heard the classic soft rock song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Pete Seeger composed it in the late 50’s, and The Byrds made it popular when they recorded it in 1965. Click it on to listen. (If the website music is playing, you can lower or mute it on the bottom of this site.)

Ron and I grew up with this song, so it really brought back some memories for us! I said that Pete Seeger wrote this song, but actually, he only composed the music. The lyrics were already written. Did you know that these lyrics are the first 8 verses of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3? God wrote these words through King Solomon. You’re probably quite familiar with it:

There’s a time for everything . . .

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

And so on . . .

If you’ve lived for a while like I have, you are familiar with these “times.” Some are pleasant – like “a time to laugh”; others are not – like “a time to weep.” Most of us have experienced both of these “times.” We know they are a part of life. It’s not surprising then, that Pete Seeger titled his song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The “times” of our lives are constantly turning and often become confusing.

Jesus knew we would get confused in this life, thinking we have much more time to do everything we want to do – much more time to live.  Some people think that becoming a believer might detract from that “living,” but actually, it brings abundance of life! So, I think that’s why He told us that now is the time of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation. He wants you to believe in Him and have abundance of life and the abundance of time!

I plan on living to be very old unless the Lord comes first to gather the believers, which could happen anytime! Either way, I’m ready and can spend the time I have left – living and loving and doing everything good I read about in Eccl. 3 and hear in Pete Seeger’s song: to plant and heal and build and laugh and dance and mend and speak and love and make peace. Are you ready to meet the Lord when He gathers us? If so, join me in living life to the fullest with these good things. If not, get ready. Learn what Jesus did for you, and believe! Click here to learn more at www.kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer

It’s all between you and God, your maker. He’s given you this time – so you can be sure. You needn’t be confused!

Read more – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Hosea 10:12; 2 Corinthians 6:2

Click here to read Post 8 of this series!

Have you read my book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers? Click here to order. It would make a great gift, as well.

I Hate Bats! Post 6 – From “The Getaway. . .”

I had looked at photos and articles in the brochures, pamphlets, and travel guides of the park, considering which sites Ron and I might want to see. Much to my distress, one article had a photo of a bat, which I immediately covered up by folding the corner of the paper over it. I hate bats! Repeat – I hate bats! Please don’t try to convince me of all the good things about bats. It won’t sway me. They remind me of demons. I hate bats. 

You see, the Porkies (Porcupine Mountains) have many old, abandoned mines – copper and iron ore. The article and photo I covered in a brochure, so as not to see, described a strategy conservationists of the Porkies are taking to keep bats from getting some white-nose disease. As you can imagine, I didn’t read the article. (I kept it covered – out of sight.)  So anyway, I said, “This is one site here in the Porkies I don’t care to visit.” End of story. 

It was not really the “end of story” because as we were driving up the mountain to the Lake of the Clouds (Click here to read my last Post 5), we stopped at a beautiful site where there was a small spot to park and to look out over the beautiful Lake Superior from quite a height. We walked to the lookout point. I took a pic of Ron and of the nearby sign.

It was lovely, BUT, on the opposite side of the narrow road, dug into the side of the mountain was an old abandoned copper mine, and – you guessed it – was the very site, placard and all, about the story of the bats. Evidently thousands come out of that mine shaft at night . . . you know the story. Another reason they remind me of demons – there are thousands, and they love to work at night.  – in the dark. Well, we “hightailed it” out of there!

Have you ever tried so hard to avoid something, like I tried to avoid the bat cave, but you run right into it? Sin is like that. Your intentions are good, but that devil just keeps chasing after you.

He’s dark – the prince of darkness.

His work is dark.

His intentions are dark.

His actions are dark.

My sin is dark.

Your sin is dark.

But Jesus came, and Jesus is light.

I just have to repeat it! Jesus came, and Jesus is light. He is the Light of the World. He brings light into our sinful lives – if we let Him.

The Bible tells us to submit ourselves to God and to resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Resist him, just like I “hightailed it” away from that bat cave. (Well, not really just the same – but you get the idea.) I’ve lived in the darkness of sin before – and you have too. I’ve come out of that darkness and into the Light: Jesus! Have you? If not, it’s time you do!

Learn more about how Jesus takes our sin away and makes us “children of light” at this link: www.kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer

And you can find more about submitting to God and resisting the devil if you do some further reading, starting with James 4:7 in the New Testament.

Click here to read the next post, Post 7, in this series.

Mid Morning Favor – Post 5 – From “The Getaway …”

Contrary to the report on Ron’s weather app, the sun was shining today, so we drove up the mountain, 1000 feet above Lake Superior to the “Lake of the Clouds.”

With my Mama in 1955

It was a beautiful drive to the top of the mountain. And today, as we parked and walked the 100 yard embankment to the cliff above, years of imbedded memories surged in the form of droplets in my eyes, welling up and rolling down my cheeks. I’m sure that my daddy and mama would have never thought that the memories of this very place, which they had created within me and had kept alive through photos taken with Daddy’s new 35 mm Kodak in 1955 would stir up fresh within me all these years later. You’ll see me as the little blonde girl in the older pictures. See more pics below.

Until today, I had never been back to The Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains.

But I’ve wanted to.

I’ve hoped to.

And I’ve thought about it ever since.

This was a desire of my heart.

Today was the day.

Oftentimes God grants us the desires of our hearts. He loves to do so. He knows those things – even the little things – that will delight us. In fact, He surrounds us with His favor. His favor is like a shield around us. I had lived much of my adult life unaware or unknowing or not believing that I was favored by God, but about eight years ago, in the most difficult time of my life, I became cognizant of it. I believed the Word of God. And I embraced it, finally trusting that God loves me and wants to show me favor.

The Oxford dictionary defines favor as “act of kindness beyond what is due.” And that’s just what God did for me once again – at the Lake of the Clouds. He granted me an “act of kindness beyond what is due.” He allowed me to go back to a very peaceful time in my life, remembering all those years ago, on the edge of this same cliff but feeling absolutely no danger because I was protected by my Daddy and my Mama. And God allowed me to know the same serenity of this peaceful setting today, completely protected by Him, my Heavenly Father. 

My Mama 1955 (My Daddy stands in the same spot in the featured picture at top of post.
I’m standing in nearly the same spot as my mother – 65 years later. My heart is full!

Then He opened my eyes to see even more: the beauty of this place. He filled me with the joy of being there with my husband, Ron.

We hiked miles across the encampment and down to the base of the lake below. My heart was full-of God’s favor.

God loves to give you the desires of your heart. Ask Him. Then look for it. Sometimes it’s huge. Sometimes it’s in the little things. 

Undeserved. Unmerited. But it is mine. And it’s yours: the Favor of the Father. And it is all because of Jesus. Grasp it. Hold on.

Click here to learn to become a believer: https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

Click here to read Post 6 in the series.

Further reading: Psalm 37:4

With Grandpa and Grandma Locke, my mother, my brother Larry, Aunt Carolyn, and Uncle Dick. 1955

Early Morning Wisdom ~ Post 4 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

The Porcupine Mountains are unbelievably remote. Our campsite is at the Northeast tip of this huge state park; the mountains and thousands upon thousands of trees are in the middle; and Ironwood, the only big “town” in this part of the U.P., is near the Southwest end of the park, probably 30 miles “as the crow flies.” Click here if you’d like to see a map of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Porkies_Unit

Lake Superior covers all the north side of the park, and as I wrote in my Day 2 post, forests and small townships or four-corner villages border the south side of the park.  (Click here for a short video “Under the Radar – Porcupine Mountains”  to see the magnificence of this State Park – the largest in Michigan.) So in this park, I have no Internet connection. In fact, I rarely have cell service. Now, it’s easy to say, “So what? You don’t need Internet during this time,” but it’s quite another thing to actually be the person without it! That’s me. So without connection, I haven’t been able to work on my website or “post” my blogs as I had planned. Each day, Ron and I have gone to the “Welcome Center” here in the park, and I have lugged my laptop, connected to their WiFi, and worked on various writing projects for a while. We were headed there this morning when . . .

I’ll come back to this, but first I’ll touch upon the “Seeking . . . wisdom” part of the title of my writing series during this getaway.

Have you ever asked God for wisdom?  I know the Bible tells us to do so. And I’ve asked Him for it many times – generally regarding a specific issue, i.e. “God, grant me wisdom to know what decision to make . . .” We read that He liberally gives us wisdom when we ask. When I “titled” my series of pieces I’m writing during this getaway, I included “Seeking . . . wisdom.”

Anyway, that’s how I expected it during this getaway. I expected to gain wisdom from His Word. But this morning, the wisdom He gave was simply spoken directly to me – oh, not in a voice, as such, but . . . well, here’s how it happened:

We regularly discuss plans for our days here at the park. Ron always checks the weather forecast, so we know which day would be best to hike, which day would be best to drive to waterfalls and other points of interest in the park. You get the idea. Well, each day has also included a bit of time at a place near the entrance of the park where I can “connect” to the Internet and get good cell connection, as well.

Suddenly this morning, with maps on the table and the weather forecast in front of Ron, God spoke to me, you know, like I just mentioned above. It was like He was saying,

 “You should not be using this time to get ‘connected’ to the Internet. You should be using this time to get ‘connected’ to Me. And to get ‘connected’ to Ron. You’ll have plenty of Internet ‘connection’ time when you get home. Don’t use your getaway time, struggling for connection to anything else.”

I responded,

“Thank you, Father, for wisdom.”

You can ask God for wisdom, too. The Bible tells us He’s so very generous in extending wisdom to us. Wisdom speaks to us, gives us knowledge and understanding, blesses us, and so much more. It’s exciting to think of how He will give it to you. We know you’ll always find it in His Word!

Further reading: James 1:5; 

Proverbs Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

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Click here to read Post 5 – “Mid-Morning Favor from God” Bless!

I think my plans are the best!? Post 3 in the series, “The Getaway: Seeking . . .”

Ron and I have a passion for waterfalls, so today we made plans to see five waterfalls in surrounding areas outside this huge park. We marked them on our map, set our gps for directions, and headed toward Ironwood on the Wisconsin border. Our goal: five waterfalls.

We saw one

It was just a mile out of the campground, the remaining four to be seen further on. This one was striking.

Now I know why the rocks are red here. It’s the iron. The water flows over red rocks. Iron ore was pulled out of these mountains for years. I suppose iron will always be detected on these shores.

So we were off to a good start. On to the next waterfall.

And we drove and drove and drove, seemingly following the directions in the brochure I had picked up on a rack, “Western Upper Peninsula Waterfall Guide.”

“Turn left on USSF222, which turns into 400.”

So we did. We turned left.

It was a beautiful drive down a gravel road through Ottawa National Forest. Miles and miles of beautiful. And of desolate. But it did not lead to a waterfall – or even to a river. Perhaps if we’d gone further?

We did not find that waterfall on the West Branch of the Ontonagon River.

On toward Ironwood we drove, enjoying the beautiful landscapes, slowly but steadily progressing to the next two waterfalls on the Black River, both of which I had marked in the brochure and set on our gps.

“North on Blackjack Road. Past the two gas line clearings. Park off the road.”

So we did. We passed the gas line clearings and parked in a low spot off the road.

No signs. Was it private property?

We did not find the upper and lower waterfalls on the Black River.

We drove on, stopping for lunch at a roadside park on the way. I placed a red-checkered tablecloth on the table , pulled lunch out of my vintage red picnic basket. It was a true picnic! As we ate, we enjoyed nature around us. A yellow butterfly drank nectar from an orange flower. We sat in the warm sunlight, at a picnic table, on the side of a small mountain, in a desolate area. Like the butterfly, we were drinking nectar – the nectar of the moment. We listened to the sounds of nature and ever so slowly started to unwind and leave behind some of the burdens we had carried with us to the north. Afterward, we drove on toward the waterfall on Planter Creek, but we never located . . .

“Wertanen Road on M-28 north after County 519,” so . . .

We did not find the waterfall on Planter Creek.

So we arrived back at campsite earlier than expected, and I stretched out on my new gravity chair, one I’d had for several weeks but had never taken the time to relax in. Now, in the warm, late afternoon sun on what had begun as a cool day, I was extremely tired. Soft waves lapped the red rocks. My body rested. Then my mind rested. It was the Sound of Silence I was seeking when I came to the north just a few days prior. The calm setting brought rest. Physical rest often precedes spiritual rest, the kind I’m seeking by dwelling in His Secret Place. I had made a day’s worth of plans of discovering and enjoying a number of waterfalls. My plans didn’t work out. Instead, I was beginning to find rest in an unexpected manner.

As I rested, reclined in a most comfortable gravity chair, in a most tranquil setting, I listened to His Whisper.

Jesus whispered,

“Kathi, you are good at making plans. But I’m better. Listen and I will give you the right answers. Dwell in my shelter and your plans will be great.”

Are you good at making plans like I am but realizing that most importantly you need to be listening to Jesus Whisper?

Further Reading: Proverbs 16:1,3; Psalm 91:1

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Click here to read Post 4: “Early Morning Wisdom” Click here to read, 

Little Women – The Dream

I usually rode the school bus home, but when I needed to stay for 7th grade cheerleading practice, Mom picked me up after she got out of work at 3:30. The inside of the  car was toasty from having been in the sun on the warm fall day. Mom greeted me with a hug and a smile, but she was tired from working in the shop, so we did little talking. Instead, the car became a cozy setting for reading. I pulled out Little Women and read all the way home – and continued reading after she pulled in the drive and went into the house to start supper. 

I read – and I dreamed – about Jo. When Mom called me in for supper, my mind was still spinning, trying to concoct a plan for a writing area for myself – like the attic in which Jo wrote – the one on the cover of my book. During those days, I began to clear out a small loft in our “woodshed,”  packed with broken fishing poles and worn window screens and coated with 60 years of grime. But cold weather soon arrived, and my plans were thwarted. 

Dreams of writing and publishing were pushed to the back of my mind, and replaced with high school years and marriage and children and summer vacations and golden retrievers and music and home décor and .  . . many beautiful and wonderful experiences, until one day, the laptop making it so much easier to get those ideas in print, the dream materialized. And now it’s a reality! Instead of an attic, my private writing space is a Michigan porch or a Florida Lanai. It’s a “Kathi” space instead of a “Jo” space!

So, I invite you – to read my writing – to browse my website and social media pages – to step into the shelter of my scripts and to discover commonalities between us. I invite you to purchase my published books and look for upcoming publications this year!

May God bless and speak to our hearts!

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

When Kathi Waligora faced the worst day of her life, she didn’t know that many more days would crash down on her in the weeks that followed. She cried out to God as her life roared; in reply, the gentle whisper of Jesus gave her peace, comfort, and hope to continue forward.

You’ll connect  to Kathi within each chapter of When Life Roars Jesus Whispers, finding God’s Whispers of Truth, Grace, Faith, Mercy, Comfort, Hope, and Promise.  Then you’ll apply these whispers to your own life through personal introspection at the end of each chapter. 

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

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$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

We stepped through the steel doors of the jail. I couldn’t imagine my daughter in this place . . . No façade remained of the candy-coated lives we had lived for so many years, and I doubted that any façade would ever cover us again.  We, too, were a ‘rough group of broken people’ ~ just the kind of people Jesus loves . . . and through the toughest times, we discovered favor of God as if we had always fully recognized it.

(An excerpt from:  When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers)

Recent Reviews:

“A powerful story that encourages our confidence in Christ when our own stories go off the rails.” 

Bill Crowder, Bible Teacher and Author

“This book was hard to put down. It is a book of loss, despair, HOPE and whispers. It gave me strength. It gave me chills and even tears. In the end, it left me with HOPE.”

“I read the book in one day! When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers is a wonderfully written book filled with heart-wrenching events, heart-warming love and heart-lifting promises of hope!”

” . . . powerful, poignant . . .”

“This is an amazing book that I could not put down! Kathi, thank you for your courage and candor as you shared your heartbreak, struggles, and victory in the light of God’s Word!”

“Very touching story! I cried and I rejoiced! This is a story that can encourage and give hope!”

“I have to say that When Life Roars Jesus Whispers by Kathi Waligora is the best I have read . . . easy to read and love the devotions at the end of each chapter. Each chapter brought [me] back to the promises of God . . . very helpful , encouraging,  and God centered. Thank you Kathi for opening your heart to the world and pointing us back to what matters – that Jesus understands and is with us throughout everything.”

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

PayPal or other major credit card accepted

$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

Shh! Listen to His Whispers! is the new Bible Study that complements When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers but stands alone as an individual or group six-week study. In this Bible Study, you’ll learn how Kathi began to listen to the whispers in God’s Word, and how you can hear those whispers, as well. Learn where the storms of life come from and where  you can seek shelter. In your individual study – or together with others – you’ll learn to recognize storm warnings  and discover how to speak life for yourself, your friends, your families who stand in the paths of these storms.

You’ll love this sturdy, beautifully-covered book with heavy pages – perfect to write upon.

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

8.5″ X 11″

71 pages

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Recent Reviews:

“This Bible Study enriched my life!” 

~ Mary Jo

~~ ~~

“Kathi, You have an amazing gift . . . helping people to listen for God’s whispers.” 

 ~ Evelyn

~~ ~~

“This study made me realize my hope in all circumstances.”

 ~ Eileen

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts 10+ books

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$10.99 plus shipping cost $3.00




Who is Traveling? (Post 1 in the series, “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

Today’s highway is paved, flat, barren, and ugly, but adequate and necessary, nonetheless, for our purpose of journey – to pull our little “home away from home,” headed north to our destination, yet 600 miles away. The eyes of my driver, the man I’ve journeyed with nearly 50 years must scan the road, follow the lanes, obeying the signage and lineage. I choose to observe the landscape  – instead of the road.

Tall, straight birch and poplar border the edge of the thick, dense woods, filled with pines and hardwoods with heavier foliage, but also tall and straight. As the bordering birch and poplar, each tree evidences its struggle to reach the sky, each in search of sunshine. The forest floor below them is plush with seedlings and saplings. Green life is unending in these groves of the north. Neither wind nor fire has squelched the growth. We see indication of past attacks of those enemies, as they have tried, time after time to destroy but have never fully succeeded, all because of the unending new growth, found deep in the womb of the soil – ever rooting and ever rising – toward the sun.

The sun is the sustenance of this green life, its reason, its purpose.

Today, as we drive north, the flora around us reflects the sun, revealing deeper and varying shades of emeralds and olives and limes and sages. Up and down the hills of the fallow path we travel, trees stretching upward.  Because of the hills, we sometimes view them at levels below their roots, sometimes above their tops, looking down at an unending pillow of forest jade.

Intermittently, a sandy trail weaves through its thickness. I wonder who, if anyone, has traveled that trail today, and if so, where was he going? And why?

I travel to reach a quiet spot where I hope to avoid daily routines and distractions. I seek a deeper communion with Jesus. I hope to find rest in the Lord and rid myself of the distress of unrest flaunted by the media. I hope to calm my heart. I hope to listen and to hear.

A billion people are on journeys today, and I know very few, yet God knows each one. He knows you – your needs – your desires – your hopes. And He wants you to rest in Him. In fact, He offers it.

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Further Reading: Psalm 91

Click here to read Post 2 in this series: “I Own This Property on the Great Lake.”

 

 

Wait! First I Need My Helmet.

I post on my Facebook Author’s page every day, most often using photos or Bible verses, or “sayings” that have spoken to me. Sometimes I select the postings days in advance, scheduling them for a later time. After the post is published,  I review it, as though I haven’t seen it before.

And always – it speaks anew to me. 

God’s Word is like that. Always fresh and new. It’s alive, and it speaks. I try to listen because I know He’s speaking.

May be an illustration of text

This illustration, one of my recent posts, displayed and briefly commented upon the armor of God. (Perhaps you saw it. Click here to discover my Facebook Author’s page.) Reviewing it, trying to let it “all sink in,” I turned in my Bible to Ephesians, chapter 6 to spend some time reflecting upon the armor. I started with the “Helmet of Salvation” at the top of the illustration. I’ve often studied the pieces of the armor and have written about them in the past, but today, I just couldn’t get past the “helmet” without pause and reflection.

In the Roman army, the helmet was the last piece of the armor to put on, but in our lives, it must initially be the first. That “Helmet of Salvation” is also called “The Hope of Salvation.” (1Thess. 5:8) In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and hope’s strength is in God’s faithfulness. “The Hope of Salvation” is the confident expectation of our salvation. When we truly accept Christ’ finished work on Calvary, God puts that salvation on us! As a result, we know that hope. We can fully depend upon His promises. It’s the “hope [that] does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:5) The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against the enemy. 

We must continue to “put on the helmet of salvation,” (Eph. 6:17)  after we are saved – not to save us but to protect us. Putting it on shows that we are living by what we first believed when we trusted in Jesus and received His grace. Therefore, when we put on the Helmet of Salvation, we are putting on Jesus. In essence, we are putting on Hope.

The Helmet of Salvation is vital. Its protection . . .

Renews our minds

Our minds are the battlefields of our souls. I don’t know about you, but a battle is often going on in my mind, whether it is the initial engagement by the enemy, a skirmish, or an all-out war. Only one thing fights that battle: the Word of God. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to renew our minds. How? We need to let the Word of God wash away the filth and lies of the enemy and put on the new life of righteousness and holiness Jesus came to give. The truth of God’s Word wipes out anything contrary. Our minds are renewed.

The helmet’s protection also . . .

Removes doubts and fears

Placing doubts in your mind is a favorite pastime of the enemy, Satan, and his workers. I can just picture him laughing as he places another doubt in our mind.  If we believe a doubt – something contrary to the Word of God – we are believing a lie. The best weapon against the attack of doubt is the Word of God. Speak it aloud – over and over if necessary – to combat this assault. 

Fear is very real. It comes directly from the enemy, most often when we are mentally or physically depleted. That’s when the enemy especially wants to hit us. I’ve experienced it. Often. The enemy has stuck his knife of fear into my gut and twisted it – time after time – often to the point of nausea. Yes, fear is from the enemy, and as with doubt, we need to fight it with the Word of God.

Even the smallest doubts  can turn into the biggest fears! When we doubt or become fearful, we need to speak the Word. The Word is the protector of our minds.

The helmet’s protection also . . .

Restores our vision

Jesus delegated us to go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach. This is it. Period. And in order to follow that commission, we believers are instructed to “fix our eyes on Jesus.”  We can keep our eyes fixed when we put on the Helmet of Salvation. 

The writer of Proverbs says, “pay attention . . . listen closely . . . keep these words  . . . Let your yes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you . . not to the right or the left . . .”

Our helmet protects our vision, allowing us to look straight ahead – toward Jesus. It keep us from gazing to the left or to the right. The helmet keeps us focused. It keeps us looking ahead. It restores our vision, thus restoring our hope. It protects us from the corruption and perversity of the world that distracts us from our commission. We are protected only by the Helmet of Salvation. But we must put it on.

In her article in Crosswalk.com, Hope Bolinger aptly illustrates the importance of the helmet. She writes,

“For any of us who have seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, there’s a scene where a soldier takes off his helmet to analyze a bullet that just hit it. The moment he does so, a soldier takes advantage and shoots his exposed head, killing him instantly. . . In the same way, the helmet of salvation protects us spiritually from a powerful blow . . . from the devil. Without the helmet, we leave ourselves exposed on the spiritual battlefield.”

The Helmet of Salvation is our Hope of Salvation. It offers the greatest protection to renew our minds, remove our doubts and fears, and restore our vision. Let’s keep it on!

I would be honored to speak to your group. Contact me here.

I’m weary.

I’m weary. You know how it is.

It’s not just one thing. It’s more than one. It’s more than two. It’s one thing upon another. Stacking. Compounding. Until that one more thing, no matter how small, seems just too much.

I’ve been aware of the stacking – the compounding – for quite some time. I’ve dealt with it in the past, and I’ll deal with it again. But for now, I’m weary. It’s like a compounding pile of rocks. Some light. Some heavy.

Today, as I write, my brother in law is in surgery, having a lung transplant. This rock is a heavy one, and it’s been on the compounding pile of rocks for a long time. Its very presence on his stack, and on my sister’s stack, causes it to accumulate in diverse sizes on my own rising pile. It makes me weary.

Facebook and Instagram photos look lovely, but we all know, there’s quite often pain behind the smiles. My family is no different.  I’ve encountered those heaping rocks many times, repeatedly, and have pushed them off, one by one, turning them over to the Lord, trusting those issues to Him. Oftentimes, when I do,  I figuratively wipe my hands and smugly say, Take that, you cursed enemy. By the power of the name of Jesus. But today, those same stones – or rocks, as they’ve become, aren’t moving as easily.  Because I’m weary. 

You understand because it happens to you too. Sometimes it’s a recurring pebble that pops up – with your spouse’s name on it. Sometimes an entire little bag of pebbles – you know, like the bag of marbles we had when we were kids.  Sometimes it’s huge – the loss of a child – or of a parent. It’s the grief that permeates and changes your life forever. It’s your child’s middle-of-the-night fever or her wicked diagnosis. It’s a learning disability or a mental illness. It’s a daughter’s addiction or a son’s waywardness. It’s the pain on your grandchild’s face and the tears in his eyes when his daddy yells and leaves the house. It’s the pain of your daughter’s singleness when she yearns for marriage. The problem burdens not just one in the family; it burdens all. You hurt not only for the burdened one but for each one who suffers – physically, mentally, emotionally. The rocks seem heavier than they once were. And they’re all stuck together. Sometimes they seem cemented. I’m weary from it. And I know you’re weary. I can see it behind your smile.

The enemy throws a lot of political rocks onto my stack, more as the last few years have progressed. My “friends” and community members have called me names – well, not me personally, but in general, along with anyone who has my political view. And I create my own stones on my stack, as well, having zero understanding of  those who view the political issues from a different perspective. It’s all so heavy. And I become weary.

This COVID thing is just  plain weighty in this pile of rocks. The COVID rocks keep appearing in various sizes and weights upon the stack:  Isolation. Sickness. Death. Fear. Hate. Divisiveness. Anger. Exhaustion. Loneliness. Separation. Anxiety. Suicide. Grief. Poverty. Judgment. Depression. This is not a bag of rocks. It’s a truck full of boulders that have become ever present month after month, enveloping our birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, travel plans, elections, and now our holidays. We boldly and bravely  knock one COVID rock off our pile; another related rock appears. We’ve all become weary from it.

Here’s the thing: 

On the other side of my weariness is Jesus. He’s waiting just like always. He whispers,

Kathi, I will refresh your weary soul and replenish you when you are weak. I will give you pleasant sleep. My Word sustains you. Keep it fresh in your mind. Come to me. I will give you rest.

So today, in my weariness, I go to Jesus, the one who came to give me abundant life. I turn my burdens over to Him. We know He doesn’t bring any of the burdens that are making me weary. But He gladly takes them and brings the victory – some that I see today – some that is yet unseen but promised.  Either way, I have the promised rest,

What about you?  For all of these things we have Jesus. If you’re a Christ follower, go to Him. Place each burden, big or small, light or heavy, on Him. Until your weariness is gone. If you’re yet uncertain if you have Jesus, turn to Him. We needn’t remain weary!

Click here to learn more about following Christ.

Further reading:

Jeremiah 31:25, 26

Isaiah 50:4

Matthew 11:28

John 10:10