Tag Archives: Joshua

2020 VISION – Stink Bugs

Caught the first stink bug in the house. Pulled out the ol’ dryer sheets and put them around the doors. I haven’t used dryer sheets in the dryer since 2018, but I do use my left over ones to keep out those smelly little rascals. It works, but I will probably have to buy more this year.

I really was lazy today and just spent the day moving a few things, brushing my choc lab girls, listening to some old music or podcasts as I worked around the house and finally – my personal favorite – reading.

I always have 3 or 4 books going at a time. One in this room – one in that – and a couple sitting by the morning chair with my devotionals. When the sun is shining in the windows or the gas logs glowing, there is no better place to be.

The one I finished to day is an old one, but it could have been written today. Because of that, I read it slower than I have in previous readings. I saw some of the deeper wisdom that I glossed over when I first read in as a teenager or later as a young teacher or later as an aging wife/mama/teacher.

“My name is Will Dowson, an American name, and I come from St. Louis…My father asked in a mild tone: “What made you think I thought you must be a foreigner, son? Don’t you think I know that tens of thousands of good Americans are traitors?” Your Sins and Mine, by Taylor Caldwell, pp124-25

There have always been stink bugs among us. Bugs who want to sneak in and smell up things. The Bible tells many stories of stink bugs – starting with Adam and Eve – only theirs slithered into their lives.

Stink bugs are stink bugs no matter their shape or size.

I don’t like getting on FB much anymore. I get on once a day – check in on friends and family. Usually write down a few prayer requests, answer some messages, play a couple of games, laugh at a few memes, but mostly – just feel sad at the divisiveness that continues to pull us apart. Come to think of it – I’ve pulled away from a lot of TV, movies and “popular” entertainment. Time has become more precious, and I’d rather be learning or worshiping than wasting my time.

I sat in my own version of the Sukkot hut today. The wisteria vines had gotten way out of control. So I spent a few hours on Friday on the step ladder, trimming vines and using other tendrils to tie the thicker vines into a tamer version of their natural state. It was fun, but the arthritis didn’t much like standing on the ladder for that long. But – it reminds me – that humbling comes in all forms to each of us, and I am thankful.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Col 3:15

We are one body. One body of creation by a Father that loves all that He has done………even the stink bugs.

The next few Tuesdays leading up to the November 3, 2020, election are going to be ones of intermittent fasting and prayer for me. It is a national movement that more and more teacher/preachers are starting recognize. I listened to several today as they stood on the Rock and encourage the ones they have been given to shepherd.

GOD be merciful to me, a sinner.” Ibid, p163

It started with the Prayer March in D.C. and The Return in D.C. – the Vine and Branch together in one place on the same day. Starting on Tuesday, there will be a prayer gathering from Plymouth, MA, … a televised reclamation of the covenant that was established in 1620 by the Pilgrims. There will be a revival tent put up next week in Burlington by Cox Toyota.

It’s Time to Pray.org

“This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.” old hymn

Choices to be made. Live with the stink bugs or not? God’s grace and timetable continues.

“We will serve the LORD our GOD and we will obey His voice.” Jos 24:24


Pictures of Marines are all over the place on social media. Just as they should be since it is the birthday of the Marines Corps. Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and I know, there will be tons more posts of service men – as it should be.

I am thankful that my dad was both. He wrote a postcard home as he traveled to Parris Island. He was 26 years old, and he sounds every inch of it in this one sentence: “I’m sitting in Union Station waiting on the train, I’m headed for Parris Island Marine Corps. I’m an honest to goodness Marine.”

“…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do

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not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”~Josh 1:9

He left behind a wife, a son, a dog, and a twinkle that would be born six years later. No easy communication devices. No cameras snapping a multitude of pictures. So there were letters……lots of letters. Mom and dad had a suitcase full. A suitcase that a youngster once opened and started reading.

I don’t think I sat down for a week.

Years later, Mom had me read a few of those letters to her when her body had started to break, and she developed Macular Degeneration. A few years after that, my brother and I decided that those treasured memories were theirs and not the world’s. I did keep a few of them though – especially the ones that had poetry my father wrote just for mom. Mom was a singer, so she would write song lyrics to him. She would tell him that all he had to do was listen, and he would hear her singing to him.

Pretty romantic stuff. No wonder the twinkle became a dream come true for them, and a pain-in-the-butt for her big brother.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.”~2 Sam 22:2-4

A while back I spent 100 Days writing about the little devotion booklet called “100 Rations”. Dad carried it with him to China and back home. His pocket-sized New Testament still sits on the book shelf behind my desk. He taught me to sing the Marine hymn almost as soon as I could talk. And while I haven’t been able to do it for years beyond memory, once upon a time, I could stand from a cross legged sitting position without even having to think about it.

Veterans are a blessing in this country. Men and women who are willing to sacrifice their time and comforts to protect and serve the rest of us – even unto death. It reminds me that Yeshua did the same thing – only He did it for the whole world.

Gratitude is an attitude. Everyday I need to be thankful for what Veterans have done for me. Thankful for what Christ did for me. I can almost hear my father’s voice reading the last sentence on the postcard: “So here we go. I miss you very much with lots of love and kisses. Boyd”

Love and kisses to all the Veterans and Marines out there tonight. Sweet dreams and thank you for blessing this country – each and every one of you who are reading this and those who are reading over my shoulder from a heavenly perch.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”~Jn 15:13


Ok – here it is – another “Fat Tuesday” – another Mardi Gras – another Shrove Tuesday – and I have yet to find Paczkis in NC. Oh – I could travel 50 miles and find some, but that isn’t really my idea of fun. Surely somewhere within a smaller circle of miles there must be a Polish baker who understands my pain. My former principal certainly doesn’t. She sent me a taunting text last night, and I cried myself to sleep…dreaming of those gut-busting, delicious doughnuts.

So instead – I went and picked up the Grandson, spread my metaphorical mantle over the both of us and rejoiced in his hugs and curious nature. (I’m not quite sure what I will do when he decides to be too big to hug on Grandma all the time. His sister is almost there and it is not easy on the Grandma – sigh)

I tend to think this was a much better way to spend “Fat Tuesday” since ingesting multiple varieties of ol’ Paczkis (can’t say that word anyway) would lead to me having to find a much larger mantle to cover the expanding gut. Soooo – as he curled into my lap (while eating mac ‘n cheese), we read a Pete the Cat book AND solved the major problem of all board games. We figured out that if one dice does not give you the number you want in a board game, there is another cube hidden deep in a drawer that may just be the lucky one you need.

“Elijah went up to him and threw his mantle around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.”~1 Kg 19:19-20

Today, I was reading about the passing of mantles in the Bible world. A mantle was more than just a physical covering that enfolded the prophet or rabbi’s shoulders. It was the spiritual calling, the anointing of God’s blessing and covering presence upon that individual for the Ivrim (Hebrews) and later for the world.

Moshe, as he ascended the mountain for the last time, laid his hands and his mantle upon Joshua. When Elijah dropped his mantle to the ground as the chariot of fire came and whisked him away to heaven, his disciple, Elisha, reached down and picked it up, The spirit of Elijah – the spirit of Elohim came upon him. Each leader – each prophet – each rabbi – passed on his mantle.

[Elisha] took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.”~2 Kg 2:14

When Yeshua entered into the Jordan to be baptized, John passed the mantle just as his ancestors had done. And just as before, the Spirit of the Father descended and covered the man who had chosen to pick it up and carry it forward. But this is where it changes. The mantle Rabbi Yeshua carried could never be carried by just one man ever again. Instead, when He laid down His mantle, the Holy Spirit of God enveloped all who choose to pick up the mantle. We celebrate this day by calling it Pentecost, but in truth, whenever one God’s children chooses to pick up the mantle, to be born-again, the Spirit of God is present as well.

“And during the arriving of the day of Pentecost, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound like a violent rushing wind came out of heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them dividing tongues as of fire and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit was giving to them to utter forth.”~Acts 2:1-4

“Shrove Tuesday” – “Fat Tuesday” – Mardi Gras – however you want to refer to it – was all about spreading my own cozy mantle. Spreading the mantle instead of the girth of my belly. I guess, I’m not ready to lay down my mantle yet. He keeps tell me there are some more rabbi days left in me and most of the time – I tend to believe Him. I just wish he would be a clearer on the specifics of it all. Looking at the backside of a tapestry is a puzzle my brain doesn’t always decipher well.

In any case, day-by-day, I’m definitely spreading my own mantle out over the shoulders of those around me – physically and metaphorically. FB, blogs and Goggle docs keep me writing, editing and teaching in more ways than the traditional classroom allows, and I am enjoying it. I’m also enjoying cuddling under my mantle with the Grands – even techno cuddling via FB with my MI Grands. The blessings of His Mantle never fails.


Since I retired, I have this real aversion to setting an alarm clock – but tonight – I did it. Ready or not – and – as much as I hate waking up before it is light outside – Barbra will start singing, Hurry, It’s Lovely Up Here.
I will throw on my beloved, oldest OSU sweatshirt on, run a brush through my hair and try to convince the girls that they can wait for breakfast until we get back because – yupper – Hubby and I will be voting by 6:30 A.M.
“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage…”
When I sat down tonight with Ration booklet in hand, this Bible verse jumped off the page. Well – not literally, of course – but when the Holy Spirit wants your attention, it knows how to get it by highlighting every letter in this puny brain.
“Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed…”
Compared to most countries, we have it so easy. Our polling place is a hop-and-a-skip from us. We could walk the girls there – if we were a little crazier. Thankfully, we will just hop in the car and trust the knowledge that we have gained over the past year and the principles that have shaped our lives.
“For the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
I love the book of Joshua. I love the foundational stones that I find buried in this book. Who am I kidding? I love every single book of the Bible, and all the Jewish wisdom and traditions that help me grasp the Old Testament a tiny bit more. What can I say? Understanding most of the WORD may be a stretch for me, but I know I will have an eternity to figure it out – eventually – maybe – hopefully – with a little help from my heavenly friends.
Perhaps – understanding will come to our country as well over the next four years. No matter who wins – if we work at it – if we have faith, hope and love – if we strive with our sacred honor – if we unite together once again – we will remember and recognize that the LORD our God is with us whithersoever we goest…even the day after the craziest election ever. Blessings!Be!
1942 Daily Rations: ” ‘Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’~Josh 1:9
“The following letter, parts of which we shall read for today and tomorrow in an actual letter written by an English mother to her son in the war. ‘My dearest boy…
” ‘I don’t now where you are, but wherever it is, my heart is with you day and night. . .I know that kidding you that things won’t be too bad won’t help you in any way. . .You are going to be called on to do tasks beyond your experience and your strength. . .Prepare yourself spiritually before you go. No war ever demanded so much courage, pitting the body against engines of steel. More indestructible than steel, however, is the immortal soul of man.

” ‘Your immortality is your strength. Do no brace yourself into a state of tension trying to build an artificial courage. This way your nerves will snap. Man cannot stand alone and should not try. Connect yourself now with the source of your being and rest secure on the only solid foundation affording a foothold now left in this world. Pray at any time about anything. Think continually ‘God is with me.’ A Presence will come that will never leave you.’ ” [google images}



Okay – today was a whining day. There were stones everywhere I turned (and I do mean that figuratively as well as literally). I hate it when my body aches beyond aches. I hate it when I’m digging in the dirt and keep hitting a endless supply of stones (and yes – again – literally and figuratively) Errrgggggg…

Then – as if to rub it in – God throws this up in my devotional feed: “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” — Ecclesiastes 2:24–25

I was not finding much satisfaction in my toil. I do not do patience well. I want to see results. I want to dig in the dirt, transplant a small, rooted treasure and watch it flourish – – – tomorrow. I want to speak and it becomes. I want to be like my Father. It is also – probably – why there were billions of stones under the spade of my shovel all day today.

While I was mumbling under my panting breath and dragging the shovel that looked totally bent on the sharp end, I’m pretty sure I heard a chuckle. Say what? You see, my mumbling was one of those impromptu complaining prayers. I’m sure you know the kind. Whether you are talking to your bae – your bff – or God, I think we all speak it or at least think it at one time or another. Mine went something like this:

“Seriously, God, I’m old. I’m almost 65. My knees ache. My shoulders ache. Even my feet ache. What were you thinking? How am I supposed to plant a garden and awaken this place to what YOU envisioned when you brought us here?”

The chuckle rumbled over me again. It stopped me in my tracks. It rolled over the hill – in between the trees – lifted the butterfly a little higher in the trees and broke the stone that was hiding a small blessing.

Stones are a pain. They break shovels. They are heavy. They trip us when we aren’t looking. They can block us on our path. Worse, they can blind us to the blessings that are hidden among them.

“In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’”~Josh 4:21

As I stood under the sprinkler, the irony of the chuckle caught me in its grip, and I remembered the verse that has always been our covenant with Our Father. (Did you know that Jesus often prayed the WORD when He talked to His Father?) So after a couple of Aleve and a great salad in my belly, I mumbled a different prayer. One that went something like this: “Okay, quit chuckling. I know I’m pretty slow on the uptake sometimes. So here goes again. I’m asking you, My Holy Father, ‘What do these stones mean’? What am I supposed to learn today?”


  • Patience, Child.
  • (sigh) Do I have to?
  • Humbleness, Child.
  • I know. I’m trying…kinda.
  • Satisfaction in your toil, Child.
  • (downcast)  But it hurts!
  • Joy in the morning, Child.
  • Promise?
  • Find the diamonds hidden amongst the dirt, Child.

“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear [stand in awe] the LORD your God.”~Josh 4:24

Tonight, I sit and let His “stones” of wisdom sink into my psyche, and I wonder if I will ever figure it out. The child who constantly invades my space and gets under my skin. Worldly drama that invades the simple spiritual peace that I try to establish. Unspoken requests on my long prayer list that seem to go unanswered. A house that has rooms of unending projects begging my attention. Writings, books, music waiting to be explored. Hard packed red clay encrusted with stones upon stones upon stones.

I know tomorrow, I will pick up the shovel again. I will chip away at the stones in my way. I will listen for the chuckle and smile. I might have to take a couple more Aleve, but you know? There are definitely worse things in life – like not finding the blessings hidden in His hand. Missing a child’s smile. Laughing with joy in my toil. Maybe tomorrow, I will be able to dig that golden nugget out and put it in my treasure box. And chuckle to myself instead of whining.

[google images]God's laughter


Lent is about to begin.

Where has time gone? Wasn’t it just Christmas? New Year? Moving Day?

The days have been a blur of planning, executing, meeting obligations and wishing that it would go even faster, so that our new house would quickly become a home. From the time I get up in the morning until the time I fall into bed, I have not spent my day the way I really need to spend my day.

On my knees.

In continual awe.

Within holy prayer.

jan 29 2016cI am productive. The house is shaping up. Furniture will start to appear in their proper place this week. A kitchen should start to surround the stove and refrigerator. Hubby is planning an escape to warmer climes. I put up the bird feeder for the multitude of song birds that are hunting food in these wintry temperatures. We’ve found the rock upon which to build a garden around and bless with the Biblical covenant verse that we always use upon our properties. We’ve started to dream even more dreams for this land we have been lead to inhabit.

But –

I have not brought my gifts before My Father. I have not laid them at His feet. I have not even spent time in study. or quiet prayer. I have let the physical world eat up my time in the spiritual realm. I have taken too many steps backwards.

So –

As we approach Lent, I have been thinking more and more about what I need to do to enter the holiness of these 40 days. And – I have decided that I do not want nor need to give anything up. Instead, I need to gather my tiny stones and place them into my bowl, fill it to the brim and bring it carefully to My Father who loves me despite my short-comings.









These are the beginning stone gifts with which I want to fill my bowl and carry into His presence during this Lenten season. Praying for others. Learning to sing a new song. Finding His wisdom. Absorbing His sacrifice into my life. Writing His WORD in my heart. Creating – dedicating all things I do to His glory. Entering my war room on my knees – beseeching and leaning into His teachings in all my ways.

This is the Lenten gift I want to bring to Him.

Rabbi Yeshua knew where His feet would lead has he turned towards Jerusalem. He understood the Rock upon which he stood would crack beneath the weight of the sin he carried A frightening storm would shake the earth to its deepest core. The curtain of the old covenant would be torn asunder and His people would cower in fear.

But –

He also knew that the Grace which would rise on the 3rd day would seal the crack forever. The Light of the world would shine more brightly upon all His creations. And – He would roll back the stone from the Path of Life that leads towards home. His children would be free to set their feet upon His path and follow.

Lent is coming. Shove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday. 40 days to choose once again.

Tonight, I am picking up my bowl. Washing it out. Polishing it. Preparing to fill it with meager, dirty, stone gifts, at least that is how I feel when I compare them to His gift. Where this Lenten path will lead, I have no idea. I never do. But – it always leads to something new and treasured. A step here. A step backwards there. Gifts gathered until I stand once again upon the Rock in this new year of GRACE.

“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”~Josh 4:6-7

[Janet Searfoss art  http://janetsearfossbatiks.com/ ]



Marty Kaufman

If you had told me 35 years ago that I would be moving into a home that needed almost as much work as the first home we lived in after our wedding, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. If you had told me a year ago that I would be moving – period – I would have told you that not only were you out of your mind, but the world must be coming to an end.

Yet – here I am. Getting ready to move, and the world is not ending – yet..

We decided, after a very big and obvious nudge from the Man Upstairs, that the house we were scheduled to build was not our path. All the research, the financing, the permits and land clearing was not our path. It was a little frustrating. And yet – what can you say when nudge after nudge keeps pushing you down a different road? Especially when every home you have ever had has the name “Covenant” as it’s leading word?

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,”~Ex 19:5

Stan poisoning thorns

Hubby poisoning thorns

Right before we got married, we were clearing land of thorns trees and brambles. It was ugly work, but Pop Kaufman’s farm had tough tractors and brush hogs for us to borrow. Needless to say, we had our share of bonfires and aching backs. We set a worn out, delapidated trailer that had no running water, heat or

First garden on our land

First garden on Covenant BS Acres

bathroom. Tiny porta potties to empty daily. (Remember – January wedding) Water to carry twice a day from a stream down a hill (Did I mention it was an early January wedding?) Green wood to try to burn. (Seriously, did I tell you it was JANUARY?) Not to mention, our daily jobs. Hubby milking and farming. Me – grading papers and classroom planning (I know – not proper English).

“Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”~Josh 4:4-7

And yet – it was probably the most wonderful time of my life. It is when we found

Michael and Mysti

Michael and Mysti

a big rock that could not be moved that we decided upon the original property name that made us laugh even as we paid tribute to Our Father – – – Covenant BS Acres or Covenant Land of Milk and Honey. We were a little full of ourselves – if you get the drift of the BS double meaning in this carnal world. We adopted Joshua 4:4-7 as our Bible verse for our new covenant of marriage and land. Even though we were there for just a little over a year, it was long enough to marry, conceive a little sister for our son, Michael, and build a house out of two barns.

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”~Lk 11:28

Back of houseSo here we are – starting our 36th year of our life journey together – moving into a house that needs more work than I really want to do – moving more things than I want to move – and naming our new piece of land that Our Father has entrusted to us: Covenant Eli @ the Haw or Eli Covenant @ the Haw. We are still thinking about it? Got any preference?

jan 8 2016hEvery room needs new flooring and painting.

Non-functioning kitchen and heating system (and I do mean, NON-FUNCTIONING).

Holes in walls, doors to be replaced, disjointed areas that seemingly have no purpose whatsoever and on and on and on.

jan 8 2016bAnd yet – the nudges led us to this particular place. There is beauty there. There are miracles to be found. Gardens to be built. Music to be made. Laughter of the Grands and family to echo through it.

One miracle popped up today. The new home has a fireplace. We were trying to decide how to use it so that we will have heat next week prior to replacing the heating system (a really ugly monster that scares me – a lot). Looked at so many options – wood stove, gas stoves, gas logs – all of them way more than we wanted jan 8 2016ito pay and further than we wanted to travel to get them at a good price. Then another nudge this morning -,gas logs with a remote – cheaper than we had even dared hope, AND – brought right to the general store in Saxapahaw by the owner. We didn’t even have to travel to buy them. Our Father knew we needed this day to work and reassurance that His hands were still nudging us forward.

So here is to a crazy week of following nudges – of tired bodies and minds – of packing boxes – of working harder than we want to work – and – – – praising Our Father for the nudges that put us right at this spot at this particular space in time. Here we come Covenant Eli or Eli Covenant – – – hmmmm…still can’t decide. Time to walk the land and pray that we continue to feel His nudges and make sure the name fits.front housea