Remembering My Mom

 

 

My Mom Margaret E. Kellander March 24, 1942 - November 23, 2011
My Mom
Margaret E. Kellander
March 24, 1942 – November 23, 2011

 

 

I stood with my trembling mother, tears streaming down her cheeks, as she prayed with my pastor and welcomed Christ into her heart as her Savior. It truly was one of my life’s greatest moments.

 

Four years ago today, just two short years after that prayer, she was welcomed home into the arms of that Savior after losing a battle with cancer.

 

I’m so thankful that God had so graciously allowed me to be there that Sunday morning to witness that pivotal moment in my mother’s eternal destiny. He placed a yearning in my heart to pray for my mom’s salvation every single day for over nine years. With those prayers came an unwavering belief that she would come to trust and believe. I cannot describe in words the fire that God placed within my soul over this. I knew that I knew that He was going to bring her home one day.

 

Romans 5:5 says; “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.”

The red rose...Mom's favorite flower.
The red rose…Mom’s favorite flower.

 

Only recently, after a chat with one of my pastors, did I come to see that the yearning, the unwavering belief in my soul was the deep love that Jesus Christ had for my mom. I’m no Bible scholar and far from being an insightful theologian, but as I grow in my understanding I see more clearly God’s sovereignty is always at work. No matter how much I longed to know my mom was saved, Jesus longed for her even more and He had a plan!

 

Because of His great goodness, He allowed me to be a small part of His beautiful, magnificent plan in winning over my mom.

I cannot express the gratitude I feel. God is so good.

One of the last photographs taken of Mom.
One of the last photographs taken of Mom.

I miss my mom more and more every day. But, I have the sweet assurance of knowing that I will see her again as we sing praises to the Lord. Perhaps our new, transformed bodies will be better able to carry a tune.

 

 

 

 

 

Love,

DLF

 

Hurried Times

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The warm rays of sun kissed the crown of my head. A nippy breeze brushed my nose. A multitude of birds sang in a harmonious chorus. Such is an evening in October. Strolling through the neighborhood with my dog, Zoe, that beautiful evening was pure bliss, until…

I was approaching the end of a driveway, heading for home, when a lanky man with snow white hair darted out of his front door to the car in the driveway. He jumped into the car and backed up narrowly missing Zoe and me.

 

Although everything happened within a matter of seconds, I remember thinking,  Surely he sees me, as he approached his car. Then I thought, it’ll take a few moments for him to fasten his seatbelt and look behind the car .Finally, I thought, Hurry! Run! as I did a quick jog, barely being spared of a collision with his back bumper.

He didn’t see me.

He didn’t buckle his seatbelt.

He didn’t look behind the car.

 

He was in a hurry- too much of a hurry. He neglected to do the things he needed to do, things he should have done. In his state of hurriedness he nearly hurt Zoe and me.

I began to reflect on how many times I have moved too quickly, recklessly thrusting into things I shouldn’t have.

Times when my words or actions were impulsive and hurtful to myself and others.

Times when I carelessly shared something told to me in private with others.

Times when I offered my opinion when no one asked for it.

Hurried times…

Times when I had just enjoyed fellowship so much that I didn’t want it to end. So, I invited a houseful of people to my home at a time nearly impossible to manage.

Times when I felt like supermom and signed up for a new project that stretched me and my family too far.

Hurried times…

Times that I didn’t stop to pray.

Times that I didn’t stop and think.

Times that I didn’t count the cost.

Have you found yourself in any of these situations, too?

“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”             (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Let’s slow down. Let’s make the most of every moment. Let’s incline our ears to the whispers of the Holy Spirit.

 

 Love,

DLF

 

 

 

You Are Worth More

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I have a confession. I have a neurotic fear of driving to unfamiliar places. When I need to go to a place I’ve never been to drop off the kids, go to a party, or whatever the case may be, I have my husband, Jim, drive me there ahead of time so I can see the route and pick out landmarks. Crazy, I know.

The problem is that an advanced drive through isn’t always possible. Then I am faced with the decision to trust God as my guide or just not go. Honestly, I’ve probably decided not to go as often as I have decided to trust God.

Fear has stood in my way.

I have allowed fear to dictate to me what I was going to do.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:29-31:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Do you share my fear of unfamiliar roads?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid; YOU are worth more…”

 Are you facing a health crisis?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid; YOU are worth more…”

 Are you facing a financial crisis?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid; YOU are worth more…”

Are you afraid of the crisis in the Middle East?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid; YOU are worth more…”

 Are finances keeping you up at night?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid; YOU are worth more…”

 Are you afraid that your children are making poor decisions?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid; YOU are worth more…”

Are you afraid that you are just not good enough?

Jesus says, “…don’t be afraid;  YOU are worth more…”

 Whatever you fear, whatever troubles you face, sweet friend, always remember and never forget that if you are in Christ; He is in you. And HE says to you today, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

 

Love,

DLF

One Rainy Day

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This post was written for the devotional book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul~Random Acts of Kindness”.  There is no publication date as of yet. It is shared here by their permission. I’ll find out if it will be published as soon as a release dated is issued. It is quite different than my usual posts. I hope you enjoy it!

 

I couldn’t help but to feel grateful for my small five foot frame as I moved around inside my minivan fastening the buckles on the car seats of my daughter, Lindsey, and my son, Devon. Sheets of rain fell from the sky on that chilly autumn morning. Only the most necessary of errands could have moved me out of a warm, dry house on such a morning.

As I pulled out of my parking space and approached the parking lot exit, I looked to the left for oncoming traffic. Much to my surprise, a wrinkly skinned, gray haired lady flashed a toothless smile at me. She stood in the pouring rain with no umbrella and no raincoat waiting for the bus. My heart stirred for her. I couldn’t just drive away and do nothing. I reached back into the New_1_DSCF0701center of the van and pulled out my one and only umbrella and ran it over to her. She took the umbrella without a word spoken as raindrops fell from the gray stringy strands of hair along the side of her face.   She stood holding that umbrella as I pulled out and drove away. Even though I was now soaked to the bone and the kids and I were without an umbrella, I was thrilled at the opportunity to do something for someone else. It was such a gratifying feeling, warming my heart on a cold, raw day.

Later that day, after naps, we were in the kitchen. The sugar cookie dough was done setting up in the refrigerator and we were getting the stuff together to roll out some much anticipated pumpkin shaped cookies. Rolling pin, flour, cookie cutters, parchment paper, two excited preschoolers, all ready for action. The last thing needed was decorative sugar. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the box of colored sugar and handed it to my daughter. The excited smile melted off her face like the last remnants of snow giving way to spring’s warming breeze.

white-kitchen-bakery-cookies[1]“What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked without a clue.

“There’s only red, green, and pink sugar here, mommy. I want orange for my pumpkins,” she said with a heavy sigh.

“Well, baby, it’ll have to do. There is no way on earth that we’re going back out in the pouring rain with no umbrella to buy colored sugar.”

At that moment, as if there was a stage hand at the ready, behind the curtain waiting to ring a bell on cue to keep a play moving in perfect timing…the doorbell rang. Greatly relieved for the momentary pause as my daughter’s lips puckered as if holding back her tears, I scurried to the door. I opened the door just in time to watch a brown boxy delivery truck pull away. Lying on my welcome mat was a package. I thought it must be something my husband ordered. But as I turned and walked toward the kitchen, my eyes gazed down to see my name written on the label. The return address was my friend and mentor’s, Ella. She was an amazing woman. Genuine. Loving. Godly. Sincere.

I couldn’t imagine what she sent to me or why she sent it. She only lived fifteen minutes away. She loved to send cards of encouragement and I cherished each and every one of them. Funny though, I never received a package from her. The kids clamored to help me open the package. Ripping back tape and pulling out crumpled newspaper with the excitement of Christmas morning, we found a card with my name written on it. I lifted it up and Lindsey squealed with amazement and pure delight!

“Mommy,” she said, “LOOK, it’s colored sugar!”

Sure enough the box was full of sugar in every color of the rainbow! Bottles of orange, brown, green, blue, purple, red, yellow, and pink filled the box along with teeny tiny shaped candies. Little pumpkins, leaves, stars, hearts, clovers, candy canes, Christmas trees, and Easter eggs accompanied the brightly colored sugars. Lindsey beamed. Tears swelled my eyes as I read Ella’s card. She had been to a food trade show in Chicago with her husband who is a food broker. She couldn’t wait to get these to the kids and me to enjoy so she expressed shipped them as soon as they were back in town.

I put the card down and wiped my tears trying to refocus on the cookie making process with the kids. I drew a deep, soothing breathe just as Lindsey exclaimed, “Oh Mommy, look how did Ella know that you needed an umbrella?” There tucked in the side of the box was a brand new umbrella with the name of the food show on it.

The rest of the afternoon I felt my feet barely brush the floor as I moved around the house baking cookies, caring for the children and making dinner. I felt light and breezy. I felt loved and loving.

Later that evening, as we finished up dinner, we broke out the cookies. My husband and two older, school aged boys were quite impressed by the decorative candy pumpkins and colors on their cookies.New_1_DSCF0693

“Where did you get them?” my husband asked.                                                                                         .

“From God and Ella,” I answered with a smile that just wouldn’t leave my face.

 

Love,

DLF

Bathrooms and Bereans

 

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After having four pregnancies and given birth to four beautiful children, I have become familiar with the ladies’ restroom in pretty much every place we have EVER been. It was no surprise when I needed to leave the warmth of the Farmer’s Market one cold October morning not so long ago to trudge across the parking lot to the building that housed the ladies room.

 

When I reached the steps at the door of the restroom I was surprised to find a woman standing there. I curiously asked if she was waiting to use the restroom. She said she was but that the door was locked.

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“Locked?” I asked, confused.

“Locked.” She replied.

“How odd,” I said. “If I remember correctly there are several stalls in there. Is someone cleaning?’

She shrugged her shoulders.

 

We waited…

Funny how the cold air enhanced my need to use the room, behind that door.

We waited…

The line grew behind me.

We waited…

Finally, an elderly woman, apparently familiar with this building, questioned why we were all waiting.

 

I told her what the woman in front of me had said and reached my arm beyond her to try the door in order to prove this woman’s statement.

 

I felt the blood rush to my face as the door flew open to an empty ladies’ room with no less than twenty stalls awaiting! A dozen anxious women rushed in behind me as the woman in front of me stood red faced and embarrassed.

 

I pondered over that situation all day long.

 

How often have I accepted what someone had told me without questioning it?

 

Trust is important, no doubt. Questioning my husband when he tells me that he was at work all day would be a foolish waste of energy. He’s never given me any reason to mistrust him. Questioning a girlfriend when she compliments me on my new hairstyle would be an insult to a dear friend.

 

But, there are times when we need to question things we are told. We need to check it out for ourselves. Test it. Seek proof. Then and only then can we accept it and live by it.

 

The Word of God says this in Acts 17:11: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

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Do you do what the Bereans did? Do you dig into your Bible on Monday morning and examine the words that you received at church the morning before? Do you know the Word well enough to digest current events from a Biblical perspective?

 

There was a time when I did not. I was battling a long standing sin in my life and was desperate to find deliverance and peace. So desperate that when I was told to buy certain audios and videos that addressed this sin and listen to them over and over again, I did.

 

I never questioned whether they were true or not. There was testimony after testimony declaring the effectiveness of these teachings.

 

These teachings led me further and further from Truth.

 

My pastor recently said something of this effect, “a sign of maturity is when we no longer get tossed to and fro by the winds of whatever religious trend is permeating the modern church from one day to the next.”

 

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness.”

(2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)

 

Beware of piecing Scripture together to suit a need. I’ve seen many teachers and preachers doing this. I’ve heard many well-meaning friends do this. I’ve done this. We need to consider the Bible in its overarching wholeness when we read each and every individual passage.

 

Redemption through Christ permeates every single page. Every word needs to be read, remembered, and memorized in light of the Gospel.

 

Imagine what could have happened had I never pushed on that ladies’ room door that day. It could have been a disaster of epic proportion. Remember, there were over a dozen of us trusting one woman’s statement as truth.

 

Join me. Be a Berean.

 

Love,

DLF

 

We Need Jesus

There we were sat, I sipping my tea and my daughNew_1_DSCF0690ter and her friend sipping pumpkin spices lattes. The campus shop felt warm and cozy on this cold, rainy October morning. It had been raining all week long. The warmth of the tea filled my mouth and warmed my belly. Delightful.

 

I had my cup poised at my mouth about ready to take a sip when my daughter’s friend quipped, “Look at that guy smoking. He needs Jesus.”

 

My eyes settled on a college student passing by the window where we sat. A twentyish looking man was walking with a back pack on, puffing away on a cigarette. I thought about what my daughter’s friend had said. It wasn’t the first time she had made that particular declaration during her sleep over at our home. This little saying seems to be her first response to anyone behaving badly in any way.

 

I pondered her insight and maturity as the girls chatted about all things teenage girlish.

 

She didn’t respond as I would have.

 

If I had spoken out about that “guy” smoking, it would have sounded more like, “Look at that guy smoking. He should know better. What’s wrong with him?”

 

My response: Judgmental. Critical. Harsh. Unloving.

 

Lindsey’s friend’s response: Truth. Understanding. Caring. Loving.

 

I heard someone once question, “Why are we so shocked when people misbehave?”

 

Sinners sin.

 

The Lord has been really been working this over in my heart. I keep hearing, “Look past what you can see.”

 

We are all created in God’s image. We all have good and bad in us.

 

Oswald Chambers said this in my morning devotion today, “No human being knows human beings as God does.”*

 

Oh, how I pray to see with spiritual eyes, with more clarity than my physical eyes can see.

 

After all, every one of us just “needs Jesus”.

 

Love,

DLF

 

 

*My Upmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, October 4, The Vision and The Verity

Cancer of the Soul

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I sat in my chair in a small Sunday school classroom looking at a handsome man writing on the chalk board (yes, I said “chalk board”…it was that long ago). The man was my Sunday school teacher, who later became my husband, Jim. The words that he scrawled across the board were, “Comparison is cancer of the soul”.

 

POW!

 

I cannot tell you for the life of me what else he said that day, but that phrase has hung in the rafters of my brain ever since.

 

Cancer is an ugly word. Cancer is an ugly disease. My mom died of cancer. It festered for years and she tried to ignore it. Finally, after gargantuan pressure from her family, she sought treatment. Right in the midst of chemotherapy it snuck up her spinal column and attacked her brain!

 

I’ll spare us both and not disclose more detail. You get the picture.

 

It’s sneaky.

 

It’s destructive.

 

It’s merciless.

 

What cancer is to the body, comparison is to the soul.

 

It ravages our self-worth, steals our confidence, and diverts our focus from a loving God to our “pitiful self”.

 

Or maybe it’s even worse. Maybe, just maybe, it puffs us up with pride, fills us with hauntiness, and makes feel like “god”.

 

How do we protect ourselves in a world that is filled with Facebook fabulous lives, Pinterest perfect homes, and Twitter tantalizing gossip?

 

Honestly, I struggle with this, as I suspect most women do.

 

My only answer is…the more time I spend in HIS WORD the better off I am.

 

Why?

 

First of all, it naturally limits my time with carcinogenic social media that can tear at my soul. Every minute spent reading, studying, and meditating on His Word is a minute not being spent on Facebook.

 

Secondly, it reminds me who I am, who God is, and what is truly important.

 

Third, it refreshes my soul and makes it stronger. I love spending time in Psalms when I feel a little beaten up by life.

 

Unlike physical cancer, the spiritual cancer of comparison has a cure.

 

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble and He saved them from their distress. He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.”

(Psalm 107:19 &20)

 

Love,

DLF

 

A Little Humble Pie

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“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”   (Psalms 25: 9 NIV)

 

                I couldn’t have been more embarrassed. Well, maybe if I were standing in my friend’s driveway scooping up grass in my underwear, I may have been slightly more embarrassed.

But, only slightly.

Until this point in my day I was moving along with speed and grace. I had been up since five and whirling through my day.

I studied the Bible…

I walked the dog…

Got the kids breakfast…

Drove them to school…

Exercised…

Vacuumed my entire house…

Made bran muffins…

Wrote a blog post…

Drank a protein shake…

Walked the dog again…

Folded three loads of laundry and put them away…

All before noon!

I was feeling pretty good about it all when I headed to Bible study at my friend’s home. As I turned down her street, I noticed a work van turning behind me. So, I spun around and backed into her driveway as quick as I could tug my little steering wheel. I wasn’t sure which side of the driveway she wanted kept open for her husband, so I popped out of the car and rang the doorbell. I turned to look toward my car and thought, “Oh my, where did they come from?”

Wedged under my car were three bags of yard waste that I had dragged up her driveway from the side of the road. I made a huge mess! Wet, soggy grass clippings, branches, and twigs were all over her beautiful driveway. I never saw them.

I was totally humiliated.

She was gracious.

I was humbled.

Friends, I am so grateful for the Father’s loving care and attention! I beg Him to keep me in His will.  I love it when He puts me in situations like that so I can see how things really are. I can see how much I need Him! I can’t even see a few big bags of yuckiness on my own and make adjustments to avoid them. How many catastrophes has He saved me from? How many hurtful words has He kept from leaving my lips? How many sins has He helped me to avoid? On my own, I make big messes! Not one of my accomplishments could even slightly compare to His.

On my best day with all my ducks in a row, I’m still but dust…

Nothing really of my own accord…

As I give it all to Him I become His masterful workmanship in the palm of His hand.

Love,

DLF

Feet Like His

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His feet were bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters.”   Revelation 1:15 (NIV)

 

When my two oldest boys, Nick (now 24) and Michael (now 22), were feisty little guys, they were into mischief at every opportunity. Once, I walked through my back door to find Michael holding an empty container of dish soap. Beside him sat a baby pool full of sudsy water. I removed the bottle from his hands and passed judgement with the speed of a race horse pressing for the finish line. As Michael spent that sunny afternoon in his bedroom, banished from the pool, Nick played carefree in a freshly refilled pool. Later, after Michael had been disciplined, I found out that his older brother was the responsible party.

I bought into my oldest son’s schemes hook, line, and sinker. I was always busy. Too busy to judge fairly. Quick to blame and quick to pass out consequences. Both my sons suffered for it because one was treated unjustly, bearing consequences that did not belong to him. One was left go free of consequences that would have proven valuable in his training and learning experiences.

In our key verse today we learn that Jesus had feet that were bronze. I recently heard Rick Renner teaching on this verse and he said that this Greek word for bronze only appears here in Revelation and nowhere else in the Bible. He also defined it as meaning that it was bronze and frankincense. My curious mind would not stop milling over those facts. I looked it up and sure enough he was right. The Greek word is chalkolibanon, a compound word made up of chalkos: a vessel of brass and libanos: frankincense.

According to Mr. Renner, the bronze symbolizes judgment and the frankincense symbolizes prayer. Jesus, our Lord and Savior not only judges us He also prays for us.

I always had this image of Him praying and making regular intercession on my behalf. I know He prays continually for all the saints. I know that we pray to the Father in His Precious name.

What finally hit me was that He not only judges justly, He judges PRAYFULLY!

I didn’t know this truth twenty years ago when I was staring into a gazillion bubbles that warm summer day. I didn’t know Jesus at all. But, thankfully I know Him now.

Each passing day I long to grow more and more into His likeness.

Join me today as I pray for abundant growth in this area. To be like Jesus in prayerfully accessing all situations, SLOW TO JUDGE AND ABUNDANT IN MERCY.

 

Father,

May we have feet like that of Your Son and Savior. May we be prayerful in every move we make especially those in which we need Your superior discernment. May we be ever mindful to come to the Only One who judges justly.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Love,

DLF

 

 

 

Transition

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If your home is like the Fair household, you are in the throes of transition.

We have had a major transition at this time of the year, every year, for the last nineteen years.

Shifting from the easiness of summer into the rigidity of school has always been daunting.  Whether homeschooling as we did up to eighth grade or heading off to school, transition requires a great deal of energy.

Sleep schedules need to adjust.  Eating schedules need to adapt. Everybody needs to pull their heads out of the clouds and get refocused.

I’d love to share a few tips and tidbits that I’ve learned through trial and error as well as a few from other resources.  I strongly urge you to check out those resources.  I promise you, it will not be wasted time!

1. Be realistic: it’s okay to eat off paper plates, order pizza in once and while, and let cleaning out the junk drawer slide a little longer.

2. Lists, lists, lists: I love lists! Make a list for everything! To do lists. Grocery lists. This week’s outfit list. Don’t laugh at that one! I wish I had a dollar for every time I reached for a particular shirt or pair of pants only to realize I wore it earlier in the week and it still needed laundered or ironed.  Now I preplan my outfits for the week and I know everything will be wearable when I need it. Speaking of clothes…

3. Lay clothing out the night before along with all the necessary things to start a day smoothly: self explanatory, I know, but it really does help!

4. Use a notebook:  The late Anne Ortlund introduced me to the “notebook” in her book, “The Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman”.  She shares, “After several years of literally living out of it, hesitantly, very hesitantly, I shared it one time at a women’s conference.  Whammo!  It went off like a bombshell. Scores told me they were going home to buy notebooks. I shared it at other conferences, and the feedback began. I’d hear the words ‘it changed my life.’ “. (p.84)  She devoted an entire chapter to the notebook. My first reaction was, I love this book but that idea is truly out of date.  The original copyright date was 1977. I thought, I have an iPad mini and a smart phone. What on earth would I need with a notebook?  Curiosity drove me to Amazon to look and see if they even sold notebooks or day planners in this day and age. Indeed they did. I thought about it, prayed about it, and decided to order one. This one:   http://www.amazon.com/Day-Runner-Undated-Refillable-401-0214/dp/B001C8ELTK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441646525&sr=8-2&keywords=day+runner

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I could not live with out it now!  It has a pocket that my mini tablet fits into perfectly. I keep lists, menus, coupons, sermon notes, prayer requests, appointment cards, business cards, recorded calendar dates, goals, and much, much more in this handy dandy day runner!

5.  Stay healthy:  You may say okaaaay…how?  I love the principles in Stormie Omartian’s book, “Greater Health God’s Way: Seven Steps to Inner and Outer Beauty”.  This book is also an oldie but a goodie.  The steps are simply common sense, godly living; “peaceful living, pure food, proper exercise, plenty of water, prayer and fasting, fresh air and sunshine, perfect rest.”  Chances are if you’re not feeling great, one of these “steps” is out of sync.  Stormie says, “The Seven Steps to Greater Health are a consistent, reliable, preventative way of living that promotes good health.”  (p.27)

6. Guard your prayer time like the warrior you are:  I actually saved the best for last!!! Richard Foster shares, “Prayer catapults us unto the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the Spiritual Disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.” (The Celebration of Discipline, p. 33)

I’ve probably over shared at this point. Leave a comment and add your own tips!  I’d love to hear them!

Love,

DLF