July 10 2015
Sons or SlavesI love camping and this week my husband (Dan) and I went with our family to spend the weekend of the 4th of July camping together. I love camping for so many reasons. I love the great outdoors, being with my family and eating the amazing food Dan cooks over the campfire, but the most wonderful thing I love about camping is sneaking away down by the lake and spending some time with Jesus. The lake is always so peaceful and I can almost see Jesus teaching his disciples alone the shore. This week however was not so peaceful, it was busy. Busy in a good way with food and kids and dogs. Camping can be a very busy time so I had decided that this week I would not have time to sneak off by myself and hear from Jesus. But as we all know we never know where or when Jesus might show up. On Monday after I had packed up I was sitting reading in John 8:34, Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I don't know how many times I have read this verse and have never really understood it. I was always confused about the slave to sin part. But this time as I read it I understood it differently. As I read this passage the light bulb came on and I now understood that I am no longer the slave, but the son. For years I have felt like the slave working out my salvation, the problem with that is their is no rest, no peace, no true freedom. I would find myself judging those who did not work like I did, when Jesus teaches that we are not to judge, only he is the true judge and even then he gets his judgement from the Father. Then all the guilt would come because I had not been like Jesus once again. I was walking in fear, doubt and lies instead of the peace, faith and truth that comes only from the Father. I was walking in the fear of going to hell and doubt of the very existence of God. I thought I was still the slave to sin because I still sinned, but Jesus was teaching a very simple truth. In Jesus time they had slaves and slaves became a part of the family. They might have a slave for many years. They may love that slave as a son. That slave may have raised you and been very much a part of that family, but as much as they were a part of the family they can never be a son. A son must be born into the family. Only when you are born into a family are you a true son and once you are born into that family you can never be any one else son. John 12:35 says The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light. The truth is I became God's son when I was born again into God's family on June 30,1970. Even though I sin it does not make me a slave to sin. I am still his son and nothing can change that. This brings new joy, new peace, new freedom. John 10:27 says My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. It's nice to know that I don't have to be in a special place to receive from the Father. He can teach us at any time and at any place. What is he teaching you today?
June 26 2015
I remember mom telling about the first time she every saw my dad. It was their first day of high school and he was wearing a flannel shirt and overalls. He was tall and his light brown hair was combed neatly to the side. I can still see the sparkle in her eyes as she tells her story. They were married on Valentine’s Day 1942. To me my dad was always a giant of a man. He was a kind and good father and worked hard raising eight children on our farm and providing for his family. In my younger years my dad was an avid hunter. I loved sitting on the kitchen floor and listening to all the story’s he and his friend Carl would tell of their hunting and fishing trips. They would take there coon dogs out and spend long nights hunting. He taught us all the love of nature and enjoyed taking us hunting and fishing with him. I remember him saying on Sundays mornings “the fishing hole is where I go to church.” I thought about that a lot, could one really meet God? And if so, I thought that the fishing hole would be a good place to meet him. He loved my mom and he loved and was proud of his children but there was something missing. Something the fishing hole could not fill, so I started praying for him. I wanted him to experience the love of Jesus as I had. Life was not easy with eight children and as long as I could remember he suffered from chronic pain. I knew our family was praying for him and I will never forget that Sunday morning when my Dad came running out of the house as I walked up our front driveway. There had been a Lay Witness Meeting at our church over the weekend and my mom was put in charge to help. She told my dad” you just had to go!! And now here he was tears of joy running down his cheeks, He pulled me into his arms telling me how he had meet Jesus. I felt engulfed by his love. He told me how he had said to God, I will give you my life if you will save my children. Then he heard God say in an audible voice, ”your children will be saved”. His life was never the same. Our lives were never the same. Their was a peace and joy in him I had never seen before. The same peace and joy I had found. Our God is always faithful and good. Jeremiah 33.3 says Call on Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Dad I miss you everyday but, I will see you soon.
June 12 2015
Its Fathers Day
This is one of my favorite paintings and I am thrilled to share it with you this week. It is a watercolor I painted on a really snowy day in March after I moved to MI. But the real reason I love this painting is not the drawing I did of the cardinal or the small details I made in the trees, but it’s because my Dad made the bird feeder for me. So many things he made for friends and family are beautiful reminders of his love. Everyday as I enjoy all the different things he made for me it makes me so thankful that he was my dad. Thanks Dad, for all your love and teaching us to be children of honesty and grace. You are the best and we miss you ever day.
June 5 2015
As I ran up the hill the joy in my heart was better then Christmas morning. I felt like a new colt trying out his legs for the very first time. I could almost smell the fresh cut hay as I skipped up the sidewalk to our old farm house. I had just stepped off the big yellow school bus. School was out and summer was here. It was like the caged bird had been set free. As I look back on it now I still feel my heart swell a little. Why was I so excited to run to that big farm house? Was it all the exciting things summer would bring on the farm. Sweet corn, state fair, helping my dad with the garden, the baseball games and Forth of July parade. A lot has changed since I was a kid, but I think the last day of school will always be the same. I saw my grandkids on Friday and they were just as excited as I had been. As a child I did not know it was so much more then picnics and ice cream social we would all attend, it was the peace and security I found at home. It was the love of a family and the joy we all shared. Summer is here and the caged birds have been set free. Go out and enjoy it.
May 29 2015
Now that my hip is getting better, I am starting to think that maybe everyone should get have to get a total hip replacement. Not so you can walk like a pirate or even because it might help your favorite dance moves. But having hip surgery has really taught me a lot about having gratitude for the little things in life. Things we don’t think about much, like putting on our own socks, or taking a shower on our own. One morning when our cat was being especially anoining , I decided I could feed him. How hard can it be to feed a cat? How hard can it be to pour a half cup of cat food into a bowl waiting on the floor four feet below? Of course I can not bend over. All those tiny morsels flying across the floor like so many marbles. Three did go in the bowl and lucky for Dan the cat cleaned up my mistake. It reminded me of all the times our children would try and pour their own breakfast cereal, and they were probably thinking like me how hard can this be anyway? So many things we do everyday and I don’t even begin to think about be grateful. Things like unplugging the curling iron, painting your toe nails, having toes ( I have to put this in because my dad did not have all his toes and we always said he would be dancing in heaven with Jesus with all his toes.) picking up your cane, making the bed, brushing your teeth without spitting on yourself, making your own breakfast, carrying your own coffee, changing the tp roll. It seems all the little things you want to do yourself just got a lot harder. I would not have been able to gotten this far if it had not been for my wonderful nurse Dan (my husband) he has been their to put on my socks and pull up my pants, to help me with my shower and fix my meals. He has been my chauffeur and my coach. He has given me strength when I thought all my strength was gone. When we were in the hospital he told the nurses that he would be taking care of me when we went home, that gave me such a sense of comfort and wellbeing at a time I really needed it. An in all this I can see us grow closer together. Jesus taught his disciples that the greatest in the kingdom of God was the servant. Not the prettiest or the smartest or the richest but the one who serves the other with a good and loving heart, the one who does the little things. It all makes me understand why Jesus made us man and women. The Bibles says two cords are better then one. We really do need each. In all the little things in life and all the big things, I need him and he needs me. The plan that God had made is perfect and why should that surprise me.
June 12 2015
When I was young I did not see to many challenges in my life. Life was beautiful and good. I had married to a wonderful man. We had two beautiful little girls. I knew very little about challenges, real challenges and besides when the challenges of life come one just takes the lemons and makes lemon-aid right?? This is what I had heard and this is all I had really been taught about the problems of life that we all go through. Then the truly dark days came when my dear husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. We could not even find the lemons let alone make lemon-aid. Though some days were sweeter then others. It seemed that over night life had gotten hard really hard and just holding on was the challenge of the day. After his death the dark days only became darker. The lemons had all but dried up on the vine. I felt really lost and disconnected. Then my two wonderful grandsons were born and life seemed to come back into me once again. Life, there is something about those tiny hands. Through there birth hope and joy returned. I found that life goes on, my husbands life would go on. I knew I had to live my life again. This is when I married Dan Nordeen and moved to MI. The lemon was fat and juicy once more. I seemed to have had a lot of different challenges in my life, haven’t we all? And through them all we learn to lean on God’s love, we learn to lean on Jesus. God’s plan is beyond our understanding, It is far beyond our thought or reason. The simplest things in life can bring us the greatest strength and courage. We learn that he is always faithful, even when the fruit of the vine is all dried up and their is no rain in sight. His goodness is always unchangeable. Life is full of all kinds of challenges some bigger then others. I have lived through many of them. On May 18, 2015 I had total hip replacement surgery. Now here I go again. Learning to walk again, strengthening my leg, taking medication and hoping and praying that I will walk and live without the pain. This Saturday those two baby boys will both graduate from Waverly High School, bonding with my Grandchildren, watching them grow and mature into two wonderful young men, seeing the generations go on, this can give us the courage and fortitude we all need to walk through the struggles we all face. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but we can rest and trust that a strength much stronger then ours will be there. Jesus has not forgotten us……He will never forget us. And when we think all is lost he will give us the courage to go on.
June 5 2015
The Power of Love
There has been so many times in my life that I thought I could not go on. So many times I thought that I was not going to make it in this life. A couple of years ago I really did not know if I could make it from day to day. I was suffering with so much chronic back pain I was not sure how I could live life another day let alone a life time. On days like this I would find myself looking at pictures of our family and asking myself how could I leave them. How could I put that kind of pain and confusion into there young lives. Lives with so much potential. That is when I would take these pictures and cry. I had prayed and I had fasted, I went forward for prayer more time then I can count. I had bound demons and tried diets and kept track of pain levels, went to countless doctors and still the pain was so great I was not sure if I could go on. It was at this time I started to doubt my faith. Was I losing my mind? How could my God not hear me? How could he not answer me? I believed Jesus was love, but how can love not heal my pain? This was also about the time I lost my sister to cancer. The dark days. I believe it was fear that would not let me talk to anyone about it. I did not want to burden them even more. I think my husband started to see I really needed help. So that spring I started going to a pain therapist at The Spine Center in East Lansing. After seeing him for a while, he had the great idea of getting out each day by going to the gym, to build my muscles, to give me a reason up get dressed and get out every day. He also encouraged me in my painting, thinking I was a wonderful artist and telling everyone in his office about it. This is probable one if the hardest things I have ever done. I was in so much pain how could I get up and go to the gym? So I started out slowly, very slowly. A lot of days I just wanted to stay in bed and cry, but I knew that was not going to help anything. So day by day I went and slowly I started to feel better. My doctors worked with me with my pain medication. Friends rallied around me and gave me encouragement. And slowly, very slowly and years later I began to feel better. My spirit began to feel joy again as I got the pain under control. I still feel at times time I am juggling a dozen eggs, but as I look at my wonderful grandchildren I know it’s all so worth it. It has been a lot of work. A lot of patience for me and my husband. But love never fails. As I look back I see it was love that kept me. Love is a very powerful force. It will help us work harder and be a better person than any other power on earth. We will not give up because of love. Never, Never give up. We do not know all that Jesus has planed for us. I would never had dreamed that I would have a website. I would never had dreamed that we would be opening a gallery, with my paintings in it this November. My dreams are one by one coming true. I always believed I was to help teach people and now I have my own blog. Wow!! It is so amazing how truly faithful our God is. Even when we doubt and fail him he is always faithful. So if you are struggling today just remember that we can trust our God. He well never fail us. Keep on dreaming, keep on believing. Never, Never give up. May 18, 2015 I will be going in for a total hip replacement surgery. My doctors believe this maybe the cause of a lot back problems. I am believing that I am only getting better and better. I know there is a lot of work ahead of me but I have love to keep me focused on the goal. I believe I am coming out of this better then ever. I will keep you up to date. Thank You for all your love and prayers.
May 22 2015
Love From God’s Hands
My heart is broken by the deception of man and the lack of understanding of mankind. Who are to teach our children? Satan does not eat the apple of purity one bite at a time but nibbles away at it small bites at a time. Making our nation and our children more and more confused. Yet it is simple, the Bible is all truth and we can stand on every word. In this there is peace for all. Love your enemies, feed the poor, do good who persecute you. I want and believe you want your children and grandchildren to live in peace with themselves. Having a good self-worth. Knowing they have been made in the very image of God. Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” and in verse 30 it says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” God sees you and your children and he says you are very good. This is Philantia a love of self. In the Greek there are many different words for love. Agape may be the most familiar, it is the love for God, brotherly love, charity, good will. Storge,is a love and affection for our children, a natural affection. Eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty and contributes to the understanding of spiritual truth, a man for a women. Philia, is a deep friendship, a loyalty to a friend. This is the love where guys go to the game, help one another move, be their when their first child is born, a strong love for a friend and a wonderful love, God wants us to have Philia in our lives to make them even more meaningful and full of joy. This is the kind of love Jesus had with his his diciples. Just like our God love is to big for our understanding. He gives us all the kinds of love we need to be and stay holy in his eyes. It is wonderful when sister loves sister and brother loves brother. We only get into troubles when we mistake love for lust. His holiness is our greatest goal. Wow that sounds too holy, but it’s really only means to be whole and isn’t that what we all want. It keeps us always moving forward always pressing on to a higher calling. Psalm103:11 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him: as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Now that is good news. He made us! He loves us! And he forgives us. Find someone to love today and know it’s from the very hand of God.
May 8 2015
Bugs and Stuff
Last Friday I had the wonderful opportunity to go with my granddaughter Kayla on a field trip to Michigan State University with her second grade class. Since the University is so large I really had know idea where we were headed on this beautiful spring day. The only thing I was sure of was we got to have ice cream some time, which seemed to be the most important event of the day in the minds of this second grade class. Come to find out our first stop was The Bug House were they learned all the parts an insect. As an artist I could hardly sit still as I saw the wonderful displays of beauty on the walls and today they did not disappoint. The colors of the butterflies were almost beyond explanation. The closest I can come is a metallic blue, that no man can imitate, the greens in the biggest beetles you have ever seen were so shinny you could almost see your self in the reflection. The beetles were beyond description. I can just see Jesus with his paint brush painting each dot and stripe. Choosing the colors of each stripe and placing a large black horn on the rhino beetle. Loving the sweet taste of honey that comes from his bees. The scripture say in Romans 11: 26 For from him and through him and to him are all things. Did you know you were created for him? As I look out my window this morning I see my birds, so many sizes and colors. The yellows of the finch, the red in the cardinal, the black bird with those wonderful metallic black feathers. The call of the blue jay as he calls to his mate. Why? Why? Why would God take so much time to create all the wonder and beauty we see all around us? I believe it is one of the ways that he has chosen that we might know him better. The more we see his beauty and give glory to the one who created it, the more we can know him. He is too great to explain himself. He is beyond reason. Next, we went to the science building were they talked to the children about the atoms and how they are trying to find matter even smaller then atoms. They explained how we are all made of cells and with in the cells are atoms which are even smaller than the cell, and that all things are made up of matter but really know one really knows how all this matter sticks together. But in scripture we read He(Jesus) is the radiance of the God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, who hold all things together by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3. Wow, everything seem to come back to him if we are only looking. He has given us eyes to see and a heart to believe. One day his mercy will once again be poured out on his beloved Jewish people but for today he is crying out for us to know him. He is crying out for us to teach our children about him. He has given us his beauty and his glory. He has paid the price that we might know him. Well we answer this call??
April 23 2015
Gardens in our hearts
I think Dan described this day perfectly when he called it glorious. Spring, the flowers are starting to show off there lovely colors, the sun is warmer and the smell of hamburgers on the grill, as I sit on our patio basking in the sun and writing. As I picked up my rake to work on our big flower bed, the one I call the sun garden, I noticed winding between all my small flowers, weeds, they don’t even care that they are unloved and unwanted, they are the only living thing that I have founds that you can cut there heads off and a couple weeks later are alive and healthy. The creepy ones are hard to see and hard to pull. The more I pulled the more I found. It started to seem like a never ending job. But as I pulled I began to think that my flower garden is a lot like our hearts. Some times with out even knowing it we let the weeds of greed, jealously, pride or self centeredness some how creep in. Well, I can tell you one thing I am the master of my garden! I have the say as to what stays and what goes. And just like our flower garden we have been given authority over our own heart. We choose what will grow down deep in the cracks of our soul and we also choose when we are going to say no!! I will not disrespect my husband any longer, or be so greedy or unloving or a thousand other things that we are working at to become more like the one we love, Jesus. Sometimes the weeds have taken over so much of our hearts we start to think that it is an impossible task, the soil of our heart is just to hard, but just like my mom said, just take one day at a time. Choose a spot that needs work and work from there. Our life is not a sprint but a marathon. Working day by day checking for the weeds that may have snuck in and rejoicing over new victories. You may find that you need more then just you and your hoe, and just like your garden you need a spade or a weed wacker to take care of the really big problems. At times like these we may need our mates help, pastor’s help, life group friend, or even a doctor to help you out of life’s problems. So many time when we need help, pride steps in, we think we can handle it on our own, but it’s ok to get help. All of us at one time or another have needed help. But even with all this help we might think it’s going to come easy, but then it takes time to grow and mature in areas that have been laying dormant. That’s ok…….give yourself time. The important part is that we are growing, like our gardens we are becoming more and more beautiful ever day.
April 16 2015
I love this weeks featured painting. It reminds me of Revelations 22:1. “ Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.” The Bible says that the throne of God has beautiful colors coming from it like a rainbow. The foundation of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone, emerald, jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, sardonyx carnelian, topaz and more. The walls were made of jasper and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. Hebrews 12: 22 But you have come to the city of the living God. You have come to thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first born. Wow now that is where I want to be. As I think about Easter I get so excited………Jesus blood was the perfect sacrifice accepted by God for forgiveness of sin. I will see Jesus…….I will see my sister, my father, my husband. He has risen from the dead. What could be better. Some days this life’s journey seems so long. Jesus gave me an example of an egg and we are pecking away at life like a baby bird, a little at a time, very slow, hard work, boring and monotonous at times but in the end, the great joy that is set before us. We will sore like the eagles. The Father God is preparing a place for us and it’s not on a cloud playing harps. But a city, a wonderful home where we will be his people and at last, he will be our GOD.
April 9 2015
Spring and Suffering
To my great surprise Dan came home yesterday with a beautiful Prim Rose. It was pink with a yellow throat and ruffly dark green leaves. What is it about a man bringing flowers to a woman that makes our heart soar? To me Prim Roses have always been one of the first signs of spring. The beautiful bright colors in all the stores or on our kitchen window sills, just says ”spring is on it’s way”. Its kind of like the first good rain storm that washes the winter blues away. We just know that spring is just around the corner. But for some even the Prim Rose can not drive our blues away. I use to think that Jesus could not possible understand my life. What did he know about pain and suffering? But then, I read in Luke 22:44. How Jesus was at the Mount of Olives, praying to his Father about his up coming death, he was in anguish and began to sweat drops of blood. Jesus knew what the cross would mean. To take on the sin of the whole world. Like the Prim Rose Jesus came to give us hope. Jesus knows that this world is not easy, he wants to take our hand and walk our path with us. He understands that there is great suffering. He also knew there would be great suffering before great triumph, but I’m not sure that made it any easier as he cried out to his Father “ my God my God why have you forsaken me.” Just like springtime comes from the cold ugly days of winter. Jesus knew that the resurrection was not the end, but only the beginning. Our best days are yet to come.
April 3 2015
I never understood the parable of the talents, it has haunted me for years keeping me up at night not wanting to be that third man. It was not until recently that I began to understand. Jesus was on his way to be crucified and he told the people around him this story. It’s found in Luke 19:11. A man was the ruler of a kingdom, but the people did not want him to be their ruler. The ruler went on a trip and when he left he gave three men talents. He told them to use the talents wisely because he was going to return. The first man used his talents wisely and the Lord gave him, authority over ten city’s when he retuned. The next man was not so wise and the ruler said “ You shall be over five city’s”. The third man was afraid and put his talent away in his handkerchief. The ruler was so angry he told him to give his talent to the first man and he was to be slain before them. Wow, does this sound like the Jesus weak and mild? The Jesus we are taught about? But, it is important if we are to know Jesus that we know the true Jesus. Are we to fear God? I was taught to have a reverent fear of God, as it says in Hebrews, “It is not good to fall into the hands of an angry God! This is the new testament God. But Jesus wanted the Jewish people to know he was giving them a very precious gift………that of himself. They were to use the gifts and talents for his glory until his return. He has given each of us the gift of himself and many talents. Some have the gift of laughter and can make people smile and feel better about their day. Others love the soil and feed the world. I am creative, many are good with money. Doctors and nurses care for people. Mother’s care for children. It use to really up set me when I saw smart kids waist there talents because school did not come easy for me. I look back on the Jewish nation and how it must had sadden Jesus because they would not accept him as there God, just as the parable said. Jesus wants us to remember that, yes it has been a long time but he is coming and he will ask each of us what have you done with your life, for my glory, for my kingdom? Church’s are changing but it is very important that we know the true and living God. Jesus used many parables trying to help finite man to understand God. One I like best is The Prodigal Son. God has his arms out stretched to you. The other is the parable of The Banquet Table. The angels of God are sent out to find anyone to come. The door to the Throne room is still open.
March 26 2015
Freedom over Guilt
As I think about my dad and all that he meant to me, I think about how He lived with chronic pain most of my life. I really never knew a time when he was pain free. He was suffering, but I never understood his pain. Not that I didn't want to understand, but I truly did not know how to understand it. I could not understand it until I had lived through it myself. I believe now that it is very hard for us to understand things we have never been through. After church today my husband and I were talking about parenting and how we really don't have a clue how to parent until we become parents ourselves and how it is so much harder than we ever thought it would be. Isn't that how life is? We really don't understand what someone else is feeling and their struggle, unless we face it ourselves. So many time we beat ourselves up over thing we don't understand, things we had no control over, things no one ever taught us. If your like me you are probably an expert at beating yourself up. Jesus does not want us to live in a world of guilt. He came that we might be free. Free from the guilt and pain. So many times we bury our guilt and shame like it was a precious treasure, when really it's more like a dead skunk tied around our neck. Jesus wants to take the stench of guilt and shame, and that is really good news. Hand it over to Jesus he is big enough to carrie your load.
March 19 2015
I was thinking about my dad this morning and the blessing he was in my life. He was a man of integrity. He always seemed so proud of us, his children. I find it amazing that I have my own website, a dream come true. For the past ten years I have suffered with chronic pain. My hope in writing to you is to be an encouragement. If you suffer from chronic pain or not we all know that we need to be there for each other, life can be hard, at times really hard. Some of us might even be asking ourselves are we going to make it in this life? It could be your career, marriage, your health, kids, husbands, what ever it is we need to be there for each other cheering each other on, saying you can make it. For some of us it's going to take a work, a lot of work, it can take a step of faith, it might take more patience than you think you could ever have. It's in times like these we must remember Jesus is with us and He will help us if we only ask. I have been through losing my husband to cancer, living with chronic pain, having rebellious teens, but He (Jesus) always remains faithful walking along beside you and me with His arms spread wide saying welcome home my child. Thanks dad, I miss you. And have fun painting.
March 6 2015
Welcome to Carols Corner
I want to welcome you to our website abstractbycarol, it is a dream come true. I started painting in my early twenty's. In 2010 I became interested in painting abstracts. I truly fell in love with the freedom I found, the way the colors blended together and the joy it brought creating strong and graceful pieces. I loved how simple lines could become oceans waves and colors you might never use together could appear beautiful clouds. I am so thankful that I have the chance to bring my art into your home. My goal is to bring art that would create a sense of joy, peace, and beauty. My hope is that we might become friends and I can bring a little hope and encouragement to you each week. I will be posting a new blog each Friday.
Thank You again, for coming to visit me.