-- In His Strength: August 2005 www.superfluousbanter.org

In His Strength

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength --- Philippians 4:13

Monday, August 29, 2005

"I shall never surrender or retreat!"

I recieved an e-mail a few days ago that really spoke volumes. A friend of mine had forwarded one to me, and I signed up to continue receiving them. In this particular email, one paragraph really stood out to me
Here is an excerpt,

The Alamo is that old Spanish mission in the heart of downtown San Antonio where 189 brave freedom fighters took their stand against the army of Mexico in the battle for Texas independence. I visited the Alamo recently, and once again I was moved by the sacrifice of those men who gave their lives for the cause of freedom, but only after inflicting some pretty heavy losses on the enemy army and inspiring the ultimate victory with the Texas battle cry, "Remember the Alamo!" Colonel William Travis was in command of the garrison as his valiant band stood against those overwhelming odds. I was especially moved as I read the letter that Colonel Travis wrote addressed to "the people of Texas and all Americans." In fact, I was so moved that I read part of it to the 5,000 young people I spoke to that night. He said, "The enemy has demanded a surrender. Otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat." That's more than history. It's a battle cry for you and me.

(bold italics mine)

At times I have wanted to give up, throw in the towel, cash in my chips. Life just seemed too hard. Surgery, illness...which led to difficulty in school-missed homework, low grades. Not to mention concepts you could explain to me until we are blue in the face and I still wouldn't understand.

Another line in the email

your enemy the devil keeps calling for you to surrender - surrender to
discouragement, to despair, to bitterness, to disobedience, to retreat.

All my life I have heard of how much I wouldn't succeed. #1 beign my dreams for college and career. an agency I heard of that could help me pay for college ran me through a series of academic and vocational tests and had me talk to a counselor. I assumed it was their subtle way of telling me I wasn't cut out for college. I wasn't discouraged however. It had just fueled my ambition even more. (Take that!)

I know people who have turned away from Christ and I just dont understand.

Our answer every time the enemy strikes forever and always shall be, "I shall never surrender or retreat!"

I know mine will be

Listen to the audiobroadcast here

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Spoiled Rotten? I Should Think So!

My roomate J brought home yet another sample of doggie goodies for Alehe. Now if I forget put it on her food, she looks at me as if I am forgetting something. She hesitates eating her food if I forget.


Pondering Contentment II

In the midst of writing the post "Pondering Contentment", I started to think about the meaning of contentment, what the dictionary said versus what the Bible said. Since I was too lazy to wheel across my bedroom to my bookshelf, I looked at dictionary.com

Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied.
A source of satisfaction
happiness with one's situation in life

I was surprised to see scripture later in the page accompanying more definitions in the online dictionary ( I looked these scriptures up too)

a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it maybe(1 Tim. 6:6&8; 2 Cor. 9:8).
It is opposed to envy (James 3:16),
ambition (Prov. 13:10),
anxiety (Matt. 6:25, 34), and repining(1 Cor.10:10).
It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Ps. 96:1, 2; 145),
the greatness of thedivine promises (2Pet. 1:4),
and our own unworthiness (Gen. 32:10);
as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Rom.5:2). Phil 4:4, 11 -13

It taught me a lot about our needs versus our desires. God may not always meet my wants, but He will always meet my needs. Lately I have been praying about what God would desire me to have. I read somewhere to throw away my list of desired traits in a man and to trust God in giving me exactly what I need. Self-seeking attitudes only lead to confusion.

A Quote from Elizabeth Elliot's Passion & Purity
A good and perfect gift these natural desires, but so much the more necessary that they be restrained, controlled, corrected, even crucified that they might be reborn in power and purity for God.

A statement from Ron Hutchcraft ministries says “We're lonely for God. Because of our sin we're away from the one who alone can fill the spiritual hole in our heart. That's why no earth relationship has ever been enough.” I find that on the days I neglect to get into His Word, I feel a loneliness creeping up inside me.

Speaking of relationship ever being enough, that is one of my fears is that when I do finally marry, will I still have this intense desire for something greater.

I am learning that being content is a choice we make, we can pray for God to help us choose contentment, but the ultimate decision to be content is ours. For so long I was afraid to be content. I had feelings that if I was content, I would never be with someone. I once prayed for these desires to be taken away, if they were indeed of the flesh and not from God. They only grew in intensity. Which grew confusing until I heard that God had given these feelings to me and I needed to give them back to Him to see what He would do with them. (Lord, use them for Your glory!)

If being satisfied is what God wants, then my prayer is for contentment. After all, it may only be for a time. But what if it is for eternity? I pray the Lord's coming be soon! But for now, I will go on living as though God were my husband.

Can I be content? Philippians 4:13 says I can


Saturday, August 20, 2005


Why can't they live as long as we do? I was thinking about it a few days ago"let's see, I am on servicedog number three. I wonder how many that will be by the time I get to Heaven." At least ten give or take a few.
Everyone seems to have different opinions about whether or not pets go to heaven too. I used to say "If they're not there, I ain't goin'!" With how many animals some people own in a lifetime, If they did...would there be any room left for us?
I am really attached to Ally, and hate to think of her nearing the age of retirement. In fact, when I boarded the plane with her for the trip back to Montana after training, I had a long talk with her"now Ally, listen up, you better last me a lot longer than eight years (how long I had Glenda) 'cause like they say"Time flies when youre having fun". And time with Glenda went by just too dang fast!
(That picture, Ally... with her favorite toy!)

Check out a previous post "Beavertail Hill State Park" as I have posted the best of the pictures I took of the trip.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pondering Contentment

I guess this whole idea of contentment has been stirring in me for weeks. What is it? What does it mean? Why am I so scared to be content in areas of my life?
Growing up, materialism ruled in my life bigtime. I loved the stuff I had, but wasn't satisfied with it, I wanted more. I grew up in a family who had a lot of stuff and every time I turned around, we were selling it or buying it. Today however, that has since changed in me. Now I look around at my stuff and think to myself, "Now, what can I get rid of/live without?" !
Contentment. Oh how it used to scare me to pray for it. It scared me to be content with my singleness. If I was content, would that mean God would never let me be with "the one"? Does he even have one picked out for me? I was made fun of, picked on so much as a kid, the way I looked, walked... I believe that is what sparks the latter questions. I have a hard time believing it when people tell me He does have someone in mind for me.
I made a mention of my singleness in a previous post and received a reply from a friend who made such comments as "God said we aren't ripe yet" and "just waiting for Him to pick us like some fat cantaloupe." the phrase "fat cantaloupe" made me crack up laughing for some reason.
I read books by Elizabeth Elliot and Joshua Harris. Books on dating to me were the closest thing I had to dating, and I read them, and read them, and read them whenever I felt the longing inside me. Today, I reach for my Bible. Joshua Harris's book only made me smarter in the choices I make for what I wanted in a relationship. Going from "don't care if he's a Christian or not", to "being a Christian is the only requirement", to still even "okay, a few things in common is good enough", even now reading all that God would have us require in a future spouse and not knowing what I want because what I used to want doesn't even seem to matter anymore. I never did want someone who used a wheelchair like I do. God knows I fell for someone like that at one time. But he responded to a friend of mine (right in front of me!) "she's funny, but..." and didn't bother to finish the sentence. (Ouch!) I wanted him to be my date for the senior prom, though he went to a different school. He supposedly was taking another girl to her prom that night. That was the first and last time I ever had the nerve to do the asking.
I hear of people getting exactly what they want in their spouse and people saying to ask for these specific things and God will give it down to the last detail, I just wish I had the faith to believe that right now. I often hear people telling singles "Don't settle".
I can identify with some of El Blogo De Lafalda's blogpost 'Pondering loneliness' and her questions "what is this thing? Why does it hurt so deeply? What is its purpose? Is it simply a means to make us seek God? ...How can I be surrounded by the best friends in the world and still feel so alone?" and one of my own "What is God's purpose in allowing us to walk through it?"
Living in the Chi Alpha house was amazing the first year. I lay in bed after the night's house meeting thanking God for getting me involved, and for each person that lived here. Then, I was in attendance for the weddings of two now former roomies and got to thinking-"will I ever..." , secretly hoping my living in community wouldn't last for long. But at the same time, not wanting Chi Alpha to lose the house because mom and dad said that if I ever moved out, it would be sold.

Speaking of weddings, I can't help but sit through a wedding and daydream of my own. I once had a file on my computer that listed ideas for an ideal wedding, but erased it for some reason I still don't understand. Maybe it was a God thing.
Tired of this longing in me, I have asked God on numerous occasions to take it away yet only for it to grow stronger.
I have been praying into a prophecy spoken over me a few years ago. I was at a Chi Alpha retreat and a young girl in our fellowship had planned for the speaker we were to have. The speaker is a good friend of her family's and was gifted in prophecy. "Don't be afraid to love" was just one of the statements she made to me. The statement left me wondering, "what does this mean!?"

And no, I didn't write this all in one day.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Western Montana Fair

So I haven't put up a post in a week as I have been busy. The Western Montana Fair was this week and I volunteered to help with our church's Chicken Pita booth to help raise money for different programs in our church. I did have time to take in two nights of the rodeo. Awesome.
(not that I had any doubts it wouldn't be)
While watching the rodeo, I wondered about the cattle used in the roping: are these the same cows used year after year? I am sure they do for the bulls and horses that the cowboys ride because of the records you hear of the bull or horses making (such as a rider not been able to stay on him for 8 seconds).
There were a few funny moments while watching the rodeo. On two seperate occasions, either a bull or a horse did not come charging out of the chute when the gate was opened. Durign teh steerwrestler portion of the rodeo, I had to laught when a cowboy's horse was goign too fast for him to get off. The bummer part was that he received a 'no time'. But He did get a chance for a redo. At least, I think it was him. A young boy walked by the rodeo arena and asked the rodeoclown if he got paid. I can't remember what his answer was.
No major injuries this year. One cowboy was run over by his horse when he jum[ped off in an event. He was fine.
The horses were beautiful. I drooled over quite a few- mostly the paints, but a few palomino's too. The Bitterrot Mountettes had their horses feet decorated in red ad bklue sequins around their ankles. Two horses really caught my eye with their markings. one paint had what looked like an upside-down heart on his rear. One half on one side of his rump, the other half on the other side. On the side of yet another paint, it looked as though someone had painted a capital H. I really started missing my quarterhorse I had a few years back, but gave up when I returned to college after having to pull out for a while.
Vince Bruce, a trick roper from the "Wild West of London" was the entertainment during a short break. He was amazing (and funny) with routines he had developed over his thirty-year career. His grand entrance was standing atop two paint horses, one foot on each horse's back and holding the reins of each horse in his hands. One of his tricks was to snap a playing card out of the air with his bullwhip. The best part was his horse Silver- a silver unicycle with a mane and tail.
Because I was a worker at Christian Life Center's chicken pita booth, I was able to get in the gate with a free admission, I had to pay for the rodeo though. No worries. After being lifted up one step into the booth, I was able to take peoples orders, get peopple's pop, or on the second day, make icecream cones. pop and icecream were dirty jobs, at least for me. In two days, I counted eleven times I gave my hands a bath with the filling of the paper cups with soda. I had forgotten that we had rootbeer adn Dr. Pepper. At one time I gave a young woman a Dr. Pepper instead of a Rootbeer like she ordered. Oops. oh well, you can hardly taste the difference.
Filling the ice cream cones was no easy feat either. I can't seem to make a straight one to save my life! It was more like the Leaning Tower of Ice Cream. After the third try I think I finally gave up. Everyone else can do it, why can't I !?
I checked out a chiropractors exhibit at the fair. They had this amazing recliner. It massages your back, neck, calves and feet. One of my roomates and I fell in love with it, immediately. We were both in it for 15 minutes at least. I was a noodle the rest of the day. Mom and dad would get it for me and write it off as a medical expense if they had the money. (Uh, Lord...?)

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Monday, August 08, 2005

9pm rush to the Vet

So Ally had to puke today...four times!!! My poor roommates were stuck with the task of cleaning it up too. A big thanks to J and L for their help. I just can't clean up stuff from either end of a dog. Not that I am physically incapable of doing it mind you, my stomach just would not allow it. I would be dashing for the toiletbowl if I had to clean it up...been there, done that. I usually have one hand over my mouth so I don't hurl, and one hand cleaning up whatever the dog did from either end. Poor J is the same way, and yet she does most of it...bless her.
So I called the vet at around eight thirty (Pruyn Vet hosp. has an after hours emergency clinic) this evening and the nurse on duty said it sounds serious and to bring her in right away, can I be there in 15 minutes. I shook, thinking to myself "okay, she knows something I don't and has to explain it to me in person!" So we got her there and got her checked out. Everything seemed normal, so the vet gave her a shot; antidiuretic/antibiotic. She said even with the heat it is not normal for a dog to throw up that much in one day (she threw up both her morning and night feedings plus two more times). I am giving her nothing but water tonight and tomorrow she gets white rice for breakfast. (lucky dog).
Next month it will be 12 years since I lost my first servicedog Fremont to cancer. Any last minute or emergency trips to the vet have scared me to death ever since then. Maybe in a future post I will share the story.
I'm sure she'll be her same goofy dog self in the morning.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Alison Krauss and Union Station Concert at UM Adams Center

Wednesday August third two thousand and five. Alison Krauss and her band Union Station were performing a concert at the University of Montana Adams Center. I left Ally at home 'cause she'd get scared when there's loud music (I made that mistake one too many times, poor girl). Besides, she had just had a great workout swimming in the Clarkfork River by Beavertail State Park(See previous post Beavertail State Park).

The entire concertwas fantastic, definately worth the money. And i think AKUS have earned themsedlves a few new diehard fans. Mixed in with their singing, there was a lot of humor. The drummer was said to have had a different hairstyle for each performance. On Wednesday night's performance she called it "rough and rugged". One of the band members did a voice over for Geroge clooney in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. She claimed that this band members voice and George Clooney were her fantasy.

Alison introduced each of the band members throughout the night. Both Janine and I thought the bass player was hot. I couldnt see his face very well at a distance, but his buff arms looked mighty fine!

The band played music for two hours exactly. The second hour I thought was the best. Not only were they songs that I was familiar with, but you were able to hear the words a lot better. Some of these songs included:
Baby, Now That I found You...
Man of Constant Sorrows
Down to the River to Pray
the Smile on Your Face

Alison and the band sang a few christian songs, oh were they beautiful! A song titled 'Living Prayer' was my favorite song that was sung.There was a line in that song that had me closing my eyes and raising my hands toward Heaven. "Take my life and let me be A living prayer my God to Thee." After the concert, Jill said she was a new fan and wanted to go out and purchase all of her albums. (She claimed to have one)

What was so precious that night was seeing two or three couples in the back of the room country/western dancing to each song. Janine and I sat there and drooled. Made me want to get up and dance too.

Once upon a time I used to. Back when I lived in So. Cal. I was involved in a dance group for people with disabilities. Can't remember the building we practiced in, but it was some sort of business that we could use in the evenings as it was closed. We would then perform at nursing homes, a local bar, and even at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Good times. Oh yeah, and to whomever invented seatbelts for wheelchairs, I thank you. I can remember a time or two that the gentleman I danced with (my favorite was the dance instructor) would inadvertantly spin me right out of my chair...and he was still holding onto my hands whilst my chair rolled across the room!


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Beavertail Hill State Park

My roommate Lindsey and I had planned on checking out Beavertail Hill State Park Tuesday, but a freak thunderstorm in the middle of the night left things a bit soggy, so we thought we would let it dry out for a day before heading out 25 miles for nothing. this morning I was up by 9:30 and we were able to get out of the house a bit after eleven. Ally was thrilled to be going somewhere. You just ask her "Wanna go?", her ears perk up and she bolts for the door. Why, halfway there and she was getting all excited in the back seat, bouncing from one side of the van to the other. This was our first time at this place. New surroundings and interesting smells get her excited.
As I draft this, she is snoozing in her favorite spot in the livingroom, on two giant pillows underneath the coffee table. She is having a doggie dream as I can hear her barking softly in her sleep. I am trying hard not to laugh as to wake her up (I get a dirty look if I do).
Lindsey and I both took along our digital cameras so as to take pictures of our time in the park. The whole reason we went to this particular park was that it had a trail that was supposedly accessible for wheelchair's. It's a darn good thing I have experience off-roading in my wheelchair, because that's exactly what it was. A good majority of the trail was loose gravel or other types of small river rocks. There wasn't much at all of hard dirt. A bit disappointing as I was hoping to travel the entire mile of nature trail. We got to the first bench (not even 1/4 mile) and stopped by the river. That was my exercise for the day.
Ally was getting anxious to be let off of her leash. She wanted to explore the new sights and smells, and mama wasn't moving her chair fast enough. As soon as I took her vest off and unhooked her leash, she made a beeline for the river. I cracked up laughing as I watched her make a flying leap, all four legs pointing in different directions, and splashing into the river. A little while later and she is trying to drag a stick twice her size out of the water for one of us to throw.
Wildlife was scarce at this time of the day, bummer. We did manage to hear a few birds calling, one of them sounding like a drowning cat. (er-ow, er-ow, er-ow,er-ow). A brochure I picked up a bit later said the area was frequently visited by different types of Swallows, even birds such as the great Blue Heron. I don't know which one I heard. I noticed too that the bottoms of many trees were stripped of their bark. Lindsey thought it might be the bugs that were causing this. I later read in the brochure that beavers liked to come on shore and gnaw on the trees.
A much too short time later and Lindsey had to head home to get ready for work. No worries, I had to rest up for a late night as Janine and I were meeting Jill and a mutual friend Brian for the Alison Krauss concert.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Taco Bell Labs and Human Rights

"What", you may ask "is that supposed to mean?"! The phrase "taco bell labs and human rights " came from a wacky internet sight that some friends of mine have links to on their blogs(I swear someone must have been really bored out of their mind to think up something like this!) . I was supposed to go hiking with Lindsey, a roomie, when it poured rain in the middle of the night. We thought we would give it a day to dry out, so we plan to do it tomorrow. I'll probably write all about it here. Hopefully get to take a few pictures as well.

And no, I dont plan on posting messages on the blog every day.

Check out http://douweosinga.com/projects/googletalk
and enter three or four words in the text box. Watch as the system will search for this sentence at Google, find the next word and print that. Than it will remove the first word of the search string, add the found word and repeat until you hit stop. some sentences make sense, whilst others are downright hillarious.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Liberty Quartet Comes to Christian Life Center on 7-31-05

Liberty Quartet is a four-man christian band and were they ever good! They sing a lot of old time hymns, adn a lot of songs they wrote themselves. Some are upbeat and some are not. but all of them are wonderful! I came expecting a great performance, as I just love music period, but this far surpassed any of my expectations. A few songs I knoew, but the majority of songs I figure they must have written themselves. My favorite out of the four was the piano player, not only was he cute (married with three children darn it all) but he was the funniest I thought. His piano playing was amazing. I sat there and drooled, somday I will play like that!
They embedded a lot of humor into their performance, probably what mde it so good. One gentleman would reach over the keyboard player and play a few nots on teh keyboard as he was playing, which made the keyboard playet give him a funny look. they did that a few timez. Or, the four of them would make wisecracks toward eachother, all of it having us rolling on the floor laughing. I came out of the performance with three CD's anad a DVD, all in a package deal, as I could not make up my mind which to get. There was not one song they sang I did not enjoy.
Check them out at http://www.libertyquartet.com ,
and if they are in your area, tell them I sent you!

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