Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 2011



Ted and I started holding hands when we were seventeen and we never stopped until Jesus tenderly removed his hands from mine and folded them into His own. I miss everything about my darling, but oh, how I miss his strong hands holding mine. While in Round Top, Texas, last week, thinking my beloved friends/hosts, Euphanel and Nick were sound asleep, I began to cry and soon the tears turned into wracking sobs that I could not stop. Quietly, my bedroom door opened and there came Euphie and Nick and gathered me into their warm, comforting arms. I shall never forget that. Never.

Loving hands. How we need them. I came from a farm family whose hands became harsh from brutal weather and the hard work of tending livestock and fowl, lifting heavy bales of hay, killing, butchering and packing every ounce of meat we ate, managing heavy machinery, milking cows, harnessing horses, planting and gathering grains and food for canning and freezing. Wash day began Monday at 4 A.M. when Mother lifted heavy tubs of well water to the stove top to heat to a scalding temperature. She washed and rinsed filthy clothes and linens until they were gleaming and ready for her clothes lines. Those hands never stopped working, making our home a spotless refuge from the beastial Kansas weather that pounded us with wind, rain and snow nearly year ‘round. Early each weekday morning, Mother sent me down the road to the one room school, lunchpail in hand, tightly packed with wonderful homemade stuff. ... no baloney sandwiches from her pantry.

Ted and I welcomed my mother and dad to California to live when they were 70 years old. They made the transition from farm to city life with a hoop and a holler. Their farm land had stretched from horizon to horizon, but never once did they complain about living in two cities with us. Both came to know our Christ in their mid 70’s when they saw Him in the lives of precious believers. For fifteen years we took them to see the wonders of this marvelous state, usually camping along the way. After the farm life of Kansas, sleeping in a tent felt like the Ritz Carlton to them. My Ted treated my parents like royalty and how they loved him. Now they are all with Jesus: Ted, our son Doug, nephew Greg, Greg’s mother, my brother, my grandparents, countless others and the One with the nailscars in His Hands.

The Spirit of God continues to run these words through my being: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands.” I Thessalonians 4:11. My life is so very easy compared to my parents’. ...but I will not quit working. The Harvest is white and the laborers are few.



They were new in Christ and held back nothing from Him. Needing to have a break from their individual professions as an interior designer and Certified Public Accountant, Euphanel and Nick Goad purchased some acreage that included a barn, a house and a pond (“tank”, as the Texans call them) ‘way west of Houston, with the full intent of doing absolutely nothing when they could break away from the heat and noise of the city. They came to the church Ted pastored, liked what they heard, and stuck around until a couple of years later when Ted and I were ushered into the “church without walls”. ...for the rest of our lives. We could not continiue the work to which He was calling us any other way. God infused us with a passion that would never fade for people like we had once been: without living hope in this world or the world to come.

Ted and I began to escape from the city on the weekends and join Nick and Euphanel at the farm. Before long, single young people began to tag along and we had ourselves a situation: thirty kids sleeping on the floor and in the barn. One night a “blue norther” swept in and the shivering “barn kids” became “house kids” and that did it for Nick. “JoAnn, if you and Ted are going to bring these kids up here I can’t handle their not having beds to sleep in!”

Nick and Euphanel’s early-on promise to give God everything they were and had was remembered by God. He does that. He remembers, then feeds His power, provision and might into the baby He births as a result of that promise we make to Him.

An old house, and I mean “OLD” house was restored, complete with kitchen, living room and beds for thirty or so; then a little cottage appeared, then came the INN HOUSE. Euphie designed it to the scale of Noah’s Ark. We are talking BIG...and knock your socks off BEAUTIFUL! Then came barns, one of which they turned into their private home which reaches out, grabs and enfolds me into its arms when I come “home”; a two story exquisite home with Euphanel’s amazing, creative, unique touches in every magnificent room. The original farmhouse has had its rooms re and REarranged but wonderful porches with swings and rockers still beckon one to “come and set a spell!”

There is really no adequate way to describe Round Top Retreat. This is not a “camp” or remotely related to a “camp”. Without Nick and Euphanel, it might indeed be just that. ...but this is a HOME. THEIR “home”, and they share it with all who come.

God delights in plucking us out of our dinky little plans for our little lives and births (through pain, of course) something so extraordinary that we cannot fathom or report on what He has done or what He is doing. That “report” will be revealed at the Seven Year Feast with Jesus. Until then we just THINK we know what He is doing.

This past week. My dear young friend, Michele, and I particupated with Carole Lewis, her staff and women from Canada, South Carolina, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, California, Florida, Texas and states I can’t remember in FirstPLACE4LIFE (Not your basic weight loss ordeal. Look it up on the web.) We have laughed, sung, bonded at the soul level, and shared in the fellowship of His stunning LOVE. I have stayed with Euphie and Nick in their home; Michele has had a private room in THE INN HOUSE, has participated in every exercise, and the whole schmear! “... the best time of my life!”

Everyone from First Place is gone and another group is coming in from Austin today.

Michele and I will fly out of Austin for home, tomorrow, ready to go around the next bend in the river with the Lord.




Someone said it to me again yesterday: “What a legacy Ted left!” He did, indeed. Ted Stone was a quiet, but determined soldier for the Kingdom of Christ, considering only a few things worth fighting for: the unvarnished Gospel; the inerrancy of scripture; discipleship at a level that requires sacrifice; and his family.

At the top of our website: you will see a circle of “Stones”. Our computer wizard, Heidi, gathered those stones on a California beach, and took the picture of them that you observe. (I suggest that you read what she has written on our website that explains her choice of visuals for our logo.) After Ted went Home, Heidi placed the stones in a clear, round bowl with a candle and gave the bowl to me where it rests on a glass coffee table in my living room. Those Stones represent our three children, their spouses and six grandchildren, Oldest son Doug’s “stone” remains in the circle even though he is safe now in the arms of Jesus. Doug’s soul was fought for by Satan all of his life, but the evil one didn’t win, and the war continues for the souls of his children and all the others in the circle.

It’s a dubious honor to be hated by Satan but you are, if you have “taken up your cross to follow Jesus”. ...and you will spend the rest of your days on this earth in a war. You have been given by God powerful weapons: Let’s look at the team of DEfensive weapons: the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God coupled with prayer. All other weapons of your warfare (the belt of Truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation) are OFfensive weapons. You must don them all, piece by piece (Ephesians 6:10-19). Daily. If you don’t, you will be tripped up by the world, the flesh (yours) and the devil.

I awaken every morning, say “Good morning, my Abba”, then look at Ted’s picture on the wall beside our bed, move to the living room and face my fears which the evil one has planted in my mind somewhere between midnight and dawn after my conscious mind goes to sleep. I pray around the bowl for each of the next two generations because the evil one does not want this “legacy” to continue. Tucked in and around the stones in the bowl is a card with this scripture that my Abba gave me a few years ago: Isaiah 59:21: “As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord. My Spirit who is in you and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth or from the mouth of your children or from the mouth of their descendants from this time on and forever.” I claim it every morning, ask God to give me faith to believe it, and immerse my mind in scripture before the first phone call sidetracks me into thinking about someone else other than Jesus. After the double losses our family has endured, we are all vulnerable. Our enemy, the devil, is especially fond of vulnerability.

Martin Luther’s emancipation hymn comes to mind:

A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD ; a bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great; and armed with cruel hate,

Would you be so kind as to pray that my remaining children and grandchildren will long for the Truth from His Word with determination, resist the devil and FLEE from him? Jesus, in His powerful, loving prayer before he entered the olive grove with his disciples and cried these words to the Father: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you PROTECT THEM FROM THE EVIL ONE!” Can you hear my maternal heart crying out to my Abba with that prayer? Names of my “Stones” in the Circle for Prayer: Robin and Luke, Lance and Madison; Jeff, Carla and Lainey and Lauren; Deanna, Brent and Lexi.

Last week, my drive back and forth to Granite Bay to be with Jeff, Carla and Lainey was (thankfully) uneventful, and ever so encouraging. On Thursday of this week I will fly with Michele, my friend, to Round Top, Texas, where we will participate in a FirstPlace4Health retreat with my friend, Carole Lewis, and women from all across America. My partners, Euphanel and Nick Goad are on my Family Life Resources Board and I am on their Round Top Retreat Board, so we will tend to some business that week as well. Michele and I will return on October 15.
Remember: “On earth (Satan) is not His equal” ...but Jesus IS...”Equal to God the Father”.