Thoughts on turning 65…

My husband told me this was a big birthday.  It does have special meaning to me as my daddy only lived until this age of 65. He passed 39 years ago so I didn’t have a clue as to the sense of loss he must have had.  I know I will cherish every day I have in the future and not take it for granted.

I remember him telling me (prior to lung cancer from those damnable cigarettes) that he just wanted to live long enough that his grandchildren would remember him. Out of nine grandchildren, only Aaron had time with him. He remembers his grandpa giving him a stick of “Big Red” gum when in the car with him. Aaron turned 4 the month before he passed.

So, being in my last third of a lifespan is the challenge to live differently, which actually has come easily. Things that seemed to matter so much years ago don’t matter anymore.

I don’t care when my husband forgets to close his closet door, instead I’m grateful to still have a husband. I make a concerted effort to love my neighbors now – when before they were down on the totem pole of my priorities. When a grandchild breaks something I smile and we throw it in the trash. I think to myself- that doesn’t matter in light of eternity.

Maybe that’s why grandchildren adore their grandparents. I am much more grace filled with the grandchildren than I was with our children. I know now, at the ripe old age of 65, that it’s more important that they know they are loved rather than they obey. Obedience is important but not the most important. Because LOVE is eternal. It’s the one thing that I leave behind and also take with me. ♥️

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Our Treasures

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is,    there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:18-21

I always thought these words that Jesus spoke referred to money, but recently I realized it is more about my heart and what I treasure.  When our children were young, I made myself a banner that said, “Will it really matter in eternity?” It helped me with perspective. 2020 has also given me perspective.

I heard once that the only thing we will take with us when we leave this world are eternal things like the Word of God and those we have shared the good news with. The delightful thing about being a grandparent is finally understanding what should be a treasure and what shouldn’t.

Life is so fragile. It is a gift and none of us know how long we have. I survived a pandemic and next month I will turn the same age my father was when he left this world. It’s a sobering thing.

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This picture of our grandchildren we have called, “Our Treasures”. That is where our heart is, handing down the legacy that was handed to us. It’s the simple good news that Jesus offers abundant life and calls us to love God and love others. We pray daily for each one of our six children and their spouses and their children. We have seen God answer so many prayers over the years and we believe He will continue to do so. I recently read that prayers are eternal and continue long after we are gone. That’s a comforting thought. Let us know how we might pray for you. It would be our privilege.

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Dancing with one of our treasures named Cassidy Lynne

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A Simple Faith

I experienced something amazing on this past Good Friday. I attended a “Community Service” which was six churches coming together to remember the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.

Here is what was amazing….out of six pastors no one introduced themselves…..no one promoted their individual church, didn’t even mention their church name. Everyone just took part in the service and focused on Jesus and everyone worshiped together.

Over the majority of my life I have been a worshiper of Jesus yet over and over I have witnessed the division of Christians. I’m saddened to acknowledge that I have been a part of it. I got involved with  the over studying of the Bible to prove one thought is right and another wrong. As if I could really understand it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the scriptures and the comfort and boundaries they give me. The error occurs when we use the scripture to divide followers of Jesus rather than to unite us. That’s why I was so blessed last Good Friday – I witnessed a beautiful display of unity in the Christian community of Auburn.

The older I get the more I realize there is much mystery involved with Christianity. That bothers a lot of people. My personal conviction is that there will not be one person who enters heaven with perfect doctrine, but every Christian will enter with Christ’s perfect love and forgiveness.

So my faith has become like a child’s. For me it really comes down to these two truths:

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

along with Jesus’s words in Matthew 22:35-40

“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart,

all your soul, and all your mind.’ 

This is the first and greatest commandment. 

A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based

on these two commandments.”

So I’ve learned to rest in His love for me and focus on my love for Him. When I do those two things it is easy to love my neighbor as myself.

I now read my Bible anticipating an encounter with Jesus. Instead of analyzing it like a textbook, I am back to reading it as a love letter. And so He intimately speaks to me using the scriptures, His creation, and that small still voice, the whisper of the Holy Spirit.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.

But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror,

but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. 

All that I know now is partial and incomplete,

but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13
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90% Sunday – A Lesson in God’s Faithfulness

When I think back to our journey as a family, the common thread I see is the faithfulness of God. It wasn’t because we deserved it. Faithfulness is part of His character and He has honored the covenant established at our wedding.

We were married in 1975, and shortly afterward we had a new Pastor, Stan Bragg. He was a great guy and he and his wife, Cathy had two young children, Steve and Cherie. We adored their family and still do. These are the people I surprised Pops with on his 2018 birthday in Phoenix!     

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Back to the amazing faithfulness of God in our family…we were taught by Mom and Dad Jones the principle of tithing. Tithing is the giving of 10% of your income to support the work of the Lord. We have always practiced this principle. Your Grandpa Bell even supported the idea, along with putting an additional 10% in your emergency savings. I sure wish we would have listened to him and practiced that our entire marriage! But that’s another story…

So one Sunday Pastor Stan announced that we were doing something very special. We were going to have a 90% Sunday. He challenged us to consider proving the faithfulness of God by choosing to tithe 90% instead of the regular 10%. This was to occur on a special Sunday they had chosen in the future. There was no pressure, just teaching on the faithfulness of God and encouraging us to pray and consider it.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Malachi‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭

This was before Aaron was born, we were living week to week, no savings, both of us working. I was employed by the bank and Danny was working running a printing press. Here is a picture of the exact type of press he ran. It only ran one color at a time, so he had to wash it up, change the color of ink and line everything up perfectly. This is why he’s the perfect guy to proof anything!

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Since I was the banker, the teller who was never out of balance, I did all of the personal bookkeeping. I knew without a shadow of doubt that this 90% Sunday idea would NOT work. There was no cushion to fall back on and the numbers were the numbers.

However, our love and admiration for the Braggs, along with our faith in who we believed God to be, caused us to be intrigued. We agreed together to try this experiment of faith.

I wish I could remember the details, I remember scouring the register (that was a paper thing where you wrote your transactions in) and analyzing it over and over trying to figure out what had happened. The miracle was this – we did not experience any shortage, God did prove His faithfulness to us!

It was a mysterious combination of things – a few bills lower than normal, a paycheck a little higher than normal, but to be honest it never made sense to me, the one who could balance anything to the penny! It was a huge lesson to us, that God could be trusted over and over and that He was faithful to “give us each day our daily bread.”

We will always be thankful for the five years that the Braggs served at Burbank First Assembly of God. Their joy and love for each other and for their children was better than reading any textbook on family. They lived and loved Jesus.

Primarily they were instrumental in the beginning of a legacy of financial faith in us, understanding the faithfulness of a good good Father providing for His own.

We still rest in that and it was birthed with 90% Sunday!

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Cathy and Stan along with their grandson Cole.

Cole looks just like the little boy we remember named Steve.

King Nebuchadnezzar and The Kleins

“It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”

These are the words of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon around 560 BC. They are recorded in the Old Testament book of Daniel in the 4th chapter.

King Nebuchadnezzar had experienced a supernatural encounter with God and rightly so was overwhelmed by it. He took joy in sharing with others his first hand knowledge of experiencing God.

This is also Danny’s and my story, experiencing the goodness of God in an intimate relationship with Him. May this BLOG serve to record the legacy of God’s mercy and miraculous signs and wonders to the Klein family, established in 1975.

Back in 1971 my eyes were fully opened by God to my sorry selfish state of being. I was fifteen years old. Looking back, I can see clearly how events in my life were orchestrated to bring me to a place where those would freely share the hope of Jesus Christ with me.

My life’s trajectory was changed in an instant, kneeling at an altar.

This is where Grandpa and Grandma Jones come in – these were the days of church on Sunday nights where those yearning to know more of God would go to the front altars and kneel in prayer. Others would gather round and pray over those kneeling.

My earliest memories of this season in church are Grandma Jones along with many others praying over me. This is where I met Danny. We became friends for a little over a year before we started dating. John and Ruth Jones, though no blood relation, took us under their wing. They not only spoke the truth but they lived the truth of the good news to us.

After we were married and expecting our first child we realized that we wanted to include John and Ruth’s legacy of faith to our children. We asked them to step in for Danny’s deceased parents and be our children’s other set of grandparents. Little did they know that they had agreed to grandparent six children…but we didn’t either! That is another story for another day…..

All of our children have a Biblical name and a family name. Timothy has the privilege of being named John Timothy and Dora has the privilege of being named Ruth Isadora after Grandpa John and Grandma Ruth. But again that is another story for another day…..

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Ruth and John had Michael, Jeffrey and Debbie  yet they still made room in their hearts for us.

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We dated for 2 1/2 years and I know we were a challenge! Today I can’t find a picture of the four of us at our wedding. When I thought about this lack of a picture, I realized it was because they were probably serving behind the scenes, making sure the church wedding went off as planned.

If we want the Klein kids to take something from this story it would be – love passionately like Grandpa and Grandma Jones. They were incredibly patient with us. They invested lots in our family with little in return. They knew they were investing in eternity. That is part of your legacy  from them.