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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Divine Interruptions


Last night at our mid-week Bible study I was blessed by the testimony of one of our church members. My husband had asked if anyone would like to share about something God had done for them.

"I have something I'd like to share." One of our newest members spoke up.
"Not too long ago, my hours were cut at work and I was really bummed. I didn't understand why God allowed this to happen. I was a good bookkeeper and took pride in my work. After talking to the Lord about it, I realized I had to trust Him. Little by little I was given more hours here and there in another department. Then one day it was discovered the bookkeeper I had been working with was embezzling funds. If I had kept my same position, I could have been accused of stealing, even though I was innocent. Instead my work has called me back as a fulltime bookkeeper."

The entire congregation sat stunned. We all had been in her shoes at some point in our lives when we didn't understand why God allowed "bad" things to happen to us or why He chooses to give us a "DIVINE INTERRUPTION!" Hearing her story with a FULL CIRCLE moment was very refreshing. God is always at work behind the scenes for us. His Word is true. We do walk by faith and not by sight.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tornado



ABOVE PICTURE: That's my elementary school, the stone building on the far right.


BELOW PICTURE: McKinley School on the left.


>




The older I get the more I enjoy taking long strolls down Memory Lane. This past week I heard about tornadoes in North Carolina where my oldest brother and his family live. Somehow it reminded me of the twister that demolished our little Iowa community back in 1968. I was in fifth grade at McKinley Elementary School. Because of some family problems, I was living with my paternal grandparents on their farm. My two older brothers, Bob and Ken, were living at our parents' home in Charles City.

May 15, 1968 was a huge day for the fifth and sixth graders of Charles City. The annual grade school track meet, which started at noon with a picnic, followed by some friendly track competition, was held that day. After the students gobbled down their sack lunch, the track meet would begin at the College Grounds. Five grade schools, Lincoln, Jefferson, Central, McKinley and Washington Elementary were represented. Little did we realize in a few short hours three of those schools were be demolished. (Central, McKinley and Washington were destroyed. Central and McKinley never reopened.) However, I do have a happy memory just a few hours before the tornado hit McKinley won the track meet!

I had been invited to go over to a girlfriend's house for a few hours after the track meet. When my grandmother picked me up, she noticed I had lost one of my brand new socks.

I rummaged through my bag and said, "I must have lost it when I changed into my track clothes!"

Grandma was very frugal and thought we better retrace my steps and see if we couldn't find the mate to my "widowed" sock. We backtracked from my friend's house to the College Grounds, but didn't have any luck in finding the sock.





On the way home,when we got to the fairgrounds corner, (above is actual picture of '68 tornado) I noticed Grandma was very quiet. I thought she was upset with me for losing my sock, but then I noticed she was preoccupied with looking out the car window at the dark sky.

I tried to lighten the mood and jabbered on and on about the track meet and the visit at my friend's house. Grandma stayed focused and picked up speed in an attempt to hurry home.

When we pulled in the driveway, Grandma spoke sternly, "I'm only going to say this once. You go get your dog, head straight to the basement, and sit under the big table in the corner. Don't come up until I call you. Do you understand?"

I nodded my head and started crying. I hopped out of the car and whistled for my dog. Ginger came running and jumped in my arms.

"Get in that basement now!" Grandma ordered.

I galloped down the steps, clutching Ginger tightly. We hid under the table just like Grandma had instructed. I remember crying and praying out loud. "Please keep us all safe. Don't let anything happen to Grandma and Grandpa!"


After a few minutes, Grandma called down the stairs. "The storm has passed. Come on up and help me get ready for supper."

When we sat down to eat, the doorbell rang. Then a neighbor man bolted into the house before Grandma or Grandpa had a chance to answer the door. His voice was frantic, "Charles City has been hit by a tornado! The whole town is wiped out!"

A lump formed in my throat. "What about Mom and Dad? And Bobby and Kenny?"

Grandma looked up at Grandpa and said, "We need to head to town now!"

My grandmother was an immaculate housekeeper. She did something that I'd never seen her do before or again. She left all the supper dishes on the table and cleaned up the kitchen when we returned.

"Dixie, go grab some of your favorite books. We might be waiting in the car for awhile." Grandma handed me a brown grocery sack.

We were met by the police when we arrived at the edge of the city. "Nobody is allowed inside the city limits unless you live there."

Grandpa pointed at me sitting in the back and explained the situation. "Her parents and brothers live in town."

The policeman looked at me. "I'm sorry. But there are live wires down on the ground. People have been killed by the storm. I can't allow you to go any further."

Grandpa made a u-turn and I thought we were headed back to the farm. "I've got an idea. If I park on the edge of town, I can walk around town and see if I can find them."

I peered through the crack of the car door and watched Grandpa lace up his boots.

"John, be careful. You heard what they said about those live wires." Grandma's voice trembled.

"I will. But before I go. Let's say a quick prayer." Grandpa closed his eyes and prayed. "Lord, guide my steps. Help me find those boys."

Grandma and I sat in silence watching Grandpa march toward town. Finally, Grandma said, "Dixie, pick out a book and we'll read it together."

Several hours later, Grandpa returned. "Bobby and Kenny are safe. They hid under a bridge and saw the tornado hit. Our family is safe, but much of the town was gone."

Later I learned that my elementary school (see above photos) was hit and school was dismissed for the rest of the school year.

A violent F5 tornado tore a 1/2 mile wide path through the town from south to north, killing 13 people,injuring 450 others, and caused $30 million damage. In town, 372 homes and 58 businesses were destroyed, 188 homes and 90 businesses sustained major damage, and 356 homes and 46 businesses sustained minor damage. Eight churches, 3 schools were damaged or destroyed, the police station was heavily damaged, and 1250 vehicles were destroyed.

I've never forgotten the day a tornado hit our little town and changed our lives forever.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

God Knows Your Cell Phone Number



For most of my life I have always lived in small towns. There were a few years, after high school, I dipped my toe in big city living. Like a boomerang, I had a full circle moment when God called me to return to my "homeland" of Iowa and serve Him along side my husband. In fact, the place He called Paul and I to serve was an even "smaller" town than where I grew up and a whole lot smaller than where Paul grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. We were called to serve the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Floyd, Iowa, in August 1981. Our little hamlet has a population of 360.

During our almost-30 years here in Floyd, we have seen God provide above and beyond our dreams. I would like to share one of our God stories with you.

In 2008, Paul became deathly ill. He was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure. He needed a kidney transplant, go on dialysis, or die. All four of our children volunteered to give their daddy a kidney, but it was our son John who became our MVD--Most Valuable Donor. ;-) Fear hounded me and I found after I gave my burdens to the Lord it was best for me to keep busy. God knew this and had a special assignment for me.

The Lord sent Dennis and Mai Spencer into my life. The Spencers lived in Arizona and Mai needed someone to help her write her testimony. I didn't realize it then, but my life was about to be change forever because Mai Spencer isn't your nominal Christian. She is SOLD OUT to JESUS! The word "RADICAL" pretty much sums up Mai!

Mai was raised in Vietnam and a Buddhist. She grew up and married Dennis, an American soldier. The couple moved to the States and had four children. Tragedies took three of their children prematurely. Mai cried out to Jesus and He came to her and revealed Himself. She was transformed. She became a new creature in Christ Jesus. The Lord gave the Spencers a growing ministry in Vietnam.

Mai's book, The Son in My Eyes, will be released May 1st. All the proceeds from the book, help to fund the Jesus in Vietnam Ministries.

I stand amazed at how God orders our steps. Who would have ever dreamed a little Buddhist girl from Vietnam would one day meet an Iowa girl from a tiny town and together they would write the Vietnamese girl's story.

Once again, God has proven to me, He knows our name........ He knows where we live and He even knows our cell phone number. Get ready.... Heaven may be calling.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 Quad-Cities Writers' Conference

Following JESUS is, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the most exciting adventure. A few months ago I learned about a Christian Writers' Conference in Iowa. THINK OF THAT!!!!! I had attended my first Write2Ignite! in North Carolina in 2008. I was hooked. I was in a room full of Christian women who felt the same heavenly Call I did... to write for the glory of the Lord. Women who wanted to "WRITE 2 IGNITE" the hearts of children and youth ablaze for JESUS!

The next year the Write2Ignite! Conference was held in South Carolina. As the Lord would have it, Paul and I were near South Carolina and drove to the conference. I met and made eternal friendships.

But this year I wasn't able to attend Write2Ignite!. Things weren't working out and I was soooo disappointed. I did my best to give my disappointment to the Lord and keep my eyes on Jesus, knowing He always has a plan.

Well, one of the women I met at Write2Ignite! shared with me about the Iowa conference...... I checked it out and here I am.

I have been sick all week, but my husband knew how badly I wanted to attend so STRIKE UP THE BAND...... I may be limping, but I am here.

JESUS, I expect to meet YOU here in a special way.
Lead me........ Guide me...........

Dixie

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Future Books







I just wanted to post a couple of illustrations from my books that will be coming out this year. Guardian Angel Publishing will be releasing "Whistling Dixie," "Apron Strings," and "The Cat Came Back." (The last one was I co-wrote with my dear friend Lucy Robbins.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Books Available







All the proceeds from Dixie’s books go into a scholarship fund in Dixie's beloved grandmother's name. The Hazel Leora Meyer Scholarship is given every fall to a deserving student to attend Lighthouse Academy, a ministry of the Gospel Lighthouse Church.

You may purchase Dixie’s books online at http://www.floydslighthouse.com/catalog.html. Scroll down and click on the link beside the book you want to purchase. You may pay by credit card, Paypal, or send a check made out to Lighthouse Academy to:

Hazel Leora Meyer Scholarship Fund

Lighthouse Academy

201 Madison Street

Floyd, IA 50435

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Cat Came Back Illustrations

Here is a quick peek behind the scenes of a children's book, "The Cat Came Back," written by my dear friend Lucy Robbins and myself. The illustrations are by Laureen Caponigro. She is amazing.

Hope you enjoy the sneak peek.
Dixie




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