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July 24, 2021

Lord, we know you are coming for us very soon, and there is very little time left. Please help us to look deeply into what we have become in our lives and how much our lives conform to Your Holy Will. Please help us to repent and find forgiveness for what we have not done. And please help us to make the best of the time left to us, for the building up of your Kingdom. Amen.

Mother Clare began,

"Beloved family, I am writing this to you from the depths of my soul, because I do not want what has happened to me to happen to you. I cannot tell you all the ways you could lose the fulfillment of your destiny, but I can tell you how I have lost mine. So please bear with me. I have asked the Holy Spirit to write this message because He alone knows just what you need to hear right now. Shall I cut to the quick and tell you the bottom line? No, I need to tell you a story.

When God conceived you, He did so with a very special purpose in mind. He put all the gifts and attributes you need into your DNA so that you could fulfill your destiny. But the really treacherous part for Him, is that He endowed us with free will. That means that we can make a choice. Oh Lord, where do I begin?"

He chuckled, "At the beginning."

But which one?

He replied, "Adolescence."

I was raised in the inner city of Chicago in a nice Jewish neighborhood. My Mother was a designer and makeup artist and we went agate hunting at Lake Superior in the summer months. We had a summer house on a lake where I spent the summers, swimming, fishing and canoeing. My Mother was always into some project, decoupage or collecting antiques. The antiques and summers in the country had a profound effect on me, because I HATED the city. I was miserable there.

I think something deep inside of me equated mother's love with the country and that would be a lasting influence, although I'll never be able to express my love for the beauty of God's creation. Even now I look out upon my favorite view, the deep, deep forest of Aspen, Spruce and Fir trees, on the side of a mountain in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico, and it truly brings me a measure of joy, but I would never exchange it for God's presence. It is a great gift from Him that He arranged my life so I would have it this way. Hint: You cannot out-give God.

My Father was a well-respected designer who had a distinguished clientele, later in life he became a photographer, when he left America to live in Mexico City. I never knew him. My Mother worked hard and went out at night with friends. So, most of my upbringing I was totally alone, except for the great cloud of witnesses and angels who I believe influenced my thinking.-- --

I had a very difficult time in high school, because of the Jewish cliques and I was a little different, an outcast and Gentile to be exact. But two memories stand out to is a hint of what God had in store...that I was sitting at a piano at the school playing and yearning for more, and singing operatic pieces alone in my apartment. I didn't have a piano, back then they didn't have Mother couldn't buy me a piano so I never moved in that direction. Rather, I became a rock hound and polishing stones for jewelry. My strong love of beauty and intricacy of minerals, led me to compete in a science fair, which I won and was sent to the state competition, winning honors there as well.-- --

I was strongly influenced by what my Mother loved and only God knows how much that formed my life path. I was searching for God in high school, searching intensely, but never connected with anyone who knew Him. I can however look back on two teachers I had in high school who were so kind to me that I experienced deep love and goodness through them. One was Jewish, the other Greek Orthodox. Oh, how I wished I had found Him then. I am sure He felt the same way, because my searching led me into many evil and dark places.

I'm going to skip now to after my marriage and birth of four children. Jesus apprehended me and pulled me out of the New Age when I was 33 and my first child was born. Fire descended from the sky while I was meditating on the Mayan Tarot deck (I read tarot cards and was learning to channel spirits), the fire completely engulfed me. It was the Holy Spirit who descended into my body and lit it on fire in an incomparable ecstasy. All of a sudden, I knew the difference between God and my new age studies...I Ching, Astrology, Numerology, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, Native American medicine ways and Tarot.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was the God I had been seeking. I had a keen understanding of my sins, but God's love flooded over that and forgave me. I was there for 45 minutes, completely paralyzed, I could not move.-- -- Afterwards, I knew I was forgiven of my sins, I needed to get a Bible and learn how to live from it, I also needed a church. As God would have it I landed in a nondenominational church in Phoenix, Valley Cathedral. I was soon baptized and filled with the Spirit. I got rid of all my new age paraphernalia and embraced the Bible with all my heart.

For some reason, I felt like I had to look conservative now. I was never a full-fledged Hippie, but I was definitely counter cultural in my approach to life.--Before my marriage I became a nature photographer in San Francisco and loved the travel and search for beauty. At one point I realized I had everything that mattered to me, but I was not happy. I cried out to a God I did not know. This experience was an answer to that prayer. But the polyester look was so foreign to me. I loved native American weavings and unique clothing. But to fit in I swallowed my pride and got with the program.

So, that is a little bit of background on my tattered, ragged life. After seven years of bible studies and Sunday services, I felt something was really missing from my life. It did not look like Jesus, it felt materialistic and superficial. Humility was lacking in the teachings, and I felt I was full of pride and the world. No one was addressing this in the Evangelical churches. That's when I discovered the life of St. Francis of Assisi, through John Michael Talbot's music and autobiography. He had found what I felt was missing in my life. Shortly after this, I left the world to embrace this life of simplicity and humility where God was my all in all. Or at least I thought I had.

My very precious friends, the devil had my number, a thick file on how to lead me astray. I didn't find out until my children were grown and out of the nest that I was called to be a musician and singer. I was 58. By then I had a lifelong habit of chasing after beauty in nature, in fact I was easily distracted into spinning wool, weaving, and to be honest, I loved to create and it didn't take much to get me into gardening and all sorts of very self-centered activities.

When the gift of music came, I was overwhelmed in amazement, then came the gift of YouTube and teaching, a way to share with others the foolish mistakes I made in my life. You see, I was created to bring music into this world, music with a message, a message of Love from Jesus. But I lacked discipline and was like a little butterfly going from flower to flower. If I look at myself more circumspectly, I would say I was born to communicate the Love of God to others, as I believe all Christians are, but each in their own special way.

But my selfishness and infatuation with beauty seemed to always find a way to steal time from music. I confess to you, music is very difficult for me, I am not skilled, and it is only by way of angels that I am able to create anything at all. I know they help me. Being older, I am not so good on coordination, and my voice has to be constantly hydrated, living up here, taking medication for fibro pain, makes that a real challenge of self-discipline, and easy to forget.

There is always something easier for me to do that brings me pleasure, such as creating cards with Scripture to pass out with food boxes. As little and silly as that might seem, it is a temptation for me to use up a lot of time. The Lord wanted me to walk. So, I walk, but it is so beautiful up here that I cannot go without a camera and my exercise ends up in a photography shoot, no matter how short it is. So, I put the camera down and went walking without it.

Then I found mushrooms. I have fond memories of mushroom hunting in the fall at our lake house with my mother. So, what happens? My walk turns into a mushroom hunt and of course outcome the books and the spore prints and the research. All taking time. For what? My stomach?? You see, when I tell you I am the worst sinner, I am not exaggerating. I wish I had a one-track mind, but I don't, and my love for beauty and all God created steals time away from the one thing that was my destiny, music.

This is a time of life reviews and repentance. We do not know what will come this fall, but the Lord continues to confirm that He is at the door and ready, and we ALL need to repent of our excesses and foolishness, when we veered off the path God set us on, to entertain our own fancies. I was selfish and self-serving in many things I did, although they had an impact on others for the good, they were nothing like the good songs which I could have reached many more people with.