Wanted to say if you get a chance to catch the show "Celtic Thunder" on your local PBS channel, and if you like that sort of music, do check it out. Saturday evening we watched it and it was a lot of fun to watch. Lots of talent. We love Celtic music and dance, so that is what drew us.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Wanted to say if you get a chance to catch the show "Celtic Thunder" on your local PBS channel, and if you like that sort of music, do check it out. Saturday evening we watched it and it was a lot of fun to watch. Lots of talent. We love Celtic music and dance, so that is what drew us.
Friday, June 27, 2008
You know how backs just can"go-out" suddenly? For no apparent reason? This happened today to hubby, in Home ***pot parking lot. It was awful to see the pain that swamped him. I think he'd rather have given birth.
So once again, my Action-Jackson is all a-twitter with a mental to-do list and a body that will not cooperate. Really, we should have listened closer to all those people who tried to tell what it would be like to grow older! :)
Anywho, all of this led to one of many recurring scenes in my life. We all have them. I was preparing dinner, cleaning up as I go. While I counted to 38,432,547 in hopes of biting my tongue, while my Action Jackson tried to recuperate in a mood that is something like a cross between almost not in a bad mood, almost in a good mood, I caught myself looking up and out the kitchen window. My hubby asked me what I was looking at (he actually thought I might have been making a funny face at something he said- I'm shocked! ;p), I explained that I was merely looking out the kitchen window while I worked. I further elaborated that it's something I often do.
As I said it, I thought about what prompts it, and what has come of my many gazes outside that window. As far as what prompts it, well, I love the outdoors. Every since I was little. No two-ways about that. They (the outdoors) give me peace above all, a sense of order in my heart and mind. So, it is an escape while I go about my repetitive routines. Sort of like when I use to look outside the window in 6th grade at CPS. Wishing I was outside in those bushes and play area, doing anything but more math and science! Now I don't indulge in wishful thinking like that, because I see the purpose and the value in what I do nowadays. But, I merely drink in the sight of blue skies, blue jays, cardinals, little tweety birds, some of the cheery plants we have put down this year, and lately quite a few squirrells . It is like a little mental/emotional mini-vacation. It's a great stress-reliever.
Many a prayer has been breathed at that window. Many, many, many. What has come of those gazes out the kitchen window? Well, lots of answered prayers for sure! :) In the order of yard work - We have made many improvements to the view for one thing. Quite a few more planned. In the order of stress relieving - Lots of ugly things that could have been said, instead, just evaporated while gazing out that window. Numerous more wise and kinder things thought of and expressed in their stead. Many menu dilemma's for what to fix for supper solved while taking in the view of pine needles and blue skies.
I am thinking that a kitchen window has something in common with a fire extinguisher and a life perserver, you know those things they throw to people overboard - the little donut things? And I am sad for people who don't have the benefit of the kitchen window. These ponderings had a distinctly feminine slant to them, and to test my theory, I asked my hubby what he thought about kitchen windows! I wished I'd have had a camera pointed at him to capture the look of "Mmm...they're windows? and they go in the kitchen? What's wrong, is ours leaking?"
So, tell me ladies - do you use your kitchen window like I use mine? And if you don't have one - what DO you do? Where are the bodies hidden? Kidding! :)
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Yet, it's not the only way we get that opportunity for a "clean slate". Every day, every week, it's a clean slate waiting for us to see what we are going to make of it. Will we waste it? In fear, in apathy, in anger? Will we enjoy it and give it our best shot? As we approach the day in faith, in hope, in great expectations. Will we remember that the day, the week, the time we have is a gift? That even in times of pain He is able and near to help us get through and not be overwhelmed entirely. To better times, and sweeter. Times of joy and refreshing. Admittedly in this life, all days are not going to be filled with sunshine and light. But, that doesn't have to be where we get stuck. And some of the most remarkable people I have ever known, are those who have had to suffer, but have not let the suffering do them in. They let Christ in them bring healing, stength, and even hope. Hope so they could indeed have joy again, and life abundantly.
I love the way The Message Bible give Romans 12:1-2. It says so much better what my heart is for this concept. Check it out: "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" Psalm 118:24
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
All was resolved and his father told me to delete the message. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Well, it was in my "Drafts" folder. I was reluctant in some morbid way to delete this message. Why? I don't know, I can't explain it. Just that way we have of keeping the proof that we are justified in our grudge, close to us, you know? Anyway, I did try to delete the message. But, I decided it wasn't possible, at least as far as I knew how. So I kept it on a "technicality" you could say. I found that loop-hole to justify my keeping this thing, that should have been gotten rid of! Things moved along, there were no more signs of trouble. Lots of good conversation and fruit of a true turn around with regards to the topic of the message. But, every once in awhile, guess what my shameful self did? Yup, I would go and look at that old message. Then shut the phone down.
Over a period of time, I began to wish I knew how to get rid of it. I never looked at anymore, unless I came across it by accident. Then recently I found out how to delete from that folder. BUT, I still hesitated to delete, because my mind would reason, "Well what if.....? "And all these ridiculous thoughts would try to speak their part, but they sounded so lame it was easy to turn their voices off. Yet, yes, the mesage still sat there. Until this weekend. I came across the message by accident again, and I thought, "You gotta go! "And DELETE - it was gone. I thought, "Who am I to hold onto a part of his past that his father AND I have forgiven him of. Our Father doesn't keep our old messes around to remind Him! "
So, if you are hanging on to old reminders of other's or even your tresspasses, DELETE!
"He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge. He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe]." Psalm 103:9-13
I admit, I was drawn to this title because of the knitting theme. No, I can't knit. But, my sister is a tremendous knitter. Nothing better to her than the rhapsody of being left alone in room full of yarn, all textures, all colors!! I also liked the idea of the various interactions between the members of the knitting projects book of the month club. The book was WONDERFUL!
For the knitter, you will appreciate the knitting tidbits that are taught and the directions to a lovely shawl project at the end. The way this is worked into the story is completely natural. You would just have to read for yourself to see how skillfully this is accomplished.
For the book aficionado the The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is under the austere tutelage of the town librarian. She has been the librarian extraodinaire for 40 years! She has a penchant for spotting "stray" young people in the library and through a steady application of relationship, education (through books - which I am a HUGE fan of) and the discipline/self-esteem builder of work, seeing transformation in these young people's lives. The book centers on the tipping points that occur in each of the group members lives' when the latest young person that the town librarian (Eugenie - isn't that the perfect name for a seasoned town librarian?) joins the group. In honor of their young prote'ge' the group changes up their next few months reading assignment. It seems she has not read the young lady classics. Little do the women realize how much they each have to learn from reading these classics later in life. From Little Women, to Heidi, Pollyana and the Little Princess - YOU will be surprised at the life truths that can be illuminated and illustrated from these books. This was very intriguing.
I greatly enjoyed this book, and know of several people that will enjoy a copy as well. So click here for a discount price to be shipped to your door! Leave it to me to find a good deal on a book! This book also is being promoted through the fine company of Glass Road Public Relations.
If you like interviews to get inside the head and heart of the author a bit - here is a snippet from the GPR interview with the author, Beth Pattillo. BTW, she is a pastor and has interesting thoughts on youth ministry, and knitting as well!
Q. What was your inspiration behind The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society?
A. The book was inspired by the knitting group at my church. I loved the way a group of diverse women, from their teens to retirement age, bonded over knitting and prayer. I think book clubs experience a similar phenomenon. Something about knitting or reading together really helps to create authentic community. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book was looking at the world from such different points of view. Each of the women in the novel is unique. And the variety of ages and life experiences kept things interesting.
Q. In the book, troubled teen Hannah Simmons has seen her share of neglect and abuse before meeting the ladies of the Knit Lit Society. Do you see many teens like Hannah in the course of your work as an ordained minister? If so, what is your philosophy in helping them find healing?
A. Unfortunately, I’ve met a number of teens over the years that were neglected by their parents. I’m a strong believer in youth ministry because I know it can provide guidance and care that’s often missing in a teenager’s home. In the novel, Hannah happens to be poor, but I’ve found that income level, however high or low, doesn’t always correlate to the quality of parenting. The love and attention of a youth minister and/or youth sponsor can often keep a teen from making bad choices with disastrous consequences. Teenagers need to feel competent and valued. A strong youth ministry provides an opportunity for young people to find their spiritual gifts and use them. It also makes God’s love tangible and powerful.
Q. Since not every town has a Knit Lit Society, what would your advice be to anyone who has a "Hannah" in their life or knows of a teen in a similar situation?
A. Most teens need someone to listen to them without judgment or agenda. Mentoring, serving as a youth sponsor, teaching Sunday school and Bible study – these are all great ways to reach out to teenagers. As a minister, in a particular situation, I have to assess whether a teenager needs the help of social services in addition to the love and care of a church family. All ministers are required by law to report suspected abuse. Neglect, though, can be a bit trickier. Ideally, a minister can reach out to the parents as well as the teen to try and help the family become more functional and caring. I always appreciated my church members letting me know if they thought a particular teenager needed help. I think it’s better to get involved and ultimately find that the situation wasn’t as serious as you thought than to ignore something until a crisis occurs.
Q. Do you knit in your spare time?
A. I love to knit! I’m into hand-tied yarn right now, taking eight or nine different yarns in a particular color palette and tying 2-3 yard sections end to end. The result is wonderfully shaggy scarves or shawls that have real depth of color and texture. (I was inspired by the owner of The Shaggy Sheep in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas – a terrific yarn store!) I’m afraid I have numerous unfinished projects around the house, but one day, I hope to finish them all.
Q. You spent seven years waiting to publish your first book and now The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is your fourth book. What advice do you have for novice or aspiring writers?
My other piece of advice is to write every day, even if it’s only a small amount. I run an email loop called Club 100 For Writers. The challenge is to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’ve seen this practice transform people’s lives. Instructions for joining the group are on my website, http://www.bethpattillo.com/.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It started occurring to me right in the middle of service Sunday, "What if everyday I looked for an opportunity to give, to yield or surrender what I am holding onto, what I am keeping to myself or for myself, what if I let the Holy Spirit show me my daily opportunities to surrender my alabaster box, to give it to Him! "
Now, that wasn't what the service was about. At. All. But, that is just something that I was inspired to during the service.
I started by reading the accounts in Matthew 26, and Mark 14 yesterday, and just praying that "Lord, I have no idea if I can do this or how to do it. But, I desire to try if You will teach me, give me insight and give me strength. I am a little scared that You will show me something that I am scared to give up, or let go of, or surrender. So, help me. I trust You. I want to give You this day my alabaster box."
Already my journey is telling me that it's at least partially a journey of faith (of course), of humilty (so necessary), and of obedience (the biggie I'm thinking!). Yesterday I had an opportunity to let go of something I always hold onto, keeping it tucked way inside. There was a chance if I would let go of it, it would help someone else, at least a little. But, I could have said no. I am glad I didn't though. I feel closer to the other person, in a way that only God can arrange. And it was really liberating to me, to be able to let go of it. I think for me, that was my alabaster box yesterday.
- "Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king." 1 Samuel 15:22-23
- And lastly, but not leastly! ;) "For You delight not in sacrifice, or else would I give it; You find no pleasure in burnt offering. My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:16-17
I believe this will be a recurring post. As I am feeling led as I write this, to keep this theme going on, holding it up front for us to all consider. Join me if you like! I would love to hear your thoughts on the Alabaster Box!
In the interest of getting the word out on good books, and feeling like it is an honor to be able to help out people who have actually been successful at doing what I desire to do. People who have seen through their dream of writing a book (or several or even many) and endured rejection over and over until they were accepted! Now they have been published and have a new book on the market for release. From time to time I will be posting reviews of books because I love to share good news, and one day, someone might just do this for me! Here are my thoughts on the first!
"Along Came a Cowboy" written by Christine Lynxwiler, is an engaging and fun story that allows the reader to experience a period in the main character's life which we all go through, maybe not in 300 pages. But if we long for a healthy life in Christ, we ALL will experience making peace with our past. Facing the fears of admitting our most secret failures, things we may feel make us unqualified for future fulfilment. Lynxwiler does a great job at allowing us to see what some of the mental and emotional processes look like through the fictious story. I love when I can benefit from a lighthearted, happily ever after story, by the Biblical principals woven through like gossamer silk strands. That's what this book offers.
The setting is a small town in Arkansa. The heorine is a Dr Rachael Donovan, Chiropractor. The conflict is her 15 year old niece has come to spend the summer with her. She adores her niece. But it turns out that her niece, might just not be her niece after all, she might be her....well, you'll just have to read it and find out! Also, of COURSE there MUST be a cowboy, right? "Along Came a Cowboy", remember? Well, this cowboy - he looks like, and acts like everything she is attracted to, but reluctant to allow herself to experience. In the process of working through her emotional freeze point, she has the opportunity to resolve all the relationships that were locked away in her heart when she was 17 years old. To help her out are her possee of girlfriends, the Pinky Promise Sisterhood. Together they hold each other up, have good times, and remember to pray for each other through the difficulties life brings them.
Interview with the author, Christine Lynxwiler.
Q. In "Along Came A Cowboy", the lead character struggles with forgiving herself for a past sin that has had a major impact on her life. Why do you think it is easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves or even to accept forgiveness.
A. I don’t know the answer to that, but I have a few ideas. First, I think we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others. Or we might feel, like Rachel did, that if we beat ourselves up enough about the past, then we’ll feel worthy of forgiveness. Also, it’s much easier to give than it is to receive. Same goes with forgiveness. Maybe because our pride isn’t battered by forgiving someone, but being forgiven implies owning up to sin and recognizing that we can’t fix our mistake on our own.
Q. What would your advice be to someone who is struggling to come to terms with a past indiscretion?
A. Obviously, if you’re a Christian, I’d advise giving the past to God and once you’ve repented and asked His forgiveness, forgive yourself, forget it and move on. But that’s a little simplistic for most of us. I think many of us tend to do what Rachel does in Along Came a Cowboy and magnify our own sins. What seems like an unfortunate little stumble on someone else’s path can appear to be a plunge to certain death on our own life’s road. So consider how you’d feel about a friend or loved one if they’d done exactly what you did. If the answer is, “I’d forgive them” then forgive yourself. You deserve no less kindness and mercy from yourself than anyone else does. If that doesn’t work for you and you have children, ask yourself how you would feel if your child did this thing. Would you still love them? If they turned from this sin, would you forgive them? If the answer is yes, then your Heavenly Father still loves you and forgives you too, so it’s time to let it go and forgive yourself. If the answer is no, then maybe your current sin is an inability to forgive others and that’s a whole ‘nother problem.
Q. When you’re writing, what do you use as your inspiration?
A. Inspiration and ideas come from everywhere. But as I said in an interview recently, I’m an Arkansas country girl, born and raised on a farm, and currently living in the most beautiful small town (in my opinion anyway) in the Ozarks. So these are the places and people that inspire me to write. My books are almost all set in small town Arkansas. My characters are rarely ever patterned after one specific person. Instead each one is a conglomeration of people I meet and interact with every day. I get inspired when I ask “What if?” That’s the neverending question and asking it usually will bring more stories than one person can write in a lifetime.
Q. What do you enjoy most about writing Christian fiction?
A. One thing that I used to complain about that I’ve now come to enjoy is the fact that all my books have a common theme—God is in control. Sometimes it’s the main theme, sometimes it’s just an underlying thread. Each story line is very different from the last one, but the theme is always there. As this theme emerges in a new story, it brings me joy and sometimes even laughter because I know that this is a lesson God is patiently teaching me. I told someone recently that around book seven I began to look for a new theme. “I’m going to get boring,” I wailed. But apparently, even now on book fourteen, I haven’t quite mastered this “God is in control” concept, because inevitably by the end of the book, my character is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is not in the driver’s seat of her own life. Now when I start a story, I look forward to seeing how this particular theme is going to show up.
On a more serious note, I enjoy knowing that the stories God allows me to write not only entertain, (which is why I wanted to be a writer) but that they also touch readers’ lives in a deeper way than I could ever imagine or take credit for. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Q. As an award-winning Christian romance writer, do you have any advice for novice or aspiring writers?.
A. Never give up. And once you’ve decided that you’re not quitting, join American Christian Fiction Writers. The annual fee of $50 will be the best money you ever spend on your writing career. And don’t just pay the dues and not get your money’s worth. Join a critique group. Get to know other writers. Dedicate yourself to learning the craft. And never quit learning. Being published isn’t the end of the journey. It’s only one step along the way to being the best writer you can possibly be. Settle in for a long, bumpy, exhilarating ride!
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Oh, P.S. Please visit some of the other women who are contributing. They are full of love, wit and wisdom! If you are interested in contributing your own, click here.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The thought really made my mind race, and I just knew that it was true. See the picture above? Every since I was a little , living in this beautiful coastal town, I have dreamed of overwhleming seas taking over either the jetties or the beach where I seem to be aurrounded by the creeping ocean. I only dream it when I am stressed. It's the only recurring theme I have in my dreams, or I should say, HAD! Because about 1 to 1 and 1/2 yrs ago I had a variation on the dream, and I haven't had one since! Ha! This time the dream was more vivid and much more involved. There were big roiling black thunderheads in the sky over the ocean, and swelling, frothy waves overtaking a beach, and I was part of something like a small village full of people that lived in a little area just behind the sand dunes. I was trying to get people up a path and behind the dunes and the whole time the waves and clouds were just off to the right in the horizon. Finally, at one point I pointed my finger to the clouds and ocean and spoke sternly to the storm to "Go back, in the Name of Jesus, You have no place here!", and that was pretty much the end of the dream as far as I know...
I haven't had a single water encroaching dream since! Water doesn't get the best of me anymore! I did however, dream I was going from one place to the next, and I was taking flying leaps to get there! I would hop up and fly for a stretch, then come down, and go right back up! The feeling of flying was WONDERFUL! I know when dreams are spoken of, flying dreams are common, but not for me. As I watched the ending of that movie, the aerial view reminded me of the flying feeling in the dream. Maybe that's what triggered the thought, I really don't know. All I DO know is that in those few moments, I became aware of a change in my dreams, and it felt decidedly like God was showing me a change in myself. A change that felt good. Like someone who was more secure in her faith, more secure in the knowledge of who God is, and who He is in her. Instead of that person who believes, but is scared, who believes but always feels like danger might be just around the corner...I think He might be growing me into someone who says, "Yeah, danger, OK, it happens, yawn. But, it can't have the best of me. I'll rise above it. I'll focus more on the greater one who lives within me...I will focus more on the answer than the problem. I'm pretty sure that He's got me covered, oh, and He's got my family, too!
I can't help but feel that this has something to do with our awake dreams. The things we long to accomplish or see them come to fruiton in some fashion. Sometimes there are things in us, in our character that make us not quite ready for the dreams we have. So we have to go through some things that refine us, grow us, embolden us, or maybe change our heart, and make them tender. God knows us better than we know ourselves. So as we day by day give our selves to His care, and continually keep our dreams in His hands, He is leading us, and guiding us through life. Helping us get to that place where our dream won't kill us. Where our dream won't overwhelm us!
I think of Abraham and Sarah. They waited so many years to see the promised child. But God had them in training. They needed to be able to see themselves as He saw them. Remember, He did change their names, their very identity. Each of them became father of and mother of princeS - plural - not singular. Mother and father of nationS -plural. God needed them to have a right mindset before they had Isaac, so they could raise him right. Train him right.
Jacob, you remember him, right? How about his identity makeover? Remember when he had his great wrestling match, alone in the night, in the desert? "Then He said, Let Me go, for day is breaking. But Jacob said, I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing upon me. [The Man] asked him, What is your name? And [in shock of realization, whispering] he said, Jacob [supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler]! And He said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob [supplanter], but Israel [contender with God]; for you have contended and have power with God and with men and have prevailed." Genesis 32:26-28
What are YOU dreaming lately? Don't give up! Be willing to consider, you might not have been dreaming BIG enough! I don't think in Jacob's wildest, most covetous mindset, he EVER thought of himself as "Contender with God". I don't think Abram (later Abraham) or Sarai (later Sarah) ever thought they would not only give birth to a child when they were so old, but, also that child would lead to decendents who would lead NATIONS!
If you have been going through the wringer, if your heart feels stretched, mushed, even crushed. If you no longer enjoy going to sleep, because you don't want to wake up with that same old worry, or have that same worn out bad dream. If you have seen the same scenery over and over again as you traipse around the mountain in a circular pattern, remember you are in training. Allow Him to help you see the champion inside you, the regal nature that He actually destined you to live and help your grandchildren to cultivate. Would it be so bad if your dreams were ultimately prepare you to raise grandchildren who would lead a nation one day? Just ask Him if you are dreaming right, ask Him if you are dreaming big enough! He's a really, big God, and He lives inside of you!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Well, suffice it to say that the photo was just entirely too REAL! I am not expecting a baby, but I should be! :0 Good thing my husband loves ALL of me! Well, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I decided that it might take a real long time, (thanks to the S-L-O-W down of my metabolism, thank you peri-meonpause!). But, I would start taking consistent steps to resolve the size issue. For many reasons. Consistent being the key word. Because its not like I haven't tried many times before. I have. And I get frustrated and just quit. The last few years (3) my body is just in slow motion as far as metabolism.
So, every morning for 6 weeks straight I have done excercises. No one can tell but, Jerry and I! :) But, I KNOW it, and it really does feel great. I don't feel guilty during the day, because I have already started by excercising! No matter what happens after that, I feel like I have the advantage!
I have to say, that it is as hard today to do 30 sit-ups as it was 4 weeks ago, but, I will NOT quit! In fact last week I started trying to do a few pilates moves, because ultimately that is what I intend to do regularly. But, Pilates, thats a whole other post! It needs one or two all their own! Ha! Also, several times a week Jerry & I are jogging/walking. Really funny! But, it feels GREAT when we are done! It is an awesome shared experience too!
AND - I now weigh 6 lbs less! Like I say, the damage is so great at this point, no one can tell the difference but he and I. But, if I am consistent, the progress will begin to show up!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We Have a Place - but We have to Go There - I have been in Joshua, Judges, and Deuteronomy quite a bit. And I have noticed this: That while God promised the people He had given it to them, they had to GO and allow Him to work through them to gain the land. Not only that, but there are at least a couple of times that come to mind where certain of the people had to remind the Lord (so to speak, actually, in this case His representative), they had to take a stand on those promises, ("Then the people of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb...said to him, You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning me and you in Kadesh-barnea...And Moses swore on that day, Surely the land on which your feet have walked shall be an inheritance to you and your children always, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God. And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years since the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while the Israelites wandered in the wilderness; and now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. Yet I am as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so is my strength now for war and to go out and to come in. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke that day. For you heard then how the [giantlike] Anakim were there and that the cities were great and fortified; if the Lord will be with me, I shall drive them out just as the Lord said." Joshua 14) BEFORE they had the "green light" to go and occupy that land. See the faith that was necessaary? The bone-deep assurance of the Word of God on a given matter and His willingness and ability to do His part for and through Caleb in the example from Joshua 14? Caleb was willing to GO! Where are we willing to GO?
How Do We GO? What is Our Fight?
What is our Weapon? Do We Take a Tomahawk? Or Do We Type a Letter to The Editor or Maybe Invite someone to Dinner and Make them Feel Welcome and Loved? Ok, no Tomahawks, Ladies! Especially if you are in the peri-menopause club with me! First, we have to remember that obstacles that we wage war with are not as natural as we many times think. See "For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)". This means Prayer and LOVE are our biggest weapons.
What? You say - If you think I have turned into a peace, love and happiness chick, well, not exactly, though I am not opposed to all that. I am more of a pray, live passionately and through love serve in all the areas I am planted in sort of chick. And I enjoy others who do the same. Whether its as a pastors wife, a stay at home mother, a free-lance writer or a business owner, or a retired couple who moved back to town partially, to love and serve their children and grandchildren - just being a part of their lives and making every day count.
What does this look like? It looks like caring enough about the culture to write a letter to the editor from time to time. Taking the time to write a letter (or e-mail) to your congressmen/women and senators on an issue you know is important and effects the world your family lives in. Stopping to give more than the perfunctory comment to the woman you spoke to at church who just explained how she lives in another town several days a week. To help her daughter with child care while she goes to college. Getting the weedeater and running it for a while and making sure its in good order, than using it for good measure when your family member mentions they haven't weed eated in while because they have a hard time not eating up the flowers, and they don't even know if it runs. Sometimes you have to read (or weed!) between the lines, they are not going to come out and ask for help, you have to listen!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Here's the set up: 3 year drought in Israel. Evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in leadership. Most of the people are following the baal worshippers, as preferred and promoted by the Queen. A Superbowl between the prophets is called for, the whole nation is watching and waiting. So Elijah addresses the people " "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." Now look at their answer (sound familiar?) But the people said nothing."
Now Elijah sets the terms and the baal worshippers take the bait: " Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good."
The Challenge gets going: Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention."
Note how they felt compelled to treat themselves by cutting and slashing as they danced and called on their god. Some god, huh? He left them high and dry. It just spoke volumes to me of how we in our culture have our own false gods. We give all to them, and they leave us high and dry.
It is not enough that I know the true God. and that He hears me. I am ever so thankful for that. But, I desire greatly to see many, many comforted and set free by knowing the truth. That they may put their hope in the True God and then have the joy of a life lived like this: we call, we humble ourselves, we stake our claim of faith in Him, in His Word, and His character and He hears us, because He actually loves us, He actually is with us always, He actually is for us!
Here's what happened when Elijah called, and its what will happen in our lives, and our communities if we will call on Him. "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" That's the kind of Abba Father we have -we call on Him, and He answers us!
What do you need His fire to consume or bring His reviving warmth to today? Your worries? Mistakes? Bad habits? What do you need His warmth to revive? Your faith, your finances? Your family? How about your zest for life, your dreams or your health? Call on Him! Let His fire come! It won't hurt you! I promise!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I guess the theme that seemed prevelant throughout this weekend was the way fathers show love to their families through the care they take of them, the effort they make at making a good home. I was grateful at how blessed we are on both sides of our family to have men (I'm focusing on them because of Father's Day, Ya'll! I know we all work hard, too!) who love their families and work hard to not only bring in an income, but to help make their homes beautiful and welcoming. These are tangible ways fathers show love. Every man is not equipped to be as expressive in a way that we often times think we would prefer. But, if we will observe the commitment many fathers serve their families with, I'd say we would hear the message loud and clear - "I LOVE YOU, I LOVE OUR FAMILY! I WANT TO HELP US HAVE A BEAUTIFUL HOME AND LIFE TOGETHER!" This weekend that message rang loud and clear! I heard it, I did! Did you?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
I must be nuts! That's my only excuse. There is this "thing", this "theme" rolling around on the inside of me. But, it feels way beyond my reach to communicate to you intelligently. I just can't escape the notion that I need to put it out there, come what may. Have mercy if I don't hit the mark! I have to try, right?
If you are feeling any sort of malaise, any sort of ennui this is for you. The years I was searching and searching for that missing piece of me, I felt such discontentment, such restlessness mostly constantly. With only brief interruptions.
Once I could grasp the part Jesus Christ played (Yes I know! Leave it to me to miss the most obvious piece! Such is the spiritual dilemma! The obvious is often hidden from view!) in the puzzle of my life, I was so thrilled to have purpose and clarity regarding my role in life, things which had previously eluded me.
Since that time 15 years ago, when the puzzle pieces clicked into place, seldom have I felt that lack of zest for life. Why? Because as soon as I feel the hints of it, I take it as a clue that I'm requiring a tune-up. I draw near to God. Having spent years in the prison of discontentment, I know the cure is MORE OF HIM! I spend more time looking at Him, thinking on Him, reading His Word or or other's words who are creative and who are also filled with Christ (C.S. Lewis is an author who comes to mind of late.). Now, to be VERY, VERY clear...I am NOT speaking of the weariness of life, the weariness of waiting for a breakthrough, an answer, the fruition of our hopes and dreams. That's a WHOLE separate issue. I am talking about knowing that when we lay down tonight,when our head hits the pillow, we have a sense of satisfaction that we got something done that was pleasing to the Lord. We fulfilled at least a tiny portion (that's the most we can do some days, and that's A-OK!) of our calling. Life in the midst of serving where He desinged us to operate can be frustrating as we deal with obstacles, can be wearing as we push through wearisome tasks and periods, and can be heartbreaking as we deal with the fall out of a fallen world. But, the kicker is that it's also heartily satisfying, gratifying, breathtakingly beautiful, comforting, absolutely exhilerating, and many times even hilarious.
I can remember the relief I felt to know there was a purpose to life, and part of my purpose was to be a wife and mother. Now, I know, that should have been obvious to me to begin with. Yet, it had escaped me! To know Christ, was to know my purpose. To know my purpose was to bring a zest, and a relish to even the most mundane details of life. From packing lunches to helping out in Youth Group, to learning how to tie my husband's ties. You'd be amazed at the color and fragrance it brought to life.
Some 15 years later, The Lord is STILL revealing His purpose for me and in me. Day by day the story of my life, and your life unfolds. I was conversing with a wonderful dear bloggy friend via blogger comments about a week ago. The talk concerned how seemingly difficult it is for God to make everyone unique. Every since then I have been thinking that it's alot like salt!
Try this, when I was a young teen, my dear mother let me experiment a whole lot in the kitchen. We learn the most from our mistakes you know! One time I made a chocolate cake and forgot the salt (I wasn't used to focusing on all those pesky little ingredients - but I did learn to thank goodness, eventually!). So anyway, this cake had NO flavor! All those yummy ingredients and no flavor. Another one, is when I was a young married, one time the husband of a couple we went to high school with came in for dinner after drill (they were in National Guard Reserves together, my Honey and he). I had made pot roast, and all the good stuff that goes with that. He raved on it. It was sort of embarassing. But, it turns out that his wife did not salt their pot roast, so what he was so happy about was the savory flavor of the roast with SALT! Salt was the missing ingredient in both cases!
If you have not yet connected the dots to fit Jesus into your life, think about checking Him out as the missing ingredient! IF you have Him, and life is not savory, not purposeful, spend more time getting to know Him. Ask Him about the mully-grubs you are feeling - He WILL day by day make the great things He has put into you begin to unfold! You will not be disappointed!
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
This week my contribution is the sweet horse who lives across the street. The entire neighborhood loves him. And the neighborhood has more than its share of horses. We are very rural you know! :) Yee-haw!
Anyway, there is an older couple who live near our neighborhood and bring their dogs most every evening for a walk through our neighborhood. The gentleman brings carrots in his pockets every evening for this horse! He said the horse is getting expensive! But he just can't resist. Recently, as I walked up to the front of our yard to say hello to him as he fed the horse, he didn't know that I was approaching, but he was looking all around. Turns out he was trying to ascertain what on earth the horse was looking at, because he couldn't get the horse's attention. The horse was looking at me! Anytime I am out in the yard, the beautiful horse will leave what he is doing and come rushing to the front corner and he just watches. His personality is so strong, he looks at you with that side view horses give, and its like he is more aware than you would think a horse would be. I mean, I would not be at all surprised if he spoke, truly!
So, besides the fascination we all have for this beautiful guy, this form of transportation is what my husband laughingly keeps threatening we are going to! Gas ain't cheap you know! Of course, we are in much better shape than what other nations are paying per gallon, so if the price goes up, we'll just "Giddee-up!"
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I have seen quite a few murders solved now. I am many times grieved by the senseless loss of life, the brutality that we can treat one another with. What grieves me even more, is this. How many, many times people who really didn't think they wanted to kill someone, make bad choice, after bad choice, which ultimately leads to the trap of committing murder. It's absolutely, heart-rendingly tragic to see happen over and over again. So not only one family is struck with the loss of a loved one, but yet another family loses the loved one to the judicial system for most likely the rest of that persons life.
Not only does the trap of committing murder seem to sneak up on some of these people, here is something else that I have taken note of. Several times I have seen that the person who actually did the shooting (this will sound strange and you may not agree, that's OK.) didn't seem as what I only know to call as "evil", as the person who was with them and who sort of - "put them up to it". It is really infuriating to me to see people who know how to manipulate others for their own purposes. It is a reminder to me that God sees our hearts. Our motives matter so much! The only thing that encourages me about the show is those people are charged equally with the one who actually pulls the trigger. Thank goodness! I am always curious what their reaction is when they find out that their contrivances to not get blood on their hands was not enough to keep them out of the pokey!
Episode after episode it is clear that the Book of Proverbs does not exaggerate. That book overflows with warning after warning and instruction after instruction. Warnings against get rich quick schemes, running with a bad crowd, adultery, laziness, gluttony, drunkeness, failing to discipline and train your children, etc. Instructions to heed wisdom, be diligent, keep track of your properties, honor the boundaries of your fathers, faithfullness, chartiy, good stewardship, etc. These episodes are like graphic. real life illustrations of what happens when you fail to heed these life giving principals.
I am struck by the thin line that separates us all every day from unexpected and senseless death. I am struck by the thin line that separates each of us from the sinful behaviour that robs us and those around us of life. It makes me achingly grateful for the delicate state of life we have. It also makes me moved with compassion for those who are living in a fog of misconception, and wrong mind sets. It concerns me and moves me to not be complacent about the life we have being enough to care about. It's simply not enough to think that if we live and do right all will be Ok. We as people filled with Christ, MUST care, must pray, must train and teach, even if it seems to only be by our life style, (He will give us unexpected opportunities to, by our actions and relationships be able to make a great difference). Somehow, we must each of us do the part God has given us to to help people be firmly rooted and grounded on good solid ground. On a foundation that does not fail. On Christ.
Ok, I know, this was not cheery! Sorry! But, my next post will be! God bless you all!
What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...
What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!