Thursday, July 31, 2008

ABCs of the Word - Be of Good Cheer!

My new Bloggy friend found over at Grey Like Snuffie is hosting The ABCs of The Word every Thursday. Every once in a while I will be chiming in. Today I'll just let the scripture speak for itself. These words come from the Amplified Bible, which takes the King James and gives the Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) more descriptive meanings to some of the words which don't translate as vividly into our English.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence
. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]"
John 16:33

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

He Has Gone BEFORE Us!

I was typing a comment early last week at a friend's site. As I typed I realized that something we all often count on and rely on is the fact that we believe and we know that God goes before us. It is something I contemplate prayerfully more and more as I grow older. It gives me great comfort. On behalf of myself, but most especially loved ones, and situations that life brings us to. It is so reassuring when you view those situations from the vantage point of God BEFORE you. What really excited me though as I typed I "flashed" on a scripture I had used in a header a while back. And I realized that the two concepts go together. Let me show you:

"And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty;..." Exodus 34:5-7. See?

He goes before us and He is with us
. He dwells within us, and we abide in Him. As He goes before us, He goes in His mercy. Stop and contemplate right there. He has gone before you into that medical waiting room, or into that court room. He knew about the car accident, He has gone before you. He is with your son and your daughter, on the battlefield, in the school room, on the bus, in the locker room, in the guidance counselor's office. He has gone before them in His MERCY preparing grace, goodness and revelatory truth to light their path.

We must teach them to look for signs that He has been there BEFORE them! We must remember to look ourselves!

We live in very uncertain times. Financially, relationally, politically, you name it. But, we have a CERTAIN God! We have a CERTAIN Word. We can take Him at His Word and then we can rest assurred as we go out into that wide, wide world, and send our loved ones out into it. We can go like David went to Goliath. He ran to the battle and He went confident of the Name of the Lord!

I used these beautiful tropical pictures to show that a God who took such care to make sure that EVEN in a fallen world we would have signs of His beauty and care for us, that SAME God has gone BEFORE us, and BEFORE our loved ones - preparing a way of goodness, mercy, longsuffering (that's how He treats us - He suffers long on our behalf!) and in truth and graciousness.

Ok, now that we know He has gone before us, you got your running shoes on? You ready to go run take out Goliath? Ready, Set, RUNNNNNNNN!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Bird in the Hand

"A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in The Bush", or at least that's the age old proverbial saying. It has always seemed the prudent course to take. You know..."Don't let go of what you have, in the "hopes" you might get those two over there in the bush..right there....oops...hurry...they're getting away! Agghh"! :) This has always seemed the way to go. Until last night, and even then it was actually in retrospect that I thought of the saying and the irony of turning it around for wisdom, at least in a certain type of situation. I can't take any credit for realizing it ahead of time!

Last night as I was thinking of the pattern of laying things down that I have been on the last 6 months or so, and I was reminded of this saying. I thought how that saying is so true EXCEPT when it comes to God. When God asks us to lay something down, it is ALWAYS for our good. Even if we can't see it. Even if it doesn't seem to make sense. Sometimes it's even something that many would say God doesn't care about. Let me say from personal experience...He Cares! He is an intricate God, He's made us complex, and that means if you touch one area of our life, there is no telling the domino effect it can have. Not to mention the benefit to us in "denying" ourselves, picking up our cross and following Him!

In God's economy when He asks us to lay something (our "bird in the hand") down, we can be sure He has something else to give us, "two birds in the bush" so to speak. But the thing is, we want to know WHAT? What will happen if I let this go? And God just doesn't work like that. It's a matter of faith, and a matter of surrender. He can't bless us unless we approach Him in faith, and unless we obey. It's that simple. So, when God prompts you to give up a habit, let something go, you can ask What? What will You give me in return, or Why does this matter? I just don't imagine you getting an answer. That's just not how He rolls! :)

I'll give you some examples in my life
. Last August in a mid-week service during praise and worship, I felt impressed to change a habit of mine. And the funny part is the impression was very clear and succinct. Only when I try to verbalize it, it seems to take more words, does that makes sense? You ever have that happen? Anywho - The habit I had to surrender is I had to give up being a pajama mama - ever. Yup, that was one of my nick-names for about 2 years. Because on days that I didn't have to go to town or have company over, I relished being able to have class in my pjs! Now let me say in my younger day, that might have been cute. But the weight I have put on the last 4 years is not giving me "cute days" anymore! Weight ages you, like you would NOT believe! Regardless, the impression in my heart was that God wanted me to "be bold and beautiful" and that "you have prayed and taught your son to look for a certain type of girl, someone who among other things will value herself and take care of herself, but you have not given him a picture of that in his home".

See, I had rested on my laurels. My life as a former career woman. The laurels of the day, after day, after day, after day, of getting up at 4:00 - 4:30 a.m., having Bible and prayer time, make lunches, get shower, get children ready for school, get my hair and make-done, everyone's looking good, been fed and got a meal to take, let's run - and then go, go, go all day and come home and you know, lather, rinse, repeat! But, that was then, this is now. What my son was now seeing day, after day, after day was an aging, overweight (sorry ya'll, not beating myself up, just stating the facts!) woman in her pjs too often, too late in the day, and sometimes not putting make-up on the entire day (OK for some, but as I have aged, my skin needs that extra care - not the skin of my youth for sure! :). And don't even mention the shabby attire for around the house. Not attractive, but, defintely cheap. Some things just needed to be thrown away! Some better choices had to be made for what to wear around the house. And I had to learn to not go near the PC until the shower, excercise, make-up and hair and decent clothes got done EARLY!

Before you think this was just in my head, I can tell you that I so wanted to believe that. But it turned out not to be the case! At first, I was really good about it. Then one Saturday I decided to "take the day off" and wait until just before I attended a birthday party at about 1:00 pm. Because I was home by myself, after all! Let me just say that I could have kicked myself! I missed out on a terrific opportunity to help out a family member, because they needed someone to come right away! Since I had to jump in the shower first, guess what? Yup! I missed out on a great opportunity, someone else was able to get there in time, but I was soooo bummed! I would like to say that was the last time I missed out. But I have to confess, I kept trying to get out of it (winter, etc.). Time wore on, and I still was not taking God up on His offer to "let go of my bird". I found myself facing the most frustrating, stressful and unusal sort of situation with a loved one (completely unrelated to this) and all of a sudden it occurred to me, "I wonder if you were doing that thing, you know that you felt like God put on your heart, if you would be dealing with this issue now if you had been obedient?" I was chagrined. But, I still didn't obey! (Gosh this is embarassing! rolls eyes, shakes head) Anywho - I finally got going and started the whole thing, excercise, shower, make-up, decent clothes, early every day (My vanity makes me add for clarity's sake, that I am a known shower freak, but the point was, I was way too slack about how I took care of myself, as far as attire, make-up and excercise). In less than 7 days the situation I had been facing turned COMPLETELY around! What's even better, is I didn't do it for that purpose. I did it because I knew that it was the right thing to do, and frankly I was just sick of being so undisciplined. I didn't do it to "get" something! But, He gave to me anyway!

The pay-off has been terrific, the guys know I look much better, though they loved "pajama-mama". Some days one of them (husband or son) will STILL ask, "Are you going somewhere?" I love it!


The second thing is much shorter. Remember my post about my alabaster box? Well, by Thursday of that week, there was no longer any doubting that God really was asking me to give up most of my sugar. Don't know that its forever. And I am not extreme about it. But, many days I now have no sugar at all. And some days I feel like I am "allowed" a little bit. You would have to know how extremely fond of all things sweet I am to understand this I did not seek on my own! I was most definitely led! :) But there's been such a grace for it, its been great! And within 5 days of letting sugar go, I lost 4 lbs! That was thrilling since I was stuck on a plateau at that point!

Last night I surrendered my Bible Study that I have been hosting and teaching since January 2007. I LOVE my Bible Study and the girls! We have so much fun & I am so jazzed by the time everyone goes home, that I can't go to bed until 12:00 or 1:00 a.m. God ALWAYS shows up, and always confirms His words to us through the next few days. It made it really hard to be sure that I was "hearing" right. And I kept getting stuck on this "What if I am wrong, you can't just go start another Bible Study and say, oops! I goofed! If I'm wrong, I may never get another chance again" I mean, if I was wrong, I knew God would look out for the people who had been attending, because that's how God is, He'd make sure they were covered. But, I felt like I could not afford to "make a mistake". I wanted to keep my "bird in the hand"!

Needless to say God has a way of getting through to my sometimes hard head, sometimes crowded mind. He reached me, and by yesterday I knew, and I had peace. I was a little lost feeling last night, but, I just pressed in and made a stand of faith. I am looking forward to what is next. I am so sure I won't regret letting my "bird in the hand" go and I will be looking forward to my "two in the bush"!

Greetings! Been Real Busy IRL! Sorry!

Just a quick note to say that though I haven't blogged, I have been studying a lot. I have lots to post on and hope to have opportunity to do so this afternoon. Tomorrow morning at the latest! Hope you all are having a fun summer!

I will leave you with a question, and we can chat about it when I come back - Is a bird in the hand truly worth more than two in the bush? I always thought I knew that answer until last night! I have decided I have a new answer! How about you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Family Nicknames - Terms of Endearment

Remember the post Weddings, Cowboys and Tuxedos about the wedding hubby and I went to in June? Well, what I didn't tell you is, as we prepared to leave early that afternoon, up come one of our famous afternoon thunderstorms. Florida is known for these. They come suddenly, leave just as suddenly, then out comes the sunshine!

Well, as I sat in kitchen putting on my heels, listening to the downpour I saw something shiny on the wall opposite from me. It's the wall behind the stove. As I peered at it, I realized it was a STREAM of water running (not walking) down the wall. Clearly something around the exhaust fan pipe on the roof had come lose. As I showed it to my hubby, up came the thunder. Whooowheee! Was he hot to trot! This has been a year of repairs, but for every repair The Lord has graciously and wonderfully provided for us. And the things truly outside of reach to repair at this time, mercifully, have not needed it. We have a list of things we want to replace as we can. But there is nothing on there that we are lacking at this time, its just the knowing the time is apporaching, where it will NEED to be replaced. He was under the impression that possibly the whole roof was in need of replacement. I made the strategic (bad timing!) error of pointing out the possibility that it could just be around where the exhaust pipe comes out in the roof, i.e. something simple, followed by "Hey, we could put some of the plastic stuff around the pipe until we fix it!" Not my smoothest move! But, I wasn't done! No, not by far! As he rattled out the concern he had at so many things to be replaced, I followed up with this "Well, it really hasn't been that bad, Honey. We have been able to handle it all, and the really super expensive things are hanging in there!" Again, not good timing! It makes me laugh to type it! We went on to the wedding, which was about 30 minutes away, and we got our happy on, on the way there. We were giggling by the time we got there.

Anywho, he shared with me that he was just getting a little overwhelmed and exasperated at the things facing him to replace and repair. And wait for it, wait for it....he just didn't need to hear from Mrs Polly Sunshine! Tee-hee! We both laughed at that! I DO have tendency to be optimistic, and I do trust God a whole lot. But I also have my struggles! Mercifully, mercifully, we don't struggle at the same time. We balance each other out! Thank the Good Lord! But, if you HAD to peg each of us, we have concluded that his nickname is Rolling Thunder, always quick to be the voice of caution! Mine would have to be Mrs Polly Sunshine, because sometimes I need to just listen and keep my cheerful thoughts between me and God, until a more fortuitous time presents itself!

And we recently told our youngest that makes him Little Thunderhead! He also has the nickname Jellybean, and that is probably his favorite. Even my oldest had one growing up, Jamie-doo, was his. My Mama did a great job of calling all her 4 children by various terms of endearment, and we all knew that those names meant we were loved. It made us feel special, and cared for. I have been thinking how important that is to a child. When I was a supervisor at the Sheriff's Office, I had a few that needed a nickname, and I was always happy to oblige.

I love that when we go to Heaven we get a brand new name. I can hardly contain myself at the thought sometimes of what that name might be. What secret about myself, that He knows, and I don't yet see and appreciate!

So, how about you all? And nicknames? Any terms of endearment?
Much love,
Mrs Polly Sunshine!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why Do We Do That?

Does it ever bother you when people put all their hope in a person? Instead of where it ought to be? Even more perplexing is the tendancy to turn on same said person, as soon as anything looks questionable, shaky or Heaven forbid like difficulty or failure. It's part of our fallen nature to do this. But, it's also a part of our humanity that I will never, ever make peace with.

What am I speaking of
exactly? Well, in my Bible reading sometime at the beginning of April, I got thinking on it again. Deuteronomy 34 (which btw has SOOOO much good stuff in it) is where God lets Moses see the promised land, though he will not be making the trip there. He wanted him to be able to see it. Then he was calling him home to paradise. Here's the verse that I have been mulling over "And He buried him in the valley of the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor, but no man knows where his tomb is to this day."

Why did God see to it that Moses' body was buried where no people knew? Because He knows us SO well. He knew that people would get tripped up over the relics of Moses' body. He knew that our tendancy to want something tangible, would cause some of us to take our spiritual eyes off of Him, and start looking at the physical world around us for security. In further illustration that satan knows our weaknesses, we see in Jude that satan disputed with Michael the archangle for the body of Moses right here, "But when [even] the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, judicially argued (disputed) about the body of Moses, he dared not [presume to] bring an abusive condemnation against him, but [simply] said, The Lord rebuke you!" .

I've been thinking about this problem that is in all of us a whole lot since I read this in April. Then along came the healing revivals in Lakeland. Now, this is tricky, because I do not begrudge the wonderful reports of what the power of God is doing there. I am always glad ANYTIME that God is glorified and people are blessed and that certainly seems to be happening.

What is bothering me, is I believe every day we all have the same opportunity to seek God with GREAT expectancy, in our own prayer time or in our own congregations. Don't get me wrong, I know that God does certain special things at certain designated times. I hope I do not give the impression otherwise. I am not limiting Him. Rather on the contrary, I believe WE ARE LIMITING Him. In general, we (either people of faith or people who think about the possibility - seekers I'd say) seem to look for that "special person" who can reach God for us. It is an unfair burden on our spiritual leaders. One which they are not meant to bear. We have to seek God for ourselves. While pastors have a role (as shepherds), it is not the spiritual "superstar" role our humanity keeps trying to put them in. Love, affection, respect, and financial support for our shepherds - these things are all right and good. Looking to that person to do what we can believe God for ourselves, this is what is seems not good or healthy.

******I have had a couple of questions about Lakeland. Sorry! It was such a big deal where I live (because I live within driving distance to it), that I didn't take into account you might not know. So here goes. A youngish man with quite an extraordinary testimony, who travels around the world and ministers somewhat prophetically, often in healing, and encouraging people to seek God visited a church in Lakeland, I am guessing sometime in April. Anyway, it was one of those weekend services/meetings that the Holy Spirit is said to have really impacted everyone mightily, and by Sunday night families were hearing of it and watching it on TV, and loading up and driving to it (it's a town in central Florida). People came from all over the world.They had to get bigger and bigger facilities to house all the people. I have known of good that came from it, and have also heard of the typical things that make something like this questionable and disturbing. I haven't been myself. I am very careful not to sit in judgement of what is there. That is not my place and when the Holy Spirit does get moving things can be very uncomfortable to us in the natural. I just know that my concern was the over the top fascination with it. It seems to have died down as far as people's interest now. But all during May and June you could go to a couple of churches that I know of and watch it on TV. ??? It was like all these many people forgot that we ARE the church and this is not what God made us for. He didn't make us to sit in chairs and watch Him move on TV. We are to be LIVING lives that testify. God is in the everyday, longing for us to make room for Him to work in and through us, to love, to serve, to be bold and courageous. Where is the passion for THAT?****** END OF ADDITION

I know people are going to Lakeland for different reasons. I am sure many go with healthy, faith-filled hearts. I also believe that many go because they want to be where the action is, they want someone to help them make contact with God, where they are not sure how to. And in the midst of it all God knows it all, and its no surprise to Him, and He is able to meet all right there, in all different states of faith and motives. He's so merciful to us.

I am just so hungry for us to all expect more from Him right here in our towns, in our homes, and in our congregations. It takes an effort, a self discipline, (one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit - because we don't have much of this on our own). But, I am determined to expect great things from Him, daily and weekly. Why? Because He is a Great and Good, and Tender God, and to expect anything less is insulting to Him.

"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, Teacher, we desire to see a sign or miracle from You [proving that You are what You claim to be]. But He replied to them, An evil and adulterous generation (a generation morally unfaithful to God) seeks and demands a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." Matthew 12:38

I can't escape this disturbing sensation when I hear everyone talking about Lakeland, and I feel like He (God) is saddened that we just don't get it. Jesus could only be one place when He was here before. But now, He resides in all who believe and abide in Him. Why are we seeking for a man's ministry in Lakeland? Why do we DO that?

I hope this is not upsetting to anyone. I mean NO disrespect to God or the wonderful work He has chosen to do. Feel free to comment. It's cool if you are seeing it different. I am totally open to the fact that I may be seeing it all wrong. I'm sure He will get my heart straightened in this regard and all others before my time here is done! :)
Well, duty calls! Take care! And remember - expectancy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why Seek Ye The Living Among The Dead?

A few years ago, a line in the scriptures pertaining to the Resurrection story really "got" to me. I knew that though I "got" it on one level, there was (and is) a wealth of meaning there, which I would look forward to the Lord revealing in His good time.

Lately the line has been "poking" me more and more, like so "remember, remember, look me up, ponder, seek The Lord, don't miss out!" So, I have been looking at it, pondering, seeking. It haunts me really. I feel led to post on it. But, in such a way as to let it speak what it will. Not so much of my thoughts on it. That will be at a minimum!


"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:"

Just some data for you to consider. They came seeking, the way the word "seek" is used implies worship, or you could say a worshipful attitude, or intent behind the seeking. They brought their gifts (like we do), early in the morning on the first day of the week. However, where they went seeking, they found He wasn't there, not any longer. He was gone. He was RISEN.

I will share that since I first saw this, what really spoke to me was how often we go seeking life where there is no longer life. Or maybe never was. Since that time its my prayer that the Lord will not let me or my family waste our respective short time here, looking for life outside of the only source of life.

More lately the thought is that sometimes we hang onto things where once where God's plan for us was, but now that time/season has passed. It gives me pause. So I am considering where His life is flowing best in my life. Trusting Him to make clear if it is time to surrender any parts, so that the life He does live in me, can have free access and flourish even more. As in the pruning of a favored tree or shrub!

That's all I am going to say for now. If this left you with more questions than answers, well then GOOD! That means I did well! Happy seeking!


Beyond The Night

When I was in 4th grade I was taken to the eye doctor. I still remember coming home and being able to see the Christmas tree clearly from the kitchen with my brand new glasses! Before it had been blurry, indistinct smudges of brightly colored lights, decorations and tinsel (remember tinsel?). My baby sister is in the same boat as me. We are both EXTREMELY nearsighted. Those experiences made the wonderful book, "Beyond the Night" a real page turner for me.

Without giving the plot away, I can tell you it's a smart mix of Sixth Sense combined with When Harry Met Sally! The setting is mostly 1970s. There are several struggles with light over darkness, and even learning to embrace the pain of the darkness as a means of gaining the light available always even in the most dark of circumstances.

Here is an excerpt
from a teenage brother and his baby sister discussing why he has decided no more Sunday School for him. We can all relate to struggling with our faith in some fashion, at some point in our lives:
Malcom: "I've given up on fairy tales."
Maddie: "I haven't."
Malcom: "You will. Someday, something will happen to you, and you'll realize that God either doesn't exist or He doesn't care. And you'll be right where I am, wondering why you've wasted your time with prayer."

I love the way the story and the romantic conflict cause you to humbly reconsider how you might feel or believe when life throws that hateful curveball. Ultimately many of us would reconcile with Christ. That doesn't preclude the very real chance we would intially struggle with fear, struggle with the unknown darkness of the future.

This book "Beyond The Night", written by Marlo Schalesky (really a neat, neat lady!) , can be purchased here for a sweet, sweet deal! I recommend it HIGHLY for yourself or any female in your circle from 15 up. "Beyond The Night" is being promoted through the most excellent Glass Road Public Relations.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day! It's Worth The Wait!

This is just a quick bundle of thoughts. I keep thinking of the Colorado River, and those beautiful red rocks in Utah. Both show the etching of much time. Much wear and tear. And it wasn't to destroy them. It was to form and chisle them! To make beauty that testifies of the glory of God and blesses us to see!


Many times the promise God puts on our hearts, the desires, the hopes the dreams, they take much time to manifest. For lots of reasons. Some we will talk about, I hope soon. But the point is God doesn't change His mind. He takes His time, because He knows we are fragile and it takes time to be changed into the divine image of His Son Jesus Christ. Its coming. I am chaning, you are changing, every time we get in His presence, every time we get in His Word.


Here's what He tells us in Hebrews 3:14 "For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, IF only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end."

That's a little unsettling! Something major in the development is up to us! We must stick to Him, cling to Him, abide in Him, so that we will not lose hope. He is trustworthy! That's exciting!

What beauty is He at work chiseling into your life? Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him, But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

If, like me, you are making changes that seem to take such a long time to manifest the desired results...Hang in there! Hold on tight to Him! It's worth the wait!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Making Every Day Living Extraordinary!

I have several different ideas rumbling around in my head. All of them pertaining to making the ordinary every day lives we live EXTRAORDINARY! See, I am so not a domestic diva like so many of you neat ladies! Yes, I stay at home. Yes, I believe in making a good home for my family and a welcome home for visitors. But, I don't sew. I am not a decorator. I am not particularly crafty. This will never, ever be one of those sort of blogs because blogging by nature is an extension of our own paticular personality, and that's just not me!

But, that doesn't mean I don't love to bake, or that I don't recognize a great idea when I see it! Or that all teen angst aside I haven't had many wonderful experiences as a wife, mother and friend to fuel some posts to inspire you in this regard. Towards that end, here is a wonderful, easy recipe from my absolute favorite cook on television. She is such a neat person. I love her story and how much she has overcome in her life. You can click on her name below and it will take you to her website.


From the website of Paula Deen:

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8 ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
2 1/2 cup (about 10-ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 12 servings Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 3 hours Ease of Preparation: Easy
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

I picked this recipe because I have noted in some of my visits that some younger families are having to make grocery money stretch. This means they buy less meat. This recipe gives lots of calcium, protein and flavor. You can get it ready and let it cook in the slow cooker (crock pot) and it won't heat up your kitchen. It will go nicely with some veggies cooked like you enjoy for a nice hot lunch or dinner. Also, cheese is great to buy on sale and stick in the freezer, when you plan to cook with it. Thawed cheese crumbles easy which for cooking is convenient. And since it does crumble easy it helps if you don't have a food processor!

Be on the look out for future posts on making every day lives Extraordinary!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Confessions of a Semi-Reformed Control Freak!

This is by way of a confession and a hope that someone else out there could benefit from my mishaps! I started to title this "Do You Find Yourself Depending On Someone Else's Happiness For Your Own?". Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that I would ever be or stand for becoming such a person. Yet, there it is. I have succumbed to a great temptation of motherhood.

During recent weeks, we have careened around on the carousel of our youngest's life, where he struggles to find his way, his faith, and his place in this world. Facing temptation, peer pressure, a truly unfair harrassment by two families at our church (which we are trying to get a handle on), and numerous challenges that are unique to the youth of this particular culture, which includes so many things that we of our generation, and those before us really didn't have so much issue with. And don't get me started on the whole impact of the romances that have scarred him and made him a cynic. It's hard some days to remember what a day was like at home just 2 or 3 years ago. Sometimes when I read my dear friends blogs I can't even make myself comment, because I don't know what to say to their successes and joys. I'm happy, truly I am, for them. I'm just not walking that out right now, and it can be painful to relate to their ability to live out the scriptures in a way that I have seemed to fall terribly short. You may remember a post where I spoke of following a recipe to make one thing, and instead opening the oven to find a completely different food product.


You mothers and even aunts, and grandmothers (God bless you) will relate when I say that when your child, niece, nephew or grandchild is cut, you bleed with them. When they struggle, you feel pain, with them. When they fall, you long to pick them up, and help set them aright. Wish they were like weeble-wobbles. That is my biggest problem. Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down. I seem to fear the falling down the most. I would spare him the horror of a life lived other than what he knows to be true. To whom much has been given, much is required. That weighs on me. You want them to understand the stability and confidence, the completetion and contentment that will ONLY be found in relationship with the 1 Friend and Family member WHO WON'T Let You Down. He won't stab you in the back, egg you on to a path of destruction, he won't do drugs, lie, cheat or steal, He won't mock you, degrade you, lead you astray or try to reinvent you to suit His urbane tastes of dress, music and attitude and or sexuality. Like many of this young generation, my son has been brought up to KNOW The Truth. He believes in The Truth, and stands up for it. But, he is somewhat distracted with life and unsure how to translate that belief system into what he sees adults he respects living out. So he feels frustrated, sometimes frantic, and sometimes hopeless at his ability to live an authentic life that reflects the ideals he believes in, and unwilling to hear ideas for solutions to the problem.

He is on a leg of the journey that mostly we can only love him and pray him through. But we want to do so much more. Though trust me, I am finding that those two jobs are so much more difficult, weighty and challenging than we realize, most of the time. I assure you that he will find his footing and faith, and it will be more resilient and shining than it would have been, had he led the sterile, happily ever after I couldn't help but want him to have. He was a gift from The Lord to us, like every child is. And we have raised him, as best as we knew how, to love and serve The Lord. The Lord will make up the difference. He and the Lord will get along just fine, just as his Father and I have found our way in the Lord.

So that is the background. The issue at hand today is, during the past few weeks I have noted that my happiness is becoming overly dependent on his happiness. That's not healthy for him, me, my husband and I, or anyone at all. Not. Acceptable! :) It is essential that now as always, my joy comes from my hope in the Lord. And that transcends circumstances. What sort of witness is it to him, if I am encouraging him to find stability in the sureness of God, yet I have none to display for my fears for him? Is God sure? Or is He not? see my dilemma.

So, I am learning, yet again, to release our young man to the wild and wide open life of knowing, loving and being loved by the Lord. I am telling the Lord "He is Yours, of course, have your way in his life! Help him to hear Your voice above ALL others! Help him Lord to be strong, yet obedient to You, Help him know when to bend and when to stand, when to submit and when to fight. Give him a desire and a hunger for You, Your presence, and Your righteousness! Help him to be a Godly mate, and grant him a Godly mate! Heal him, draw out the hurt and disillusionment. Help him to have the joy and satisfaction that comes from being a vessel used by You! And Oh sweet, sweet Lord, don't let one tear, or any pain be wasted or get the best of Him, but only let it bring YOUR best into him!"

You may be saying, well, this is just a Mom thing, I don't see it as a control issue. Oh, but it is! As an oldest child, and a person who lives to make sure everyone is happy and communicating and feeling validated, let me just say that I recognize the trademarks. It is just a "pretty way" of trying to have OUR way! We can not make ALL the choices, we can not control the outcomes, we can't even pray the "PERFECT" life into being. As I have written before, beauty is born out of ashes. Remember Jesus had to DIE before He could rise! Why would it be any different for us? Or our children?

I hope that you will forgive me my eccentricities as a wife and mother. Hopefully you can relate at least a little. I certainly hope you great success at instilling Godly values in your young charges, and then RELEASING them to their adventures in life. Let them be able to see you loving and living life. Save your angst for your prayer closet (or shower as the case may be!), let your joy be evident always! And YES, we ALWAYS have a reason for our hope and our joy! Right? Wish me well at relinquishing control, Ya'll!

Much love!
Maria, a semi-reformed control freak! :)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Power of Light Over Darkness

In the last 24 hours I have been humbled to read two different blogs by two completely different women. Each opened up and shone the light on either a recent hurt or a past series of painful life events. Very powerful in the effects to the writers and the readers alike. Like pebbles on a pond, the words, the truth out in the open bring ripples of healing across time, and across geographic distances.

Considering the bravery in bringing the hurts to light, the strength of character to take such bold steps, I couldn't help but remember how in God's grand design there is no darkness "And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way]" 1 John 1:5. He has designed us to carry His light and live His light and shine His light where ever we are, where ever we go. The light that He is in us warms people, exposes darkness, brings truth to bear, allows healing and conviction and courage to be fostered. I love when the Bible tells us that where He is there are literally no shadows. That's because He IS light, and He is everywhere, there is no place to cast a shadow because the light comes from all directions. I reckon while we are here in this life, on this earth, we are intended to as containers of His light, IF we will dare to let our light shine, cause the shadows to flee!

Hearing the experiences these two, different women told, and seeing the impact the "light of day" had in taking some of the power of the hurt away, caused me to consider how we all gain inspiration and strength as we bear witness to another's struggles, heartache and victories in life. It reminded me to be grateful for the gift of people courageous enough to not only overcome in life, but to share the very personal struggles, and think of how we are subsequently moved to silently cheer them on, from our heart to theirs. The prayers squeezed out through our pursed lips, spiking towards Heaven, as we read or listen as the case may be, eggs our sisters on in the pursuit of life that is whole, liberty which is spirit deep and happiness which is invincible.

If you have
a story inside you to tell, don't fear letting it out into the light of day. You never know the lives you help find THEIR freedom when you dare to shine the light! You'd never suspect the sting of pain that is removed from your heart in so doing. Why do you think the enemy fights you so hard to hold it back, and threatens you with senseless fears to keep it in?

"That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guiltless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life,"
Philippians 2:15-16 and "Sing for joy, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion upon His afflicted." Isaiah 49:13

Have I mentioned I think you ladies are the greatest? You bless me no end! Shine on!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adopted, Chosen, Belonging, A Part of the Family OR Hired Help?

The Prodigal Son. Since I was a child I have heard and thought about this parable many times. I have identified with all the players, to varying degrees over the years. It is a mecurial passage in the scriptures, because its message to you, personally, varies depending on your vantage point at any given time. Sunday I was perusing several chapters in Luke, and came across it. I wanted to read it and glean something new, something I have missed until now. That was my prayer.

Later that evening, I was reading more of my "What is Your God Language" book, by Dr Myra Perrine. The portion of the book that I was in was describing the crazy, wild unconditional love which our Maker has for us. Also, how we miss out so much on comprehending and receiving His love for us. There were many wonderful quotes she included besides wonderful insights she offered. The theme seemed to dovetail into what I had taken away from my time in Luke 15 earlier in the day. Then I dropped in on Bunny 's blog for a visit yesterday. Imagine my surprise to see that she had been really, truly blessed in hearing a wonderful message on grace (undeserved favor) based on Luke 15!

Here's what I got. Though, I am still processing this and will be for a long time, I think. Consider this an invitation to ponder with me.
  • "And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." I have read these words countless times. I have heard them quite a few. I am sure many of you have as well. But, Sunday the emphasis was on considering the Father as Our Father, and the sons as fellow believers. And, I can tell you, we were a sad, droopy lot in some respects, but not without hope! Think with me about the approach of the Prodigal here, we always tend to think he was humble, and rightly so. But, the thing is - we stop there. We don't usually (or maybe it was just me) consider that beyond the right beginning of humilty, a healthy relationship could not go forward, couldn't develop without the Prodical son receiving the grace his father so eagerly extended to him. And then assuming his rightful place of responsible sonship at his Father's side. He was made for so much more than hired help! So are we!

  • What do I mean? Well, after the apology, after the extended grace, after the celebration, there would be work to be done. As a son, as a functioning part of the family, he had work to do to help his father carry on the family business. As do we. If we are too busy feeling like we belong in the pig pen, or in the back row, waiting for the moment we might feel worthy of what has been bestowed on us, we will never be able to function in the capacity which The Father intended from the beginning and intends to this day. Because, remember we talked about He doesn't change His mind.
  • Ok, 'nuff said there, we are still pondering there. Now let's look at The Other Brother! Lookee here: "And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends" Hear with personal ears what The Father said to him, and says to us today "Son, THOU art EVER with me, and ALL that I have is thine."

I don't think I can add to that, nor do I need to. What more can be said? We are adopted into His family, joint-heirs with Christ. We are ever with Him, He lives inside of us! All that He has is ours! What The Other Brother is lacking is what we many lack in the family of Christ. The right mindset. Its not about our performance. Its all about who He is in relation to us and who we are in relation to Him. We are His, He is ours, we belong to Him, we were bought with a price. The Other Brother was "ever with" His Father, and was so focused on his list of do's and don'ts, and so caught up in his performance instead of enjoying the relationship that was his for the enjoying! The Other brother was so focused on his performance, that he missed out on the pleasure and joy of his rightful relationship with The Father. He was thinking more like a hired hand. We don't want to fall into that trap. It's not about what we do for Him, Our Father. Its ALL about who He is to us and for us.

There is so much more that could be said by deeper and swifter minds than mine! Yet I am content to ponder this for awhile. What are YOUR thoughts?

I Woke Up Yesterday With This Song in My Head

I woke up yesterday with this song in my head. I haven't heard it in a long, long time. We use to do it once in a while at our church. It is still running around in my heart and mind today. So I thought I would see if I could find it for you all to sing along with me.
I Have a Friend
by Clint Brown

I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus, Jesus
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus, Jesus
He's a rock that I lean on
He's my shelter from every storm
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus

I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus, Jesus
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus, Jesus
He's a rock that I lean on
He's my shelter from every storm
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus

Oh, let the rain fall, let the wind blow
There is a place, that I can go
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus

I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus, Jesus
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus, Jesus
He's a rock that I lean on
He's my shelter from every storm
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus

Oh, let the rain fall, let the wind blow
There is a place, that I can go
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus

Oh, let the rain fall, let the wind blow
There is a place, that I can go
I, I have a friend,
I, I have a friend, stick closer than a brother
I, I have a friend, stick closer than a brother
I, I have a friend, His name is Jesus


He is my shelter, my rock, my victory!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where Are You Looking?

Fourth of July was just a little more than any of us in my family planned on. So goes life. Then there was more drama Sunday evening which was unsolicited, unforeseen, and unrelated. Jeesh! No rest for the weary sometimes it seems!

It reminded me that we can not always anticipate and know what lies ahead. But, we are not left without a hope or help. These 2 different incidents were beyond my ability to patch together, in any sort of way. Only God could do it.

When you have one of those dark, hard hitting, sudden events that you are powerless to fix. Where do you look? Who do you call? I learned long ago that all I need IS my Lord. Only He will do. Ok, my Mama did call to chat, I confess, I did sob (something about Mamas!) I did say "Pray, pray, pray" (she's a great prayer warrior!)! But other than that, other than keeping busy from one day to the next, I just kept encouraging myself in the Lord, I kept praying. Throughout the time there was a refrain in my head - it was part of this psalm. It went like this "where does my help come from? My Help comes from the Lord - which made heaven and earth."


Psalm 121
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

I thought I would share this because, trouble does come from time to time! But, we are not made to be vanquished, or to be ruined. God is near to hear and save. To give us strength, to give us grace, to renew our hope and vision. We are still moving forward from the two skirmishes, but we have come so much further-so much more gracefully than it looked possible a week and a half ago. And besides, my help comes from the Lord! So, I know at the end there is good!

Remember, when trouble comes, He is near, He is enough and He won't waste any pain, any tear if you will just trust it to Him as you keep moving forward.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Scattered Thoughts

Ok, this photo came up when I looked for something to illustrate "Scattered Thoughts". I couldn't resist the pretty colors! I'm a sucker for that! But, to be really truthful, it doesn't represent MY scattered thoughts! Mine would be more like a collection of pretty gems mixed with a collection of broken toys, and some pretty flowers tumbled in there, along with some stanky dirty old laundry (you know like smelly old socks and such!) I don't know how to get a picture like that, so words will have to do!


The last week of May, several of our church's Pastor's were impressed that it was a time for those were were so inclined to participate in a type of fast. Our Praise & Worship Team (choir, Music Team, whatever your church calls it - same thing) was the primary group led in this regard, along with of course, our Pastor and and his wife (who is our co-Pastor). How it came about was interesting in the way that God will lead through the Holy Spirit various individuals at the same time. Then at the right time, they all compare notes and find they are on the same track together!

What format was this done? Our Pastor and his wife, the Praise & Worship team and our music Pastor, all went on a 40 day fast that was like this: no sugar, no fried foods, and only 5 hours of media a week, at most. Several (like our Pastor and his wife) were led to do a bit more. They took the first 3 weeks for a Daniel fast and continued with that through much of the fast, because that is how they were led. The opportunity to participate was opened up to the whole congregation, and only God knows how many people took the opportunity to grow in this area.

For me, I got excited when I heard about this. I was hungry for it! Yes, I was hungry to be part of The Body of Christ participating in a fast, for those who were willing to humble ourselves and seek God for spiritual growth in our own lives, and the lives of our families, for greater impact to come from our lives and into our community. For Christ to have free access in our lives that we might be more effective servants in the kingdom of God.

I did my fast a little different, since I'm not a member of the Praise & Worship Team. One of the things they asked us to do, was to keep a journal of the things we were learning, hearing and observing as the Lord would make it clear to us in our prayer and study of His Word.

Some of them I thought it would be good to post on. Just as words of encouragement. Consider this a buffet of words from which you may or may not find any that suit you, at this time. You never know when the application, in your case, is just around the corner!

1) Adore - Early on (it started June 1st), I was "thinking to the Lord" when I had a few minutes of quite time one Tuesday while my son was in music practice. In the middle of my thoughts I started praying to the Lord that we will be a congregation that would be faithful to Him, and that we will be people who are over comers, and that we will be people who Adore Him. I began to comprehend how the act of adoring Him, the discipline of the mind and heart to focus on His worthiness to be adored makes everything else in our lives: hurts, challenges, hopes, dreams and even victories be viewed the right way. As subordinate to Our Magnificent Father and Saviour Christ Jesus. There is a rightness and peace that is only available to us when we remember "with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13).

2) Bountiful - At this particular season in my life, there are 2 ways God gets through to me. 1 is to impress me with a certain word, and I study it and pray on it and just let it steep in my thoughts like good hot tea! That's why so many of these are just one word. This was something that I felt he was reminding me and challenging me to develop an awareness of in my thoughtlife and prayer life. To let it become part of who I am to understand, and allow myself to experience that He IS a bountiful God, and we are to live lives that reflect bounty. He is in all things a bountiful God. Jesus is in all things a bountiful Saviour, King and Priest.

3) Splendor - He is a God of splendor. The way He loves us and what has been done for us and given to us is a splendid thing indeed! To know Him is a splendorous thing. He makes life splendid!

4) Irrevokable - He gives gifts that are irrevokable. He does not change His mind about the gifts and callings He places in and on people's lives. God is not fickle. He has established a covenant with us that is irrevokable. He is not "a God that He should lie" ("God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Numbers 23:19). In Him are all His promises yes and Amen, ("For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us,...was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For ALL the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God". 2 Corinthians 1:19-21). He watches over His Word to perform it ( Genesis 26:3, Deuteronomy 9:5, 2 Chronicles 6:10, and of course "Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it." Jeremiah 1:12) . He has challenged us to remind Him of His Word. In Him there is no shadow of turning. Would that it were true in our lives. Help me Oh, Lord!

5) Clean Slate - I did 2 posts that touched on this a little. Here is an excerpt from my journal "He gives us a clean slate in so many ways. Each life in forgiveness, each day so many new and fresh ways. Will we receive it and take Him up on the bounty, adventure and grace of a clean slate?"

6) Pleasure in the Pain - I have to admit - this one irks me. This one is not engraved in my heart just yet. I believe it. But, I struggle tremendously with it. I don't have wisdom to offer in this one. It is a new concept to me. I will share from my journal here as well. "I asked God about this yesterday as I swept, as I admitted I was NOT feeling pleasure in the pain. "Where is the pleasure, Lord? I'm not feeling this." So far what I have is this - "For the Joy set before" me - its the pleasure of knowing, of being "fully persuaded" that God is sovereign and at work in the midst of the pain, in order to bring glory to His Name, to make His Word true - What Words do I believe Him for? "

There were some scriptural themes that popped up frequently during this time for me. I am sure I haven't seen the last of those principles and themes! That means I will be posting on them, Good Lord willing!

I can't wait to hear from others at our church what they have learned. It really helps me process stuff to get on here and chat with you all. I appreciate so much the format and relationships we share which make this possible and a joy!

God bless!

P.S. I had several typos! Guess what?! I was so focused on what I was doing, I couldn't figure out why my reading glasses were bothering me - turns out one of the lens had popped out, UNBEKNOWNST to me! LOL!

Cat's Got My Tongue & More to Follow

How's things going in you-all's world? I am in a weird place mentally right now. I'm fine. But, I just can't hardly make myself write a post, visit or comment. I think about you all and pray. But, it's like when I get to the PC, cat's got my tongue, and I am all locked up. I have numerous topics and thoughts I want to write about. Lots of ideas, and things I see in the Word that I want to bring to life and light. But, like a sci-fi force shield, when I approach my PC it just stops up, evaporates, sounds silly or too deep or pretentious and presumptuous. So, I back away from the key board.

I don't even like getting on the PC right now for any reason. From time to time I just get a burst of mental energy that says "I can do this, at least this once". That's is what brings me to the keyboard now. I just wanted to say I am not a fly by night sort of person. I feel like I am letting you all down. At the same time I just can't post any ole thing. I will say that inside I am in a bit of a state of flux. Maybe that is part of this mental malaise.

If I have not visited you or had an uplifting post when you needed it, please accept my profuse apologies. I will have another post called Scattered Thoughts coming up.

Much love to you all! If anyone knows how to make those cool signatures some of you have, and you feel like pointing me in the right direction for that, I'd sure love it! Even if you can send me the link you use for it, that'd be great.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Country 'Tis of Thee!

Happy Independence Day, Ya'll! Yesterday as we headed to the beach, I thought about this song. I was saddened to think that though I could roll the memory bank and hear it in my head and heart, most children and even young people in our country today, I don't believe can do that. Where will we be if we don't do a better job of passing on America's cultural history and tradition to our children? As I researched the lyrics for this posting, I further saw the emphasis on the role education plays in strengthening liberty, as noted by the author in the lyrics.

This particularly pricked my heart "No tyrant hand shall smite, While with encircling might All here are taught the Right With Truth allied." Can we really say that "all" are taught that? Especially the last 4o years or so?

Lord, America has so much to thank you for. We honor You and give You all the glory today for the freedoms and privileges we enjoy. Help us do a better job of honoring you, loving each other and leading lives of excellence, both in word and deed. Help The Church to do what the government was never intended to do. Teach us to be good citizens once again. Do a work in our hearts and minds, because we don't seem to know how to do this ourselves. Don't let us watch a pedestrian be run over and not move to help. Not ever again. Don't let us know that someone is hungry or without electricity and not help them. Not ever again. Don't let us hold back from our tithe. That is part of how we fund the help others need. God bless us, we need You! Bless, keep, encourage and keep safe our military, and first responders and their families! Thank you, Father for the opportunities You have blessed us with! The goodness, the richness. Now help us to give back! To stand strong! To serve You by serving others! Lord, deliver us from the disease of apathy!

My country, 'tis of Thee
by Samuel F. Smith - 1832
My country, 'tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet Freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of Liberty,
To thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom's holy light,
Protect us by thy might
Great God, our King.
Our glorious Land to-day,'
Neath Education's sway,
Soars upward still.
Its hills of learning fair,
Whose bounties all may share,
behold them everywhere
On vale and hill!
Thy safeguard, Liberty,
The school shall ever be,
Our Nation's pride!
No tyrant hand shall smite,
While with encircling might
All here are taught the Right
With Truth allied.
Beneath Heaven's gracious will
The stars of progress still
Our course do sway;
In unity sublime
To broader heights we climb,
Triumphant over Time,
God speeds our way!
Grand birthright of our sires,
Our altars and our fires
Keep we still pure!
Our starry flag unfurled,
The hope of all the world,
In peace and light impearled,
God hold secure!


What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

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!