Saturday, December 31, 2011

A sprinkled donut solves most things!


God I love this girl!

This was many years ago, and it brings me back in a heartbeat.  Amazing how a video can capture a moment in time.  In a few short hours we will all be flipping the calendar page...and on we stride into the New Year. (or possibly limp.)
 New videos.  New moments.  New heartaches.  New realities.

But remember my sweet girls verse...

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he
shall direct your paths."

And when all else fails...go get yourself a sprinkled donut! ;o)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shuffling through life

So back by popular demand...some of you requested seeing Sierrah do her "shuffling" dance in brighter light.  We threw it together on the way out the door, so if she doesn't look thrilled...that explains it.  She was distracted by the upcoming movie she was about to see. (I'm such a mom...making excuses for my daughter's less than stellar attitude ;)

Some of us shuffle through life the same way...with the same attitude.  (except without all the great background music.)  Imagine having a theme song with every non exciting moment we happen to be experiencing.  Would make it way more dramatic and do-able, huh?  

So yes, I googled 'shuffle' just out of curiosity...and one of the definitions said:  'to keep moving your feet because you are nervous, embarrassed, or bored.'  Hmmm...sound familiar?  Shuffling along, with no real purpose. Day in.  Day out.  No direction.  No plan.

Shuffling.

God has a 'specific' plan for you...just you.  This year invest in finding out what.  It will be time well spent.  In the meantime... enjoy my daughter shuffling as a reminder.




Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Normal, ordinary, everydayness

So I'm sitting here after all of the Holiday Hooplah...and things seem to be shifting back to 'Normal'...dare I say it?
Why is it we tend to cringe when we hear that dreaded word. Has the T.V. programmed us to be superstars, so that anything resembling normal represents 'boring'. (You underachievers, you! ;)

Lets consider how our Savior entered this world.  No red carpet treatment.  No room at the Inn.  No fanfare, no fuss.

My son Carter bought me a book for Christmas called, "God's Story / your story" ... and as Max Lucado says, 'It drips with normalcy.'  "The couple doesn't caravan into Bethlehem with camels, servants, purple banners, and dancers.  Mary and Joseph have no tax exemption or political connection.  They have the clout of a migrant worker and the net worth of a minimum wage earner. 

Not subjects for a PBS documentary.
Not candidates for welfare either. 
They are, well, normal.  Normal has calluses like Joseph, stretch marks like Mary.  Normal stays up late with laundry
and wakes up early for work.  Normal drives the car pool wearing a bathrobe and slippers.  Normal is Norm and Norma, not Prince and Princess.

But then comes the Christmas story -- Norm and Norma from Normal, Ohio, plodding into ho-hum Bethlehem in the middle of the night.  No one notices them.  Trumpets don't blast; bells don't sound; angels don't toss confetti.  Aren't you glad they didn't?

What if Joseph and Mary had shown up in furs with a chauffeur, bling-blinged and high-muckety-mucked?  And what if God had decked out Bethlehem like Hollywood on Oscar night?

But they didn't.

Isn't that what you indwell?  Not a holiday world.  Or a red-letter-day world.  No, you live an everyday life.  You have bills to pay, beds to make, and grass to cut.  Congratulations.  You qualify for a modern-day Christmas
story.  God enters the world through folks like you and comes on days like today."

Friday, December 23, 2011

The giver is more blessed than the receiver

Our family has been 'priviledged' enough to have experienced difficult financial struggles due to the economic times and the nature of my husband's Business.  So we know what it means to get down to the wire and wonder how we're gonna make it through...
You've heard, "Do the math."  Well we did...and it just didn't add up.

But God.

Always loved those 2 words.  Kev's Dad said them often.  When he died, those 2 words lived on as a legacy he left behind to all of us.  He lived it.
He believed it.  I trust it. When you add God to the equation, it doesn't need to add up.  Won't always make sense.  Typically appears unreasonable.

But God. 

He is the Master Mathematician.  Usually, if you multiply '0' x any other number = 0...not with Him.  He can take your '0' and turn nothing into something, He's not limited by a math principle.

Thanks to all of you who made donations in this 2 Day quickie campaign, (about 35 of you).  I have been so blessed by your response.  (Even after the deadline some came through!)  Late last night in Walmart I hear my friend Niki yelling my name across the store from the register that she needed to talk to me.  She was having a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party and kids were bringing wrapped toys and she asked if she could have them donated to our cause.  They are being delivered tonight by my friend Lora Hill's mom...and she is taking them to a single mom who's mother helped her out 20 years ago when they couldn't afford a Christmas! Love it!  

Here's a quick recap and a thanks to all of you!



Monday, December 19, 2011

Donate Hope

Here's my hubby explaining a quick challenge we received from our Church (isn't he cute? ;)
    

                                                                                                                               

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Be Present


As that time approaches of handing out presents...it serves as a reminder for me to 'be present'.  I love how
God refers to Himself as 'I am'.  Not 'I was' or 'I might be'.

I am right now.  Here.  In this moment.  Not regretting my past, not contemplating my scary future.  Settled here in this comfortable, cozy place called now.  Embracing the unsureties, yet not dwelling.  What could be...should be...or worst yet, what could have been?  If only...

The enemy wants to steal my today.  Kill my tomorrows.  Destroy my very life.  This is his mission (should you choose to accept it.)  Whether I'm prepared or not.  Whether I have blinders on or shield in hand, it's inevitable.  He's out to destroy us!  Getting us tangled up in our yesterdays or frazzled about our tomorrows, he has oh so subtly got our eyes shifted off of today.  This conversation.  This child.  This very moment...stolen.  Never to be retrieved again. 

Another marked up calendar page is flipped again for a nice, clean, blank, well intentioned page.  High hopes for do overs.  Second chances.  New memories built on these pages.  Will the X in each box represent a day well lived?  People loved well?  Projects accomplished?  Or does the X
signify what every handed back test reveals --  we got it wrong!  Do we get a re-take?  Thankfully, yes we do!

"His mercies are new every morning!"-Lamentations 3:23
God must have known what our tendencies would be for Him to make His mercy available new and afresh every morning.  Not once a week on Sunday.  Not just at the Annual Women's Retreat.  But daily.

Is anyone else thankful for a God who knew ahead of time that we'd need a good dose of mercy on a real regular basis?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Faith gets stuck (literally!)



Since my last post, you guessed it...Faith was jealous!  It's pretty typical if you've ever met her. (Yet she takes good care of Hope, cleans her a bit too much for my liking...but we'll avoid that topic.)

So yesterday I get a call from my youngest daughter, in a bit of
a panic.  She said Faith was outside for longer than usual, and
when she approached her in the back yard she and her cute
little Santa outfit were 'stuck' to a bush and she was attached
to a branch.  She couldn't leave...even if she wanted to.

Reminded me of the verse, "I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;  apart
from me you can do nothing."

Oh to have OUR faith stuck to His Vine just like sweet little
Faith in the back yard! (Maybe velcro is the answer!)  How
often we try to break away, escape the very thing that gives us life.  So often we feel it's restrictive, it's holding us back, slowing us down.  Yet it is ultimately what gives us real power...His power, (rather than our own.) 

So today, if you feel that your faith is stuck...abide in Him. Relax.
Enjoy the view.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lessons from Hope (the dog, that is)


So we have 2 dogs...Faith & Hope.  This is Hope, (and yes she has her own Facebook Page.)  I know you're thinking, "oh great, she's gonna pull out the family photo album."
Wait!  Before you delete me...glance up one more time. 
Cute, huh?  It's the best pic I could find.  Lets just say she
has 'issues'. 

 Just brought her to the vet, and underneath
all the fur on her face, she had a gaping hole! (I spared you those pictures!)  Apparently pretty common, a tooth poked through, but it was buried underneath so we didn't know.

Got me thinking of all of the people around us with wounds
buried underneath it all...buried underneath the smile on their face, the successful image, the busyness, the 'oh so together' ness.  The 'Hopes' in this world.  Wearing their masks, camouflaging their gaping wounds. 

In this 'Season of Hope', keep your eyes open for them.  Who knows, they could even be living in your own house like my little Hope!

Oh yeah, P.S.  Our Church is doing a series on Hope (not the dog, silly) www.NorthPark.com Come visit the website or the Building!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Life is like the Turkey Bowl (aka Mud Bowl)

First, you have your plan...
...then you run like crazy to implement that plan,
                             (yup, that'd be my nephew with the ball!)
                               ...you may even feel a little confident,
                               raise up your hand, volunteer, get
                               involved...
                              ...then, before you know it, you're down
                              on the ground, ball in hand(just minding
                              your own business...doin' your job.)
                              Then this guy is standing over you, throwing
                              mud in your face, (taunting you), talkin'
                              'bout your Mama!  Anything to get you
                              off your game... to doubt, question, wonder. 
                              "Can I do it?  Do I got what it takes?"
                              Then things pile up.
                               The competition keeps chasing you...
                              you fall on your face a few times...
                              people are pullin' at you...
                              literally jumping on your back!
                              Then football (like life) has a way of
                              gettin' you all dirty and bringing you
                              to your knees!
                              So you sit in the back of your truck
                              and take a break.  Reflect.
                              But at the end of the game (at the end of
                              your life)...you were still part of a team.
                              A team filled with other muddy, messed
                              up people, in need of a really good coach!
                             
                             
                              Then... no matter how hard it got, how
                              achy you feel, how muddy you look...
                              you get up and do it again! (Silly boys!)


Whose coaching your team?
1 Corinthians 9:25  "All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The word 'Thanksgiving' is mentioned 57 times in the Bible!

Yes...I googled it! (and that's not even including derivatives of the word or words that mean the same thing.)

 So I'm thinking God puts a high premium on giving thanks...not just on a day like today, once a year, but always.  Not just when it revolves around Turkey and the tryptophan hangover that leads you straight to the couch afterwords...but always.  Not just when all the relatives are sitting around a nicely decorated table getting along(seemingly)...but always. 

Thankful when you're irritated, tired, grumpy (I know, not you)...but for the rest of us.  Choosing to be thankful.  Why not, we choose to get up and do things we simply don't 'feel' like doing every single day.  Can we honestly say we 'FEEL' like routinely facing another day at the office, changing that dirty diaper that no doubtedly needs changing, cleaning up the 'you know what' in the backyard?

Since when did 'feelings' become the gauge of when we should do things?  When did THEY become the boss of YOU?  Aren't you tired of being bullied by them? (kinda embarrasing, huh?!) Make a choice today...everyday...
CHOOSE to be Thankful!   (P.S.  I'm thankful for all of you!  Doesn't necessarily mean I 'like' you...remember, I'm 'choosing'! ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sometimes we just see the paint (the mess)...not the Masterpiece


 
Be sure to watch the above video first, goosebumps to follow!

I know, amazing!  I just had to stop and think how often our life looks like that paint on the canvas... messy, chaotic, no real direction.  How could anything good come from this?  Is there any beauty in it?

Then as time goes on, we begin to see God in it all.  It wasn't so clear before, had to really squint to catch even a faint glimpse.  Then the Masterpiece appears.  The Master himself.

Be encouraged today as you look at your life.  Your paint.  The splatters.
Then remember His Face in the midst of it all. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Seeing through a New Lens

So I am officially joining the world of bloggers.  (Help!!)  I've had several friends who are Authors encourage me to do so.

As far as what I have to offer, well, that's up for debate.

I can tell you that my faith (like film) has developed in the dark times of my life.  I mean, who needs faith when the sun is shining, when life is good, when bills are paid?  That's a breeze, faith can get back burnered.  But it's in the dark, when you can't see your hand in front of your face (that kinda dark), when you are feeling your way down the hallway, inching your way forward (with no light in sight)...that's when your faith develops.

I've had the nail biting priviledge of experiencing that kind of faith, not necessarily by choice.  Didn't raise up my hand for it, yet thankful for the roots I've developed as a result of the storm.  I've watched my 4 kids learn to rely on God because there was no other option.  I've learned to not trust in myself, my circumstances or my feelings, because they are all fickle.  I'm still learning that challenges that God allows are a gift, they're just wrapped up in really ugly wrapping paper disguising the value of what's inside.

God's greatest gifts come through great pain, think of those kids you gave birth to.  But God, through all of this, has improved my vision.  He gave me a new set of glasses.  The lens in which I see the world is much clearer.  What used to be blurry is now coming into focus.  Sometimes we need to have our eyes re-examined to get 20/20 vision and God's Word is what brings clarity to what we are looking at.

Do I have it all figured out?  No.  But when doubt comes knocking...I'm putting up a "Do Not Disturb" sign!