I just wanted to stop in and say hi. My sister, Kelli, has been here for a few days with her husband, Stephen. This morning, we did a little photo shoot - we have a good time together, and it's been a sweet time with her!
Proverbs 15:30 says, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." Thank you, Kelli, for bringing joy to my heart!
Be blessed, dear friends! :)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I just wanted to stop in and say hi. My sister, Kelli, has been here for a few days with her husband, Stephen. This morning, we did a little photo shoot - we have a good time together, and it's been a sweet time with her!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Photo taken at Gaylord Opryland Hotel's exhibit, ICE: A Charlie Brown Christmas, 12/7/09
I am really tired of all the warring that goes on this time of year over "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas"!!!! So, I'm going to give you MY thoughts on it. Whether you find something to think about or not, I'm leaving totally in the Spirit's hands. But it's gone SO far lately, I HAVE to speak up. :)
So. Is it "Merry Christmas" and ONLY "Merry Christmas" for you? I hope you'll take this post in the spirit it's meant; it's been brewing in my heart for a while now. :)
There are several things I hear around this time of year about how people are trying to force "Merry Christmas" from our society, and we can't let this happen, and how dare they! Dear ones, I am here to tell you that, while it does matter what YOU celebrate, it doesn't matter what someone else says to you!
First, let's tackle the famous "Don't use Xmas - it takes Christ out of Christmas!" The truth of the matter is, the letter X is formed the same way as the first Greek letter of "Christ". It's been used since His ascension by believers to represent His name. "Xmas" doesn't take Him out of it, dear one. :) I promise! Google it, see what Wikipedia has to say.
Word studies are VERY interesting! Here's another one I hear: "Happy Holidays" just means they're being politically correct, trying to include ALL religions at OUR special celebration!
I'm trying really hard not to be sarcastic, but two things come to my mind. First of all, "OUR celebration" has become so commercialized that it really isn't "ours" anymore - and what do you expect retailers to do? If you're trying to make money, why would you exclude anyone?? It doesn't make sense - and honestly, it makes me cringe when I see so much nastiness abound about this subject. I believe in taking a stand about what I believe - but trying to force the rest of the world into doing what one group wants much less BELIEVING what I do, just isn't going to happen. As a matter of fact, it turns more people away. And I don't think that's what Christ wants from us. Do you?
The second thing is, let's look at this word, "holiday". Yup. It's from HOLY DAY. Wikipedia again: A holiday is, in the English-speaking world, a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observation is warranted.
Let's see. The government observes several days during this season. That would make it "holidays", wouldn't it? Seems like it.
The only way that "Happy Holidays" becomes a bad thing, in my opinion, is when it means "Merry Christmas" is not allowed. Then it's not an inclusionary thing, but an exclusionary. So, if a store will not sell anything with "Merry Christmas" on it, or allow "Christmas carols" to be played over its loudspeakers, then I think there's a problem. But it IS a holy day for Christians, is it not? How, then, can being wished "Happy Holidays" HURT YOU???????????????????? The person saying it doesn't mean it as a bash to you, do they? I don't think so, for about 99.75% of the people who use it as a greeting. Heavens, even *I* use it! I use the plural - and include New Year's in the wishing. You don't think I mean to block your Christmas, do you?
:) I hope what I'm saying makes sense to you so far!
Biblically, there is no imperative to celebrate the coming of Christ. If you look at the history of "Christmas", it might surprise you -it's widely held that the Catholic church couldn't suppress the pagan worship on the Winter Solstice, so it was decided to change the celebration from pagan to holy. There's a LOT of interesting information out there, if you decide to go looking!
The bottom line, for me, is this: I CHOOSE to use December 25 as the day to "officially" celebrate Jesus' birth. But unless it lives in my heart ALL YEAR THROUGH, it's just another day. Unless I am daily striving to die to myself, and my selfish desires, and show the world the love God showed in sending His Son, Christmas doesn't really matter. Why on earth would anyone want to celebrate the Christian's holy day when they are treated with ridicule and contempt over WORDS?
Please, dear one, hear what I'm saying: actions speak SO MUCH louder than words. This HOLIDAY season, take the opportunity to share WHY you believe Christmas is true. Share the AMAZING LOVE that made the holiday celebration-worthy. Meet someone's need, and watch their hearts open to hear what you have to say, IN LOVE.
Glory to God in the highest!
And on Earth, peace! Goodwill toward men!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, dear one. You are SO loved! Let His love light your day!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
(Please click on the photo; Kenn took it, and I played with it. It's a really sobering look!)
Hi!! Are you enjoying your Christmas season? I am - we've got dear friends here from Oregon, and they've been here less than 24 hours and we've already had a great visit!!! :D HOPEFULLY, we'll get a picture of us together soon.
Now, then. My sister, Kelli, sent me this today - THANK YOU, Kelli!!!!!!!!!!!! I REALLY loved the story, and thought that perhaps we could ALL take something from it.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS - AND PASS IT ON!!!!!!!!!! I love you!
"Leave me alone," he growled..... To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.
"Are you hungry?" she asked.
"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president.. Now go away."
The woman's smile became even broader.
Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone.
Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked..
"No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?"
The officer scratched his head.. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"
"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile."
"Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything.."
"This is a good deal for you, Jack," the officer answered. "Don't blow it."
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked."What is all this, is this man in trouble?"
"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered.
"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business."
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place"
The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"
"Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."
"And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?"
"What business is that of yours?"
I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company."
The woman smiled again.. "I thought that might make a difference."
She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a laugh. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?"
"No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty."
"Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"
"Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice."
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer."
The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said.
"That was not my intent.... Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this."
She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently..
"Jack, do you remember me?"
Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar.."
"I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."
"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
"I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment.. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."
Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."
"I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right."
"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said..
"I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office."
She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always open to you."
There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he asked.
"Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. He led me to you."
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways.. "Thank you for all your help, officer," she said.
"On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And..And thank you for the coffee."
Have a Wonderful Day. May God Bless You Always and don't forget that when you "cast your bread upon the waters," you never know how it will be returned to you. God is so big He can cover the whole world with his Love and so small He can curl up inside your heart.
When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go.
Only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly!
The power of one sentence! God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor. If you believe, send it. If you don't believe, delete it.
God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close.. If you need God to open some doors for you...send this on.
Have a blessed day and remember to be a blessing....
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Hello, my dear friends!!!! I have neither forgotten nor abandoned you; God is working out another one of THOSE posts in my heart; I'm hoping to have time mid-week this week to get it out of there and onto my computer. :D
I just wanted to drop into your email, or into your world, and let you know that I miss you, I care for you, and I LOVE it when you email me!
Keep watching for that post - and pray for me while I'm trying to go where He's leading me! :) BE BLESSED!!!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I find it incredibly interesting that, without my trying lately, I've got two new subscribers to the Wannabe blog! :D WELCOME! My prayer is that you're blessed by what I post, WHEN I post. :D There's a LOT I want to share, but sometimes it takes a while to get things into a cohesive, comprehensive THOUGHT. :D
ANYWAY. I've been hanging onto this forward for a while. I don't do them very often, but this one REALLY touched my heart. I think it's even more poignant now that my friend lost her husband this year.
Please leave me a comment whenever you wish, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to share with me privately. I consider your trust a high honor, and it's a privilege to be able to take your requests to the Throne of God! :)
On to the story.....
"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. "Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered.. "For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended me? For an airbag that saved my life, but took my child's?"
"Good afternoon, can I help you?"
Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. "I . . . I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.
"For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories, " she continued.. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."
Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."
Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer.
"Hi, Barbara, let me get your order." She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.
"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk. Sandra watched; was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.
"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said, as she gently tapped her chest.
Sandra stammered, "Ah, that lady just left with . . .. uh . . .she left with no flowers!"
"That's right," said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today," explained the clerk. " She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had
just lost her father; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk... "For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel..."
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly.
"I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?!' It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn
to comfort others."
Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."
Just then someone else walked in the shop.
"Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.
"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement, twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator...
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously.
"Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?"
"Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced," Phil replied. "After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us."
As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life" Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too . . fresh."
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love.... Don't resent the thorns."
Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart... The first year's arrangement is always on me."
The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."
"My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns.. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."
Thursday, September 24, 2009
It was a bad reason to have to go home to Indiana/Ohio: one of my best friends lost her husband quite suddenly, and I went to be with her on the day of the funeral. But it was a good visit.
I stayed in Indiana at our friends' farm. They are WONDERFUL people; originally my sister's friends (her high school best friend's parents!), they've been SO much fun to get to know, and to spend time with. There were days when we could have gone to do something, but stayed on the farm! It's been fun seeing Kenn (AKA "City Boy") learn about farm life. :)
What I want to tell you about, however, is leaving the farm this last time. I was by myself; Kenn didn't get to go with me. But I know what we do before we leave, each time, so I planned the leaving part accordingly. :D They're building a new house from SCRATCH next to the rickety farmhouse; they've been working on it for years, and they're "close" to getting it ready to move into. Before we leave, we go see the progress on the house, and take a quick tour of SOME of the farm. (Mind you, this is a working farm, so to tour the whole thing would take a VERY long time!!! :) )
The garden on the farm has been producing like crazy, so our friends were SO pleased to be able to send "some" produce home with me. The photo above shows what I brought home. :D Even the pumpkin! He became a turkey, but that's another post. LOL!
We were out in the garden for 45 minutes, cleaning off the vegetables and loading them into the car. Then, it was time for goodbye hugs and waves while I pulled onto the country road, waving and smiling.
I was still smiling five minutes later. Can you IMAGINE?? I'd been there about 38 hours, but I was SOOOOOOOOO blessed by them. I was GONE much of that time, but we still had a couple of meals together, and laughed and sympathized with each other. There wasn't any "You're a guest, so act like one." I'm one of the family! I know where the towels are, I know where to put the bedding when I leave. And I get so blessed, every time I go to visit them. Not only did they bless ME, but I had the joy of seeing Kenn act like it was Christmas when he was carrying it all into the house; Mom couldn't get over how GENEROUS they'd been to us. And NOTHING tastes better than a sweet cherry tomato that someone you cherish has grown and blessed you with! :)
It's not the things they give me - or that I give them, because who goes somewhere like that without a present? :D It's the way I FEEL when I'm around them. I'm NEVER, EVER glad to be leaving them, but I always leave feeling loved and welcome to come back.
Do you *hear* what I'm trying to say? There's no doubt in my mind that I have a place there. I am always welcome. I will always be loved by them. I don't have to wonder if they're just nice to my face. I'm part of the family while I'm there.
Dear one, not only are we to feel that way in the Body of Christ, but we're to OFFER that to anyone who comes to our homes. I just can't imagine anything better than to have someone say to me, "I was still smiling five minutes after I left your house the other day!"
It's a little out of context, but not too much - Jesus said, "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9, NIV) We have started to become sooooooooo concerned with OURSELVES; we don't just "hang out" with each other, encouraging one another and sharing with each other! We HOARD what we have, as if it's going to be a security.
It's NOT. And that's not why God blesses us with worldy wealth, either - no matter how much or how little you have. It's to bless OTHERS.
Dear one, please pray for ME in this area. I want to be obedient in being a blessing, too! I want people to know I'm different, that they're LOVED, and WELCOME, and part of the family!!!! How about you?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Good morning, dear friend! How are you today?
I'm dragging my feet. Why? Because I DO NOT want to write this post! It's not a warm fuzzy today, but I think it's part of why you haven't heard much from me lately. I have a word for some of you, and it's a call to action. Kind of. :)
I've kept in touch with many of you personally, and know some of the struggles you've been going through. I know a lot of you are looking for direction from God: What should I be doing? Am I walking in His will? What should I be doing to help my family?
Dear ones, I also know that some of you are like the leaves, being tossed by every change of direction in the wind. As soon as a door opens, you think it MUST be God, and try to run through it - and then another door opens, and IT must be God.
HE WANTS YOU TO STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Be STILL, and know that He is God. What does that MEAN????
"When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." John 10:4-5.
We NEED to know His voice. We need to know the difference between God's voice and a stranger's. And that means being STILL. It means being WITH Him. It means reading His Word, so you know what He SOUNDS like, what the truth of His Word says to your spirit - and how that "feels".
Dear one, how can you know His voice to follow HIM if you're not intimately involved with Him?
I want you to know that I struggle with this, too - and I don't spend nearly as much time with Him as I should. But I'm READING. I'm PRAYING. I'm trying to be STILL as much as possible, to LISTEN.
It's easy to think that every opportunity that comes your way is from God. But it's not TRUE. Everything may look PERFECT, but if you're listening, there MIGHT be a check that says WAIT.
Please, dear friend, HEAR ME. I'm not directing this at any one person. We ALL struggle - and if you're into your Bible every day, YEAH!
Still, I will say: LISTEN. Be STILL, and KNOW THAT HE IS GOD. Then, you'll be able to MOVE, and know you're following the Master's voice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He says:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
I love you! I am praying for you! And if you want to share with me, PLEASE do so - you can leave a comment if you'd like others to pray or celebrate with you, too, or you can email me at email@example.com.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
After you read this story, you'll realize the SMALLEST act of compassion can change someone's life. I encourage you to look around for random acts of kindness YOU can do. If you see it, DO it!
It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies..' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey &Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven.
Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by..
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.
Friday, August 21, 2009
If you'd like to receive an email containing a photo with Scripture and a short thought for the day, please email me at HeavnlyPhotos@aol.com or leave me a comment here. This is TODAY'S email that went out this morning. :) You can remove yourself at any time from the mailing list, no hassle, no problem! (The photo is bigger in the email; here, you can click on it to see the original size - but it doesn't take long to open at all!)
But not so this year! With plenty of rain, the ground is actually soft instead of brick hard. This is a bloom from a Rose of Sharon bush, related to the Hibiscus. These blooms open up to the sun; at night they tighten up. During the day, when the evidence of the sun and of God's creation is so abundant, there is no need to hide yourself! There is far more to be thankful for than to be feared.
If you find yourself getting depressed, and being filled with anxiety, open yourself to the Son.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Please forgive me for seeming to drop off the face of the earth where this blog is concerned. I think I've kept in touch with most of you personally. I started this blog to be able to communicate about the daily struggle of being a Godly woman, and haven't posted in two months! I do ask your forgiveness. I lost my message for a while - but then, I realized, we ALL do sometimes. Sometimes God changes our message, or we refuse to listen to the message He wants us to share (as a wise woman admitted in her study last night at church!:D)
So, I might as well jump right in with a tough subject, right? :D
I've been feeling lately that I'm sleepwalking through my personal walk with Jesus. Let me tell you what I mean, and I hope you'll share whether I'm crazy :D, whether you've gone through something like that yourself, or whether something in your spirit is testifying the truth of what I share.
I read my Bible. I read devotionals online. I read REALLY great stuff that's being written by my friends and contemporaries.
I pray. I pray with my husband. I pray throughout the day. I do devotions with my husband.
I listen to praise music. I sing praise music - and worship music. I sit in stillness and try to listen.
I minister. I help my friends. I give them tough love and we have real communication about what God wants.
And some days, it's GOOD. Some days, I feel GREAT about where I am, what I'm doing, and what God's using me for.
There are MORE days when I don't feel like I'm moving. When I feel NOTHING. When I know God is moving, and moving ME, but I'm not being MOVED. Does that make sense?
Like I'm sleepwalking through when I should be WIDE AWAKE. Like I'm not engaged in what God is doing to me or through me.
Or is that the way it's SUPPOSED to be? Am I being a vessel, poured out and used by Him?
So tell me, dear one. Does this strike a chord for you? Which do you think it is? And can you give me some Biblical backing for what you think?
The picture of the cat, above, is one I dearly love. I took it in Kalama, WA, outside a little restaurant. It's one of the prettiest places that's not directly on the ocean that I know of. :D This cat was sleeping on the handrail outside the restaurant. He wasn't phased by ANYTHING or ANYONE. He was content, comfortable, fed, and on his own turf.
But I don't want to be found SLEEPING. I want to be awake, alert, and AWARE. So talk to me!!! :)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
But God's angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. -- Romans 1:18-23
Wow, ladies. We've got some hurts going on in our families! Here come two more people we need to uplift! Again, please pray the following for them: strength, peace, and joy that can only come from God; wisdom and discernment to deal with anything that they face; someone to PHYSICALLY walk through this with them, whether it be a spouse whose eyes need to be opened to their needs or a friend who cares; and clear direction from God about what to do and how to do it. Pray for them to be blessed in unexpected ways, that God would show each one that He's intimately concerned about her/him. PRAY FOR VICTORY!!!!
From Terri, who just had surgery on her back:
And from Deana: Please pray that my husband, Scott, will find a job. Also, a girl in my mops group has a 5 yr old, 2 yr old and is about 7 months pregnant and found out today that her 2 year old has a brain tumor. Deana also has an unspoken personal prayer request.
Please, please lift them up!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.
Lamentations 3:25-30, The Message
Oh, dear friends! Thank you for praying for each other, and for continuing to be vulnerable in asking for petitions!!! I want to encourage you: if you need prayer, PLEASE let me know. There are people you don't even know about praying for you!!!! And when you get an answer, or feel like submitting a praise report, GO FOR IT!!!!! It's by your testimony that we will ALL be encouraged, uplifted, and spurred to keep praying!
Here's a new request, sent by dear Ginny:
Lori, may I add to that list of prayer requests? First for my daughter, Grace's, boyfriend. His job, his true calling, problems with his parents. I can't be more specific, but God knows! Also, my arthritic right knee is causing me tremendous pain. It's difficult to get comfortable. I made an appointment with the orthopedist for next Thursday; I will probably get another cortisone injection, which is painful. But I'm concerned that the deterioration is worse than a year ago; I've been offered a partial knee replacement, but I feel I'm too young, and I can't care for Phil if I'm laid up. I need wisdom, and freedom from the pain.
DEFINITELY, dear one. I know Becky has already prayed for you! We won't stop lifting you up until you get answers.
Now, then. Some things don't need captions at all. BE ENCOURAGED, and take a moment to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (If it's too small to really see well, click on the image.)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I think we need to stay focused on praying for each other for a while, dear ones. There's SO MUCH hurt going on - and it's not been easy for me today in real life - so I KNOW we're doing what God wants here. :D
Please pray for my dear, sweet friend, Claudia. Claudia is the dance ministry director at our church; for about six months now, she's had a problem with her sinuses and ears being blocked. She's had some hearing return, but she can't sleep for long periods, so she's very tired. When I asked how her week has been, for the first time I can think of she told me, "HARD." Please pray the things I asked you to for everyone for both her and the next request, but also that God would release that pressure, and allow her to rest, and that this whole problem would be healed.
This one is from Becky - who prayed beautiful prayers for everyone in the comments sections!!!
I need to ask for prayer for my friend.
Please pray for Michelle, whom in the past 6 months has been transformed from a hardworking leader and active mom/wife/teacher/church worker and friend to a weak and scared individual. Michelle went to the doctor because she simply didnt feel well and thought she might have a sinus infection. The next few weeks were a rocking whirlwind. She was diagnosed with Graves Disease and was rushed to surgery to remove her thyroid completely. She has lost more than 70% of her vision and her eyes are protruding so far now that the lids cant even cover the entire eye. She was also diagnosed with seveirely compacted sinus cavities and once again went in for emergency surgery. So now she is on the emotional hormoneal roller coaster that comes with Thyroid issues. She is nearly blind and is having extreme issues with phobias and and anxiety. She rarely leaves her home any more. Is having a hard time with her faith. Her marriage has become just a matter of business as her husband is purplexed with the stress of money issues that seem to keep piling on. Her children are struggling as though they have already lost their mom because she is no where near the person she once was. Pray for the entire family.
Oh, sweet friends, please pray. Such difficult things we're ALL facing!!! You know, I find it SO true that our burden seems heavy until we see the next person's. God is SO good! His mercies are new EVERY morning. I don't care WHAT you're facing; God is bigger than it is! I love the "bumper sticker saying" that says DON'T TELL GOD HOW BIG YOUR PROBLEM IS. TELL YOUR PROBLEM HOW BIG YOUR GOD IS! Claim that for these requested people, dear friend; maybe they're not able to claim it for themselves right now. Pray for FAITH.
And now for a wonderful report from Kathy! :D
GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME!! Keep praying! Keep sending me your requests! AND how God is answering!!!! He is FAITHFUL - let's not hesitate to remind one another!!!
I love you all. Thank you so much for lifting each other up!!!
This is from Hootie:
"Lori, I have read these requests and will add them to my prayer journal. Will u please add my parents to the list. God knows the need in their life and I pray God shows them what they need to do and they will listen. I need prayer for strengh. Thank u!!"
Now, for Shirl:
After all the weeks of my hobbling around --it has been determined that a hip replacement would help me-----only thing now is after visit to my Dr. yesterday--he was not happy with the ekg--so I have to waite till Thurs. (11th) to have stress test to see if my heart is up to the surgery-------Hope I can pass that test--and get-her-done---so I will be able to get back to work at Encore-----Don't really know How you have managed without me--LOL--------Thanks for all the good thoughts you have sent my way---Love Ya all----Shirl
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Please read the new additions to the post if you read it before 10:56 p.m. Central Time 06/09! :)
Hello, dear friend. I'm so glad you stopped by again; there's another big post brewing in my spirit, but today's is MOST important.
There are SO MANY of you, my friends, who need prayer right now. Since I consider us all sisters in Christ, I'm calling on each person who reads this to pray for the following people. PLEASE. We need to make some spiritual warfare on behalf of each other.
Pray for Kathy's mom: "This is an email that my sister has sent out concerning my mom. I would also like to include you in this circle of prayer. For most of you this is the first time you have been made aware of the situation. I guess I take after my Dad’s mother in that if you don’t talk about something it goes away. But getting this email has been my “slap in the face”. It is real and it is serious. I do know and believe in the power of prayer. Mom’s mother was a true prayer warrior and anytime there was a concern she called on God to take over. Her faith was always strong and her belief never wavered. I do believe that as God watched over the family of Abraham he has also watched over the family of E.B. Swinford. Not that we haven’t had our trials but we know that God is with us each step of the way." >Keep mom in your prayers (and me too)!!! Kathy
Cousins: Please keep Mom, Freida in your prayers, she is going to have surgery next Wednesday, 6-10-09 to remove the tumor in her stomach, the doctor told her today the biopsy came back no cancer, but he is not promising there is no cancer, he said sometimes it won't show in the biopsy. He said the surgery is going to be difficult due to the location of the tumor. Mom is already very weak physically due to her weight loss, so we are of course concerned about the difficulty of this"
A sister in Christ's dad: Health problems that can be serious, but I can't go into detail. Please pray for this sister, too; it's so difficult dealing with something like this! (Names and specific details withheld on request.)
Kenn: OK, so he's not a sister, but it sure affects ME. :D His asthma is REALLY bad right now; he's not able to sleep, because of having to be vertical or he can't breathe.
Ginny: Fibromyalgia pain is in a high-level flare right now. Her husband has also bee fighting an incurable cancer for what seems like a very long time, and the drain on their finances and hope takes its toll.
Becky: They've placed their house on the market; money is quickly draining away, and they're really feeling the spectre of something awful.
Kimmie: She's had a LOT of major life changes in the past year, and is still trying to adjust to everything.
Rhonda: She and the kids are buying a house and moving to another small Texas town. She has a promising new job, but it's a lot of responsibility, and please pray for her children, that they'll be able to heal from the way their dad treats them, and grow up to be loving adults who don't carry his cycle of neglect forward.
Jan: I just found out that her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Looking at the specific requests, it seems that our parents are really under attack right now!
(I know I'm forgetting someone; if you want us to pray for you, please leave a comment!!!!)
Please pray the following for our dear friends: strength, peace, and joy that can only come from God; wisdom and discernment to deal with anything that they face; someone to PHYSICALLY walk through this with them, whether it be a spouse whose eyes need to be opened to their needs or a friend who cares; and clear direction from God about what to do and how to do it. Pray for them to be blessed in unexpected ways, that God would show each one that He's intimately concerned about her/him. PRAY FOR VICTORY!!!!!
I would ask that you uplift me, too, as I share with you. Also, that God would see fit to loosen our finances as only He can! Most days, I have no trouble counting my blessings. There are some moments, however...!! I KNOW you know, too! :)
Now, everyone, as God answers these prayers, PLEASE share with me or leave a comment so we can all read. We need to be able to look back and see His hand moving in our lives!
THANK YOU. I can't WAIT to see how God's going to move!
A friend - thank you, Ms. Mary! :) - sent this to me today. It may help someone else, too, to hang on when the bottom seems to be falling out.
WHEN YOUR HUT'S ON FIRE!!!!
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky.... He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'
Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.
The Moral of This Story:
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that
summons the Grace of God.
P.S. You may want to consider passing this on, because you never know who feels as if their hut is on fire today.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Good evening, dear friend. It's been a long day; a good one, for the most part, but I've spent part of the day thinking back on things.
I read through my 10th Anniversary Scrapbook, which was the best trip I've been on in my entire life. We went back to Oregon and renewed our vows on our favorite beach, with close friends and family members from the area. It was a glorious, wonderful, awesome, fantastic (I can't think of any more superlatives!) trip. And I miss the ocean.
A year ago yesterday was our first Sunday after the fiasco at our old church. So this coming Sunday will mark our first Sunday at our NEW church. I still miss some of my friends, and the closeness of the family I thought I had there. But OH! I wouldn't trade that for the wonderful place God has put us!
A year later, we're still learning names, learning songs, learning the ways of the Body in this particular building. But we see GOD there! And we're learning where we fit, and feeling His flow.
Life. Such a series of good and bad, happy and sad - yet our good God uses them ALL for His glory - and for His purpose in our lives. For our good.
God is good, ALL the time. Selah!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Good morning! A dear new friend sent this to me today, after receiving what I had to say in the Heavenly Perspective Good News email (went as a 5-day devotional; please let me know if you'd like to receive it!). I love it - it's SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you enjoy this thought, and let me know if it has an impact on your day. :) I love you, dear friend!!!
Law of the Garbage Truck
One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.
Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, say a prayer for them and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.
Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so . . . love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't. We're not always responsible for everything that happens to us, but we are responsible for how we react to what happens. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!
Have a wonderful, garbage-free day!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Here’s a great story by Richard Hoeffer:
A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot.
He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. He went back to
Grandma’s back yard, where he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let
fly. The stone hit. The duck fell dead. The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead
duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all,
but she said nothing.
After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said,
“Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you, Johnny?”
And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!”
So Johnny did the dishes.
Later Grandpa asked if anyone wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I
need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny
wants to do it.”
Again she whispered, “Remember the duck!”
Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.
Several days went like this: Johnny was doing both his chores and Sally’s. Finally he
couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he had killed the duck.
“I know, Johnny,” Grandma said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and
saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you
would let Sally hold it over you.”
The question is: What’s your duck?