Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen - Children of allllll ages....


Saturday night found me and my husband and children, my Mom and Dad in law and niece and nephew at the circus. Yes, Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Brothers had come to town. I had been looking forward to it with a mild interest. I went to the circus as a child and to be honest, I don't remember thinking it was that great.

What I saw Saturday night was beyond great. It was stupendous, awesome, spectacular - absolutely riveting. I felt like a big kid. I ooo'd and ahhhh'd with the kids, I clapped and laughed...it was so much fun. I actually thought how great it would be to be in the circus. Living on a train, traveling from place to place being a part of that bright and sparkly cast of talented folks. These people were the real deal. They were amazing.

I started thinking about the "what if's". My aunt and uncle live in Sarasota and when I graduated from highschool my aunt said I needed to come down there and go to school at Ringling. I just poohed it. The circus? That's just not realistic.

But what if? Too many times we are limited by what we think is "doable". The sensible thing is to go to college and get a degree that will aid me in my future. I was an English major and a Music minor. I can do nothing with those degrees. But - had I gone to Ringling...well...I might have been one of those performers.

The fact is, I love my life. God has been good to me, much better than I deserve. But I guess what I am trying to say is, it's okay to think beyond the sensible -to try the outlandish for size every once in a while.

I think back to the Israelites when the 12 spies went in. Caleb and Joshua believed that with God's help they could inhabit the land in spite of the giants. But the other 10 spies did not believe. They did not inhabit the land. They had to wander another 40 years. Had they had the faith of Caleb and Joshua they could have lived in that land of milk and honey.

Numbers 13
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it."

Not that I want to run away and join the circus. But - what things have I missed because of my short sightedness. I have not had faith in God's ability to make great things happen for his kingdom.

Numbers 14
And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel,"The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them."


"If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us".


This phrase is freeing and quite uplifting. The fact is that the reason I do not live large - is that I do not dream big for God. The thing I must do is make sure my motives are to build the kindgom and to give God glory. Anything done to lift up myself, or make my life more comfortable is not glorifying the kindgom. It is living for myself. I must be kingdom conscious.


Matthew 21:21
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.

1 Corinthians 2:5
so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.


I have determined in my heart this day, that I will not settle for okay. I want great. I want it for my children, for my husband and for myself. I want to see miracles and witness extraordinary things that could never happen on my own merit. I want to be like Joshua and Caleb and be ready to possess the land. God give me great faith to do amazing things for your kingdom.









Friday, January 29, 2010

Update on Mission: Bake Sale

$350 is the grand total. I am totally and completely thrilled at the goodness of God. Today as I was driving home I thought to myself - "what if the weather had been like this Wednesday and Thursday?" But it was not cold and rainy....it was beautiful and warm!

There is no doubt in my mind that God blessed our little project and encouraged me and those that had a part in it.

Praise be to God!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eat a Cookie! Save a Life!




So....my boys wanted to do something to make money to send to Haiti. Quite the happy thing. Thrilled me to think that they are thinking beyond themselves. So, we decided to have a neighborhood Bake Sale. I told some of my sweet neighbors and they agreed. One of them lives on the main street at a 4 way stop...the perfect place to have the bake sale. We all pooled our goods and set up our table and had the kids waving their posters and brandishing the cans with DONATIONS in large letters. They had a great time. I was so proud of them.

So many people came from where I had posted on Facebook and the neighborhood website. And just the random folks who were passing through.

I have to say, I never expected to make as much as we did. My main goal was to aid the boys in getting money for Haiti and to think beyond themselves. My thinking was, however little was made, it was good to get them involved in a project to teach them to be mission minded.

But God had other things in mind. He blessed it and caused it to be a great success...both in getting the kids to work toward something that was for others and monetarily...in that short hour we made $150. Wow. WOW!

We have round 2 today. I have had 2 people I had not spoken to who heard about it through the grapevine call me and tell me that they wanted to help with the baking. So we have so many things we will be able to offer today. I am going to take a picture of the cupcakes one friend has made...they are beautiful...have angels wings on them. How happy is that?

Pray that God again blesses the efforts and encourages these kids who have been so excited about giving of their time to earn money to help the people of Haiti. God is so good to give us this opportunity. I praise him because he helped me to follow through with an idea to help the kids. It is exactly what I needed to be encouraged in Kingdom work.

One of my favorite moments yesterday was when one of the girls ran up to me and said..."I am making a poster that says, Eat a cookie, save a life! - Can we please do this again?"

Of course!

God is so very good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Real Thing

I know...that is a coke slogan...but it applies to something I noticed the other day.

Of course most people think that plants are a beautiful addition to the home. Makes it all warm and cozy and it shows what a good housewife you are! Well...before you have kids anyway.

When I had the twins, one by one my beautiful plants died and were replaced with silk versions. Nine years later, I do not have one real plant in my house. Every single one of them is silk. Not that there is anything wrong with silk plants...but real ones really are prettier.

How did that happen?

I got busy. I got involved with other little beings and it made it difficult to take care of the plants and all the other things in the house....so I compromised.

I see this in my spiritual life as well. So many times the things I become involved with are like those silk plants...they look pretty good, but it is an imitation. I am a good person (in a moral sense), God has given me a love of people and the personality that wants to please. But it is not always from a heart that is motivated by love.

John 14:6
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I long for the real thing - I want Jesus. Not the imitation life that looks pretty. Truly - I am willing to deal with ugly to have what is real. I think that Jesus knows that. 'Cause my life sure ain't pretty right now. But I am promised that one day it will be.....perfect.


Am I changing out all of my silk plants in my home? Not right now...but I will be paying more attention to what is real in my life...and be intentional about sowing truth, which is Jesus and his Word.

Please - just one favor...if I start sticking silk flowers around my mail box....YOU MUST STOP ME!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Happening Again



There are times in my life that God seems to want to get my attention. I can trust that whatever it is he is wanting me to know - I am going to hear it...eventually. I might lightly brush over it in hearing it once. But when I notice it day after day in a book given to me by my husband, reading a blog of a friend, then in a radio broadcast I just happened to listen to while on my lunch break, and again in my daily devotional...well...I know he is trying to impress on me the importance of his message.


The fact is, for years I have been trying to get it right. But I do so love being in charge and ordering my way. I want to do it by myself. Independence strikes its ugly head. But its really gotten me nowhere. It is like spinning my wheels in the ice at the bottom of my driveway. A whole lot of energy expended and no progress to speak of.


I wake up in the morning to a myriad of people and tasks to take care of. The kids, the house, school work, my work, finding more work, people I want to go help...and it is overwhelming. My thoughts scatter, I lose my focus and end up doing nothing. I am depressed and feel hopeless at times. I want to take care of it all. And there are moments when I think I can. But those moments are fleeting in the face of my mountain of tasks. I am not able. I am reduced to nothing - and accomplish nothing.


But I have been reminded time and time again...through friends (thank you Tiffany), through broadcasts (thank you Nancy Lee Demoss), through books (thank you dear husband), and through my morning reading (thank you David Jeremiah) that my main purpose in my life, this month, this week, this day and this moment is knowing God. My being intentional about seeking the face of God in all I do will actually cause me to be more productive. And on those days when not much is accomplished...for whatever reason, there is no guilt, because I have sought his blessing on my day.

This is what I am longing for...to take care of all the things I need to. To do my daily tasks well, whether I love that task or not, and without guilt of all the things I did not do. I do think that I can cast my cares of the Lord (as I have so often posted here), I do believe that I can know him, ask his blessing on my day and lay my head on my pillow at night knowing that I have accomplished what this day was meant for me to accomplish - as long as I am putting God first. I can know, because I have sought his face, read his word and conversed with him, that he will use me to love those in my life well, to do the things I need to do and to trust that my needs are met. There is no guilt there. There is no remorse over a day wasted. This is good.

Colossians 1:

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

History can prove faulty...




I love Van Gogh. He is my favorite painter. Something about his work and life seems to ring a sympathetic chord with me. A friend posted this article that states that Van Gogh may not have actually cut off his own ear in a crazy frenzy over his prostitute love Rachel. Apparently Gauguin and Van Gogh liked to mix it up sometimes...crazy artists that they were. Gauguin was actually quite the fencer...according to this article he managed to whip out his foil and slice the ear off of his lead and turpentine laden friend. I have also read that artists often went mad in those days because they chewed on nice chunks of dried lead paint and put the turpentine soaked brushes in their mouths...odd - but okay- I'll bite. Probably the reason Van Gogh lost his ear - whether by his own hand or Gauguin's. Either way...interesting stuff.

According to this article, Van Gogh and Gauguin wanted to keep it on the down low that the ear was removed by the artist's close friend. So, they came up with the crazy idea that he did it to himself. Wow. That is a better story?

Regardless, history proves here that it is possible it is a little faulty. Makes me wonder often times what is really true and what is not. Perception is often wrong. But questionably enough - is that a problem? I mean, I have heard it said that ignorance is bliss. I have to say - I lean toward not wanting to know the truth sometimes. It is easier. It is less messy. Not in Van Gogh's case, but with other things definitely my perception is warm and fuzzy, verses the cold reality.
This has been a hard Christmas. Dear friends losing family in tragic accidents and heart breaking circumstances that will leave lasting worries, and many burdens that are just much too hard to bear on one's own. My own difficulties lately, pale in comparison.
This world truly is cold and hard. But we have been warned. We know that in reality the truth is not so warm and fuzzy. This is a harsh and sin riddled world. People do starve. People do lose their homes. People die in hopeless and horrifying circumstances. Husbands and wives grow apart, children find themselves members of two households instead of one solid secure home. To be honest, I long for home. I long for a haven such as heaven.
Do I doubt it exists? There are days when I fear that history is indeed faulty. I am not always sure of what is real and what is not. And it makes me sad. But somehow, some way, in much the way that Van Gogh's life strikes that chord of sympathy and admiration (yes, admiration), I find a verse in the Bible that does the same thing. Somewhere in my soul the reading of The Word calms and firms my faith and hope in the loving heart of my heavenly Father.
John 16:33 (read John 15 and 16)
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
1 John 3:1-3
1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere -because of that sounding resonation that rings through my soul when I read the Word of God. It is the only compass I have that seems to comfort and resolve the confusion of a hard world.
Oh - Here's a link to the article for those who are interested:
Art historians claim Van Gogh's ear 'cut off by Gauguin'

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I hope it snows...in spite of my being prepared.


It's really cold outside right now....REALLY COLD. This is the south and we are not used to it. It's 19 degrees F outside. That is COLD. REALLY COLD.

So, I was watching the news and they are predicting POSSIBLE snow showers Thursday. You know you are way south when they predict snow on Thursday and you run by the store on Sunday and they are out of milk and bread. For Pete's sake.

Anyway - while I was there I went ahead and got a few batteries and what was left of the milk and bread. So in doing so I have probably hexed the snow on Thursday. For this my fellow southerners...I am truly sorry.

I don't really believe in Murphy's Law. But it has happened enough, that I generally seem to give it a nod every time I am in a quandary.

Thankfully the Lord has also seen to giving me a nudge where my dependence should be.

Jeremiah 29:11
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.

Thank goodness Murphy's Law is not really something I have to contend with.

But man, I sure do hope it snows on Thursday. Even though I went ahead and went to the store.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Yes, I recognize this inner conversation....



"I presently fell into a deep argument with myself on life and its chances, on destiny and her decrees. My mind, calmer and stronger now than last night, made for itself some imperious rules, prohibiting under deadly penalties all weak retrospect of happiness past; commanding a patient journeying through the wilderness of the present, enjoining a reliance on faith - a watching of the cloud and pillar which subdues while they guide, and awe while they illumine - hushing the impulse to fond idolatry, checking the longing outlook for a far-off promised land whose rivers are, perhaps, never to be reached save in dying dreams, whose sweet pastures are to be
viewed but from the desolate and supulchral summit of a Nebo. "

Lucy Snowe - Villette (Charlotte Bronte)



I love the spartan and stoic attitude often displayed by Charlotte Bronte's heroines. It seems to make me feel better that they, at least, understand that one must use self control and reign oneself in when it comes to flights of fancy. It makes me want to try harder to do the same. For I also have one thing about me that seems strong and durable enough - and that is selfishness (to steal a phrase regarding Genevra Shaw). So flights of fancy are common for me.

Lucy Snowe seems to accept that her "Promised Land", like Moses', is far from her - and she views it from her own Mount Nebo. It is a mournful place for her. But she does not stay there.

"By degrees - a composite feeling of blended strength and pain wound itself wirily around my heart, sustained, or at least, restrained it's throbbings, and made me fit for the days work.

I lifted my head."

Well, that's what I intend to do today as well.






Saturday, January 2, 2010

Here I go....again


I am brain-storming. I am drawing and thinking and mulling over what I can do on my days off to help bring in income. There has to be a way for me to plug into some brilliant idea somehow. After all...some person came up with an idea to make rubber bands in the shape of animals, letters and underwear (yes, I know it's supposed to be bathing suits) and called them Silly Bandz and made a load of money. Surely there is something else out there just like that. I am bound and determined to figure something out.


So - I'll let you know when I do.