Pero tú, oh YHWH, eres escudo alrededor de mí; eres mi gloria y el que levanta mi cabeza. sa

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Like a Bag in the Wind...

It's been a while, a long while since I put the fingers to the keys and put thoughts to text on here. I have a ton of reading to catch up on too, that's for sure...

Yesterday was eventful, to say the very least. My desire to be creative and capture this world I'm living in led me from one end of the county to the other. But the most vivid part of my day, was dead center, at the intersection of Martha Berry and Turner McCall Blvds.

The wind was blowing a storm in from the west and something caught my eye. At first I thought it was a crow, riding the wind. But after watching for a minute, I realized it was a black, plastic bag. I watched while this bag went up, down, and loopty-looped. There was zero resistance from the bag against the wind, and whatever direction the wind changed to, second by second.

This put me to thinking, how much better off I would be, if I could somehow become as pliable to God's direction in my life, as that bag was to the wind. How much more could He use me, if my will, never battled against His will, if I would change and flow with whatever direction God points me to. Instantaneously, change direction, even if it turns me upside down, backwards and sends me in loops I don't understand.

It may seem silly, to glean a lesson from a bag in the wind, but I figure, if the thought hit my brain that fully, then that bag crossed my path for a reason...

One thing is for certain, I know my Bible tells me "He, has a plan for me, a plan to prosper and not harm, a future and a hope" Jeremiah 29:11 (personal application)...For that plan to be fulfilled, I have to be willing to follow, wherever, He leads, and do, whatever, He says do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Perserverance in the Face of Adversity

Ferns, the native ones, found deep in the woods, on the bank of a stream or a creek, are quite lovely. They are delicate, but sturdy all at the same time. Warmer weather has definitely arrived when the fronds start to poke up through the soil.

Keith, the kids and I went for a hike to the House of Dreams the other weekend, for my birthday. Berry College had signs posted all around that they had done a controlled burn. Everything was charred and to be quite honest...really ugly. And the smell was for sure not that of a spring forest. While we were walking, though, a spot of green against the black stood out to me. It was a fern, untouched by the fire.

Of course that triggered a thought. The fern, perservered in the face of adversity; the fire. How often do I feel like life throws a flame or has an all out blow-torch session on me? Or is it simply that sometimes, maybe I'm in need of a controlled burn, to keep the forest healthy, and all the underbrush cleaned out? I think that like the fern, I am stronger and healthier mentally and spiritually, when I accept that a good burn, may be just the thing that I need to actually perservere.

Like the fern, I'm sure that life becomes more vibrant when it is every now and then placed against the backdrop of a charred black clean up.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Play'n in the Dirt Again...

It's spring. I can feel it to the literal sense of "feeling it in my bones." I'm antsy, I'm pacing and I can't stand being inside the house. I "need" to play in the dirt again. There's something about putting my hands in the soil. It never fails to renew in me the magnificence of nature and God's creation. It's healing to the soul...simply put.


It's garden time. In a few days we will see the familiar sight of Daddy on his red tractor turning up the field. We'll smell the scent of the wild onions, the scent of fresh turned soil and experience spring at it's best.

To plant a garden, that will bear fruit, first the soil has to be turned. There's a reason for turning the ground upside down. The process takes the grass and the weeds (things one definitely doesn't want in the garden) and turns them upside down and inside out, leaving the scraggly roots sticking up and around like tiny twigs in the dirt. Now, the root, in my opinion, most of the time is the ugliest part of a plant. Anyway, by exposing the roots to the sun, the gardener kills the plant. A couple of days later, the tilling happens all over again, or it will if the gardener knows what he is doing. Mixed in with the second tilling, around here often comes the unmistable aroma of manure...Dad is famous for that! And we are just as famous for letting it be known we pray for a south-westerly wind, to blow across Mom and Dad's side, not ours :) Now, comes the back breaking work; getting the weeds out of the soil. It's a matter of shake, rattle and throw. Time consuming, but still, it has to be done. Finally, when the dirt is fine and crumbles through the fingers, the gardener knows he has earth he can work with. And we are blessed. The dirt here is dark and rich, great for a garden! So, hoe the row, drop the seed, scatter the fertlizer...Mark the rows, and wait. Wait, for the seeds that were planted to sprout and stick their heads out of the ground. Green shoots that will produce food that will go on all of our tables for the next few months.

I feel like that's what God sometimes has to do with me. Till me, turn me, and get the ugly upside down, while the Son looks on and cultivates out, what isn't fruit producing. Shake me, rattle me, and throw the useless parts away, so that hopefully, what's left, will yield more to His will, and produce something that will be used for Him.

For now..I'm heading to Lavender Mtn to get a fix...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let the Earth Sing, It's Spring!

Why do we "Spit Shine" Jesus?

Why do we "Spit Shine" Jesus?

His birth was in a cave, draped in the odor of animals..
Not in a mansion with polished floors and servants...

His ministry played out in the hills and valleys of the region...
Not in a tabernacle with fine adornments and polished programs...

His message of life abundant & life eternal, was simple, and simply spoken...
Not dressed up or pushed on those who came to hear Him...

His last moments were watched as His mother grieved...
Her Son, a King, hanging....between two thieves...

His death was ugly, humiliating and cruel...
Yet it brought Life to every generation...

So I wonder, why, do we, "Spit Shine" Jesus?
The beauty in knowing Him...
Is found in the truth of His life...
And in the story of the Cross...
The emblem of suffering, and shame...
In the blood trail and in the pain..

This question has played over and over in my mind. By putting on layer after layer of polish, and trying so hard to get that perfect Christian "look"...we "Spit Shine" away the beauty of being a Christian. What's attractive to our eyes, in most cases is not at all the view from Heaven's eyes. Something inside is crying out to take it all back to the simplicity of just knowing Him and spending time with Him, resulting in hopefully becoming more like Him, drawing others to Him...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lock Down, Lock In, Lock Out...

Photobucket Unraveling, like a blanket, when a string is pulled, and pulled, and pulled. This person wants this. That person wants that, and I'm needed for this and then needed for that. I feel like I've been pulled until there might be nothing but a shred left. Finally, together, Keith and I said, "Enough." It seems like lately it has been one event after another. Every weekday is spoken for, of course. But the calendar is showing every weekend being gobbled up like some hungry bear fresh out of hibernation seeking his first spring meal. So, we decided to pull things back a little. After all, where does the family fall, when schedules are so go, go, go and there is no downtime?

Yesterday, was, in my mind, "Stolen Family Moments Day". It was lock down, lock in and lock out. It was nice, really nice. Keith and I started out the day just the two of us. In this house, that is a rarity. By afternoon, hunger ruled the day and the ribs we had marinating were destined to find their way to the grill. That in itself became a memory haha. I got the bright idea to heat the charcoal the hard way, and took the pioneer woman route. I spent the next hour and a half feeding kindling to the charcoal was slow go and not my best of moves lol, but finally it was hot enough to grill on. Wouldn't you know it? Just as soon as the charcoal was finally ready, the skies turned loose and raindrops as big as quarters began pounding on our heads. Keith was yelling "Close the grill! We'll cook after it's over!" I, on the other hand, had nursed that charcoal and wasn't giving up. No sir, no way. So, in the middle of the rain, the lightening and the hail(Keith declared it was hailing), I pretty much refused to budge until those ribs were all inside Smokey Joe and on their way to becoming a meal! Now, how's that for romance? Aha...grilling together in the rain..with one spouse convinced the other had a death wish...In my defense, those ribs were the best we've ever grilled, hands down!

The day was a good one, each idea of fun lead to another. We went fishing down at the creek, walked in the woods, and decided on next weekend's project. That project is a result of male ego gone awry...It seems my Dad's creek bank looks better than Keith has to compete and play catch up lol. I'm sorry but if you'd been there, you'd be laughing too :) In his defense...we do have to get it done or the snakes will lurk and chomp on our ankles come summer!

I'm not sure how exactly but I fell asleep and woke up to the smell of chocolate cake baking. Taylor and her daddy pulled that one off...and even the mess they left was worth it, because that cake was like, the ultimate in chocolate! That of course, was to prep Mom for the whooping I was fixing to take in Monopoly. I spent a good long while, rotting in jail, unable to purchase anything and continually forfeiting passing "GO" and earning my much needed 2 mil. But oh well, it was for a good cause :) The day finally ended with an onslaught of xBox wars..."Guitar Hero". You'd have to know us to know that is what we sometimes call fun around here...

It's not often the family pulls it all back and just spends that good ole quality time together. For yesterday, I am thankful! And I'm very thankful our kids didn't even buck at the idea. Yes, they are great kids indeed! Now, for next Saturday? I'll be getting the Icy Hot ready because Keith has plans for us to be up early and cleaning out the woods most of the day. Hard work, necessary, but fun too! Hopefully we'll end it with a HUGE bonfire and weenie roast to reward our efforts! And if I'm lucky, maybe somebody will go canoeing with me!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Only a Mom Knows :)

It amazes me how a mother knows her children. Over the weekend, we went to Smokey Mountain Winterfest in Knoxville, Tn. I was riding in a separate van with some of the other staff, and one youth. The rest of our group were on a tour bus of around 45 or so other people. We weren't on the road very long when the young person in our van got a text saying "Somebody sliced their hand open on a Monster can." I immediately said, "That'll be Cody" A couple of texts later that was verified.

Okay...lucky guess! Hmmmmm, or was it?? Someone in the van asked, "How do you cut yourself on a Monster can?" I said, "He probably tore the can in half, if I know him."

Last night sitting on the couch Cody was talking about his cut and I asked him, "How'd you cut your hand on that can?" He just looked at me and said, "I tore it in half"...Go figure...Lol

So, how much more does our Father, know our thoughts, and our ways?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

There's Mud in My Mud Boots!

Yesterday was sunny, 70 degrees, and the irresistable urge to be outdoors won over everything else. The kids had found this "cool" place over the weekend, just north of the house. You know, it's one of those, go thru the woods, cross the neighbors yard, follow the creek, treks that I wasn't going to stop hearing about until I let them show me for themselves. So, here we go...And laugh if you want to...t-shirt, hiking shorts, and mud boots up to my knees. You know the ones, the black rubber ones. I had no idea we were going to end up on the side of Martha Berry Hwy or I would have re-thunk that look hahaha. I'm thinking, "I'm ready for this, outdoors, bring it on!" Of course, I'm never as ready as I think I am. There were inclines, and mixed with boots that had no grip, I spent too much time trying to figure out how to get up this and get down that without riding it out on my behind. And the shorts were a really dumb idea because the briars left me looking like I danced with a mountain lion. But, I'm not one to give up, or let my kids out-do me so I find myself tromping across streams, up hills, over mounds of brush, and into a tunnel, full of mud and water, and of a height that even my ridiculously short stature had to bend over to go thru. It wasn't long before I felt it. The mud boots had cracks in them. In comes the cold water, and the mud. Of course I was raising a rucous. I've never grasped the concept of being quiet, and the tunnel made for a pretty good magnified echo affect of my discomfort lol...
The fun though, outweighed the uncomfortableness, and before long, I didn't really notice the water and the mud squishing around my feet. Back through the tunnel, wack!!...nearly busted my head off a drop down, and up the hill to the top of an old train trussel. The kids and I were having a blast. It was a good day for sure! We backtrack to the creek and decide to see who can get to the rocks out in the water without overflowing the top of their boots. Water over the top meant "epic fail" and a definite loser. Taylor and Cody make it and of course began to taunt me. They know how clumsy I am so they were hoping, I'm sure, for some show of mom falling off the log and into the water like a turtle on it's back or something. But ha! I made it. Although when I stepped into the creek water, the cold once again, rushed into the boots, and this water was much colder than the water before. Oh well, it was all for the sake of a great afternoon, so I let it go and kept on playing, and I'm glad that I did. It seems like the days blend into each other too often, and sometimes I feel like I don't make as many memories with my kids as I should. From there, we went on to explore the rocks that jut out into the creek. It's an awesome place of huge rocks full of little caves that so many different critters could be hiding in. It brought back memories from my own childhood of exploring those very same rocks with my dad and my aunt. I was thankful for a day of sun and a day of fun, I wouldn't trade that spot in time for anything, really.

I was just thinking back over yesterday, and it hit me, that lives can be kind of like those mud boots. They "looked" functional. When I put them on, they "felt" functional, but when I stepped into the muck, and the water, there were cracks in them that let in what I would have preferred, had stayed out. Kind of like things that I may not realize can creep into my life, that need to stay out. And just like I got used to the feeling of the mud and the water, and didn't notice it after a few minutes; the same goes for those other things that creep in. I didn't notice the water in the boots after a while, until I stepped in "colder" water. That's almost like what happens to us when we allow for things, that we shouldn't, and get de-sensitized, and eventually don't pay attention to the Holy Spirit's nudging, until we step in a little deeper and feel Him again, and the process repeats itself. I got used to the colder water, just like I got used to the mud and water the first time.

I think the wisest choice would be to do two things. Number one: Keep the boots or "life" maintained and the cracks and holes in good repair so that the things that shouldn't be in, stay out. And, number two: when I find myself stepping into something that I shouldn't, at the first nudging of the Holy Spirit, pull back and repair the cracks in my life before moving forward.

So many times, life requires us to walk throught the muck. There may be no way around it, over it or under it. We just need to make certain that we are prepared, protected and covered while we go through it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

That's My Boy...14

Monday will mark fourteen years ago that we were blessed with a baby boy. We weren't expecting him, at all. He was predicted to be a girl. So much so that there was only one boy outfit period in all that we had. I was so shocked when the doctor announced he was a boy, I knocked the sterile drapes down because I didn't believe him! I wondered what on earth I was going to do with a little boy. I was used to bows and dresses and dolls. Girl stuff was what I had known since Taylor was born. I shouldn't have worried though because I was a tree climbing, frog gigging, lizard hunting, fish catching little tomboy myself. But there we were, and there we held, the little boy who took us by storm in the delivery room that day...he has continued to be a never ending source of entertainment and at times button pushing to the max, adventure. That little boy of mine just happens to be a lot like his mom. Don't let him know I said that though, or the eyerolling and denials will commence on the spot. He definitely has his mom's stubbornness, and his mom's ability to contribute more vocabulary words daily than surrounding ears are equipped to absorb. And yes, like his mom, he seems to always strive to have the last word. It's been an amazing thing to watch him grow from a little blond haired Tonka, Lego, helicopter loving youngster into the teen who loves nothing better than to whip everyone around him in Xbox games. He can spend hours proving his worth against any competitor who dares to enter his domain. Very few walk away in triumph, after an encounter with him. He welds a pretty nasty guitar in Guitar Hero too, although his sister has him on that one! Along with the normal teenage striving for independence, has also arrived the sometimes sullen, grumpy for no reason, I'm mad at the world attitude we all as parents dread. In and out of the normal ups and downs are some tear jerker episodes, and then, there are times that make me say..."Hey! That boy right there? That's my boy!" See, it seems sometimes, God opens the window just a little, and I see the character that is developing inside him. For a time it may be hidden by his longer hair and clothing that we seem to fight and fight over...but it's in there. And it's growing, day by day. One thing I'm finding out, is that this boy, is quickly growing into a young man. And some of the observations that come out of him every now and then astound me.

Most all of us have been affected by the economy, in some way or another. One of the things Keith and I decided was that we needed to become better stewards of the money that comes into the household. This brought on some changes. Some changes were forced by the economy and some we felt would just form better habits for us and for our children. We aren't as quick, to hand out money as we used to be. Now, our kids have to think about the different things coming up and decide which things they are most interested in doing. Sometimes they choose things like youth trips with the church, and sometimes they decide on things that involve other groups of friends. They know, though, that when they have earned the money for something, that's it and they may have to sit some other things out once their money is spent. Sometimes (it's the mom in me) I would like to do more for them. This, brings me to the moment I want to share with you. Cody and I were discussing what he'd like to do for his birthday. He had three things he would really like to do and/or have. I told him I really would like to do every one of those things, but because of different reasons, mainly financial obligations coming up, he would have to choose one idea. His attitude really surprised me. He made his choice and he seems pretty happy with it. Then, my fourteen year old boy looked at me and said "Mom, I'm okay with the ten or twenty you and dad give me every now and then. I think, that if you guys handed me money all the time, I think that I would have a really rotten attitude." I guess that really struck me as awesome coming from him because Keith and I don't hand either one of the kids a ten or a twenty very often. They really have learned ways to stretch their money. It's really more of a priviledge and definitely a treat to even have the chance to earn it. Just to hear that come from Cody, was like a window opened for just a moment, letting me see how this boy really looks at things. Would he love to do everything every friend of his does? Sure he would! And I'm sure sometimes, he is disappointed to sit some things out. But we've started sticking with, when the spending money is gone, it is if's, and's or but's about it.

Anyway, this is my moment to have more than a little pride in my son, and share a glimpse of the man he is one day going to be...I"m proud of him (most of the time :) longer hair, funny faces, weird sayings, skinny jeans and all....He is my youngest; he is my baby (I hope he doesn't read that or I'm in so much trouble)...Yes,that boy is MINE! I will enjoy this feeling today...for tomorrow I'm sure I will be pulling my hair out!! Lol...

A friend posted fits the mood I've felt about the ups and downs of being a parent...get your kleenex ready...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Day February 12, 2010

Finally, a snowfall special enough to write home about! This deluge of white was enjoyed through the lense of the camera, rolled in, rolled up, thrown around, sculpted into the strangest of forms and last but not least, it was eaten as snowcream. This blanket of white transformed our dreary winter world into a wonderland of white...awe inspiring in beauty that only God could create...and thoroughly enjoyed by adults and kids alike...Relished for a moment, and remembered for a lifetime...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

With all Creation...

"Holy, Holy, Holy,
Is the Lord God Almighty.
Who was, and is, and is to come.
With all creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything, And I will adore You."

This morning I pulled up "The More I Seek You" and "Revelation Song" and spent some needed time in the presence of the Father. When the words to the section above came across, images began to play in my mind; images of waves building and cresting in height and crashing down in force and splendor; the lightening struck, the thunder shook; and trees, that normally would stand straight and tall bent down, almost touching the ground. It was almost as if the very winds that were blowing them were carrying the name of "Jesus" on every lash. Images of earthquake ridden areas with buildings crumbled, and the sides of mountains lost their height, and leveled, into nothingness. The images were powerful, almost as if the Earth was bowing and crying out the name of the One who spoke her into existence. Picture a flowing music scale with different names for God intertwined throughout the lines,[Jehovah-Sabaoth, El Shaddai, Jehovah-Shalom, El Elyon, Jehovah-Jireh, Jehova-Elohim, Adonai] moving across the earth. It was like all creation was crying out "Holy, Holy, Holy, Is the Lord God Almighty".

Monday, February 8, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Prodigal

As parents, it's our job to raise our kids and teach them the ways of life, the foundations of faith, and so many other things. It seems to me lately, though that I'm learning a lot through listening to my children.

I have one child whose faith is strong, although like anyone else she has her share of struggles, and through her I'm learning that many times I need to close my mouth and listen more (that one's a little difficult for me.) Then,I have one child who, at this point, well I just call him my handsome blue-eyed prodigal. It is through his eyes that I am learning just how so many unbelievers view those of us who profess to be Christians. See, my boy point blank asked me, "Why would I want to be a Christian? I treat people better than most Christians do." And the sad thing is, I had no answer. I simply told him, "Son, I'm proud of you, and I'm proud of the character that you've shown." That was a startling revelation to me as to how he's looking at things and why he's made some of the decisions he's made. See, he didn't arrive to where he is overnight. There was a combination of life circumstances, combined with personal choices that created the disbelief. No amount of scripture quoting and preaching from me or anyone else is going to change it. But seeing Jesus...Seeing his arms really reaching and His heart really loving through His people...That will, yes it will, one day, along with a move of the Holy Spirit; that will captivate his heart. His watchful eye is stopping first, on my doorstep. I am daily having to examine myself, and work on shortcomings that in themselves may be a hindrance to bringing my boy back home. I worry every time I get frustrated and lose my temper, or come across harsher than I mean to that I'm pushing him further and further I pray for patience and I pray for longsuffering and wisdom in punishment and setting limits.

If it weren't for this stage in his life, maybe I never would have been convicted of some of the things I'm feeling such a strong conviction on now. So yes, my prodigal is growing my relationship with my Father and he doesn't even have a clue. You see, it is through him that I'm realizing how short I'm falling. It is through him, that I see how important it is for those of us who call ourselves followers of try to act more like Jesus and have more of a servant's heart, a heart of compassion.

Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Sometimes I believe I get so busy being a "Christian" that maybe I forget I was once a sinner, unforgiven myself.

Friday, February 5, 2010

There's a Kid in My Kitchen...uh-oh!

I discovered last night, that it isn't the wisest of moves to leave two teenagers home alone for hours. You'd think by the time they are seventeen and fourteen that the time has "arrived" that you can fly the coop for a little while and come back to.....TOTAL CHAOS! But, I'm not griping mind you. On the way home I started receiving texts from Taylor..."Can I fry chicken?" "What chicken do I use?" "Do we have cayenne and paprika? I don't know what these things are!" "MOM, how do I do it?" I offered to help, if she would just wait. The reply was "I wanna do it."

You know how there are little warning signs on the roads? Well those texts were warning signs...screaming..."DON"T GO HOME...TURN AROUND NOW!"

Upon walking in the door...I thought my eyes would bug out of my head...the kitchen...MY kitchen, looked like it had regurgitated all over itself. There's no other way to describe it. Two teenagers, had obviously been eating since the moment I left them and had now decided to learn what flour, eggs and spices are all about. Wouldn't you know? Standing in the middle of the mess was the girl...looking like the cat that ate the Honestly, it was a moment I would have frozen in time if it were possible...A scene of flour, everywhere(or maybe it was a blizzard) I don't know, way too much garbage pushed into a walmart bag(split and spilling over like the cup that overfloweth), and Arby's wrappers from one end of the bar to the other. (Thanks Mimi and Papa for seeing they were fed!")...Ahhhhhh...I felt like I became obssesive compulsive with cleaning in a matter of seconds! It was MIND/MESS/OVERLOAD!! This story doesn't make sense, and there really isn't a point to it...period. It's just one of those things, I walked in on, and at any other time I might have blown a gasket. But last night, the whole scene, just kind of hit me between the eyes that this is one of those crazy, rich times that struck me as humorous....My hat's off to my kid who definitely gave frying chicken her best shot. And it was pretty good...although it could have tasted like dirt and I would've told the world it was better than the Colonel's!

And just to give my girl a pat on the back, and redeem her from the disastrous kitchen episode...She did do laundry and clean the entire basement earlier in the day! :) Go Taylor!

On second thought, and this just hit me; I'm just wondering, if the Father ever looks down on us and sees us trying so hard. In the middle of the trying we sometimes make the biggest mess of all time. Does He ever think to Himself, "Now if she had just waited, a little bit longer, and let ME show her the way, there wouldn't be so much clean up to do?" But yet, He is patient and He still loves us and probably even finds humor in some of our shenanigans. I sure hope He does at least, because if He doesn't, I'm for certain I would have driven Him to the point of exhaustion by now.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Punched to Rise

Bread. It's not an item that just you just throw together any old way and expect to just happen. I was making a loaf this afternoon (and yes, I cheat. I use my bread machine for the mixing the dough/rising and punching part.) But still, I couldn't just say, "Oh here's some flour, eggs and let's throw in some yeast and a few other things" and expect to have something I can put on the dinner table and it be edible. No, there's a process. Mix the ingredients in a particular order...put it in an environment condusive to the yeast making the dough rise, punch it down, repeat and repeat until finally the dough goes into the bread pan, then into the oven at the right temperature and for the perfect amount of time. The final result? A golden brown...Crispy on the outside and white fluffy on the inside...loaf of bread. A loaf that's steaming hot and ready to tear into and be gobbled up by some hungry folks. Around here...that happens really quickly :).

People are kind of the same way. For us to reach our full potential, a lot of things have to come together, in the right order and in the right time; a lot of good things and a lot of not so good things. Many times we rise and get punched back down, only to rise and be punched back down, again and again. Until finally, we become a product that, when sent through the fire, we come out useful and ready to serve the purpose God intended for our lives. But that punching down part isn't too much fun. Right? Well, it's not to me and I have a tendency to want to run and hide. But I guess that's where the trials and the low spots in our lives serve to create in us a person more usable, more able to "rise" to the purpose for which we were created. Plus, we never know what we're going to be when we grow up. At least not in God, because the day I stop growing will, I figure, be the day that I give up the ghost. So this is really a life-long process. With that being said then, the next time I feel like I'm being punched down...I'll try to make myself remember this thought...and know, I will be better for it, in the end.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Where the LIghthouse Sits...

It's late at night, and I'm almost asleep. And here comes Taylor all bright eyed and bushy-tailed ready to share her weekend trompabouts. I love it when she does this...It's time that I treasure! Her re-telling of her adventures leaves me in stitches most of the time and last night was no different...tales of muddin in the cold...getting stuck...looking like a nut...funny things her friends said and did...memories she is making.

The conversation shifts and she started to talk about God, different ministries and other things faith related. I am so thankful she is growing. I see God moving in her and her faith is rekindled. Some of the things she shares leaves me sitting there with my mouth hanging open, jaw on the floor. She's gaining insight and little girl is growing into a woman of God. Okay, :) let's get back to the story...So yesterday, she and her friends went to Connect Rome's first service in the mall. I wasn't sure about it but she really wanted to go so I caved (as usual) and I'm glad I did. I had no idea my kid could re-count an entire sermon lol. That was a WOAH! moment. I listened to her talk about the service... "Josh sat on a stool...the same stool probly from six years ago...I think it had holes in it." She talked about the layout of the place and how during worship, no one was watching anyone else, no one seemed to be judging and that there were all different kinds of worship. But there was no pressure. She shared the passion she witnessed from the people who led worship and the passion with which Josh spoke to the people who had come to listen...or "see" what the "church in the mall" was going to be like. Taylor said she and her buddies were in the smoking section...I nearly fainted. I was thinking "What have I done letting her go there??" Taylor was like "hahahaha Mom...NO...we sat where the smoking section was when this used to be a restaurant" I breathed a sigh of relief.

The layout seemed different to me but at the same time I was impressed. I've learned to stop being so closed-minded...yes, miraculously that is me talking! Haha! So I got to thinking. God is everywhere. He is omni-present. He's in the big churches, the little churches and yes He is in the church at the mall. God will visit where-ever He is welcome. Oh...He's where He is not welcome too, we just fail to connect with Him (I just had to say that). Then my thoughts took another direction. I'm sure some people will criticize the what and the how things are done. But think about it. When Jesus walked on this earth, how did He teach His followers? Oh yes, there were temples and synagogues and many people attended them and that was probably the "accepted/normal" way of going to worship. But think about Jesus. What did He do? He went to where the people who needed Him the most were. I had a picture fleet through my mind for a minute of Josh sitting on his stool...telling those young people his story-sermon (it was a thinker-thumper)...and then I pictured Jesus sitting on a rock, or on the ground, surrounded by His followers and people who had come to "see" what was going on with this Man who was doing things in such a different way than what was the norm for that time and place. And while He was sitting there He taught those who were listening to Him through His story-sermons/parables. My Bible paints a picture of a Man who caused quite a stir in the region, a Man who walked the hills and the valleys, in search of the ones who didn't frequent the temples. So I started thinking...maybe this Josh guy is onto something...maybe having church in the mall...where people coming in the front entrance will hear the worship and the sermon, maybe having church in the mall, where the Friday night service will be in The Nest...and kids who come in the cafe side for coffee...will hear the message of Christ from the other side...maybe just maybe...Josh is on to something there. Have you been to the mall on Friday and Saturday nights? Have you seen the kids who now may have seeds sewn into their lives? Some of these young people probably couldn't be tied and drug into a conventional church...ever. Now they may see, though, a glimpse of Jesus thru the hands of His people, whose arms are reaching...

I hope that people will see the potential for this ministry. Most would probably support this outreach if it were in a foreign country, or if a missionary was doing the same thing. Our country can almost be compared to third world countries with the amount of pagan religions and numbers of unbelievers that walk the streets and alleys. The whole purpose is to be a lighthouse...I don't think it matters so much what cliff or shore you are sitting on as long as the foundation is the Rock...God...So I guess what I hope is that maybe we might see beyond what we think is the "right" way to do things and know that there are all kinds of ministry out there...just as we know that all "kinds" of people need God.

All I know is, I will pray for Josh to have wisdom in his sermons, and that his passion to reach people will grow and multiply and bear fruit. As long as what he is preaching is Biblically sound...whatever means he uses to reach the lost...I pray is a success.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Ants Came Marching...

The ants came marching one by one, hoorah, hoorah! Well no hoorah but they are marching and they are in the house. For those of you who know me, you know that ants adore me...something about the body chemistry I guess, but they seek me out...wherever I am. So yes, I am disturbed. They move from place to place, upstairs and down...We spray for them and the survivors relocate. Today however, I found them coming out of the wall by the fireplace and traveling under the track in our shower...yes the walls back up to each other. I attacked them with shampoo, bleach, air freshener and lysol because I am out of ant spray...It has been entertaining and I've done nothing but toy with them and only destroyed a few. And then I remembered. FIRE ANT KILLER! So outside I go and bring it in. I put some on a square of foil and put it by the trail running on the hearth. It was like I hung out a neon sign that read "POISON!" And not a one took even a taste. So I got some syrup and mixed it in with the bait. I made sure just a little of the syrup touched the very edge of the trail and right behind that, yep, was the poison. A couple of ants went by...nothing...Then one little ant stopped. He tasted. I guess he sent out his little ant signal bc slowly all his little buddies were joining him...tasting. That one ant had the power within himself to take out his entire colony...or whats left of them. At least that is my hope!

So I got to thinking about what I had done, and the result of it. Taylor was in the recliner so I called her over and told her my thoughts. I'm a little disturbed that in the next few sentences I will compare myself to satan, but oh well...hopefully the lesson out-weighs the comparison lol. What I was thinking was this: What I did with those ants is so similar to how satan tries to come against us. He puts his poison [[sin]] right there in our path. His hope is to steal, to kill and to destroy. So many times we see that sin for what it is and steer clear of it, maybe even for a long time. So he tries a little harder and he gets a little smarter...and somehow makes that sin look sooooo good. Until finally, if we keep playing around it, it's like the urge to taste...just a little, overcomes the conviction of what is right and wrong. And BAM! Before you know it there we sit...neck deep in it and many times we find ourselves in that spot with people who trusted us sitting right there along side of us just like that ant. Of course, the other side to this would be to turn those temptations over to God and let HIM give us the strength to deal with our weaknesses. Too bad that little ant didn't have that option...

I told Taylor there's a pretty good lesson to be learned from this. Poison is poison no matter how good it looks, and no matter how good it tastes. Play with are dead. It's the same way with sin. Sin is Sin, no matter how good it's still sin.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Luke 15: 11-24
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

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Today...the first day of 2010...I bow to my knees and claim this will be the year of my prodigal.