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Showing posts from 2013

2013

I've always been a planner.  I found my love for event planning in high school, and for the past 20 years I've had the privilege to work and volunteer with so many different events.  Making the list, putting the pieces together, promoting, then sitting back and watching the activity unfold...I love the process. 

When you plan, you have expectations.  Good planning means also planning for the unexpected, thinking through all the what if's and making a plan to take care of them so your events run smoothly.

I guess it is only natural to let something like that spill over into my personal life.  I like to plan it out too.  My husband gets so upset with me sometimes for "over thinking" things.  I like my list, and I like my road map. 

I've been thinking about this subject a lot the past few days.  As 2013 comes to an end, I have to tell you it was one of the toughest years of my life.  It wasn't tragedy, misfortune or illness that makes this year stand out. …

Christmas Message

Have you ever had one of those moments, where you have seen something a million times, but you finally "got it?" It happened to me last weekend watching the story of Christmas.

The ending of two insanely busy weeks, I had an opportunity to be a part of our church Christmas musical.  Music was just the thing I needed to let me take a deep breath and get in the mood for the holiday season.  I didn't realize I also needed a fresh message from something I had heard a million times before.

Mary delivered our precious Savior in a stable, tired, surrounded by animals...yes, I've heard it before.  Spotlight shining on her alone, as part of a monologue, the beautiful young lady playing Mary said, "I did the best I could."

"I did the best I could."  The perfectionist inside cried aloud, "I did the best I could."  The most perfect thing that happened on this earth was carried out with an unwed teenage mother, in a stable far from home, who did t…

Writing our Story

Its no secret I am a Laura Story fan.  A last minute opportunity to see her last weekend in concert was just what my heart needed.  I guess I should mention she was with Stephen Curtis Chapman, and to hear the two of them sing "Blessings" together is something I will never forget.

Its also no secret I love to write.  To have the ability to pen the words placed on my heart is a privilege I do not take lightly.

At the concert Laura spoke about a song from her newest album, "God of Every Story."  She mentioned the stories God writes for our lives.  Beginning to end, with a tale all our own, his mighty hand writes the plan he has for us.  Each story is often very different from the fairy tale we expect.

Back to my desire to write; how it often extends beyond the words I place onto paper.  I think about the many times I have snatched the pen from the hand of God and attempted to write my own story.  Admittedly there are also plenty of times I've wanted to grab my re…

Beauty Around Us

I've always been and admirer of God's handiwork in nature.  The sky at sunset, a bolt of lightning in the midst of a storm, the tiny falling snowflake, the bold colors of the leaves in the fall:  Does it not amaze you the detail God put into creating this world?  My Bible reading tonight took me to Job 26, a conversation between a man who had lost everything and his friend who questions why he still holds on to hope.  I was taken back at Job, who through everything could speak so eloquently of God's power displayed in the beauty of the world.  Verse 14 took my breath away.    Job 26:14 (NASB)“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;
And how faint a word we hear of Him!
But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”
 We see God's power in little things all around us, but Job saw a bigger picture.  We don't see the real power of God until we have experienced his mighty thunder in our lives.  I'm closing this tonight with a video project containing photos from a…

A New Creation

This wasn't the message I started more than a week ago to share with you.  I wanted to tell you about a special song God had placed in my life.  Although singing solo has always made me shake down to my toes, I bought the track for this particular song quite some time ago and was preparing to sing.  Not to long afterwards, I had my first ear surgery, and the changes in my hearing forced me to quit singing.

A few weeks ago I was cleaning and found the CD, and my husband caught me singing through.  The message of the song is so powerful in my life.  Sunday night I will be sharing with my church.  While I have retrained my ears to finally be somewhat comfortable with a group, this will be my first time singing alone in more than three years.

I've worked hard to overcome the lack of confidence I face trying to sing with ears that don't always catch what they should.  This week, I've fought a harder battle:  the vioce of satan at every turn, telling me I'm not good enou…

Jeremiah 29:11-13, God's Timing

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I love puzzles.  The challenge of taking a bunch of random looking pieces and creating one big picture gives me a thrill.  I have to admit, though, I even have a plan for working a puzzle.  First, find all the outside pieces and make the frame.  Next, go for the big things in the picture and put them together.  Fill in the rest one piece at a time.  I'm a planner by nature, and sometimes not having all my "details" in order really gives me fits.

God answered a prayer for me a few weeks ago.  It was one I had been praying about for three years.  

God's timing..if that answer had come three years earlier when I started praying for it...I can honestly say I would not be who I am today.  Those trial and error adventures he has put me through made me a better and stronger person.  Three years ago God's plan wasn't first priority in my life...mine was.  I wanted him with me on MY journey. I've finally learned to let him lead.

My blog title is from the life ver…

Remembering 9/11

On the anniversary of one of the most unimaginable days in our country's history, my mind is taken to a conversation my 10-year-old son and I have had two nights this week.  Yes, two.  I didn't do a good enough job of answering his question the first time and had to go back to do some "homework."  He's a thinker who really keeps me on my toes.  As I tucked him into bed, he asked, "Mom, what are the signs of the end of the world?" So we have talked about those and how we can see so many of them happening.

Sept. 11, 2001.  I didn't have time to dwell too much on the details of what was going on around our nation.  I was responsible for 200 riverboat passengers docked in our town.  River transportation and our lock system were shut down.  Government leaders could not assure us there would be no further threats, and the dams were power sources for much of our area.  So I spent my day doing all I could do to make arrangements and take care of the needs o…

Why the hard stuff, Lord?

My first marathon study night had been completed.  "I don't remember it being this hard before," I said to myself.  Indeed, I've had to study harder, dig deeper than I ever did in undergraduate.  There is also an extra desire to do so that comes from age and experience.  I'm not going to miss a minute.  There were plenty of undergraduate days I coasted through.

"Lord, why the hard stuff in our lives?"  My days as an undergraduate were "coasting" years in my personal life too.  The older I get it seems, the bigger mountains I am called to face.  They require more time, more prayer.  "I would be perfectly content to coast, Lord."

Coasting is a nice lifestyle.  Passing time, enjoying the pleasures.  There are a few coasting times we get to experience, usually long enough to catch our breath between the mountains.

But we don't learn nearly as much coasting.  The times we are called to buckle down and give it all we have, those are th…

Jesus Commanded Rest

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This week I begin a new adventure, graduate school.  It's been on my bucket list for a long time...even before I finished my undergraduate degree 18 years ago.  As classes opened online, I accessed my account and began to look at the details of the syllabus.

My eager heart craves to study, but I can see clearly the extra demand of time I have just assumed after cleaning out my life just a few months before.  Its taken only a few days to become overwhelmed with the amount of additional work.

There's a great song out right now by Tenth Avenue North called "I'm worn."  It was written by a parent, exhausted from the work it takes to care for a toddler.  Most days the responsibilities we assume are mentally and physically tiring.  "Worn" is a step beyond...when you are so tired you lose the desire to continue the fight.

Worn, I have been there.  Spending more and more time trying to accomplish things on my own.  The harder you work, the more work there is t…

Standing In The Hallway

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About three weeks ago, God laid a message on my heart about the doors he opens in our lives, and the ones he closes for us.  As I prepared to teach our ladies group Wednesday night, I had struggled with a lesson.  God gave me a great follow up to my lesson doorways:  How to Live your Life in the Hallway.
We often expect when God closes a door for us, he’s supposed to immediately open another one.I expected that 11 months ago when I made a life changing transition.  Today, I'm still standing in the hallway. We all will face those hallways in our lives, the important lesson for us is how to live during the process.  I learned a lot about that this week from 1 Samuel, and the story of David.

Charles Swindoll in his book David, “I wonder how many people think that David, after he killed the giant, within a matter of a few days became the youngest king in the history of Israel?Well in case you were one who thought that, you need to know it didn’t happen that way.”
David was a teenage…

Suitcases

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I don't usually post videos in my blog, but I wanted to share this one.  I found it several weeks ago preparing a skit for our youth group, who did an excellent job this morning of sharing the message.

Prepared by a church group and their youth, it talks about the baggage we carry.  Whether you are fifteen or 50, chances are you have some "baggage."  I know I do.  Christ takes each of us and wipes our slate clean when we take him as our savior.  What a great message for the person who says they aren't good enough...or the Christian who can't seem to let go.  Christ already has, won't you?

Enjoy.



Holding too tight to the Knob

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I had an opportunity one day this week to be up early and take a road trip.  Road trips were a part of my life for five years.  The one part of travel I enjoyed was the quiet time.  It's been much harder to accomplish that being at home, and I really appreciated the opportunity to have that time this week.

This was a special road trip, a four hour, round trip journey to take the entrance test for graduate school.  Its a dream I have been talking about for almost 10 years, or more.
I topped a hill, catching a glimpse of the sun beginning to rise.  Literally the clouds were painted a beautiful pink before my eyes.  God's awesome, beautiful artistry in the making.  He painted the clouds and simultaneously spoke to my heart.
God has opened many doors in my life.  In that moment, I understood the power of the doors he has closed.  If it had not been for a series of closed doors...and one through which he had to push me kicking and screaming, I would not be where I am today.

Isaiah …

Learning Lessons

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Last night, I was sitting in the kitchen, five feet from the item I needed.  I was giving my son directions on where to retrieve an item and instructions to bring it to me.  After the third try...he finally got it.  The past week has been full of those moments, a hard lesson for the type A who would rather just do it herself and be done with it.  My family has been incredible taking care of me while I TRY to keep my foot non weight bearing to heal.  Its the hardest thing to sit back and let someone else do.  Its really, really hard for me.  I've not been the best patient. 
This morning I was thinking back to those frequent episodes during the week at the take a deep breath and sigh moments when you tell someone something, and it takes three more sets of instructions to get the job done.
A lump appeared in my throat...God must do this with me every day. Can you imagine the patience it must take to turn over work to us that he is more than capable of doing in much less time?  …

For Such A Time As This

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Esther 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
On my porch, nestled in my geranium, a mother bird is raising her babies.It’s been exciting to watch her feed and care for them.She brings them food, and she is quick to guard them against anything she feels is a threat, including my curious kitty.That mother bird will soon teach her little ones to fly and prepare them to go off into the great big world.


I’ve seen mama birds do this before;she pushes the little ones out of the nest to get them started.Each time I wonder how she can do that and not worry about her little one getting hurt?
I feel a bit like that mother bird lately.My oldest child starts high school this year.While I am so proud of the independent, confident young lady she has become, its not easy to watch her spread her wings a…

A Man and his Stick

Exodus 4:2-5
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

This has been Vacation Bible School week at our church, and I've been teaching the 3-5 year old class.  If you haven't had that pleasure, lessons are fast paced, because if you get them to sit still longer than a couple of minutes you are doing great. Its also amazing to see how much they do absorb in such a short time, and how much they can remember later.

Our lessons have focused on Moses.  We talked about how Moses was saved as a baby, God's c…

Celebrating 40

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I'm celebrating my 40th birthday in just a few days. I thought by age 40, I would have my life figured out and expected to be settled into the plan God had prepared for my life.  That streamline path I expected has been more like a wandering experience, not knowing what would come next. Each time I seem to get "comfortable" in the role God has planned for my life, he seems to open another door into another area of the "wilderness." I know, you have been there too.

I've been thinking about the Israelites 40 year journey out bondage into a land of freedom.  A straight route from point A to B would have been less than 250 miles, or about 2 weeks on foot.  So why did they spend 40 years in the desert? Deuteronomy 8:2 says "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” .It was a …

Happy Anniversary

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Happy Anniversary, Troy!  May 25, 1996, we stood in front of our family and friends and made a commitment to a lifetime together. 

Love, 17 years ago, meant you treated me like a lady.
Love, 17 years ago, meant you listened to what I had to say.
Love, 17 years ago, meant you held my hand, and took me to dinner.
Love, 17 years ago, meant the excitement of buying a house together.

Love grows, and love changes.  As we grow together love deepens and takes on a whole new meaning.

Love, today, means the fulfillment of the vows we made that day...for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Love means making the tough decisions together with prayerful consideration.
Love means often giving up our time to pour into preparing two children for a great big world.
Love means saying I'm sorry, a lot.
Love means needing to say I'm sorry more than what we do.
Love means compromise.
Love is the admiration of watching you grow in your Christ-lead role of father and husband.
And above all, love m…

A Post Mother's Day Message

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Proverbs 31: 10-30  The Wife of Noble CharacterA wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;  she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;  out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;  her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her h…

Control Freak

My 10-year-old son, just like his mom, loves to fix things.  It's a great skill to have.  He's perfected the art of identifying there is a problem, taking an item apart...then not being quite sure how to put it back together.  We have two weed eaters in the garage he worked on last week that are still torn up, and the parts of both are sitting together. Not only do we get to figure out how to fix each one, we first must determine which parts belong to which unit.  What a mess!

My desire to fix things and solve problems extends beyond sinks and weed eaters.  It goes into the everyday decisions of my life.  I have this need to be a problem solver, and I often go about the job of handling my own crises, then handing God a pile of tools and parts to help me sort out the mess when I FINALLY admit I can't do it by myself.  What conviction he has placed upon me about this!

A lesson from Deuteronomy 8 was a reminder in a week I have been struggling very hard with this.  Its the s…

Living a “Why Not” Life in a “What If” World

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Boys, they have no fear.  When my son was smaller, his greatest joy was for his Daddy to throw him into the air and to catch him.  He would scream with delight, “Higher, Daddy!”.  Even now I watch him race down the hills at warp speed in front of our house on a scooter, jump the three huge steps off the porch in a single bound, play tackle football with kids twice his size. 
     Somewhere along the way into adulthood we lose that invincible feeling.  I remember going roller skating not to long ago.  As the kids whizzed past me, I teetered along, praying I didn’t take a spill.  When one of the youngsters bobbled, I felt my motherly instincts kick in as I fought the urge to put both hands out to break their fall.   There once was a time when I too made some pretty hasty tracks around a rink.  What changed?      Fear.  A four-letter word that changes lives.   What if I lose my job?             What if she says no?             What if I get hurt?             What if I'm not smart en…

Above and Beyond

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

My radio alarm sounded this morning with a song of praise, and immediately God spoke Psalm 37:4 through my dull, throbbing ear directly to my heart. 

God is so good to provide for our needs, and I know that very well.  He's provided again and again and again.  But I have always had a bit of guilt about asking for my desires. 

I've posted before about the challenges I've faced trying to sing since my first ear surgery.  A few weeks ago a bad inner ear infection really took a toll on my hearing overall.  Its been difficult because I felt I had just gotten comfortable with my new normal, only to lose the footing again.  I've been quite disheartened about it. 

I went yesterday for a hearing test and another round of surgery.  This morning through the dull, muffled sounds I knew to expect, there is hint of the return of a certain range of sound I had been missing and I need to hear in order to…

Pushing Past the Shame

"And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:61, 62)

The Easter sermon contained the message I've been needing to hear.  It was the story of Peter. We all know Peter as the one who denied Christ three times.  One of Christ's chosen ones...and he openly denied his relationship at a critical time, after giving his word to Jesus he would never do so.

I know Peter had tremendous guilt, and he wept bitterly over his mistake.  I needed to be reminded he went on to lead thousands to Christ after this memorable event.  Take a look at the eloquent message from Acts 2.

A couple of weeks ago, a conversation included "I thought you were a better person than that" and some other words that made me feel pretty low.  Whether it was truth or not is beside the point.  It hurt because not only did I fail to mee…

Taking Prayer to the Next Level

I apologize for the delay in blogging.  I've had a sinus infection that has just zapped the life out of me.  There hasn't been a moment that I've had free the last week and a half that I didn't want to crawl into the bed and sleep.  God has kept this passage on my heart for the time when I was ready to sit down and share it with you.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Prayer.  What an awesome tool.  I can't imagine going through life without that communication line to my heavenly father. I know each of us have seen amazing things happen because of prayer, I certainly have.  This week in all that down time I've taken, I've been thinking about the greater things we miss out on because of a prayer life that's not as full as it should be.

We don't ask…

Words

Remember that saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?"  The truth is words can hurt.  They can tear right through the very fiber of your soul.  Sometimes its not even the words that hurt but the context in which they are said. This morning, I crafted a quick, smart reply on instant message to something that struck a cord with me.  Finger ready to hit "send," conviction hit me like a sword in my chest.  Words, they do hurt.

Deuteronomy 2:2-3
Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew,like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord.Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

These words in Deuteronomy speak of the words of God, how they should fall gently and be nourishing to the soul.  Our words should be too.
Not only do we need to guard our tongues from the harmful words we say, we need to make more opportunities to provide enriching and encouraging words that …