Sunday, January 30, 2011

It’s About the Now

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

Waterhouse: The Flower Pickerphoto © 2007 freeparking | more info (via: Wylio)


I’ve lived a week of anticipation…waiting…hoping….believing and standing firm
Words of hope and favor begin each breath prayer and I ask forgiveness for this desire that consumes my every thought
But then it comes to me
The gentle reminder whispered in the dark
It’s not about what will be, or when it will be….
Or ‘can’t wait’ until some distant joy
Open your eyes, child and savor the joy in the waiting, the anticipating, the wonder in the awesome work of His hands and how it unfolds to glorify the moment here and now.
rose-freephoto © 2008 kim | more info (via: Wylio)
Rejoice, for the Lord is at work…always
It’s about the now – how we’re living it and how we allow it to touch us
About embracing each smile, the arms that once only reached around our neck
But now stretch around our hope to embrace us right back
Savor each one before they’re gone
Off to live out their own tomorrows
Catching that smile and the flicker of life while it’s still fresh and new
It’s the moments embraced in our today that nourish the ones yet to come
The moment…this moment…supplies the soul and feeds the heart
We’re given today – tomorrow is but a promise
Let each ‘I love you’ resonate
Let the joy of today sustain you

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happiness

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:11-12) NIV

Garden shedphoto © 2009 Heather Clayton | more info (via: Wylio)

What does your soul crave today? What or whom is holding your happiness – true happiness…right now? Have you thought about it lately?

Happiness.

Seems a big word sometimes. Sometimes easily grasped. Sometimes just out of reach.

But happy doesn’t go anywhere - it’s always there. Waiting to be seen…to be discovered and held deep inside.



Old garden shed near Glenorchyphoto © 2006 Robin van Mourik | more info (via: Wylio)
Still Life - Gloves, Flowers, Horseshoes And A Vicephoto © 2010 Axel Steenberg | more info (via: Wylio)











Do you always recognize happiness?
Does it appear from the hands of man?
Does it need to sparkle and shine and come in a small box
Tied with a promise of forever?
Or is it captured unexpectedly gifted by the Giver of all things pure and holy
Wrapped plain and simple
Tied instead with ribbons of faith
A promise of the deepest joy

My gardenphoto © 2007 Per Ola Wiberg | more info (via: Wylio)

Sometimes, we overlook the happy meant for us
When our eyes are looking, searching for something bigger
Something more
Seems we all want something to look forward to but when happy finds a heart in which to live and thrive, we don’t have to look far.

May you see the many blessings around you waiting to be discovered, and may they bring you happiness today.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All About the Journey

There’s that word againSingapore Botanic Gardensphoto © 2010 William Cho | more info (via: Wylio)

Safely landing in my thoughts
I brush it away…pay it no mind
I go about my day, but the word returns
Taps me on the shoulder and whispers once more
It wants to be heard
Demands a voice
“Journey” it sighs
It’s all about the journey
About choices we make along the way
About daring to live in the midst of them
Do you consider your journey? Where you’ve been
Where you’re going?
How you’re going to get there?
Does it wake you up at night…and make you wonder
If your journey is of God’s design
Or are you simply walking alongside it?
Two paths or one?
The narrow one paved with challenge and teaching
Or the one that appears shiny and new…enticing, drawing you in
With false hope

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalm 16:11) NIV

Spring Gardenphoto © 2009 Diana | more info (via: Wylio)
Speaking of “Journey”…
I was recently asked to review the work of a friend of mine. Melinda Todd has written an ebook now available at http://melindatodd.com/?page_id=669 titled ”How I Forgave My Molester.”

Melinda reveals the turning point in her youth that has had lasting effect on the rest of her life. In this 27-page ebook, not only does she delve intimately into this sensitive subject, but she offers biblical truth that would apply to anyone victimized by unexplainable hurt. With a heart to reach women for God, Melinda has also included memory verses to encourage the reader along their own path toward healing.

Find out how the Lord has worked in this young woman’s life to bring about a God-sized forgiveness, and how she found the strength to address and overcome scarring events of her past. You’ll be inspired and encouraged by this example of faith and God’s love.

God Bless you in your journey.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nothing Less Than Perfect


Hello there. I’m so glad you found a moment to stop by.

I’ve been working in the garden most of the weekend, but I’ve been thinking of you…seriously, I have.

You see, there was a phrase

I caught it on the wind and planted it in the rich soil of my mind

The sweet words clung to the ragged edges

And I’ve held them there for days now…the words

They floated in through the garden gate

And I smiled wiping my brow with gloved hands

With knees in the dirt

My soul breathes happy to be alive

Perfect sunlight caressing my back

And my Woman reading in gardenphoto © 1912 George Eastman House | more info (via: Wylio)
hands tending young foliage

These words, meant for the low moments

When discouragement disguises as a friend

When you can’t shake the dark clouds

When you can't climb out of your valley

When the only voice you hear

Is your own

And you feel invisible

Small and forgotten

Please remember...

God is incapable of creating anything less than perfect

The One who knew you first

The One who knows you now

Who caused the rivers to flow

Who flung the stars into being

Whose love for you has always been

And always will be

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

(Luke 12:7) NIV

He created you with just as much thought

Perfecting every detail

Precious and perfect you

You who frowns in the mirror

Those tiny lines and fading hair

You who may not get her Christmas thank-you cards out before Valentine’s Day

You who strives to do and be and say

All the right stuff

You are nothing less than perfect in the eyes of your creator

I believe that’s what He wants you to know today

You who has been perfectly created for His purpose

God bless you today and every day.

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." (Psalm 139:14-15

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Personal Ministry

Woman standing in flowering bushphoto © 2008 George Eastman House | more info (via: Wylio)
Hello, sweet sister in Christ. I wanted to take just a moment to thank each one of you for always managing to add a visit to my blog somewhere in your full day. It means more to me than you know.

Many times, your comments bring tears. They somehow reach through the miles, the noise and the distractions to offer that precious moment of God’s touch on my heart. It’s He, the Lord, working through you who brings me to that awe-filled moment when I realize He really does care. He really does see all that’s going on with us. He really does listen to our prayers and sees each tear that falls, because He uses us, each other, whether connected physically or through the blogging world, to offer His love and support.

I'm sure, if I look hard enough, I'd find a passage in the Bible somewhere about bloggers; the pure-hearted Christian women who may not have this whole adult-wife-mom thing all figured out, but who live out Proverbs 31 each in their own unique ways. There has to be scripture for people like you; you who have been called to reach others with your words.

I kind of feel I was officially “called” to write for the Lord several years ago. I remember the day it happened: I’d just dropped my daughter off at school and started heading home. As I did every other day before it, I prayed for the day ahead over the top of my travel cup all the way back. But this one particular day was different. Instead of the basic, “Thank you, Lord for this day. Bless my husband, my kids, be in all I do and say, yadda, yadda, yadda….” I began praying from a much deeper place. Something stirred and I actually dug beneath the turmoil I’d glossed over for so long. The Lord knew how I’d been struggling, wanting to do more. Wanting to be more. For Him and for myself.

Insert light-bulb moment here. That’s when I heard the words, “Write…for…me.” It was almost audible, and from that moment on, I took my (book) writing more seriously, but decided blogging would help get me used to stringing words together by posting on a regular basis.

Some people say it’s a ministry. I feel it is, too. But, when you think about it, we each have a ministry, whether blogging or not; especially when we believe in something that is God-breathed within us and we’re passionate enough about it to profess it with our words. I would love to hear about YOUR ministry to others; when you first decided to be a voice for the Lord and to share with others.


I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

(John 14:12) NIV

Again, I want to thank you for the smiles and the tears, for the inspiration and the encouragement to follow my heart.

And….since I’m all about seeking out the quiet in our lives, finding and savoring that one little something that brings focus and soothes the mind for just a moment or so, that’s what I wish for you today and as you head into your weekend. I’m going to spend mine out in the garden taking advantage of our beautiful California weather. But whatever your climate, whatever your day brings, may you enjoy it to the fullest. I hope you’ll afford yourself a free moment to stop and sigh, to truly savor something beautiful and to do something special for yourself. And may your words and thoughts be God breathed.

Window and Flowersphoto © 2007 Sukanto Debnath | more info (via: Wylio)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Releasing My Inner Super-Mom


I feel like a lemon that’s been squeezed of every last drop then tossed into the garbage disposal expected to somehow spread freshness and joy throughout my home! Hah! Like that’ll happen!

Ya know….sometimes…..don’t you just wish YOU could be on the receiving end of a little grace and kindness?

Instead, today I’m wrung out. Empty. A dry well. Thirsty for the spring that never runs dry. But sometimes it takes God reaching down low in the valley to pull me up by my discouraged soul because today I haven’t the strength to even meet Him half way.

Not one more demand. Not one more question or crisis.

Only answers, solutions…sweetness. Is there such a place?

Actually….in all honesty…..I wrote the above rant a couple days ago when it seemed the floor beneath me was slowly slipping away.

I’ve recovered a bit since then. Taken a few deep breaths. Let the old heart rate return to normal as I slowly release my inner Super-Mom.

I’m slowly releasing it to God. I could never meet the demand, so I’m handing over the responsibility to the only One who can.

Why do we women bog ourselves down with more “Sure, I can do that” promises, even to ourselves, than one gal could ever fulfill, then struggle with guilt and remorse when we can’t quite meet the task? Do we somehow possess the power to add a few more hours to the clock?

It’s crazy.

We don’t want to seem anything less than stellar by declining an opportunity to jump the farthest, run the fastest, climb the highest.

Only God can do it all!

So today, I’m standing on the mountain top shouting over the rim of my coffee cup….no, I’m quietly encouraging you to release your inner Super-Mom to the One standing before you ready to receive it all.

Praying for a blessed, stress-free day for you (and me) today, in Jesus’ name. Amen J

I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.

(Psalm 18:3-6) NIV

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random Thoughts from the Garden (1/18/11)

My garden gate squeaks a familiar welcome and I step inside my sacred place; the room where I create, dream, remember, give back and receive. How it blesses me. How the soil holds sunny days spent with little ones and bare feet. Days of pint-sized watering cans and perfect bouquets held in baby girl hands. Days of collecting seeds and lady bugs with Mommy’s little helpers. And the fence wrapped round it all. How it embraces and defines.

But faith knows no fences. It's meant to be shared with all who pass by.

Hope knows no boundaries. It goes ahead of us and paves our way.

Because love knows no limits.

“There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father,

who is over all and in all and living through all.”

(Ephesians 4:5-6) NLT

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stepping Stones


I held her frail hands in mine; my reward after a 4–hour drive. The same hands that embraced and nourished and loved me from the start now clench blankets and every precious moment.

We gathered, not for tears or to share our fear about this life about to take flight, but to support and comfort her and one other. In the noise and conversation we find strength in our numbers that somehow smoothes over the unknown until the quiet seeps back in.

Family. Those who share my blood and my past talk and recall and we laugh through tears over coffee and hugs.

We talked about the stepping stones well into the night; the memories, those times well hidden and tucked away behind the years reaching, waiting to grab you by the heart to be re-lived and enjoyed.

These are the stepping stones; brief moments in life captured in the midst of time that strengthen you to move forward to the next season and the next and the next. How precious are the memories that bind people by the heart.

Thank you, Lord for the stepping stones.

"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes

in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes

in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

(John 11:25-26) NIV


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Giving Your Best


I sat there in the RV sipping hot cocoa while the rest of my family braved the wind and rain to stare at a beach piled high with seals of massive proportions. I’d joined them for a short time, but failed to share their enthusiasm over watching large blobs doing a lot of…well, nothing in the pouring rain and a freezing wind that quickly cut right through my patience.

Swift gales shook and rattled hatches and windows while I enjoyed sitting bundled against the weather marveling at the pounding surf and flocks of birds bold enough to skim low over churning waters and race against the tide.

Despite the fierce and thundering waves, the gulls seemed to have it all figured out, choosing to soar with the wind instead of race against it. Soon a flock of pelicans joined them for a truly impressive performance skimming in a wide “V” formation low and slow for their meal not put off in the least by unfriendly elements.

That’s so cool, I thought. Why can’t I learn to do that; just skim over the top of the turmoil, go with the ebb and flow of life…to float effortlessly on the breath of God?

That’s when a whisper broke through the thrashing about outside my window and said, “You…aren’t…supposed…to.”

"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."

(John 16:33) NIV

God didn’t design us to float above the challenges. We’re to ride out our faith, live it as He’s equipped us to do, however bumpy a ride it may be. We may pray and ask and believe, only to land in disappointment. We beat ourselves up when we feel we’ve failed the many tests of life, and it stings while others around us seem to achieve and rise above with minimal effort.

But, God wants YOUR best – not someone else’s best.

He wants you to use the abilities within, not the ones you wish you had. He’s equipped you to float on the breath of God. He’s already given you everything you need to carry out His plan. He wants to hear your voice, watch you succeed, share in your joy. Your abilities aren’t measured on someone else’s scale. Your style, character, strengths and dreams have all been fitted to you; custom made by the Lord himself. Only with Him will you soar above the swift and churning waters.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Welcome to My Garden


She’s the only one who waits her turn. She makes no demands. She shows patience and grace as she stands in disarray with her head hanging low and arms weak at her sides. Yet, with merely a glance, she rewards me with her bounty, her beauty and fulfillment at the end of the day. She gives and never takes. She’s my sacred little space beyond the gate set aside to create, to change, to grow and to dream. But, most of all, to feel His presence.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”
(
Genesis 1:11) NIV

It’s where blessings flow; where a childhood of garden memories hover and mingle with the flutter of wild finches and visiting ring-neck doves. They, too sense the life taking place, drawn by the flow of the fountain. It’s in the birth of dreams and the joy of creating a space that both satisfies and glorifies.

I’ve kneeled there. I’ve found healing in the soil, a stirring that calms and breathes life back into the spirit.

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

(Matthew 6:28-29) NIV

Join me this season as I set out to restore my long-time friend, the garden. And in doing so, it never ceases to amaze me the life lessons revealed in the process. I believe that’s how God designed it; working the earth, creating, nurturing life along until it gives back to others and teaches.

I believe we all have our “thing,” that one something we know and rely on that wakes us up on the inside and breathes life back into our souls.

What’s yours?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thank you, Mothers on Mission!


I’m sending one huge THANK YOU, along with loads of hugs, to Kelli and Heidi, my blogger buddies over at Mothers on Mission, for extending my very first Guest Blogger invite.

Please join me today at http://www.mothersonmission.blogspot.com/ for

“Broken Shells.”

"You’re forever beautiful to Him whether broken or whole; crumbling with the world around you or dancing on top of it. How wonderful to belong to the God who holds the missing pieces that restore and replenish. And He does indeed hold them…there, in the scars of His hands."

See you there!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chasing Fur Balls!


We’ve had our beautiful, sweet yellow lab for almost 6 years. Sammy was shedding when we welcomed him to our family, and he hasn’t stopped since! Seriously, I could have made a whole other litter with the fur he’s dropped all over the house! I suppose we’ve confused him into thinking he’s one of “us” as he lives most of his life indoors, mainly because it’s the place to be for hugs, scratches behind the ears and the occasional “Oops, I dropped that. Come here, boy!”

He’s precious, docile and loves unconditionally. But, I’m so tired of finding shreds of him in every room! He’s like Pig Pen from the Peanuts comic strip, except in fur form. You can actually watch his beautiful golden locks fall to the floor with every step. (Luckily, my tile is the same color, so it blends in well).

Still, his fur flies. It sometimes piles up like snow drifts beneath the kitchen cabinets. Other times, it just sort of clings to the bottom of them like little beards! (Yep, trying to find a bit of humor in this annoyance). I vacuum constantly. I mop…when I can. I sweep almost daily only to finally collapse in a chair and stare at clumps of him balled up under the couch! Uggh!

Are you chasing fur balls? Is there a situation in your life that’s running you ragged that you just can’t seem to get a handle on? I’m just using my fur ball frustration to illustrate a point, but I’ve learned over the years that God does want even our small stuff. Sure, He can move mountains, but if the "fur balls" of life are making a mess of things and bringing a different kind of stress to your life in any capacity, give it to the Lord. Nothing is too small for Him.


Give your burdens to the Lord,and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalm 55:22) NLT

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20) NIV

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. (Psalm 105:1-2) NIV


Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.
(Jeremiah 17:14) NIV

His feeble frame only took up a portion of the wheel chair. I’m sure what may be a simple act for most to rise and prepare for church each Sunday was no simple task at all for him, but he’d done so willingly nearly every Sunday for the past 96 years and wasn’t about to let physical limitations keep him from worshipping with the body of Christ.

On his “good days,” they’d wheel him into the sanctuary where he’d sit at the back of the room, offering his own verbal exclamation mark with a distinct “Amen!” throughout the sermon. He’d raise his hands in worship. And with every ounce of strength and determination he could muster, he’d force his thin, weakened frame up on unsteady feet to give testimony to the awesome power of God and the many ways in which He was still at work in his life.

His sincere heart for others led him many times to our church directory, where from his home, he’d make phone calls to each and every person listed, and in a frail voice ask how THEY were doing. He wanted each one to know, without a doubt, that he was praying for them.

His praises to God and concern for others continued to his last breath and still resonate within the walls of our sanctuary today.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

If you’re still here, there’s still work to be done.

There’s no finer example of that than our dear friend, Bill.

I usually try to make an effort NOT to sound preachy with my blog posts or tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, but I just have to say that I think it’s an absolute sin NOT to thank the Lord and share our praise with others. If you’ve been given a brand new day and there’s still breath in your lungs…if you’ve fought a life-threatening disease and the Lord has healed you….if you’ve gone through financial difficulty but God has shown you mercy and grace and has mended your suffering…if you can truly say He’s brought you through the pain, then get up, get out and praise him! Psalm 35:18 says, “I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you.”

Don’t keep the blessing all to yourself. We serve a mighty, loving God, and we only strengthen each other when we humble ourselves before Him, turn from our own circumstances to help others and simply….praise Him.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cast Son-Light on Your Dreams


You know that idea – that thought

That dream spinning circles

Gathering strength and passion with every sigh?

You know the one

It’s that bright spot that captures your hope

At every odd moment

But you don’t really want to speak it out loud

Don’t want to put it out there

Weak and vulnerable

To the critique or opinions of others

Especially when it’s struggling to stand on wobbly legs

But it deserves a voice, don’t you think?

It kicks and begs for air

And if you don’t share,

Keep it all to yourself

How will it ever breathe

And grow wings of its own?

How is God glorified

By a rose yet to bloom?

If fear binds and gags

Makes the smoke billow

but stifles the flame

Perhaps it’s time to

Bring the dream to life with your words

Give it a name

Give it a voice

Write it to the Lord

In words meant for only Him

The One who planted the dream seed

Long ago, before you were you

He planted the seed so He, too could watch it grow

After all….

You were just a thought once

Just a dream of the Father

Until God gave you a voice

Gave you a name

Gave you today.

"There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."

(Proverbs 23:18) NIV

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

(Mark 11:24) NIV

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