Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Like the Chicken


'Chicken' photo (c) 2005, Peter Harrison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Gotta confess, I’m dragging my tail feathers around today, so to speak. I’m moving slow. I’m grumpy. I’m sleep deprived and coffee hasn’t helped.
Not only have I formed the nasty habit of waking up @ 4am for the past 3 weeks, but this morning at o’ five hundred, my chickens decided to announce LOUDLY that they’d all gathered together up in the coop for an early coffee and egg-laying ceremony! Now, I know why a group of chatty women are referred to as “the hen house”!
So, I struggled into my slippers wrapping my robe around me and sputtering a couple less-than-pretty words into the morning as I scrambled down the stairs and out the back door.
I could just imagine the complaints already; the loud rapping on my front door of disgruntled neighbors, those who sleep at night with the windows open, complaining about being rattled from a sound sleep so early on a summer morning.
I trudged through the wet grass in my oh-so-alluring sleeping attire, and after banging on the side of the coop and telling the ladies to keep it down, I stumbled back in the house… and had to smile.
The chickens…and their clucking.
It’s just what they do – it comes naturally to them!
When it comes to being quiet about Jesus, I want to be a little like
that chicken up there making some noise and rocking people
out of their comfy place – only less obnoxious (smiles).
'Sunshine' photo (c) 2011, Rachel Kramer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I want my faith and my passion to serve Him to go before me and speak louder than my inhibitions. I want it to be a natural reaction – I want HIM to be a natural reaction, the first response to everything in my life.
All the good days. All the challenging ones, too. I give them to Him, and will boldly profess His name!
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary” (Psalm 107:2) NASB

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creation Station Contest


'Vintage School Days Children's Photo Shoot ' photo (c) 2011, Anders Ruff Custom Designs - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Calling ALL Home School Moms!!! Christian Women’s Voice Magazine would love to feature YOUR amazing classroom environment in our upcoming Back-to-School issue! 
'Vintage School Days Children's Photo Shoot ' photo (c) 2011, Anders Ruff Custom Designs - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Yes, I have a calendar and I know we’re only nearing the end of June, but it’s never too early to submit your space to our Creation Station Contest! 

If you’d like to share any organizational tips that could benefit other home school families, then please do so by submitting a write-up and photos of your special space to cwvinfo@christianwomensvoice.org
for a chance to win our Creation Station Contest and be featured in our Sept/Oct 2012 issue! You’ll also receive a “goody bag” of special items just for YOU!
'Vintage School Days Children's Photo Shoot ' photo (c) 2011, Anders Ruff Custom Designs - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

'Vintage School Days Children's Photo Shoot ' photo (c) 2011, Anders Ruff Custom Designs - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seek Him First


 'Sink and granite countertop detail' photo (c) 2010, Brad Bowsher - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
So, the bathroom sink is clogged…again! No amount of plunging, begging or industrial-strength Drano will even touch it this time. It’s pretty bad when you have your favorite plumber on speed dial like I do, but with this house, it’s necessary.
He was out here a month or so ago, snaked the drain clear out to the street and, $75 later, we thought the problem was solved.
Wrong!
This morning, I’m standing at the sink plunging away truly seeing myself and others in a similar life scenario.
When things aren’t quite working out the way we plan or as they should and we get “clogged” or stagnant in our thinking, it takes more than a quick fix to really solve the problem.
When we’re in deep and we reach for the plunger or pull out the Drano to just fix it all, they may work for a little while, but to truly put an end to the problem from the inside out, it takes the Master.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:5)
'Running Water' photo (c) 2012, HereStanding - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Duh? Why not just go to the source the first time? I thought.
Why? Because the process is never easy. It’s painful and we don’t like pain. We don’t like the discomfort of the cost or the inconvenience. We’re afraid of the work involved even when we’re promised the perfect results when we simply call upon God.
So, why do we keep reaching for the same quick temporary solution expecting different results?
Hmmm….
Today, I pray you reach for the Master – the ONLY One who can break through all the messes in your life. And reach for Him first!
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! (Psalm 43:3)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

If You’re Broken Today (Revisited)

I'm sharing a post from last June. Just seems appropriate for so many who are in my thoughts today. God bless you, sister - you are not alone.

'You didn't see me love you' photo (c) 2008, Ashley Webb - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
The sweet words of encouragement come in many forms; the well wishers who send the cards, send the emails, “friend” you through social media. They mean well. Their words are deep and are born out of genuine care and concern.



Yet, words alone don’t keep the walls from tumbling down.
There has to be a point, usually when you’ve fallen to your knees, when they aren’t just “words” anymore. When they’re living and breathing deep within you….when they become the very reason you’re living and breathing.
When it’s all crashing down and you can’t gather the pieces fast enough. When it seems chaos and confusion are your daily “bread” and the devil’s laugh is louder than your prayers….
Speak His Name!
Praise Him right out loud!
Say the words!
“Praise you, Jesus! Praise you, Jesus! All I can do is praise you, Jesus!”
'100 Days Praise Challenge-Day 43' photo (c) 2010, loswl - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Let the cry of your heart and your praises to God force the enemy back to the flames of Hell and simply speak His name…wherever you are.
~~Lord Jesus,
I lift my sweet sister in Christ to you today. She who is overwhelmed and overcome by all that is not of you. You are the God of reconciliation and of healing. You love her more than what is humanly possible and only You can keep the walls from falling. Only You can truly pick up the pieces for her and make her world whole again. I praise you – I speak with my heart and profess with my mouth that You are king of kings and true healing comes from only You! In Your precious name….Amen.
And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
(1 Corinthians 6:14)

God Bless you, sweet friend,
Debbie

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Preparing for the Blessing


'Pots' photo (c) 2006, Hajime NAKANO - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
I’m thinking of the blessing today – and planning for it, too; the blessing only God knows about and will reveal in his time. It’s like the seed we plant in the garden. In good faith we place it right where it will flourish and cover it with rich soil. We water and wait until it sprouts. Though it’s hidden and out of view from human eyes, God brings forth the first signs once it’s had time to gain strength and push through the soil.

Our dreams and our goals, they’re just seeds until they’re nurtured, acted upon in faith and coaxed to life. Dreams, like seeds, take time to sprout…to work through the soil toward the light…

until one glorious day when the whole garden bursts alive with blessings!
'Colorful Garden!' photo (c) 2009, Daniel Ramirez - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


That’s when we see that all the tending, the waiting, the nurturing was meant to be. The seed held the blessing within but if we hadn’t acted in faith, the seed would have remained just a seed…and the dream, just a passing thought.

The runner with the broken leg lays out his running shoes for the blessing of healing.
The expectant parents ready the nursery for the blessing of their first born.
The gardener plants the seeds for the blessings of beauty and harvest.

Is it defeat you’re preparing for today or are you making physical steps toward your blessing?

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
(1 Peter 3:15)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bound to Bloom


I knew she was there…somewhere, hidden by the black-eyed Susan vine. I hadn’t seen her in awhile – at least, not until she bloomed all red and shimmering in the afternoon sun. The poor rose unyielding; her purpose secure.

I so admire the rose that continues to bloom even though she’s wrapped up in vine. It twists and twines around her every branch. Yet she reaches high, up and away from the vine and she still blooms despite all that’s intent on preventing the blessing of her.

Do you ever feel like the rose? You know that you’re supposed to “bloom,” to shine in some way, but your circumstances, your environment and the stuff of life sometimes have you all twisted up and you nearly forget about blooming at all?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

I find rest in knowing that the intention of each flower planted in my garden has a purpose. Regardless of its growing conditions, my neglect, etc., each has a goal to bring glory to God and beauty to our lives. Period. Each plant presses on through climate changes, adapting to various soil types and other encroaching plant material yet never loses site of its purpose! 

We struggle against much opposition in this life, things that force us to divert our focus for a time. They vie for our attention and steal our energy and our joy. But remember that no matter how tightly wrapped you are in the vines that threaten to entangle you, your purpose still remains. You were meant to bloom!

Wishing you many blessings, sweet sister,
from this gardener's heart,
Debbie


Monday, June 11, 2012

"Blessings ~ from a gardener's heart"


What do you get when you combine your love for the Lord with your passion for gardening?
You get blessed!
And I want to share the blessings from my own garden with you in my new monthly mini-mag called “Blessings ~ from a gardener’s heart.”

Photobucket

“Blessings” is a small monthly collection of 10-12 inspirational messages born from special moments, lessons and memories from the garden.

Blessings will always be just 20 pages and will always be just $6 ($3 for digital download). It’s a quick, easy read for you or as a gift for a special friend.
Photobucket

Whether rustic or formal, a garden is the most fun when it’s shared with those you love. So, please join me in the garden.

I wish you many blessings from this gardener’s heart.
Debbie
         Blessings (from a gardener's heart)        
     
               Blessings (from a gardener's heart)      
   
     "Blessings" from a gardener's heart is a small collection of devotional and inspirational messages. Thoughts and photos taken right from the garden combine faith in God with the way He speaks to us each day - especially in the garden.    
   
             Find out more on MagCloud          


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Love, Mom



Sometimes, this mother/daughter thing isn’t so easy. Personalities, hormones and tempers flare; a high tide washing over deep love.

She started out in life fighting; fighting to breathe, to grow and to stay alive while we prayed and stood watch. Watching, believing and waiting for God to move. She was our baby girl. He had to save her.

Praise God - He did.

We’ve had moments, storms and victories, memories along the way that steel the breath and bring the tears. Rejoicing over all the “firsts’ thus far and anticipating the ones yet to come.

It all flashes by, the years revealed in the flutter of graduation gowns and in promises held for the future.

I’m thanking God today for my daughter; for her spirit, her fire, her dreams, her beautiful smile…and her life.

Congratulations to you, Elise
Love, Mom

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2012!
Be safe and be blessed!

Friday, June 1, 2012

What Affirmation Looks Like


“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
(Phil. 1:6) NIV

'Decorative watering can' photo (c) 2011, Tony Newell - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I hurry with the hose from one end of the garden to the other. The afternoon heat really takes its toll on my poor butterfly bush. Leaves on the shrubs are drooping and even the vines are finding it hard to cling to their supports.

I look at my sad garden and shake my head – I can SO relate; it’s easy to droop, to wilt and feel discouraged; to forget about pushing through the dirt and shine your face to the Son.

It’s easy to get caught up in what I’m not able to accomplish….
”but, do you really believe He’d give you a dream and a task if He expected you to do it alone?” I remind myself.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:5) NIV
 'Flower' photo (c) 2005, Shagun - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Affirmation is all around the garden. God began a good work in each and every living thing planted in the soil. He knew the gift and the joy each element would bring. Through the storms and the heat of day, God’s purpose still remains.

He knows all about your storms, too. He’s there when you’re wilting and defeated, yet He plans to grow you so you may bloom anyway.
Look around. There’s affirmation all around you. It’s there in the garden. There in a child’s eyes. You feel it deep down when you cross one finish line and race toward the next….it’s the completion of what God began in you; faith and hope carried out.

It seems that just when you think you’ve lost your spark and lost your vision, He speaks to the cold center of discouragement and whispers, “….but my plans for you remain. I’ve chosen you to carry this out and I’m here with you as you do.”

I love how the Lord works – just when we’ve lost our way and lost our hope, He somehow breathes life back into the dream…back into His purpose for us.

It only takes that one phone call – that one conversation – that one word that sets everything right again. It tells the heart that you’re doing the right thing by holding firm in your faith even when giving in is easier and a shorter distance to crawl. He somehow brings light to discouragement and sets you back on course. With your feet firmly planted in faith, things just seem to come together NOT “out of the blue,” but straight FROM His hands!

Lost YOUR vision?
Lost YOUR spark?
Don’t do it for YOU – do it for HIM!

Maybe the solution is to start out faithful – and finish there, as well.

May He affirm His plans and purpose for you today!
Many Blessings,
Debbie

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