Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thus Far the Lord Has Helped Us

I have had a rough five years. A lot of times of change, hurt, betrayal, quite a few deaths of friends and family, and a lot of aches and pains and fears. There were many times when I felt hopeless and afraid.  There were times when I felt like God had given up on me. I felt like my prayers stopped at the ceiling, felt like there was no God anyway, and He didn't hear my prayers.
I should have known better. Because I now know with all my heart that He not only heard me, but He was beside me the entire way.
And now five years later, I can say with absolute certainty that God had His mighty hand on my the entire time, even when I was positive that I was alone and lost.
Last week I made this stone, as a gift to the Lord, remembering the story out of 1 Samuel 7, when Samuel set a stone in rememberance of the Lord's help:
 
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8 They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.

10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[b] saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
1 Samuel 7

The Lord rescued me. And I am forever grateful.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

God is so Faithful

Hi everybody, its late but i wanted to write a little note to say how i am so grateful i am that God has been so faithful to me. He is so good and so loving. After years and years of having difficult jobs where things were hard day after day, or I didnt like my boss or someone I worked with, or I wanted to be somewhere else, God has blessed me with an incredible job that I just love.
I am working as an administrator and specialist at a little school. I love it. I have the opportunity now to teach teachers. I get to share resources and help others. I can still be with kids all day, but I am not down in the trenches anymore. I teach teachers how to handle special needs and behavior challenges, but I dont have to deal with it all day myself.
I have a long commute but it is my guaranteed alone time every day, and with the hours i work, i miss rush hour traffic. Its my time to pray, listen to my Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore cd's, and call my family.
This whole job was given to me by God. And He is enabling me to do it well. It comes naturally to me, and i have fun there every day. I look forward to Mondays! I cant wait to get there every day to see my friends and all the kids.  I have been there nearly six weeks already, and its gone by so quickly. Every morning I tell God thank you for blessing me with a job that I love so much.
Just in the past few weeks God has brought me a long way. I am feeling so much better and so much happier. I am trusting God much more because its so obvious He is taking care of me. Hehas proven himself faithful time and time again.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

God is faithful

this will be just a quick update.
God has proved Himself faithful once again.
although I certainly dont deserve it...He has once again had His hand in my life in such a surprising way that I stand amazed as His power and grace.
God has brought me a job that I love, that I was made to do. i am working with wo derful people and children. Gods hand has clearly been in this whole situation the entire time. and I praise Him for that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

still waiting

Has there ever been something you really wanted that you prayed for for a really long time?years, even? how do you know when to give up?how do you know when to keep pushing through, and continue praying and hoping? this is something i am struggling with again. there is something in particular i started praying for in 1984. and i am still waiting on it. its something that i hope is Gods will for me-- i think its a good thing to pray for-- and yet still i wait. and pray. and wait. and wonder. and talk to Jesus about it some more. sometimes i cry, because its something i want something so badly...something that everyone i know already has, and i have never had...so why not me too? what is God trying to teach me? what does He want from me, anyway?
there is another thing i have been praying for for over a year. every day. i have had many, many people, probably thousands, helping me pray. Yet God has chosen to not make it happen yet. and i wonder some more, what he is doing behind the scenes,what he is working out, what i am supposed to learn in the meantime.
its hard. its a challenge. sometimes i handle it all well, resting in the knowledge that God has a master plan,that he knows everything i truly need, that he will give me these things at the proper time. sometimes i handle it all poorly,like a spoiled 3 year old-- i want it, why dont you give it to me NOW!? i 'm tired of asking! most days i hover somewhere inbetween, praying and hoping and trying to make it through another day as i wait. and i hope--- and hope. and hope. because whether i get what i pray for or not,God is still good.he is still worthy of my worship and my love. so i will keep on hoping, and waiting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember

No one has ever asked me. Everyone else talks about it, but i never have, since no one has ever asked.
So today i am just going to write about it. Since no one has ever asked.

The morning of september 11.2001 was such a beautiful day... I still remember driving down the road to school and thanking God for such a clear blue sky. My class was a wreck as usual. I took them outside to recess early.  As we were coming back inside one of my teacher friends told me the news. We spent the rest of the day listening to the radio, we didnt have televisions in class back then.
Everything seemed unreal. Remember when the world was innocent enough back then that a terrorist attack seemed unreal? Remember when not feeling safe in your own country felt unusual? Isnt it sad that nowadays its a constant nagging thought, that those things could happen again any minute?

At home that day my husband took us to get gas. He took his gun with him. The line at the gas station was so long. My husband had never taken his gun anywhere with us. Now he takes it everywhere we go, even church.
My heart is still stuck  in the terror of that day. My heart still aches over the news reports, the people trapped in the buildings, the fire fighters. It still feels like yesterday. It still feels real. I wish after 11 years i could leave it behind.
My mind still wonders where God was on that day.
Anyway.., thats about all i have to say today. I just needed to write this someplace.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Needing prayer

I am continuing to face some big challenges that are getting to be a lot for me to handle. Could you pray for me? Here are some specifics: I really need the Lord to fill me with the joy and peace and hope that i used to have every day, and the strength to face my daily challenges. My friend has been overseas for nearly a year handling a family crisis that has been going on for several years. Would you pray that God would finally end this crisis and allow my friend to finally come home? I miss her so much. And pray that in the meantime, we will have opportunities to talk and video chat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What am I supposed to learn?

I keep wondering why I keep going through the same types of trials. Going around the same mountain. I think I am learning new things, but apparently i haven't learned THE thing that will get me past this.  Its a painful learning process.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Third time around...

I'm at the foot of yet another mountain. Same mountain. Third trip.
Apparently I didn't pass the test (like I thought I did) the last two times.
Here we go again.
I am not happy about it.
Feeling pretty abandoned, lonely, sad, and anxious right now. Rather weak.
The bottom of the mountain is always the hardest place to be.
I just hope I have the strength to do this again...
I hope that God will be with me.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Must Watch

I just really had to share this. I hope you enjoy.

British film director Sir
Ridley Scott launched a global film making contest for aspiring directors. It's
titled "Tell It Your Way". There were over 600 entries.The film could be no longer
than three minutes, contain only 6 lines of narrative and be a compelling story.
The winner was "Porcelain Unicorn" from American director Keegan
Wilcox.It's a story of the lifetimes
of two people who are totally opposite, yet, very much the same - all told in
less than 3 minutes.You'll see why it
won.
http://www.porcelainunicorn.com/

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One more time around that mountain....

I went through a huge test this past fall/ winter. For a little bit (a couple of weeks) it appeared that I had passed my test, and made it through that awful time. But as it is, I am being tested again with the same thing. The SAME thing. And I was sure I had passed before. Apparently God doesn't think so. So the same situation came up again a couple weeks ago, and I feel almost like I've started over. Again.
One more time around the mountain.
Thankfully, I think I am handling the situation better this time. I hope. Instead of constantly (and I do mean constantly) fretting, worrying, and panicking, I am trusting God to get me through this, as He did before. It is still hard... very hard. But even though I am having a hard time again, I find myself leaning on God more. And hopefully it will help. I can't wait til this particular test is over. But God is still good, and He will not leave me alone in this.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Baby Squirrel

I just had to post this article because the little squirrel is so sweet looking, and its amazing to me that a squirrel can get a cast...and a purple one at that!
Its good to know that there are other people out there who care about God's creatures like I do.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/baby-squirrel-gets-cast-photo_n_1333052.html

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maybe I've passed the test

The last seven months or so I've been through an extraordinarily hard time. One of the hardest ever. It wasn't just the one main thing that was going on, but also bunches of little things here and there going on as well that were constantly on my back time and time again. I felt like I was constantly being tested by God. Was I going to fully believe in His promises? Was I fully going to believe that no matter how hard life got, that He is still good and loving and kind and generous? No matter how scared or lonely or awful I felt, was He still going to be my Rock?

Things are finally winding down, now. Things that began last summer are finally beginning to look up again, now that Spring is starting here in Texas. It was a pretty bleak fall and winter for me at times. But God has gotten me through. Prayers are being answered. And my faith has grown. I'm happy to say that I'VE grown. God has gotten me through once again, held my trembling hand and continued to lead me on yet again. I am feeling so much better now. He is a good God.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Even the Stars Sing

I love this video with Louie Giglio.
He talks about how even the stars cry out to God.

http://youtu.be/7zWKm-LZWm4

Friday, January 20, 2012

Isn't that just like God?

I just love God. He is so good to me. I love how He is so personal and loving. I love how He is that still, quiet voice even though He makes such majestic, beautiful things. The other night I was driving home from work--in the mornings on my drive I face the sunrise, in the evenings I face the sunset. I always get a beautiful show.
I happened to be praying as the sun went down about some concerns about family and friends . You know the whole, "God will you please take care of _____, and take care of _____, and.... And I heard God say to me, taking the whole of the sunset in His Hands, "Will I Who take care of THIS [the sunset,the beauty that you love] not take care of YOU?"
Then a couple of weeks ago I read in a book about how the authors sensed they got "love messages" from God through seeing "hearts" everywhere-heart shaped leaves, heart shaped rocks, etc. I was pretty down at the time and prayed, "God, I don't EVER see things like that... I wish you would do stuff like that.... I feel left out."
Wouldn't you know it? In the past week I have seen no less than 4 heart-shaped leaves and 2 heart-shaped rocks :)
Isn't that just like our God?

Psalm 73:26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion.

Jeremiah 31:33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so....
remember learning that Sunday school song when you were 3 years old? And singing it at the top of your lungs?
I loved it back then, and right now I hold to it tightly.
I continue to go through some hard times. Still waiting on desperate prayers to be answered. Still asking hundreds of people to pray for me about some things. Still hard. But this is something I continue to learn-- God is with me. He never leaves me. Even when I am in pain, even when my heart aches, even when I feel alone-- He is here. Listening. Comforting. Sometimes the comfort comes from the kisses and hugs of children. Sometimes it comes from a soft rain or a thunderstorm. Sometimes from a random email with sweet words. But He sends it still. While I wait for my prayers to be answered. And wait, and wait. I have learned so much about God in the last few months. Learned more about His character, become even more fascinated by Jesus and Who He is. As hard as these times can be, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When Prayers Go Unanswered

For a few months now I've been having a really hard time that seems to keep getting harder.
Life has been tough lately. I talk to God, I do the things I know to do, yet life is one test after another lately. Prayers go unanswered, even when I ask hundreds of people to pray. I watch other people get their breakthroughs time and time again--yet I wait, wait, wait. Fear. Sink a little. Feel a little more lost.
I have learned some things though.
A lot of hard things. Nothing easy at all.

But I know this.

Even when my prayers appear to go unanswered....
The Almighty God, maker of the universe, still hears me.
He still loves me. Even if He never did answer my prayers, He still loves me. Unanswered prayer does NOT equal not loving, not hearing, not listening, not caring.
He is still sovereign. The LORD God is still in control of everything.
He can still work all things together for good-- because HE is good, because HE is faithful, because HE is unchanging and holy.
He still guides my steps. Even if I can't see for the darkness in front of me, He still watches my every move, and He has a plan.
I can still expect God to take care of me.

So, yah. Just putting it out there. But please pray anyway, for me. I need a miracle or two to happen. Right now would be good.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why do we hold on so tightly?

I heard a phrase today. "At least you made it through another day." As in, well, you've survived another day-- rough day, but you made it through. And that made me wonder. A lot of people think if you've made it through another day here on Earth, that's a victory. Like the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." So, being able to live one more day-- that's something to celebrate. A friend's child was diagnosed with leukemia this week, and that has made me think a lot more about when children die--I've been having dreams this week about when my sweet girl Stef died 3 years ago. We try so hard to keep sick people alive one more day. We try so hard to keep the dying here on Earth. We all fight so hard to live longer, to stay disease free, to fight aging, to prolong life.
But what if we have it all wrong?
What if when we get to Heaven, we realize, what was all that fighting for?
I sincerely believe that when I am standing in the presence of Jesus, and wrapped in His safe, loving arms, and standing in the middle of Heaven...I am going to realize I would have rushed a lot faster to get there. When I look into His face and realize all the wants, hopes, and dreams I've ever had have suddenly been filled, when I look around the Holy City and realize I will never cry again, never need for anything again, never have to say goodbye to anyone again... I will no longer want the shallowness that Earth had to offer.Forget all the vitamins I took to be healthier. Forget the creams I put on my face to look younger and fight wrinkles. Forget cancer treatments, forget worrying about dying, forget fears. I have a feeling we will all wonder, why did we all fear death? With Heaven and our savior waiting for us... why didn't we come running at it, embracing it? Why did we hold on so tightly to this false, faded, sin-filled world when the Real World filled with the Glory of God is waiting for us?
That is my plan. I actually do not fear death--at all. I know what Heaven will be like. If you haven't read about Heaven in the Bible, or read Randy Alcorn's book on Heaven, I highly recommend doing so. That's some great reading. And look forward to what's on the other side-- don't fear it. There's Someone there alread waiting for you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So Humbled...

So I have been at my new job for a couple of weeks now at the homeless shelter, teaching preschool. It doesn't pay much at all, but has incredible perks such as getting to go to chapel and Bible study and getting leftover food from the kitchen-- really cool stuff. One of the amazing things is the people I work with. And the women from the shelter I encounter. One day in chapel as we finished singing worship songs, we had some time to bring up praise reports and prayer requests.
Several women who were staying at the shelter told their stories of desperation, being treated unfairly, being hurt and abused, losing their homes-- these are very serious, scary things. Especially for the ones who have children. They have nothing.
And yet-- here is the amazing, humbling party--
At the same time as telling these awful stories...these women were praising God for His goodness, His faithfulness, His love. Even though they'd been through the ringer emotionally, spiritually, financially-- they still see God as the Giver of all good things, as their Helper and their Provider.
I was so humbled by their faith that I nearly cried. That I should have such faith. That I should have such trust. That I should see what they see.
My faith has become strengthened by these women. Though they thought they had nothing left, nothing to give others, I have received a lot from them in the past couple of weeks-- the gift of faith. I am so humbled by their immense love and trust for God-- for He is truly worthy of our worship and our love.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I am so excited. After a 3 year break of being mommy and big sister and best friend, I am back in the saddle-- once again known as TEACHER!!!! Today was my 1st day back in the classroom after 3 years. I could hardly believe it. I did Circle Time. I did reading. I reminded kids to wash their hands 40 times. I put shoes on little feet. I played on the playground at recess. I now have my own classroom where I get to share scripture and read Bible stories (been a dream for a long time). My boss and the other teachers are amazing. This week, I actually found myself looking forward to being at work on Monday morning-- I can tell you that has never happened before even on my best days!! Something else that's really cool is that people say GOOD things about each other, even in private. I get paid to go to devotions and chapel. I get paid to teach kiddos about God. Its amazing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grateful

So much has changed in the past few weeks. Some things have been really really hard. I'm not big on change. I've been having some hard times. But I've also been especially aware that God is truly by my side and He is leading me step by step.
I have an incredible new job teaching Preschool to homeless children. I couldn't ask for anything better. At chapel, I see their mothers, homeless, who have absolutely nothing, and yet they are still filled with praises to God for being so good, loving and faithful to them. That is so humbling. It fills me with awe. The children are amazing. They have been through so much, yet they're filled with wonder at the simplest things.
I have been more involved with church lately, and speaking up more in things like Bible Study and our home group meetings. I'm so grateful for the friends I've made there, and for the worship time we have. I'm so grateful for the growth I've seen in our church. I'm so grateful for friends who reach out to help during hard times--they even reach out to my family, whom they don't even know. I'm so grateful for my wonderful new bosses. Its incredible to work in a Christian environment. It makes such a huge difference. I'm so grateful for the fall sunrises and for puppy kisses and reading goodnight stories to my niece and nephew, for laughing with my sister, and for surprises and pizza parties. We're going through tough times right now--financially, spiritually, and emotionally, but I know that God is here with me, and I am forever grateful for His faithfulness and His goodness.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

He's better to me than I deserve. (So what else is new?)

God is WAY, WAY better to me than I deserve Him to be.
This is old news, right?
Yet, when God does something for me, it still just shocks the bejeebers out of me.

I got the job I wanted.
I am going to be a teacher again.
Preschool!
Yep, I got the job at the homeless shelter I was hoping for.
The pay is low but we can make it work somehow. This job is a huge chance for me to serve God in a direct way. And as God reprimanded me yesterday, "How about not worrying about the money and worry about doing My will?"
Well. Yah. Yes, Sir.
So. In about a month I will be a preschool teacher again, getting back into the swing of things after being gone for 3 years. Can you even believe this?
Yah, I can't believe it either. But its absolutely true. And once again, God has given me something I totally don't deserve but He does these things because He is God and He is good.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A good interview!!

After sending out 75 resumes and job applications I FINALLY had a job interview last week. At LAST!! And it was for an incredible place-- a gospel mission where I would be teaching homeless kids. Get out of town!!! That is right up my alley-- helping the homeless and the poor, the orphans and the widows-- just like Jesus said. The interview went fantastic. The director even used to go to my church. I have a follow up interview on Tuesday. I want this job so badly!!

Here's the catch-- my husband says they need to offer me at least $30-35K in order to take the job. Because we have to pay our bills, which are numerous. We don't have any areas of our lives that we can cut back on any more... already doing every money-saving thing we can think of. Oh how I am praying for God to come through for me!! Those who hope in the Lord will never be disappointed or put to shame... I am counting on that.

So if you read this, please say a prayer that I will get my dream job! It will be hard, but it would be affecting SO many kids lives. Please pray they will offer me the amount necessary so that I can take the job.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Holding onto this. Psalm 34



Psalm 34 (New International Version)
1 I will extol the LORD at all times;



his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD;



let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;



let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;



he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;



their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;



he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,



and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;



blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,



for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,



but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;



I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life



and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil



and your lips from speaking lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;



seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous



and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,



to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;



he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted



and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 A righteous man may have many troubles,



but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,



not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;



the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems his servants;



no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him



Saturday, July 16, 2011

I have to believe

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the LORD

and put their trust in him.


Psalm 40:1-3

I am in the midst of deep grief. I guess losing my dog last weekend was the last straw. The breaking point of several months of losses, broken dreams, and bad news.
There aren't words for it. I haven't really got anyone to talk to about it anyway. I don't know why God is allowing all these things to happen. Some times it seems like there will be no end to the sorrow. Sometimes I wonder what's going to happen next...and its not a happy thought.
I have been trying to sleep in order to escape; in those moments when I am falling asleep, at least I know there is nothing I have to do, no problems I have to solve right now. Just slip into sleep, and that's that. Although I don't sleep well, at least its still a bit of an escape from my worries and the ache in my heart. I wonder where God is. I wonder when my comfort will come. I wonder when something is going to happen to make all this pain feel like its been worth it.

But this I believe. I choose to believe.
God is still good. He hears my prayers. He will, someday, make all things right. Someday, whether its on this earth or not, my heart will be healed and whole again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

God is still God...still my Refuge




Not quite ten years after the Lord brought a chubby, wiggly chocolate lab into my life as a gift to heal my heart after losing my black lab,


my precious boy has gone back to Heaven to be back with Jesus.


We said goodbye yesterday. After a bout with cancer, and surgeries, and too much time at the vet, it was time to let my sweet boy go to sleep and wake up in Heaven.


My heart is broken. I am devastated. He was my best friend. You couldn't ask for a more loyal, happy, sweet dog.


I feel weak today. Broken in too many places. Life hurts too much sometimes.


But God is still in control. And He is still good. And He is still my Lord, no matter what pain this life sends my way.


And right now, maybe Jesus is teaching my dog to finally walk on a leash, and running with his big sister in great fields of wild flowers, chasing butterflies, no longer in pain, happy and free and silly as ever.


I love you, Sweetboy. You loved me. You showed me what unconditional love really is, and for that I will always be grateful.



“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Refuge

The past two weeks I have faced some very big challenges. Ones I would prefer to not have to go through if I could. My emotions have been on a roller-coaster of anxiety to despair to fear. Just last week along I had three things go very wrong in three days. I was beginning to wonder what would come next. Contemplating if I could even get out of bed by Friday. And quite frankly, I just didn't want to. I was done. That was enough. I'm tired of fighting.

But then God spoke to me.
Twice.
Once through a friend I was talking to who, after listening to me pour out my desperation for probably 30 minutes or an hour, said, "Well, do you believe the Bible or NOT?"
Oh.
Well... yes. I guess so. Well... YES. I do.
And then it HIT ME.
Really? In my time of desparation was I ACTING like I believed the Bible?
Do I believe God's Word is the Truth?
Well then how about all those promises in there that He makes to me?
Ps 29:11, "The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace."
Ps 34:17, "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles."
Ps 37:4-5, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
Ps 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Ps 50:15, "And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."
Matt 11:28-29, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
I could go on and on here...are you getting the picture? The Bible is FULL of God's promises.
Did I believe them or not? But then I wondered, but WHY am I going through this awful time? Hasn't this Spring been hard enough, with deaths in the family and illness and everyting else? Aren't we done yet? Why more?
And on Sunday morning during Worship time at church, I heard HIM. I heard God tell me that He is doing all this to draw me closer to Him in wanting ONLY His will for my life. (No more of that "Well sure God, I want your will. Absolutely. But what I also really want is....) And even more wonderful to hear from Him, I also heard :"And you're doing it." (Great! I am actually DOING what God wants me to do when He wants me to do it!! Its a miracle!)
So even though these hard times are still going on, and I'm still in the same situaion I was last week..
I am not, really.
Because I have taken refuge. In the shadow of His wings, I remember: I believe Him.
I will get through this hard time by standing on His promises.

Psalm 57
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who vindicates me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me—[c]
God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.

4 I am in the midst of lions;
I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.

7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.



P.S. Everyone who reads this, please pray for me. I need God to help me find just the right job for me, as I'm searching for a new place to work. I am seeking His will, and asking for Him to guide my actions, give me discernment and guidance as I fill out many, many job applications. Thank you!!



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's Inside of YOU?

This is probably the BEST commercial I have EVER seen.
Be sure to watch it to the very end.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blessings by Laura Story

This song gave me a lot to think about. What if?


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grateful for Change

Today I just wanted to say a quick little thing about something I am so grateful for.
In the past few weeks, life has been a real challenge. We've had 3 deaths in the family that have broken my heart and others in the family. I have friends who are going through heart-breaking pain as well. Life has just been a real pain some days.
But.
I'm so grateful that God is so good.. that He has changed me so much over the last few years. I'm so grateful that He has brought good people into my life. That He has helped me so much.
Today I had an appointment at a spa that I go to frequently, and the people there are always so kind to me. I don't know them well, but we always chit chat and they're always friendly. I appreciate that. I'm grateful for the kind older man who talked with me while I waited for my car to get washed. A few years ago I probably would have hid behind a book and ignored everyone there. I'm grateful for the closeness I have in my marriage now, that we don't argue or fight or hold things over each other's heads like we used to. Its nice to just have good people in my life-- no more drama, no more craziness. Just so much more calmness and good days than I used to ever dream of. I'm glad that God has been changing me over the years so that I can appreciate the important things in life more.

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beautiful Photos



Wave photos by Clark Little
















As I have been a person of few words lately, I wanted to share some incredibly photographs of God's beautiful world that I have collected.












































Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I think I Need

Been short on words lately. You may have noticed. There's been so much on my mind but not a lot comes out these days. A few of weeks ago, two people in our family died just days apart. Between those things and some other stuff I already had going on, those heart breaks really just made me feel like God threw me under a truck for awhile.
I've not been the greatest at handling all the things that have been going on this spring. Instead of getting down on my knees like I should have been, I pretty much just curled up on the couch and played mindless games like Solitaire on my iPod. I quit going to Bible Study. I still showed up at church and Sunday School every week, because God draws me there.
But I didn't want to go anywhere else. So I holed up in my house whenever I could.
And I got a little sad. Lonely. A lot of people said "We'll pray for you." Which is great. Love that. Can't beat prayer. But this time I needed so much more and that's all people had to give. No one reached out by stopping by the house or picking up the phone to call or even dropping an email. That was tough to handle.
It was at those times to realize that I needed to rely only on God, that He is the ONLY one who will never, ever disappoint. He is the ONLY one who will NEVER, ever let me down. Ever. He can't-- its not even in His holy nature to do so.
Funny thing though. It was when I finally cemented this belief back into my heart about three days ago --that I just don't NEED anyone else except for Jesus, He TRULY is all sufficient-- that God allowed other people to do a few things for me that I thought I needed a few weeks ago. Funny how that works, isn't it? A surprise gift showed up on my doorstep from a friend that lifted my spirits. Someone else got all silly and painted my toenails bright pink to cheer me up. The baby is in a super-cuddly phase and wants to put her head down on my shoulder, all curled up in my lap (my favorite thing in the WORLD with kids!) and has fallen asleep in my lap twice today. I think that usually, once we remember Who it is we really need, He will allow others to step in and supply some of those needs for us. Clever guy, He is.

Philippians 4:19 (New International Version, ©2011)19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Laughs Needed

I am a person of few words right now because some tough things are going on. Not feeling very introspective. Some times, its just good to stop, take a break, and find laughter in the utterly silly things in life. When I need to do that, I love to go to these web pages:

Enjoy!
Institute of Official Cheer

Cake Wrecks!

Cate's Garage Sale Finds

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stepping out in faith

Jesus tells us to have faith. And you know, right, by now, that having faith isn't just a passive, sit there and wait for God to do something for you thing, right? Have you too gotten to a point in your life where you've figured out that faith is an action, a thing that YOU have to do? Its something that takes a lot of practice. A LOT. More than I actually care to do, sometimes. But its something that we need to do out of our love for the Lord, and out of obedience, and to show God that we trust Him to answer our prayers.

I have been stepping out in faith a lot lately. There is a mission trip to Ethiopia being planned through my church, and I want to go something awful. I mean it. Ever since I heard about last year's trip there, I have had it laying on my heart so heavily to go there. During the Ethiopia trip, the mission workers go help out a couple orphanages like Drawn from Water (http://www.drawnfromwater.org) and also go to minister to the forgotten, abandoned people in a nearby leper colony.

And you can think whatever you want of me when I say this, but when I heard about that-- going into the stinking, smelly, abandoned leper colony, going to the orhpanage of abandoned children, walking in the rain and the mud and getting dirty.... I thought, Now THAT is my idea of a good time.

That is exactly how I want to spend my summer vacation. I can feel it in my heart-- That is exactly what God wants me to do.

The problem, however, is the timing. The trip is planned for late June/ early July. My vacation that my boss gives me, however, is at the end of July. She can't/won't spare me any other time. See the problem there? So... I am praying, and have tons of other people praying for me, that SOMETHING will give.... that God will work out the timing so that somehow the dates will work out, and I will get to go. Somehow. I don't know how its going to all work out. It's too big a job for me. But nothing is too big for God.

So I have been stepping out in faith. I am getting ready for this trip, anyway.
I got my passport last month. One step.
I e-mailed the person in charge of the trip and told him how its on my heart to go, but here's the deal with my vacation.
Then last night I did what has been the hardest part so far-- I got some of my vaccinations. Did you know that insurance doesn't pay for that stuff? Oh well. If you're voluntarily leaving America, guess you are own your own there, buddy. So $275 and 2 sore arms later, I am now not in any fear of getting polio, yellow fever, or typhoid any time soon-- hallelujah!
So I continue stepping out in faith. [Sometimes, like getting those shots last night, you'll notice that stepping out in faith hurts a little. Thats okay. Its part of the deal.]
My next step is to keep on talking about the trip-- and to start raising funds for it. I am putting a little money away from each paycheck. Maybe I'll hold a bake sale. I make a mean loaf of homemade bread ;)
Just keep stepping out in faith, one thing at a time-- until I land myself in Ethiopia this year--because my heart is already there.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yah.

Ever have those moments that just tug at your heart strings? So much that it hurts, sometimes? With 2 little ones running around the house at full speed these days, some times we can get so busy that we can't even catch our breath, let alone enjoy a moment. There are spilled cups of juice and milk, boo-boos to be kissed, falls, toys getting stepped on, doors getting accidently slammed, sisters hurting each other's feelings, and the ever present noise of children running amock.
But sometimes-- there are those moments.
Those great moments in history that make you slow down and think--ahhh. This is why. This is why I get up in the morning.
Yesterday, at lunch, just at random-- absolutely no reason, toddler looks up at me and says in her sing-song voice: I love you!
Me: I love you too.
Toddler: "I love YOU!"
Me: No I love YOU!
Toddler: I love YOU!
Me: I love YOU!
Toddler: Sudden fit of giggles because she realizes this could go on all day.

Then today at naptime, its the littler one's turn to go to bed 1st, which toddler loves, because that gives her extra alone time with me: get that baby out of the way, she gets time in my lap with a story or extra songs. Today she got in her bed all by herself and said, "Lay with me just a minute. Just 4 minutes." (Where does she get this stuff?) Okay, I said. "Four minutes."
So I lay down next to her, my arm over her, and did her favorite thing: we look in each other's eyes and rub each other's back with our free hands. If I could freeze time, this would be the moment. How did that little baby I fell in love with become this beautiful, big girl who is almost three? How did that HAPPEN?
Her: Sing the Sun song.
So I sang her, "You are my Sunshine." Does she really know how much I love her? Does she get it? Do I say it enough? Does she KNOW?
Then we look at each other some more. Rub backs some more. Stare at each other. I love intimate moments like this. Where can you anything like this with anyone else but with a toddler? Who else trusts you this much but to stare in their eyes and watch them so closely? I wonder, does she trust me that much? Does she realize I would never hurt her? Is this how God feels about us?
Me: I love you,baby.
Her: Yah.
Then she closed her eyes and started to go to sleep.
I wouldn't trade moments like this for anything in the world.
Do you suppose God feels the same way about us, when we just let Him love on us? Do you think it just makes Him happy when we just sit back and spend some time with him, and allow him to shower some love on us...and let Him say I love you, and instead of the usual "But I'm not worthy God, I'm so lousy at x,y,z, I am a horrible person, I can't do anything right..." ...instead of all that... do you suppose God celebrates when the things He created just lets Him love on us, and when He's good to us and says I love you, we just finally GET IT and say.... "Yah." ?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Drawn from Water

These are the most beautiful children I have ever seen in my life. This is where my passion is.. to help children like this. I am hoping to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia this summer, if things work out (there are a lot of factors that need to come together--but I believe that God can make it happen if He wants me to go, so I am hopeful.)
Please watch this video about the amazing children at the Drawn from Water orphanage in Ethiopia. This is their website if you would like to learn more about them http://www.drawnfromwater.org/ (and I hope you will--its an incredible story)-- please, if there is ANYTHING you can do to help save these children's lives... PLEASE do so.

"It Began with Bale" from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.




James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Matthew 25:40
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tribute to Veterans-Before You Go

If you love a veteran, you have to see this video... we owe them so much, but take them for granted so often. Just like with Jesus, we should tell them "thank you" so much more often:
Play "Before You Go" - Dedicated to Veterans of WWII and The Korean War

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When you just KNOW

Do you ever just have moments when you just KNOW that God is real, that you just KNOW for sure He is real....and all those doubts that sometimes plague you just fall away as though they never existed?
I love when that happens.
It seems to happen more often for me in the spring, when the world begins to bloom.
Trees that have been humbly sleeping begin to wake.
Blooms open up.
The warm air brings with it the scent of new life and new possibilities.
It always seems like at those times, the coldness and darkness of winter's doubts, insecurities, and fears begin to finally float away.
That happened for me again this morning while I had the baby out for a walk and I had some worship music on my iPod. The sun was sparkling and the blue sky was crisp. I just knew that God was watching over me.
It made me remember one of the 1st times I was ever mightily struck by the existence of God. It was on one of my favorite trips I ever took-- a youth group canoe trip. It was my little sister's youth group actually, if I remember right. I was in college, I think she was still in high school. At that point, I still saw her as "little sister" more than anything. We camped out with her friends. The canoeing part got brutal at some points-- I think we had 22 miles down a river on day one. Mainly I recall my arm muscles crying.
But on that trip my sister and I laughed so much-and passed Twinkies and snacks back and forth using our paddles--and got so far ahead of everyone else (because of my sister's massive muscles, not my puny ones)-that we could have stopped for hours before anyone else caught up. The best part, besides realizing that my little sister was,indeed, a human being and a good friend too, was when we came around a bend in the river. I can still see it. The sun was streaming through the trees and made the rivier sparkle like gold. It was breathtaking. You could practically hear the Hallelujuah Chorus break out in song it was so beautiful. And I knew, I just KNEW, that God had created that. It was unbelievable. How could you NOT know God was real after seeing such majesty?
It reminds me of Romans 1:20:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
I love how God uses his creation all around me to give evidence of His realness, His love, and His closeness. Whether its something giant like a sunshiney bend in a river on a canoe trip, or in the delicate softness of the tulip petals I saw this morning.
How about you?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fire Rainbow

Something beautiful I just wanted to share...




THIS IS A FIRE RAINBOW - THE RAREST

OF ALL NATURALLY OCCURRING

ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA.

THE PICTURE WAS CAPTURED ON

THE IDAHO, WASHINGTON BORDER.

THE EVENT LASTED ABOUT 1 HOUR.

CLOUDS HAVE TO BE CIRRUS, AT

LEAST 20K FEET IN THE AIR, WITH JUST THE

RIGHT AMOUNT OF ICE CRYSTALS AND THE SUN HAS TO HIT

THE CLOUDS AT PRECISELY 58 DEGREES.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reach out to Jesus (He wants you to)


Luke 8:42 As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[a] but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Beth Moore pointed out in her Breaking Free Bible study that the word traslated "edge" (Kraspedon) is used for the tassels the Israelites wore on the four corners of their garments (Word Bible Commentary).

Jesus would, as all good and proper Jewish teachers of his day, worn a prayer shawl with 4 long tassels hanging down, very similar to one pictured at the top of the page.

Do you see how easy it would have been for the sick woman in Luke 8 to reach out and grab hold of the edge of Jesus's garment? Those tassels hung down. As Beth pointed out in her Breaking Free video... Jesus made himself reachable. He made himself easily reached. It wasn't hard for the sick woman to grab hold of him if he had those tassles hanging down. He purposely made himself reachable to the lowest of the low.

That hit me hard last night while I was sitting in Bible study. Sent me on a trippy-revelation-double-whammy of a thought so that I've barely been thinking of anything else. Not only could that sick woman reach out to him-- but you know what? Those tassels would have hung down LOW-real low. No matter how bent over sick, no matter how low in the gutter we are, no matter how bent down with depression or illness or sorrow we are- Jesus makes himself reachable to us. He makes himself available. Even if we can only reach out justalittletinybit-- He is there. Think you've hit rock bottom? Jesus is there.Think you couldn't possibly go any lower than you are right now? Think you're in a pit? Jesus is there. Think your eyelids are so heavy from endless nights of crying that you can no longer lift your head to look up? Jesus is there. He has made himself available--this very moment-to you. From the compassion in his heart, from the experiences in his life, to the very way he got dressed in the mornings-- his goal was to make himself available to you. All you need to do is to reach out to him-- he is reaching out to you.


Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Isaiah 40:1

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Heal

I came across this passage today and thought it was so beautiful.
The prophet Isaiah had an amazing way of putting things.
I like how he could put things so profoundly, yet so simply-
if you do this, then you get this.
And this is an amazing way to live as it is-- this is a incredible goal to have for my life--
and look what the benefit is.
Healing.
God satisfying my needs.
God's guidance.
You can't beat that.

Isaiah 58:6-11 (New International Version, ©2010)
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Battle Position for 2011

Its time to face a new year. Are you prepared by now? Have you made your new year's resolutions? Have you put 2010 behind you and made yourself ready to face 2011? (HOW in the world did we get to this, anyway? Weren't we all just worried about Y2K sometime around last Monday? Wow, time flies by sometimes, doesn't it?)
I know that I am ready for this year now, especially after I heard part of this story about King Jehoshaphat:
17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.


Did you catch that? He was going into battle-- and you know what his battle position was? Not just standing-- verse 18 points out that Jehoshaphat BOWED DOWN with his face to the ground. And they started worshiping God.
THAT is my battle plan for 2011.
Bow down in worship.
Not worrying my head off.
Not fretting over every.little.thing.under.the.sun.
Not fearing.
Not wringing my hands.
But worshipping.
Singing songs to the One who is worthy.
Because the battle is the Lord's- He is the only one who can really handle it and WIN, anyway.
This year,2011, I challenge you too, to allow the Lord to fight your battles for you.
Instead of worrying, fighting, planning, failing...
just bow down.
Worship.
Allow the Lord to fight for you.
That is a sure way to win.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recipe for a Happy New Year



Recipe for a Happy New Year

Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time.



Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.



Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, prayer, meditation, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing—don't do it), and one well-selected resolution

.

Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.

(Anonymous)


Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Holy Night

Yesterday at church we sang "Oh Holy Night"... one of my favorite songs, ever.
I just wanted to share it with you. This song fills my heart with peace and reminds me just how much God loves us--that He sent His son to Earth to make things right with the world.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Wrap a Cat

You think YOU'VE got some odd things to wrap....
ever wonder how you're going to wrap up that new cat
you bought your sister for Christmas?
Well here's how to do it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

God is God and I am NOT

This week I have been having one of those "I'm going to completely lose it if anybody asks me to do ONE more thing or if anyone else needs me to take care of them or if I have to pick just ONE more thing up off the floor" kinds of weeks. I've been overwhelmed, and some days the world just seems like an overly demanding & not very nice place. Then I find out people I love are sick, people I love are under attack by the enemy, more people need my time, blah-blah-blah. It just never ends sometimes, right? Sometimes I think if I don't get a break immediately, I'm going to burst into tears just because I'm so overwhelmed. There are days when its hard to find a balance in life.
But then there are these moments...these little moments. Like today when I took the kids to Target and it began pouring rain on the way. Not just a little rain, but a downpour. And I had forgotten my umbrella at home. Now I've got 2 little ones in the car, its chilly, and how am I going to get them into the store? So I prayed-- "God, could you please, just PLEASE make the rain slow down just long enough for me to get them into the store as dry as possible?"
And wouldn't you know it? The second I pulled into a parking spot-- the rain stopped. It not only slowed--it stopped completely and the sun came out.
And that reminded me of something.
During days like this, when I get scared for people I love, when the world is overwhelming, when the attacks against me and those I love seem too big-- I have a God who controls the whole world. He's in charge of the rain, he's in charge of the sun and moon and stars. He will move heaven and earth to take care of those he loves. Jesus overcame the power of death out of love. That's just how BIG and powerful our God is.
And because He is good, and He is Love, and He is Mighty, and He's in control-- I don't have to worry. He's God-- and I'm not. He's in control, and He can handle it. So I don't have to worry. I don't have to handle all those huge, scary things. He's got it all in his hands. God is more than capable of handling anything that comes my way, and none of it is a surprise to Him. Anything that comes my way-- He can take care of it.

Amazing Grace

One of my favorite songs ever.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Military Biblesticks by Faithcomesbyhearing.com

This morning I heard about an incredible opportunity to share the Word of God with soldiers. In honor of Veteran's Day and our amazing U.S. military, I'd like to share it with you. Please visit the Faith Comes By Hearing website to learn about their Military Biblesticks. They're audio/ digital players that come preloaded with the Bible that are about the size of a pack of gum. 40,000 have already been given out, and on the radio this morning I heard that there are something like 13,000 soldiers on a waiting list to get one of their own. People out there are desperate for the word of God. On Veteran's Day especially, you could donate the Biblesticks in honor of loved ones of yours who have served/are serving in the military. Please visit their website to learn more about it... it is an amazing opportunity to spread God's Word. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Its that time of year again!
One of the most exciting things we do as a family all year long is to get out and pack up shoe boxes full of little gifts for Operation Christmas Child

Very important right now as the collection days for the boxes are in Nov and Dec
all you do is pack a shoebox with toys/gifts/candies/etc and drop it off at certain locations- it is SO easy. The boxes are sent to over 130 countries and given to poor children around the world. You can pick a boy or a girl in different age groups. We LOVE doing this stuff-- the inside kids get really involved. It makes the kids that get the boxes SOOOO happy.You can pack 1 shoebox or 5 or 10, whatever-- even just 1 can make such a big difference!!
There is nothing that brings me joy like putting these boxes together and as I shop, imagining the little girls and boys who will open them and see the presents and realize that there is someone out there who is thinking of them, praying for them, and loving them. Sharing the love of Jesus with them, even though I don't know them. I hope that someday in Heaven I will get to meet the children who have received the boxes I sent over the years.
If you need some ideas for what to put in boxes, here are some things I like to include:
new T-shirt, new socks, new underpants
toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, barrettes
hard candies, gum, fig newtons
small stuffed animal, crayons, drawing pad, colored pencils
yo-yo, light up sticks/light up bracelets & necklaces
stickers

It takes SO little for us to share God's love and help change a child's life... PLEASE participate this year.
Visit their website for details-- click on the title of this post to be redirected to their page.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Beautiful by Fransesca Battistelli

This is one of my favorite songs. Listen to it and read the words.
When I hear the part about "making my life something so beautiful, beautiful" I envision sunlight shining through a dark forest, and butterflies coming up out of a fire-- and in the ashes of the fire there are diamonds and other gems. Sort of a "beauty for ashes" kind of thing-- something that God seems to specialize in. Can you picture it? More importantly, can you imagine God taking the pain, the sorrow, the heartache of your life... and through the trials and fires He takes you through, allowing freedom and love come from it? Because I think that if you let Him, He can do that.
Enjoy the song-- it really is beautiful.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are by Rich Mullins

Its been kind of a tough weekend for me. I miss a little girl so much that my whole self hurts, as yesterday was the day she died, and I think no one but me remembered it. I think that God is still teaching me...that I am only to count on Him for support and not people. And that is okay, because only God is able to truly meet our needs. Sometimes though, even though I've come a long way, I think...boy have I got a lot to learn.
This is one of my favorite songs by Rich Mullins.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Say Goodbye

Missing someone special today...very, very much.
Not many words today. Maybe a video will work.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

These are Precious Days


This isn't a particularly profound message I have today. Just an observance of some things I have noticed. We have had an abundance
of rain this week here in Texas, due to a tropical storm. As streets
have flooded and traffic has backed up for miles, commutes have doubled in time and my frustration level with certain things has reached an all time high, I've also realized just how precious these days are.
God has given me some very special gifts to help balance the past few days out, and I'm so grateful.
Just minutes ago, I got off the phone with my four year old nephew. It was his first day of preschool today. Something that both his mommy and I have been waiting for for a VERY, very long time. It means not only independence and fun for him, but also freedom and indepence for my sister as well-- something she hasn't had ever since her 1st child was born nearly 8 years ago. Now that she has both kids in school at least part of the time, she can begin to breathe again. She can have moments to herself again. And its an exciting new phase of their lives. We were both a little nervous about how this 1st day of school would go, given that my nephew is so attached to his mommy. But thankfully, surprisingly, gratefully, it went well. He called me to tell me he made a new friend, and even played on the playground, and got to play with Playdough. And even better... he can't wait to go back again! Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!!!
On the home front, I have a 2 year old in school too. Which, I'm sure it goes without saying, she is the most brilliant child in the class and her teachers think she's a genius. Now the baby and I have our mornings to ourselves, which gives us more time to bond and nap and play together. Afternoons are for lunch, all three of us, then playtime and singing and books and napping. Today when I put the toddler down for her nap, we were busy singing the ABC Song (her recent favorite), and she put her head down on my shoulder, just wanting to cuddle for a long time. There's nothing that can match moments like that. Nothing. Do you suppose that when we have hard times, Jesus longs to have us come to him like that? Unabashedly unashamed and crawl into his lap, just longing to be comforted and to hear "I love you so much" just as the toddler longs for? I wonder things like that at those moments. And then she started singing again, as is her passion these days, and I wonder, when we sing songs of praise to God, does He consider these precious days too, as I do?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

No Worries!

Isn't it wonderful when you're having a tough time, worry about life and all you have to do and how to get through today... and then something little comes along that just makes your day? Its like God comes along and gives you a little gift that says, "I'm still here-- I'm thinking of you."

This morning at church I met a little girl in the cafe. She was there with her Me-maw... that'd be Texan for Grandma. Apparently, while I was looking at books on a shelf in the hall, being my usual clueless self, she was trying to get my attention and my husband pointed her out to me. I turned around, and there she was.
"Look at my dress my Me-maw made for me!" she announced.
"Oh, you look just beautiful!" I told her as I admired her purple, handmade sundress. "You look like a princess."
"I," she declared, "am not a princess."
I was a bit perplexed as to why a four year old would not be a princess until I got down on her level and examined her dress closer and realized what print it had on it. "OOooooooh... you look like Tinkerbell!"
She nodded and happily twirled around several times for my husband and I, making her sundress flare out around her knees. "And see my pink toenails? And see my pink fingernails?"
I appropriately ooohed and aaahed over her lovely toes and fingers, and she twirled a few more times for me while she chattered away about her dress and her Me-maw. After a couple of minutes I started to lead her back down the hallway back to the cafe, lest her Me-maw start to worry about her.
"Oh, its okay," Tinkerbell announced. "Me-maw knows where I am. No worries!" she shouted as she waved bye to me and smiled again.

Isn't it great when God just brings you a bright ray of sunshine? Especially in a Tinkerbell dress that reminds you, "No worries!"? And wherever you are, whatever is in your heart today: your Heavenly Father knows where you are. He will find you. No worries.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life's Christmas Shoe Project

It's that time of year again!
Please help me and hundreds of other people donate shoes to needy children around the world through
Betty and James Robison's Christmas Shoe Project.
Just a few dollars will provide children who have never had shoes before with a sturdy new pair that will protect their little feet from mud, dirt, worms, bites, and so much more.

Your gift of $18 will provide 5 pairs of shoes.
Your gift of $36 will provide 10 pairs of shoes.
Your gift of $72 will provide 20 pairs of shoes.
Your gift of $144 will provide 40 pairs of shoes!

Please help support Life Today as they work on collecting 200,000+ pairs of shoes for children around the world. This is a great blessing for children who has so little. You can read more about Betty & James Robison and Life Outreach International at their website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reunions

In Heaven there won't BE any goodbyes... just one long reunion after
another just like in this video. Won't that be incredible?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands...and me too.


A friend sent me this devotional today from something called the Daily Word, and it was just what I needed to hear. Ever have a word from the Lord show up that was just perfect timing? This was something I really needed to hear tonight-- so I thought I'd share it in case anyone else needed it today:

Wherever I am, God is and all is well.
When I feel threatened, I may feel a certain level of fear or anxiety. I may react by searching frantically for someone or something to help me. But there is a better way. In times of fear, I have faith that nothing can harm me, because I am in the midst of the presence of God.
God is within, without, above and below, an all-encompassing presence. It does not matter how chaotic outer conditions may seem, I am secure in the presence of God and I maintain inner peace and composure.
When I have a tranquil mind, no inharmonious experience has any power over me. I walk unalarmed in the midst of danger and bring peace to those who are afraid.
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield.--Psalm 33:20

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some days are like that...

Do you ever have those days where you just sorta feel like THIS:
NOW what do you want?!

Hey! Leave me alone already!

That's what sort of day I am having. I don't wanna talk to anyone, I don't wanna take care of anyone, I don't wanna be all deep and introspective, and I don't feel like taking care of everyone else's problems for once. Just one of those days I guess!

Thankfully, we have a Savior we can go to when we have days like this. As Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amazed

For a few days this week, I was rather troubled.
Well, if you want to get all technical about it, I was freaked out-- if you want to be honest. Troubled is just the word we just use when we have our church face on. Freaked out is the phrase I'd use in the privacy of my own home.
For a few days, I was freaked out because God had put a trial in my life-something new came up that I had to deal with that I didn't particularly want to. Had lots to think over, decisions to make. I wasn't going to get my own way about some things. Lord knows, we don't like that.
I got out one of my favorite books by Joyce Meyer, The Secret Power of Speaking God's Word to encourage myself and remind myself that God would give me wisdom and peace. And that's when I realized, that God put this trial in my life to be a blessing to me. I just had to see around it and realize that in a way, this obstacle that I saw was actually the pathway to an answer to prayer-- as I suspect most trials actually are when we can get the right perspective on them.So I am once again amazed.... amazed at how good God is. Amazed at how much He loves us. Amazed at the things He will do for us out of His love, even when we don't deserve it. I need to learn to stay amazed all the time, I think, because God is always working on my behalf, always working things together for my good even when I don't realize it.

Habakkuk 1:5 "Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. "

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding God Everywhere

Been frazzled the past few weeks. Busy, tired, downright exhausted, and not sleeping too well. Then I went on vacation to visit my family, and also spent a few days on a getaway with my husband. And wouldn't you know it? Amidst all the family chaos and noisy kids and busy-ness, I not only found some relaxation and fun, I also found God everywhere I went.


God was in the bright, colorful glass in the treehouses I played in at
the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, where I was amazed by the beauty
of sun and light and bright colors.
God was in the sound of the water at the lake,
the memories that finding sea glass brought up
at one of our old family picnic spots.

God was in the joy I found watching my
niece and nephew help pick vegetables in
the garden on a peaceful summer morning.


And even in the total weirdness of
meeting a rooster who was
raised with people, who thinks he is a person.
I have never met a rooster who hangs out with
other people and not with the other chickens.

God was in the gentleness I witnessed when the
mama sea lions took care of their babies at Sea World.

God was in the joy my husband and I had exploring
nature and His Kingdom, and being amazed at all
the creative things that God's people do to express themselves.
I didn't go on vacation intending to find God. I went on vacation intending to get a little sleep and hang out with my family a bit. Get away from it all. Funny how He just sneaks up on us like that, isn't it?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cherokee Indian rite of passage


Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage?
His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.


It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.

He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, Sitting on the stump beside us.
When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

There She Stands... Happy 4th of July



Thank You to our Military for fighting so many years for our freedom...
and Thank You Jesus, the Ultimate Source of True Freedom--who brought us
from bondage to Liberty, from death to Life. Thank You God, for showering
so many blessings on the United States.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Enjoy the Blessing

Today I had the house to myself for a while-- just baby & I. She was sleepy, finally. I gave her a bottle and she rocked to sleep quickly. Holding her there in my arms in the darkened room, I considered putting her in her crib and going off to other things. Get some exercise. Get on the computer. Put the dishes away. I considered texting my sister or my mom to tell them how cute she was just cuddled there against my chest, because she's still at that age--3 months-- where she fits just right. It was so quiet-- and I was just restless, looking to add some noise, felt like I had to get up and DO something.
And then God spoke to me, as He often does in those still, silent moments. Just as He often does in that quiet voice of His:
Be still and enjoy the blessing. Just enjoy the blessing.
And I knew what I needed to do then. I put my phone back in my pocket, put my thoughts of getting up and getting busy in the back of my mind. Cuddled the baby tighter. And took the next hour to hold the baby while she slept. I remember how when I was a busy special ed teacher not so long ago I used to pray so hard to have times like this-- to just have quiet moments rocking babies and giving bottles. That was all I wanted to do. And now, here I am. Not because I deserve it or because I earned it but just because God is so good and so faithful.
So I took the time to enjoy my blessing-the stillness, the sweet smell of the baby's newly washed hair, the in & out of her tiny breath, her soft skin. And took time to thank God and to remember the One who gave me this blessing, because so often I get wrapped up in the busy-ness of life and even when I give thanks for the things God gives me, I don't always take time to just be still and ENJOY them.
So today I did.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Proof that God Loves Us

The Bible says that there is proof all around us in nature that shows that God loves us -- that the stars, and all creation point to evidence of God. And then of course, there is the fact that God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us 2000 years ago as proof of His love.

However, my 4 year old nephew, while toad-hunting tonight (his favorite activity this Spring) has apparently found the ultimate proof of God's love, and I quote:

"I am so glad God gave us toads. Does God love us? That's why God gave us this toad."

Well. You can't argue with that now, can you?

Toads and Jesus. Just more evidence of the love of God.
(I bet Jesus loved toads too.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How is YOUR Bank Account doing?

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait..'

'That doesn't have anything to do with it,' he replied.

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged .. it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.
'It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;
I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away.. Just for this time in my life..
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank.


I am still depositing.

'Remember the five simple rules to be happy:


1. Free your heart from hatred.


2. Free your mind from worries.


3. Live simply..


4. Give more.


5. Expect less..

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.