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Archive for November, 2010

Monday thoughts….

Panko crusted chicken, rice pilaf, homemade biscuits, “Christmas” breakfast of pigs in blankets and orange rolls, swiss chocolate cake, chocolate cream pie, hot corn and green chile dip,  turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, corn casserole, homemade yeast rolls (fail – didn’t rise well this year), pumpkin pie (well, 2 of them – first one eaten before Thanksgiving), pecan pie and chocolate pecan pie (did not bake these two), taco soup, homemade macaroni and cheese……

The list could continue – not really sure if I’m missing some items on our menu, but here’s what I DO know – I love feeding my family, because that means they are HERE.  I must admit, before it all got started, I was a little apprehensive of how out of practice I may have been at feeding many folks,but I suppose it’s just like riding a bicycle – it just comes back to you?  Anyway, such joy and delight at the full Thanksgiving days of family!  Thanks Kyle, Katie, Adam, Laura, Sara for traveling home, and sharing some time with us.  It was a true blessing, a gift, and a wonderful visit. (and Mark – I’m patiently waiting for our Christmas visit!  Missed you much!)

I have many sweet memories of all that we shared, just hanging out.  I love that – just hanging with my people that are so very dear to me.  .  .  .one of my favorite moments was that late night walk we took, laughing, enjoying each other.  For a while, I just quieted, and watched and listened to the sound of my family.  My heart was overtaken with such love, and thankfulness – and I wondered, if just maybe, every once in a while, our God does the same with us……listens intently to the sound of us just enjoying being together, and being His.  I wonder…..

The week went by in a flash, and tonight I sit in a qiet home, reflecting on all that I love about the season.  I love thanking God during this time, and love all things autumn.  If you live in Texas,  you know that just because it’s autumn, it doesn’t mean it will be cool.  We sure hope so.  To those of us who are deeply craving cool, crisp air, that can be a bummer – especially if that cool front doesn’t make it to your door.  But I even had a change in perspective this year on that.  So I embraced the warmer air, and appreciated it for what it is – a gift.  Each and every breath I take – a gift.  My home?  My family?  Health? Friends?  A job I adore? gifts.  Lavish overthetop gifts from a God who loves perfectly.

But it is not about the “things that we are thankful for” – at least not all about that – it’s about going deeper, and knowing the One Who gives all good things.  yes, Him.  It’s really all about HIM.  And as we leave the Thanksgiving holiday, and approach the Christmas season, we get to keep our eyes on Him.  We get to.  What a joy, and privilege.  Oh, dear God, let us not take for granted the great freedom we have in worshipping You, in reading your Word, in gathering together to study and praise, to pray and adore.  You Alone are worthy of great praise. amen.

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what will the day bring?

I loved having a Saturday ahead of me with some time for some of my favorite things.  I awoke early, so I could take as long as I wanted to run and ride my bike.  Beautifully cool morning, sunny, wonderful in every way.  As I exercised my old body, I prayed for some precious friends.  I was awed at all the events going on this weekend – and even more awed that our God was “on” each and every one of them!  He was compelling me to pray, and I so enjoyed being part of each of these events by interceding.

Later, in my quiet time, I read this verse ~ “You do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1 (NRSV)  I pondered it, but didn’t really think on it for too long.  After taking my time with my God, I got ready, and headed out.  I had plans to go visit a craft show where a friend had a booth of some of her treasures.  I felt the need to support and encourage her! (ok, and shop)  Once I arrived at the show, I scanned the map, and couldn’t find my friend.  So I just meandered through the maze of delights.  Nothing really spoke to me though, until I arrived at this one booth…….

A delightful woman (the owner) greeted me by commenting on my purse.  Not unusual these days – the one I’m carrying was so super cheap, and cute, and many strangers have approached me asking about it.  We struck up a short conversation as I looked at her items.  A really pleasant place, and she had some darling things.  Still, nothing out of the ordinary going on.  I decided to buy a top – great price, and I knew I would so enjoy it.  As she rang me up, we continued talking, and suddenly I realized the ordinary had just become anything but……

She told me about her sons, two of them.  And of her husband.  Who had just died this year. Oh. My.  I instantly got tears in my eyes.  And had to hug her. Apparently they had no idea he was sick. When he was diagnosed, his cancer was stage 4.  Nothing they could do.  She talked, and talked, and talked.  So strong, so tender, so beautiful as she spoke of him.  She told of how great her boys had been.   Explained that she could not have survived without God.  (I’m beginning to see His hand in this day. this moment. And I was immediately relieved that she knew Him.)  She shared some of her husband’s last days, how he died 3 days after their 15 year anniversary.  Their anniversary was the last day he spoke.  She shared some really sweet things God did during those final days.  As she spoke, I realized I was challenged to wonder how I would have done at that age, faced with those circumstances.  Would I have had her faith?  Would my countenance have appeared as peaceful as hers?

She kind of smiled and wondered aloud why she was even sharing all this.  I mentioned how touched I was, and how thankful I was that she had God to share this season with.  And how everytime I wore my new shirt, I would pray for her.

We talked some more, and I got her card.  I knew I would need to contact her later on to check on her.  To send her something.  Eventually I needed to move on.  She had other customers.  I hugged her, and left her booth.  It had been such a sacred time.  I thought that was it.

I finally found my friend, talked a bit, then shopped her booth.  I thought still that she was the reason why I came all the way out to this show.  As I looked at her beautiful things, I saw a couple things that spoke to me, and made me think of my new friend.  I felt like I should get something for her.  I continued to move through this booth, when all of a sudden, I saw it. A little (adorable) plaque with Jeremiah 29:11 on it – the verse my new friend said the Lord continued to comfort her with. I knew I had to get it for her.  I knew once I told my sweet husband this story, he would have wanted me to get it too.  It was providential, that I knew.  I quickly paid for it, and practically ran back to my new friend’s booth.

She asked me what I was doing.  I told her I bought a little something for her – to encourage her as she continues to heal.  I told her it had her verse on it.  In essence, honestly, I totally believe the Lord wanted to give her something today. She was surprised, for sure.  I didn’t stay long. Since she had more customers, I left after another hug with this precious woman who had been a stranger just a half hour before.

I believe God planned this meeting today.  As a matter of fact, I’m sure of it.  I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wanted her to have that gift.  Just the fact that He let me participate blesses me so.

It wasn’t until I finished the rest of my errands, and had arrived home, that I realized what else God had done with this sweet ministry moment today…….He had shown me such tenderness since I had been feeling a bit sad over missing a retreat I had been a part of for the last dozen years.  One of those events I had been praying for earlier during my run was a high school retreat that I had always participated in.  until now.  Then He allows me an opportunity to share sacred time with this precious young widow.  So totally different, but so totally God.  “You do not know what a day may bring.”  But if you are willing, you can be totally assured God will lead you into His plan.  The results may very well amaze you.

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He loves.

“You are…God’s own possession.  I Peter 2:9

God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so.

He loves you when you don’t feel lovely.

He loves you when no one else loves you.

Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you.  Always.  No matter what.”

~max lucado

so, seriously, what else could you possibly need to know today?!!  Go live and love well, because you are so loved……

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your day, your strength

this is what my Jesus Calling devo said this morning.  Kinda sounded like you needed to hear it.  for today. 

“Do not let any set of circumstances intimidate you.  The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal.  You seem to think that I empower you equally each day, but this is not so.  Your tendency upon awakening is to assess the difficulties ahead of you, measuring them against your average strength.  This is an exercise in unreality.
I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly.  The degree to which I strengthen you on a given day is based mainly on two variables: the difficulty of your circumstances, and your willingness to depend on me for help.  Try to view challenging days as opportunities to receive more of My Power than usual.  Look to Me for all that you need, and watch to see what I will do.  As your day, so shall your strength be.”

Ephesians 1:18-20 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,”
Psalm 105:4 “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
Deuteronomy 33:25 “The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.”

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in the quietness

I am not too fond of total quiet.  I run with headphones on blasting my favorite Christian music.  I listen to the radio on my way to work. (goodness, I even play worship music most days at work!)  I even watch the Food Network while cooking in my kitchen.  I believe it may stem from my mom, who used to keep her radio on talk radio.  all day.  every day.  Gosh, I sure do miss her……

But I also know that the Word says “in quietness and trust is your strength” and I know God calls us to “Be still, and know that I am God” in Psalm 46:10.  These things do not come naturally for me.  I honestly don’t know of too many spiritual disciplines that actually do come naturally for me.  I believe most take determination, perseverance, and a measure of deliberateness.  Of course, all things godly need the Holy Spirit to equip and enable the one pursuing Him.

Today was one of those days.  I am blessed each week with one day off.  One day, in the middle of the week, that I usually try to cram every errand, task, and appointment into.  By the end of the day, I typically look forward to another work day, so I can rest. only slightly kidding.  However, as today began to shape itself, I found an opportunity to avoid the crazy running around.  My day began slower than most, still with a run, but I could take more time.  Enjoy the raw, rainy, cloudy, cool weather.  Then a couple of appointments, easy ones, sandwiched around grabbing a few items at the store for soup.

After showering, and eating a small breakfast, I began work on my chicken and wild rice soup.  A perfect food on this autumn day.  Did I mention I was in my favorite sweat pants?  A detail that just made my day all the more enjoyable.  I chopped, stirred and simmered – and I believe the resulting thick soup was better than any previous challenger.  Ever. Not patting myself on the back, not at all.  I’m really not that great a cook.  But today I totally loved the process.  And am in awe actually of what can happen in a quiet home, on a rainy Wednesday.

Because in my need for tidiness, I like to clean as I go.  So, as I sat down to enjoy a bowl of my chicken soup, all I had left to clean up was the pot of soup itself.  Throw in some extra joy for that.  Did I mention it was quiet in my home?  All this time.  Exquisite silence.  I believe the rest, and the quiet, is truly restoring my energy.  It’s good for my soul.  I have also been reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book, Choosing to See. Gone through a few kleenex, and pondered quite a bit.  Prayed, and wrestled with a few of my own questions for God.  He’s faithful.  And He keeps His promises.

So, I just want to encourage you to unplug, and rest in the quiet.  (Maybe just a few minutes, if you have a busy household. That was me, remember? Until this fall.) To remember the One who created you, and to worship Him.  Yes, worship in the quiet can happen.  (and should happen, at times) 

Soon I will get ready and go meet my man at church.  For our Wednesday night class with my favorite Wednesday night teacher.  And I will love it.  I really love digging in the Word.  But I am so very grateful for the blessing of this peaceful, quiet day.  Thank You, Lord.

““In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…..”  Isaiah 30:15

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

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