Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I promise to stop, take a deep breath, and say to myself the words, "everything in love". If love is my focus, it brings a peace to my heart and things seem to come into focus. (at least it's worked before!)
Monday, December 21, 2009
I've been thinking alot on this lately, what it is exactly, is it the same for all? When I was young, I always waited for it. I waited on that warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by Christmas lights and cookies baking in the oven and decorating the tree. I didn't give it alot of thought back then. I always knew it would arrive just in time to go out and buy presents. Some years it was Christmas Eve before I felt moved to go buy presents for my family. No worries...life was simpler then.
Christmas can be a hard time for those who are lacking. Lacking in anything really~ family, friends, time, money . . .As I've grown older, a panic sets in at times, realizing I'm responsible for my family's Christmas and feeling inadequate.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the commercials on tv with increased cynicism. I found myself wondering who was behind all of this commercialism anyway. The baby Jesus was born in a simple barn, with hay for his bed. How does buying the latest gadget for our loved ones celebrate his birth? I felt no Christmas spirit. In fact with $4.49 in the bank to last another 4 days until payday I was seriously considering celebrating Christmas with no gifts. I was reading up about others who had accomplished this successfully and I was trying to come up with creative ideas for other things we could do. I felt peace in God's provision, but for the most part I was feeling very lacking. Lacking financially, and most of all, lacking in the Christmas spirit.
I'm sharing this only because maybe you have felt the same. I woke up the next morning and I had a message that one of my photos had sold. That was my first little encouragement that God hadn't forgotten about me! Then a couple of days later came more totally unexpected blessings that only God could have sent. I then had to reconcile my latest blessings with my recent thinking. The Christmas spirit was beginning to take over! I entered into that crazy crowd of people looking for just the right gift for their most special people. I didn't feel cynical, or hypocritical. I felt joy! Warm and fuzzy joy! It's Christmas!
"Where did this come from?", I analyzed. I felt God's love and His presence in my everyday doings. I felt peace and began to see things a little differently. Remember how we as children watched our parents prepare for Christmas and experienced the joy of opening our presents on Christmas morning. We in turn tried to imitate this gift giving in our small ways. Making gifts with paper, scissors, glue and glitter or going to the store and buying small gifts that felt like treasures in our small hands.
Well, isn't that what we're all doing at this wonderful season of the year? God gave us His son, His most precious gift. What were the wise men and the shepherd's reaction? They showered Him with gifts somehow sensing the treasure they had been given.
Yes, we will get caught up in a little bit of materialism, watching for the best prices and driving all over town for just the right color or size. We're merely children, giving to those we love, imitating our Father, who showers us with gifts. God sees us as we see our children. Running around trying to give back just as we have been given to.
So, give yourself the gift of Christmas. It's Ok! You don't have to spend a fortune that you don't have. Enter into the joy. The Christmas spirit will sneak up on you. Remember that what we're lacking at this time of the year seems magnified, but also the blessings ~ the simple gifts take on new and a greater meaning. Homemade goodies, hand made gifts, time with friends or your children. Take time for the simple things. Remember what a difference one day can make. Open your heart.
It occurrs to me, as I finish this, that all that I have and all that I am is because of that baby sleeping in the hay. Isn't that all that really matters?
"God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. "
2 Corinthians 9:8-11
(Now go read my friend's The Bus Stop. I guess great minds think alike!)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
If you are a single mom, regardless of the path that brought you here, this is for you..so you can know that you do not have to walk alone.
For all of the women who share the role of single mom, including me, we belong to a very large group of women who share the same heart, the same struggles and the same needs.
In learning how to be single, sometimes we attempt to attach ourselves to another human being, hoping they will be able to meet our deepest needs and heal our hurts. We miss the feeling that we are part of a whole. In our “neediness” we think another human being might hold the answer. So we reach out to relationships that only pull us farther away from where we need to be and bring more hurt into our lives.
The most important truth I can share with you is this. . .
There is someone who I have fallen in love with. I am committed to Him and love Him with all my heart. I am not alone anymore. He meets every need I could ever have. He never leaves my side. He is faithful. He is strong enough to protect and provide for my children and myself. Spending time with Him every day has become my greatest joy. I have learned that I can trust Him in any situation. Regardless of how impossible the world may see my plight, He can bring blessing from it. He has shown me that the greatest blessings in my life have come from my greatest difficulties.
He is my God and my Savior Jesus Christ. He loves me. He loves you. There is nothing we have done or will do that can change that love. We have made mistakes, we have made wrong choices. Those we loved have made mistakes and wrong choices. These do not limit God and His power to restore. His grace and mercy are greater than our weakness. For it is in our greatest struggles that we see Christ. Only His pain on the cross is enough to save us from our greatest pain.
When we get to the place in our lives when there is no one else, no place else to go, nothing left to believe, Jesus is there waiting. His arms are stretched out to us in love and forgiveness. We can find Jesus in His Word, in the books we read, in the music we listen to, and always in our heart. I found that after years of wondering if I could ever be welcomed back into God's arms, I was the one who had looked away. All I had to do was look to Him. My eyes met His and He was right there with me. No human being could ever be as close.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Everytime I read my devotional for single moms (devotion of a single mom) I feel like something is missing. When I say that we don't need another human being, I mean that we can't look to another person to fix us and I'm referring to romantic relationships. Because the truth is, God created us to need other people. We need to be around strong women who depend on their faith daily and who have been through what we're going through. We need our families. We need to spend time talking with women who need our help in facing the struggles they're in.
We do need each other. So don't isolate yourself as you live life as a single mom. We were never meant to live in isolation. It's easier to be strong when we have people to hold us accountable. Find a Bible Study for women or single parents and you'll find out you aren't alone out there. Find a singles class who like to do fun things together and include the kids.
Life as a single parent does have it's difficulties, but it has it's joys and triumphs too. Remember the definition of courage: doing something in spite of being afraid. It's not the absence of fear, but acting through your fear. When you get to the other side you'll be a stronger, more courageous person! It's really rather exhilarating!
(and then maybe someday . . . a long way down the road. . .or maybe not. . .whatever God has in mind.)
Sunday, October 4, 2009
We did have a great camping trip. Complete with tree climbing, swimming in the river, hiking, all the things a boy needs from time to time. For Mom, sitting back, listening to the locusts and crickets and birds, sleeping in a tent, just being surrounded by the healing power of nature. It's always surprising how a little time soaking up God's creation can calm and help to erase the little daily stresses and even the big ones. We had a little more warmth and sunshine than expected but overall we had a great time.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
in all your ways acknowledge him,
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I love the sweet children in my class at the middle school. I'm a teacher's assistant in a classroom of 9 children with varied disabilities. The challenge right now is to discover what each child is capable of learning and what they already know. They are all such characters and completely unpredictable.
While I'm so thankful for God's provision for my daughter to go away to college, (for me that part is a pure miracle) I find myself asking Him to give her the strength to face feeling homesick at times and that she will find friendship that she is missing right now.
I'm thankful for my two jobs and for that regular paycheck that will start arriving September 15. I'm counting the days!
I'm thankful for my 25 year old son who is now living and working in Denver, Colorado. He is in the perfect job for a young man who loves adventure and is great working with people. He sells roofs to homeowners who live in areas damaged by severe storms. So in the past few years he's had the opportunity to live in in Orlando Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Austin and now Denver. I'm so proud of him and his success.
I'm thankful for my 23 year old daughter who lives nearby and is patiently waiting for that marriage proposal. (Pray with me on that one) I won't be surprised if one day she just up and goes to law school and advances in politics. I'm very proud of the gracious young lady she is becoming.
I'm even thankful for my puppy who finds a new shoe to destroy every day!
Love you all! Have a great week!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
In the meantime, we drove up to Stillwater, Oklahoma so that Shannon could be there bright and early Monday morning. The girls are staying in the dorm she will be in permanently so she actually got her permanent room assignment for this week too. Then I drove back home in time to celebrate Suzannah's 23rd birthday Tuesday. I then had a few days of empty nesting and working. I received a few heart wrenching phone calls from my homesick daughter but she made it through the week and had alot of fun.
Friday, the buses arrived with the church camp kids. My son had a wonderful week and couldn't wait to introduce me to the new friends he made. He can't wait until Sunday now. That's cool! Answered prayers there!
We drove back up to Stillwater yesterday, and after dropping Chad and our little dog Oscar off at Grandma and Grandpa's, I met up with Shannon to see her new sorority house and celebrate with her. I wasn't in one in college so this is all new to me. Since she's going off to another state without any of her friends from home, I'm praying this will give her a good place to belong. Because the week wasn't an easy one for her and the decisions were really difficult, this was a faith building time for her. She prayed that God would put her in the sorority that He wanted her in, that she was supposed to be in. When she received her invitation it was obvious to her and all who had been praying with her, that her prayers were answered. The house even has a beautiful little prayer room in it. Her aunt and cousin shared in the day with us and it just felt like a blessed day all around.
We left Chad with his grandparents for a few days and drove back home late last night. Today, I had the special treat of spending the afternoon with BOTH of my girls. We went antique shopping and just looking and had wonderful, rare girl time. It was especially special since Shannon is leaving this week to move into her dorm and get settled in for school to start next week on Monday.
Life is full of changes and new beginnings. I've seen God's hand rescue me and just give me the strength I needed for the moment many times this week. I've seen Him work in my kids lives. I've seen Him stretch time and money to get us where we needed to be.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
She loved welcoming us into her home in the country, standing at her blue painted front door, graciously giving out hugs and "I wuv u's" to all of us grandkids. I haven't stepped inside her home for several years. When she moved into the nursing home, my mom and uncle were able to sell her house to eight members of my Grandma's church. They rented it to various tenants.
My Grandma's house was situated on acres of Oklahoma farmland. It was beautiful to this Oklahoma girl's eyes. There were chicken coops, hay barns, water troughs, a windmill, bird houses, red clay creekbeds winding for miles it seemed, leading to treasure troves of antique finds, acres of pastureland to explore. . . heaven on earth for this city girl and her little brother. Breakfasts of musk melon and toast with sorghum molasses, long summer walks with my Grandma through pastures to find treasures, old glass bottles or tools, we never knew what we might happen upon. Climbing down the steps into the damp basement to help with weighing eggs, or canning. Dinners of fried okra, sleeping upstairs with the windows open, watching and listening for the birds as the sun came up.
One of her bibles, with her name inscribed on the front, has been my treasure since she passed away several years ago. I'm always finding words she had written alongside and verses underlined. The embroidered birds I shared with you in a previous post were lovingly stitched by her hands.
We were in Oklahoma for a family reunion yesterday. On the way home, I decided to drive by my Grandma's house. I knew she gave some of her land to her church. I didn't realize they had already completed their new building across the pasture from her home. All of the creek beds were leveled and the trees were gone. The barns and windmill had disappeared as if some hand had brushed over the surface of the land. On a whim, I turned into her driveway. There was a man there removing the garage door. "They're tearing the house down tomorrow, so they wanted me to remove the door today", he says as we approach. Evidently black mold has made the home unlivable and so the church has decided to tear it down to build a parking lot.
It was like stepping into a moment in time that was meant to be. Walking into her home still filled with memories and love, tears filled my eyes as I ran my hand over the walls and doorways, remembering days and moments, sights and smells. I watched my own kids look around with awe, the realization of the history and meaning our memories held shining in their eyes. Members of the church had already removed all of the glass doorknobs. Dust and cobwebs filled the window sills and corners. Upstairs we found sloppily painted purple walls, and a poem painted into the closet where as children, we had played with the same antique toys enjoyed by my mom and uncle, left for a new generation of kids to discover.
Wanting to take something of these long lost memories with us to hold and keep, we were able to remove some handles from her cabinets, a window from the front door, and two beautiful solid wood doors. I know my Grandma would love the fact that people from miles around are worshiping God on her land. I know she isn't holding onto her home any longer. It's not needed where she is, but my heart still aches a little as I let go of it today.
My grandma loved her church. I hope the church treasures her gift for generations to come. (They'd better. I wonder how long this parking lot has been planned? Sorry, just the cynic coming out in me.)
p.s. Can you believe I forgot to take a picture? When I find an old one to scan I'll add it here!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
He scampered up a tree and is enjoying his find~
Bright eyed and bushy tailed~!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
An old chain hanging from something outside the old, unused backdoor into the garage that we never use. I liked how the grain on the door is sharp under the actual chain and fades softer under the shadow.
No, this isn't my silhouette! However it looks like it could easily be! This is a dried leaf, sitting on my deck, one side curled over itself.
Can you guess which is the bush, and which is the vine that is taking over! It's taking over everything! We didn't have vines that this in Oklahoma!
How about Jack and the Beanstalk? An upclose look at the twists and turns of the vine as it takes over another unsuspecting victim.
Friday, June 19, 2009
This is the moment when I wish I had a British accent and a mustache I could twirl. If I did, I would say, while twirling my mustache and peering over my spectacles, "this has been a strange day. Yes, by george, a strange day indeed!"
- I sat down at my trusty computer and did a search for the sender's name. Nothing. Then I tried doing a reverse lookup search using only the address. Voila! A different name attached to the address with a phone number. I dialed the number while my son stood by my side. . . A lady answered. I said to her, " Hi. You're going to think this is strange, but do you know someone by the name of __ _____? She said, "Well, first of all, no it isn't strange at all. And second, no I don't know anyone by that name, but you're not the first one to call and ask me that question. She then began a 30 minute recounting of everything she knew, which did NOT include how and why this person would have her address and be using it to send unsuspecting people all over the country either checks or money orders. She had received a call from a lady in Tennessee and from a man in Florida. She has also gotten to know her local UPS person on a first name basis, and they keep anything returned to this name and her address in their "fraud file" to investigate further. She said that no one had been able to figure out how this person got their name and address and why they would send this to them. She had seen a report on some news show about a scam where the crooks want you to deposit the checks into your bank and then they are able to see your bank and account information and empty out your accounts! Egads! She proceeded to give me the police report # she has filed at her county sheriff's department.
- After hanging up the phone I received 3 phone calls from an "unknown" source. All 3 were some man with a very heavy foreign accent trying to tell me something I couldn't understand a word of.
- Next, I received an email, telling me they were glad I had received my package and would I please follow my instructions and do as I was told.
- What instructions? It was then I discovered I had indeed been sent an email at 10:30 pm last night telling me what to do with the money. Help! I was to forward it to somebody in the UK by Western Union and give them the confirmation # afterwards. But I didn't do it.
- To make a long story a little bit longer, I printed off all of the emails. I have them in the UPS envelope with the money orders. I have also saved all of my phone messages from this criminal. I'm thinking the money orders are stolen probably from the USPS. So, I think I'll contact them first.
I hope this is the end of it. But all day, I felt so creepy. Like someone was spying on me, or worse, trying to take something valuable from me.
- I proceeded to my 1:00 job interview at a well known coffee shop and will find out Monday if I will be working there for the rest of the summer.
- I went to work at my job this evening and when I got home, my daughter called me asking if I had seen her wallet. We then embarked on a heartrending search for her wallet, which contained many, many valuable items. My heart was breaking for her and me both. I drove back through the gas station, where she remembered using it last. I retraced her drive watching along all of the curbs and in the grass on the corners. I got out and actually looked in all of the trash cans at the gas station and on the top of all the gas pumps, while customers looked at me like I was a suspicious character! Can you imagine!! My daughter called her bank and reported her card missing. I drove on back home, remembering that her address was on her DL and maybe, just maybe, as I fervently, fearfully, prayed, that the person finding the wallet, would be a kind, honest sort and would find our phone number.
- I was home not very long when the phone wrang. rang, I mean. It was a very young sounding young man, who asked if I was my daughter? I said "no, but this is her mom!(with every hope in my heart)" He said, well, I think I found your daughter's wallet. " I wished I could have reached through that phone and hugged that boy. I told him "Bless you! Oh Bless You!" He offered to meet us at a local elementary school parking lot to give it back. He had found it at the gas station. I can't describe to you, the renewed faith this gave to me! I had been calling this day a stinky, awful, stressed out day. And within seconds, I was praising God and telling this boy"God bless you!".
So, my daughter's wallet was returned with everything still intact. I'm so thankful. And, I think we both learned valuable lessons today.
- I forgot to mention, at some time this morning, running out of breakfast cereal and the fighting between siblings and parent that ensued and as a result, my son storming off on his bicycle while I'm worrying myself silly over him. Then, hugs and forgiveness afterwards. Oh, my. No wonder I'm tired.
- Well, I couldn't waste a crazy day like this. I hate to admit my foolishness in such a matter, but let it be a warning to all!
- Oh, did I mention I got soap in my eye while showering to get ready for my job interview? Oh, never mind.
- Oh, shoot. I hear strange noises out in my garage! Will this day never end? I hope it's the neighborhood cat. Sigh. . . .
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Lamb of God
Your only Son, no sin to hide
but you have sent Him from your side
to walk upon this guilty sod
and to become the Lamb of God.
Your gift of love they crucified
they laughed and scorned Him
as He died
the Humble King
they named a fraud
and sacrificed the Lamb of God.
O Lamb of God sweet Lamb of God
I love the holy Lamb of God
O wash me in your precious blood
my Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
I was so lost I should have died
but you have brought me to your side
to be lead by your staff and rod
and to be called a lamb of God.
O Lamb of God sweet Lamb of God
I love the holy Lamb of God
O wash me in your precious blood
'til I am just a lamb of God.
I woke up in the night singing this song over and over. When I woke up this morning, I was still singing this song. I'm not sure where it came from, well, yes I do. It's very comforting. I didn't know all of the words, so I was just sort of humming the tune in my head. I've been searching for a beautiful version of it to share, and this is the best I've found. I love being able to read all of the words too. Karen over at Loved and Engraved gave me the idea. Maybe we could have a classic hymn sharing blog theme. (or something like that). Anyway, sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.(*A beautiful arrangement of the Christian hymn "Lamb of God" played on my Abell D Irish Whistle, the same one that Sir James Galway plays on The Lord of the Rings. Accompaniment CD is from a book available online. Flutemark)
Monday, June 15, 2009
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
This is my prayer for you today!~and for me, for all of us!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
There are songs that are so woven into our memories and days that they become a part of us. This is one of those songs. Written in the early 1970's, it was one that I learned to play on my acoustic Yamaha guitar. (I even had a dream once that I married John Denver).
I'm enjoying a quiet, peaceful afternoon. Mowing my yard, thinking back over this past week, planning my flower beds in my mind, thanking God for His wonderful blessings, of sitting beside my daughter in church this morning, taking communion, of friends and fellowship, and knowing that my God is greater than can be imagined.
The sunshine is shining on my shoulders today as I work outside and I wish you the warmth of sunshine on your shoulders today, too!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Ok. . . EVERY song sung by Cat Stevens is so poignant and beautiful. It's very difficult to only include three, but I've got work to do! How many hundreds of times did we listen to these songs and how did they shape our hearts when we were so young?
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul,
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for Thou art with me,
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,
Thou hast anointed my head with oil,
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I know summer will soon be here, full of relaxing, sunny days.
I pray that God will be with all of you too, as you go about your lives and days!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Who remembers this movie? Isn't it funny how the movies and books and music we love as children stay with us? We rented this movie on Sunday and so far I'm the only one who has watched it all the way through. My old paperback copy of the book is missing its front cover, but still on my bookshelf. That's amazing. I remember what a powerful effect it had on me as a young girl and whatever pull it had on me then is still there. I love the song. I remember the cover of the sheet music, so I must have learned to play it on the piano. I'll have to look for it and see if I can still find the notes on my out of tune piano!
I will soon be moving to Africa and raising lions. I'll continue blogging from there. My heart is full!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly
Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...To...
Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out