Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Easter Morning Gift

I woke up early this Easter morning, as I usually do, and one of my first thoughts was about gifts. It was kind of a carry over from yesterday, the theme of gifts was on my mind then too. Yesterday, I had traveled back to being a kid and giving gifts to various people in my life, handmade gifts. There was one gift in particular that I had crocheted  and given to someone, and then the gift was rejected.  Over the years, I have been less likely to give someone a gift that I've made, because I don't want to feel the emotional rejection. This morning, when I woke up, I thought about the gifts that God has offered His people, and the gifts He has specifically offered me, and how often those gifts have been rejected. His gifts of service through others, His gifts of love and hope, His gifts of friendship. Well, the list goes on. Through the years, I have rejected them all, mostly out of fear.
Now, this morning, Easter morning I am reflecting on the gift of His Resurrection. Life. Even that gift will be rejected by some! But, I know that my heart and soul cannot survive without this gift, and I am praising Him for the empty tomb. I'm asking Him to enable me to be a gift receiver as well as a gift giver. There is great value in both, for the impact of rejecting the gift could be death.  If I am a gift receiver to His children, it reflects Him. It shows others that I value them, love them, care enough about them to receive what they have to offer.
Jesus, Say That Again, open my heart and soul to Your gifts, and teach me to reflect you by giving and receiving gifts.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Nail

I went to a service with my family at the church last night. It was about the crucifixion of Christ. It was somber, holy, and thought provoking. Every person was given a large nail, like a spike, maybe something similar to what was driven into the hands of Jesus.
The home I was raised in did not talk about the crucifixion of Christ or His Resurrection. I did not experience this blessed news growing up, and even now as this time of year comes around I recognize that it does not totally sink in with me. I find that I am in a battle, fighting the lies inside my head.
Isn't it amazing that the God of the Universe loves me and you so much that He nailed all my sin to a cross? He took it all upon Himself, and He died! I think it's hard to sink in, because it's just so much. I make a lot of mistakes, I sin, yet God has taken that sin already on that nail and hammered it into His hand on the cross for me. FORGIVEN.
Amazing, Holy, Awesome, God. Say That Again, You were nailed to the cross, and you rose again, so that I can live with You for eternity. Thank you!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Parties

My daughter is turning eight years old soon, we celebrated her birthday yesterday because her brother and his family are home from college. She was very excited. Initially, her list was a about three friends, but it didn't take long for the list to grow significantly. By the time she had it completed, including our family, she had a crowd. We had her favorite meal of Taco's, and played her favorite games, tag and soccer. We decorated picture frames and my husband took pictures of her with all her friends so they had something to take home with them in their frame. We ate cake and ice cream and opened presents, and listened to little girls run through the house as her big brother chased them.
She felt celebrated, loved, delighted in, wanted, and enjoyed. I'm happy about that. She had a great time, and just as I anticipated, she's thinking about her party next year.
I've had a lot of parties the last few weeks, every weekend, actually. It's been busy, with a lot to celebrate. The image that comes to mind for me lately is Jesus and all His parties. He was always going to some kind of party. He was eating and drinking, and visiting with sinners. He was dancing, enjoying people, loving them. Not all people were overly impressed with the way He did things, maybe they thought He was having too much fun, a few too many parties, possibly. He did have a lot going on, He must have been a joy to be with, right?
For me, I continue to pray that my life will reflect the life of Jesus. When there's a party, it will be a Jesus party, full of His character and His love. Jesus, Say That Again to me, You celebrate Your children, love us, delight in us, dance over us, and find great joy in us. Thank you for the parties you bring into my life and the celebrations!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Derby Race

My son is in Scouts and last night they had a race. He was very excited because he and his dad spent a lot of time making a car for the race. He was certain he was going to be the winner. On the way into town he talked about all the names he should have painted on the back of his car, such as "bye bye" or "see ya" or "champion", as he was convinced his car would leave all the others far behind!
His car had a Lego head glued to the top of it, which I thought was a pretty clever idea. The first race, he lined up with three other Scouts, and at the count of three the cars were off. My son came in second place! He was pleased. Next race, he came in third, he seemed a little discouraged. Next race, fourth place, uh-oh, the Lego head fell off, as well as a weight, this isn't looking good.  My son, burst out loudly, "I've lost my head!" and the crowd broke out in laughter. This lightened his heart, and seemed to give him some hope for race number four. He came in second again on the last race, and we left the derby in high spirits, with a headless car!
It was fun to watch all the boys racing their cars, and having such a good time. Even with the difficulties of loosing weights and heads, they kept going until the race was over. They all had fun, and they all worked well together.
As I thought about it more this morning it reminded me of the verse in 2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Whatever happens in life, just keep going and finish the race. It's a good fight, because it's a fight for Jesus! Keep the faith, because it's for Jesus, finish, even if I loose my head! And, there are days that it feels like I might  :)

Jesus, You are the Perfecter of my faith, You fight for me, You race along beside me, continue to Say That Again to me, and I will finish the race!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Trek through the Woods

 We went on a trek thought the woods, there were hills and big rocks. We saw a pond, too and our children begged my husband to push on the pedal with all his might and storm through it, but thankfully he thought better of that idea! I was there to navigate away from anything to dangerous, although possibly the value of my Land Rover has diminished. We had fun.
Thank You, Jesus, for fun. Say That Again, Jesus, You bring fun into life and Joy. I appreciate that.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Haircut

So, I gave my husband a haircut. And, in the process of doing that, I had to take a hair sample from the back of his neck, but it was hard to get enough hair. He has short hair. I changed the length of the clippers, and while thinking about the hair sample that was needed and not really hearing what he said to me, I sorta clipped a shorter version of a haircut up the side of his head, whoops! Needless to say, it looked really funny. I tried not to laugh, because I was feeling pitiful about my mistake, but it was hard not to see the humor. He couldn't see the wide shaved line I had made up the back of his head, so I gave him a mirror. He said, "I can't believe you did that!"  He suggested I make one on the other side to match, but I couldn't do it. We eventually came up with a great solution, and he has a pretty short cut right now, but it looks great.
It worked out for good, I actually think it's better. So often the case with life. I can be moving along in a particular direction and God carves out a different path. I can say "I can't believe you did that!"  But, the truth is, He has my best in mind, as I follow along on His path, it all turns out for good, His good. Say That Again, Jesus, You have a plan and all things work together for good in Your plan.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Glory of God

I've been listening to a sermon series on Ephesians, and I've been reminded again of who I am in Christ. Because of who I am, and the gift of His Spirit, I have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
I have a couple events coming up in my life where I will need to remember Christ is in me, and pray for His boldness. I think that I will need to walk by faith, and it will feel like I am stepping off the edge of a cliff. But, that's what faith is, right? Confident access that through Him He will be there to catch me and show me the way. I don't have to see the direction right now, or know everything, I just need to obey His calling.
Yesterday, as I discussed this with a couple of friends, I felt paralyzed. And, I know that is the opposite of boldness. It reminded me of one of the sermons I listened to. He told how Paul was in prison, again, which was basically a hole in the ground. It was cold, grungy, dirty, and infested. There wasn't a bathroom, or a shower. There were prisoners above him with the same issue. It was gross. But, Paul loved Jesus, and he knew that his situation was not about him or the people around him. Everything was about bringing glory to God. And, that is the way he wanted to think about his life all the time in every situation, what brings God glory?
As I walk through my everyday life, how much of it would I change if my thought pattern was constantly asking, "What brings God glory?"  In the events I plan, the way that I speak, the people that I love? What brings God glory? Every part of every day is about God, none of it is about me, so how do I live that  way?
Jesus, Say That Again to me, You walked this earth to bring glory to Your Father. Your Spirit is within me to empower me with boldness and confident faith, enable me to bring You glory!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Country Walk

We had sun yesterday, it was a delight. We gathered ourselves up and went for a walk. Just down the road from our house we are blessed with National Forest, and a lot of natural walking trails. So,   Fur Ball, ready to run and chase, my son. in shorts, my husband in his sandals and winter hat, my daughter and I properly dressed for a spring walk,  headed out. Fur Ball was elated to run up and down the trail until he had to stop to rest, panting in exhaustion. Our children, had to scout out all the rocks, only wishing to find the best ones in which to climb. Our son was willing to tromp through the snow even if it meant getting his bare legs ice cold. My husband, forgetting his age, decided to walk the barricade, and show off for the family his amazing skills. Our daughter worked very hard to keep up with her brother, and did a good job of it.  I just took pictures and kept everyone in line! 

It was a very nice day and a great walk, with the people I love. I am thankful for this. God does bring adventure into my life all the time, how could He not? Look at the people He has blessed me with! 
Say That Again, Jesus, I went on a Country Walk and in one hour I experienced so much of Your love through this adventure. My children climbing through the snow and up the rocks. My husband balancing on a bar and being silly. And, my dog running around like a crazy dog....laughter, love, fun, and joy. I felt Your warmth, and saw Your nature, I heard You speak. Jesus, Say that Again, You will be with me on my Country Walk always!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Truck and The Stump

Okay, so this hasn't been the best year for our vehicles. I redesigned my husband's fender. And, a couple days ago, my husband and our two children slid across the road, off the edge and into the trees. They stopped, because my truck hit a big stump. My daughter said it was very scary and she closed her eyes the entire time. My son, even though he was scared too, later said it wasn't that bad! He opted to talk about my husband's driving skills and all the details of using the emergency brake, turning the steering wheel, and hitting the stump.
When my husband called me and casually informed me that he had slid off the road and was basically stuck for the day, and needed a ride, I was not afraid that anyone was hurt. I was taken back to years ago when every winter, my husband would get stuck in the snow, or run out of gas! And, our three boys would just know that any trip with their dad could be an adventure. I use to always have a book in my husbands Jeep, so I would have something to do when he got stuck in the snow.
After his phone call, I quickly got my stuff together and drove down the hill to retrieve my family. They were still sitting in my truck when I got there, they were closer than I expected, so I drove right by them. I then, had to find a place to turn around, so as I drove down a long driveway I asked Jesus to keep me from getting stuck.
Later in the day, at the time this picture was taken, much of the snow had melted and a friend came to pull my truck away from the stump and onto the road. My mirror was broken and my fender is cracked. I guess we are even now!
I was reminded of a sermon I had just listened to that morning. He was talking about how we can be moving along in life right on track with God, our focus on Him. Everything seems to be going okay and we are communicating with God, keeping in tune with Him, synced up. Then, something happens, there's a snow storm and we begin to slide a little, sometimes, before we know it, we are off the road.
This happens to me. Or, sometimes, I just hit a stump. I had an off the road moment yesterday, and I needed to call a friend to pray. It was the best way to get pulled back on the road. I had a hit the stump moment too, and I needed to ask someone to forgive me.
Jesus, You have promised to keep me from falling, Your promise is to protect me when I call on Your name! Say That Again!

Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalms 55: 22

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Sweet Potato's

I had lunch with  a friend today and we made stuffed sweet potato skins.  At first glance, I was a little hesitant about this recipe, but I washed the potato's and tossed them in the oven anyway. Now, as many of you may know, cooking is not on my top ten list of fun things to do, so I don't always know exactly what it is I'm doing, when it comes to cooking. I tossed in the potato's but didn't look at the time, so I wasn't too sure what time I had started the process. My friend arrived, and after awhile she asked about the smell in the house and it prompted my memory of potato's in the oven, and the recipe of healthy sweet potato skins.
We checked the potato's, and as I poked my fork in one while turning to ask my friend if it was done, the sweet potato lurched off my fork and bounced onto the floor. This was proof that it was most absolutely done! We retrieved the potato, thankful for the five second rule, and proceeded to make the stuffing.
As I chopped shallots and watched spinach saute, I questioned whether I would like this mixture in my sweet potato. Then, with the added cream cheese, and the chick peas I really became skeptical, but I pushed forward with perseverance and my friends optimistic attitude.
We filled the potato skins, topped them with cheese and slipped them back in the oven. Then they came out 10 minutes later looking and smelling very good. But, would I dare taste them? My first bite was a scrumptious delight; enough so, that I ate the whole thing!
So, what it brings me to is this: I don't always know the outcome. Sometimes it doesn't sound good. Sometimes it doesn't look so good. A lot of the time I just don't want to. And, often in the beginning something can go wrong. But, with the power of His Spirit, I can persevere. With the hope and support of others,  I can keep going and have a good attitude. And, somewhere along the way, it will turn out for good, because that is what God has planned for me. Say That Again, God, You have good plans for me, just like the Sweet Potato!

Healthy Sweet Potato Skins

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Trip to Wonderland

Yesterday was a long day. My daughter and I left our post of watching my grandson around 9am. By the time we left he seemed to be feeling better, but saying goodbye to him was not an easy thing to do. I wanted to stay longer and hold him, kiss him, and love on him. But, we were on a time line, and we had to be back in my office in time for a Team meeting, and then after that, we had plans to go to the theater to watch the play Alice in Wonderland.
We met a group of lovely women at the coffee shop before Alice and had some nice conversation. We exchanged pictures of puppy dogs, grand babies, and shared stories about our week. Then, from there, we headed to Wonderland...
I did not know the story of Alice, so I was not sure what to expect. Something about hats and tea, and a rabbit?  We all sat in our row, and the show began.  Christian Youth Theater performed with amazing talent, and even though I cannot say that I completely followed the story line of Alice in her Wonderland, after all, throwing and boiling babies, and screaming queens were somewhat alarming, I still enjoyed my time with Alice.
The best part of my day? It was holding my grandson, and helping my daughter in law, it was the heart to heart conversation I had with my daughter in law. It was getting lost coming back home. It was being in a team meeting with a group of people that loves Jesus. It was sitting in a row with a group of women and hearing their laughter, seeing their smiles. It was coming home to my husband, and being next to him, safe in his arms. For me, the entire day was a trip to wonderland, and it was good. It was waking up the next day and seeing my children.
Jesus, once again I am reminded of how You have blessed me. Say That Again. I praise Your Holy name, for You are my Holy God!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Big Throw Up

My daughter in law and I took a road trip to visit my grandson and his sweet mother while my son is out of town. We have the honor of watching my grandson during the day while his mommy is at work. It's been fun for me to be with both my daughter in laws and my grandson.
Yesterday was our first day alone with the little guy, and it was an adventure. My grandson started out on a good note, but as the day went on, he didn't feel well. He decided that he didn't want his bottle anymore, he didn't want to nap, and he wanted to sit on the foot rest in his stroller. He only wanted to eat food from a jar, take a bath in a standing position, and listen to music.
As the day wore on, and he continued to voice his opinion, my desire to comfort him and love him only increased. When his mom arrived home, she was able to convince him that a bottle was a good option for his next meal. We were all feeling pretty good about the fact that he had a full belly, but the belly must have felt a little too upset about the arrival of so much milk because shortly after the joyful bottle episode, my grandson was cuddled next to me on the couch and he lost everything he once had in his belly! The Big Throw Up projected itself out of his mouth all over the floor, all over my lap top, all over me, all over him, well, all over! Up his nose, and he began to cry, his mother jumped into action reaching for him to comfort him. loving him tenderly.
Everyone worked to clean up The Big Throw Up.
I'm reminded again of my God. He is always there to clean up The Big Throw Up, my big throw up. So many times, I can be unsettled, I can be afraid, I can feel lost in some way, I can throw my emotions around. God is there to comfort me, to clean me up, to hold me. He is there before, during and after. It's a process, a journey, and God is walking with me. I love Him. Say That Again, Jesus, You are the God that cleans up The Big Throw Up, You are a Mighty God.