Friday, February 27, 2009

Daily Gratitudes # 1

For the past month or so, I've kept a sidebar of "Daily Gratitudes". I've really enjoyed having these small moments of appreciation. I couldn't, possibly, list all that I am grateful for each day but having the simple reminder to keep an "attitude of gratitude" has been worthwhile for me. I am going to keep the sidebar posts going but 'cut and paste' that list into a post after a month or so.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for...

  • Feb. 27:..muscle relaxants and hot soaks :)
  • Feb. 26: ...for the loving hearts of my students who went above and beyond in 'being careful' around me today since mobility remains limited.
  • Feb. 25: ...for the supportive people in my life who care for me when I can't quite care for myself.
  • Feb. 24: ...a kind-hearted work environment when one as clumsy as myself stumbles over a child and gets hurt in the process!!
  • Feb. 22:...a thoughtful, considerate husband
  • Feb. 21: ...peaceful rhythm of an early morning rain
  • Feb. 20:...FRIDAY!!! ...2 weeks until "Spring Break...2 weeks until "Spring Break"..." :)
  • Feb. 19: ...OTC medications that help aleve discomfort.
  • Feb. 18:...the timely arrival of my passport. Having that document in my hand makes the upcoming trip to Jamaica that much more "real".
  • Feb. 17: ...the persistent love of God who continually opens doors of enlightenment when my soul needs it the most.
  • Feb. 16: ...the joy children find in all sorts of celebrations---even while attending school on President's Day
  • Feb. 15: ...medications to cease the pain from allergic reactions
  • Feb. 14: ...a sunshine-y day and stormy evening. I loved the contrasts and seeing God's beauty in both.
  • Feb. 13: ...Chloe Olivia's healthy arrival. Congrats Kaylyn and Jason. Love to all 3 of you!!
  • Feb. 12: ...great clearance deals...Woo-Hoo!! $20.00 kids' toys clearanced for $3.00 each YAY!
  • Feb. 11: ...my friend Jim who is teaching me so much about unconditional love & the concepts of grace
  • Feb. 10: ...being my "husband's girlfriend for the past 13 years". Happy 1st Date Anniversary, Honey Bun!
  • Feb. 9: ...giggles of children who always enjoy times of silliness
  • Feb. 8: ...privilege of prayer
  • Feb. 7: ...a day at home to "catch up" on tasks
  • Feb. 6: ...the weekend. What a tiring week!!
  • Feb. 5: ...a week of visiting with my sister and her precious baby boy
  • Feb 4: ...love-filled memories of friends who have already gone to meet Jesus.
  • Feb. 3: ...a fun evening with my mom, sister, nephew & family friend.
  • Feb. 2: ...times of quiet, non-obligatory peace.
  • February 1: ...a congregation of believers who model the concept of unconditional love, time and time again. Thanks especially to Cheryl, Drema, Jimette and Jim.
  • Jan. 31: ...my sister and her baby boy being in town to visit for at least a week.
  • Jan. 30: ...my dear friend, Susan, who patiently listens, sweetly encourages, and faithfully prays.
  • Jan. 29: ...a kind-hearted "boss" and good friends who help carry the load when I am ill & not feeling up to it. Thanks esp. to Michelle, Nadine, Susan, & Theresa.
  • Jan. 28: ...a warm home to go to on these unusually cold days.
  • Jan. 27: ...a patient & loving husband who knows when to step in and when to step back. I do love & appreciate you, Wayne.
  • Jan 26: ...a long-time friend who loves me unconditionally and is always there for me, even when it's not the easiest thing to do. Thanks, Randy.

Friday Fill-Ins # 113





http://fridayfillins.blogspot.com/

  1. I'm sore, I'm tired, I am glad that it is Friday. In all my gracefulness earlier this week, I fell while interacting with a student in my class and sprained my back and slightly dislocated my shoulder. PLEASE pray that these injuries will be quickly-healed and not interfere with the mission trip I am supposed to be leaving for in only 9 days.

  2. Why do I have all these desires and hopes to minister to children in need and not the finances to help make some awesome dreams realities?
  3. How does this DVD player work, anyway? It didn't use to be so difficult but now has a hard time 'reading a disc'. Maybe it's time for new one :).

  4. Every morning, I put spiritual armor on my entire body, from head to toe because I feel as if there has been some serious warfare taking place within my soul, throughout the past couple of years. (I have a wonderful condensed prayer of this concept, originally compiled by Charles Stanley if anyone would like a copy.)
  5. I consider myself lucky because...I am loved and able to love...I have a caring husband...I have a loving biological, extended and Christian family...I enjoy several wonderful relationships with fellow-believers...I have a career that I enjoy most days...I am an American...I have been blessed beyond measure in more ways than I could list and even more than I can ever possibly imagine.

  6. One day we’ll see those, whom we loved, that have already gone on to meet Jesus. My heart aches regularly for those, throughout my life, that I have loved and lost but the pain I still feel over the realization that my buddy, David, is no longer part of this world still takes my breath away.

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to muscles relaxants and a hot long soak, tomorrow my plans include feeling much improved and Sunday, I want to attend worship services, attend the final meeting for the upcoming mission trip and shop for the "treat bags" that we are being allowed to pass out at one of the Jamaican primary schools on their annual 'field day'. What fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

ABC's of the Word...C; Chapter 8: Self Talk...

Combining 2 posts this week: one from Lelia's hosted Bible Study and one from Pam's ABC's of the Word.

I apologize, beforehand, for these not being my most uplifting words but I am speaking from my heart. These past few days have been somewhat emotionally conflicting and confusing. Reading Chapter 8 in Jennifer Rothschild book was an "easy read" but a difficult concept for me to grasp. Jennifer's words are marked in a different color.

In Chapter 8, "Look Back...:, Jennifer encourages us to "...tell our souls to look back often." She further discussed how even painful memories can be good to look back on because "Memories can be profitable because they prevent us from repeating mistakes. They guard us against needless worry, and serve as a grounding force in our lives."

I totally understood where my blogger-friend, Laura, was coming from when she stated in her post about how she "...always thought it easier to look ahead than back over my shoulder. The possibilities of the future are much more inviting than the mistakes of the past..."

Jennifer also shared that "If you don't label a painful memory with meaning, it will retain a negative connotation. It will be stripped of its potential profit and simply fall into the negative or neutral category in your thought closet if you don't label it with meaning." I haven't yet come to fully understand that concept or the next one I make reference to: " The painful memory is profitable because it adds to my personal peace. It reassures me that I can trust God if another difficulty comes into my life."

As of this moment, the idea of really looking back at painful memories seems like nothing more than pain...the thought of 'going back' literally causes physical anxieties and deeply felt terror. I am working on this issue with a trusted friend but it is a slow, slow process which often leads me to feel as if I am failing---failing to trust, failing to believe, failing to let go, failing to forgive, failing to fully love. Which brings me to the "C-Verse" that God has placed upon my heart this week:



Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (italics mine...wherever---in the past, to the future, in the present)


Joshua 1:9 (New American Standard Bible)
9"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The One-Word Game

The One Word Game - snagged from Laurie Ann

It's harder than you think. Here is what you are supposed to do - copy and paste into your own note, type in your one word answers and tag a bunch of people (including me).
  1. Where is your cell phone? sofa
  2. your hair? wild
  3. your father? unkind
  4. your mother? amazing
  5. Your favorite thing? fun
  6. your dream last night? nightmare
  7. your favorite drink? DietDP
  8. your dream/goal? ministry
  9. the room you are in? living
  10. your fear? rejection
  11. where do you want to be in 6 years? peace
  12. muffins? chocolate
  13. one of your wish list items? traveling
  14. where you grew up? Greenville
  15. the last thing you did? Sleep
  16. what are you wearing? pajamas
  17. your tv? distraction
  18. your computer? enjoyable
  19. your life? process
  20. your mood? sleepy
  21. missing someone? David
  22. your car? Toyota
  23. favorite store? LifeWay
  24. your summer? anticipating
  25. your favorite color? yellow
  26. when is the last time you laughed? today
  27. last time you cried? yesterday
  28. three people who email me? Wayne, Michelle, Mom
  29. three of my favorite foods? Carbs, chocolate, chips
  30. three places I would rather be right now? asleep, beach, vacation

I am not going to tag anyone but play along if you desire. Please, leave me a comment so I can come read your responses. Have fun!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Been tagged...could be fun! :)

How fun...love these sort of things. My blogger friend, Carol, tagged me with the following "award". Thanks Carol---I feel honored.
“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”
I never know how to handle this "tagging-thing" so if you are reading this, consider yourself "tagged" and play along. Please be sure to leave a comment so I can read your fascinating facts :).

The tag is ... List Random Things About Yourself (more if you feel inclined to do so)

(1.) I am a magnet for "strays"---both in animal and people form. I consider it an honor and a privilege. I'll stick to the animal side for this post...from childhood onward, I can recall 90+ critters come, get loved on, and sent on to loving homes. (70+ of those animals---cats, dogs, ducks, birds---durng my 13 year relationship with my now-husband; thankfully, he has a BIG heart for animals.)

The "worst" being a teeny-tiny unknown. I was told by a college science professor that it was a very young squirrel and had no chance of surviving. Not only did it survive, it thrived. The odd thing was that it wasn't following its proper developmental stages so I made another trip to the Science Lab and the professor had a vet-friend come by and check things out.

AFTER the vet quit laughing, he told me I had become the "loving surrogate mother of an everday, common street RAT!!" AAAAAGGGHHH!!! That thing had lived on my shoulder, been kissed on by me and children that I babysat during my college years. I even managed to persuade my dorm manager to let it stay with me through the critical nurturing stages.

The vet kindly offered to take the animal from my care and I tearfully surrendered (not sure if the tears were of sadness or disgust) and simply didn't ask any further questions.

(2.) I grew up with a 2 grandfathers and an uncle who were truck drivers and frequently heard stories about their experiences of helping people in need along the highway. My home-to-college-route was a 5 1/2 hour interstate drive (pre-cell phone era). I had occasion to stop and help some 'stranded' on the side of the road until one day, I was ROYALLY chewed out by a person I stopped to check on.

There was a woman holding a child behind the vehicle. I pulled up behind them and asked if they needed any help. A man was on the ditch side of the vehicle changing the tire. Come to find out, he was an off-duty police officer who was traveling with his wife and their grandson. When he heard me talking with his wife, he came around the back of that vehicle STERNLY warning me of the dangers of stopping on the side of the road.

They had a daughter who was also in college and he was quick and graphic about all the things that could possibly happen to one who chose to stop and help a stranger. After his 'concerned rant', he advised me, for future situations, to simply take note of the closest mile-marker sign, go to the next safe exit and call DPS and let them know about whatever situation.

Two weeks later, a young man who attended a nearby community college stopped to help someone in need on the side of the same highway, outside of North Little Rock. He was beaten, robbed, and run over by his own car and died alone on that roadside. They did catch his attackers. Only by the grace of God was it not me...

(3.) I have always known what I wanted to be when I grew up. Long before school-age, I would line up my stuffed animals and friends who chose to cooperate and "read" to them in a teacher-y voice. Even before I began school, I knew that I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher and one day be actively involved in children's ministries. I never thought of becoming anything else. I have taught kdg. for the past 14 years but have now switched to Pre-K, because of the unfortunate circumstances that have turned kindergarten into what once considered "first grade".

Friday Fill-Ins



http://fridayfillins.blogspot.com/
  1. Give me a minute and I'll catch up. Beginning a new teaching position this year has resulted in me feeling as if I’m usually at least one step behind.
  2. Whenever a child is mistreated, my heart breaks.
  3. I wish I were able to stop the abuse that many children endure. Thankfully, God can care for them in ways better than I can comprehend or even imagine.
  4. Bruno’s Lasagna (thanks PTO Moms…YUMMY!!) was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.
  5. To live in this world means to be involved with this world but to live in and through Christ.
  6. Other than this one, Liz’s Letters is the last blog I commented on.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to resting up to feel better; lots of germs going around my classroom, tomorrow my plans include gathering important information needed for the upcoming mission trip and Sunday, I want to worship with fellow believers and spend a relaxing, fun day with my honey.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Self Talk, Soul Talk Chapter 7 (personal reflections)

When I sat down to read this chapter, all I could say and feel was WOW!! This was a defining moment that truly felt as if God is, actually, leading me down this path I'm traveling. If you read my last post, you may have noticed the similarities to what I have been discovering in my personal studies. What a gift it was to have this chapter, by Jennifer Rothschild, serve as an affirmation to what I felt the Lord is teaching me.

I am in awe to think that the Lord of all creation could, actually, be this minutely interested in my life and what is going on in my heart. He is aware and that thrills my heart. I read through the chapter two times last night and my mind was going ninety-to-nothing today. Scriptures that I have been well acquainted with, yet could not personally apply took on a whole meaning today and for the 1st time EVER, I feel as if the ground I am standing upon is solid and trustworthy.

Some of the verses that have gripped and taken hold of my soul are as follows:


  1. Romans 8:1: "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus"

  2. Romans 8: 38: "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love."

  3. Deut. 1:30: "The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you."

  4. Deut. 31:8: "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

  5. Romans 5: 8-10: "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

I have spoken of and even taught these concepts in Bible studies, yet have never been able to fully accept these truths when it came to applying them to my life. I felt as if I were an exception to those truths; actually, I felt as if I were the exception.

  • I belong to Christ. There is no condemnation in me.

  • Nothing can separate God's love from me---not the occurrences of the pasts; not any current situations; not any future events.

  • These battles are not mine to fight. I have died. Christ is living in me and He has already won the battles. He will not leave me. He will not betray me. I do not have to live in fear. I do not have to be discouraged.

  • I have nothing to prove. I cannot do ANYTHING to earn the approval of God. But Christ can and He did. God does not look upon me in anger, disgust, or disapproval because Christ has covered me. All of God's wrath was poured out upon His Son and when He looks at me, He sees His Son and I am privileged to be the recipient of His love, His favor, His grace.

I am amazed.

Anyway :)...on to Chapter 7...

"...the realization that ultimate control was never mine to begin with..." (page 103)

  • Those words alone pierced my heart. The thought of actually not being in control was relieving yet terrifying at the same time.

"Absence of peace is not an 'I can't' situation. It's an 'I won't" problem...being defiant and being disabled are vastly different."

  • I am learning the accuracy of her words about the unwillingness to let go does nothing but cause harm and hurt.

I really appreciated her analogies of "gasoline words" and "water words"

  • Such a profound concept presented in such simple terms. I strive to be very careful with my words, towards others, especially after suffering several instances of verbal abuse in past relationships, yet I do not take the same care toward the words I say to myself.

  • I hope these words find a secure place in my heart: "Gasoline words rarely express mercy. You shouldn't speak those words to others, and you shouldn't speak them to your own soul either. Your soul needs the water of the Word to wash over your thought closet. Water words soothe...are full of discretion, grace, and mercy. They don't condemn. They encourage and cleanse."

"When you have peace with God, you can have peace from God---the peace that Christ brings."

  • How I am longing and praying for this peace.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ABC's of the Word: B---a bit early :)

http://greylikesnuffie.blogspot.com/2009/02/abcs-of-worda.html
Psalm 46:10 (New Living Translation)
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

God has been impressing this verse upon my heart for the past month or so. This is a concept that I find difficult to comprehend, much less apply.

I grew up, in both my physical home and religious home, where your performance meant EVERYTHING. You were defined by what you did and by what you failed to do. The failures always seemed to mean more.

Psalm 139:23 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: …” and the classic children’s song “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see (ears…hear, feet…go, hands…do, mouth…say) for the Father up above is looking down in love…” filled my heart with fear. I, somehow or another, never grasped the words “…in love”; I just knew God was watching and that was not a comforting idea.

One of my dad’s much-used phrases was “Well, if you ever forget what you were doing on (day), or (time), just come to me and I’ll tell you…I’ve got eyes everywhere…” My dad claimed to not care about what type of activities I was involved in (good or bad) as long as he was aware of the activity and in some way in control of the situation. He claimed the relationship was built upon the importance of honesty. I was frequently being punished for the most absurd things---it didn't bother him if I were with friends who were partying hard with alcohol and illicit sex yet most associations with my Christian family/youth group/etc. led to reprimands/punishment in some sort of way. Needless to say, I grew up in a state of mental anguish and confusion that has just recently began to become unraveled, explored, and healed. I thank the Lord for His persistent love and for the AMAZING ways that He has always placed at least one person in my life, at all times, that contradicted my dad’s demands upon my life and upon my soul.

http://www.dictionary.com/ defines the word “still“ as:

  • remaining in place or at rest

  • motionless

  • free from sound or noise

  • subdued or low in sound

  • to silence or hush

  • to calm

  • to free from turbulence or commotion

  • peaceful

  • tranquil

  • to calm

  • to quiet, subdue, or cause to subside

  • to become still or quiet
While studying about this verse, I've learned that this form of calm does not mean facing a problem-free life. It is a thoughtful consideration on the history of God’s promises and care. (Romans 15:4: Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us…) Being “still” is not about your capabilities, achievements or failures, it is about what you KNOW about God.

John J. Parsons (http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Meditations/Be_Still/be_still.html)
remarked that “…this verse is not so much about meditation as it is about the mediation of God’s kingdom in the heart of faith. The command to “be still” comes from the word “rapha” (meaning to be weak, to let go, to release), which might better be translated as cause yourselves to let go”…We “let go” in order to objectively know the saving power of God in our lives. We give up trusting in ourselves and our own desires and our own designs to in order to experience the glory of God’s all-sufficiency…When we confess the truth about who we really are---weak, feeble, and ineffectual…we can surrender our desire to control outcomes and entrust the care of the world to God.”
I , long ago, committed my life to being in control of any and all personal situations. My heart’s greatest desire was to not be hurt in the ways that I had been hurt in the past. I have spent a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to prove that I am strong, that I will not be crushed, nor would I be controlled. I have been self-sufficient, self-motivated, and self-protective. My reliance has not been upon God. My reliance has been upon myself. I only just realized how sinfully arrogant that personal commitment is.
I wish that I could say that my existence has instantly been transformed, but for reasons beyond my current understanding, I am stubbornly resisting this truth. I still fear the idea of letting go. I still fear not being in control. I still doubt the capabilities of God. When I cross-referenced this verse, the following verses were noted:
  • Deuteronomy 31:6: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
  • 2 Chronicles 20:17: "You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf…Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed the LORD will be with you."
  • Isaiah 41:10: "...fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

They say the 1st step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I am confessing this sin and desperately praying that the Lord will soften my heart and open my mind to not only accepting the truth that I need not fear, that I have never had the proposed strength or power I tried to claim was mine but that I will also LIVE OUT this truth and that my every thought, word, action, and decision be exemplified in the knowledge and application of BEING STILL and KNOWING HE IS GOD.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ABC's of the Word: A



My blogging friend, Pam, at the above site hosts ABC's of the Word each Thursday. I have been silently been following along over the past few months as the participants were completing their alphabetical journey through the Scriptures. They have just begun, again, with the letter A and I am hoping to regularly participate. Thanks, Pam, for the opportunity.
EPHESIANS 3:1-7 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

  • God has placed the thought of His means of adoption in my heart for the past couple of weeks. I am desperately trying to understand that it doesn't matter what my earthly father has said or done. I know, in my head, that my value isn't based upon his thoughts, actions, words, and opinions but those messages are so deeply embedded within me that my heart hasn't fully accepted that fact.

  • I am now a child of God---not because I'm worthy but because "...he decided in advance to adopt (me) into his own family..." He chooses me. He wants me. He has blessed me. He is rich in kindness and grace. He grants me wisdom and understanding because having me as His child brings Him pleasure.

  • Lord, please soften my heart. Rid my soul of the lies I've chosen to believe. I choose You, Father...please allow what You have said to be deeply settled as TRUTH within the recesses of my heart.

Posted Early: Friday Fill-Ins (#111)


    http://fridayfillins.blogspot.com

  1. It seems like I am on an amazing journey filled though filled with un-expected twists 'n turns.

  2. Put things back where you got them when you're done, please? I hate having to search for things.

  3. If I thought you were giving up on me I'd be devastated!

  4. Supportive is what I think of most when I think of you.

  5. To me, Valentine's Day means remembering those you care about and those who care about you.

  6. My God gives me strength, along with the precious loved ones He has allowed to be in my life.

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the recorded Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice episodes & eating leftover pizza, tomorrow my plans include really cleaning the house, rather than simply straightening up the most obvious areas and Sunday, I want to attend worship services, and TRULY abide in the Lord so not to feel such inner conflict about which congregation is most appropriate!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

(Self Talk) Hoping that better late than never applies to...




I am so enjoying Jennifer Rothchild's book: Self Talk, Soul Talk. Keeping up with the reading hasn't been at all difficult but pulling my thoughts together enough for a post has been difficult these past 2 weeks...have a gnawing sense of truth that my table (as referenced in this weeks chapter) is off balance.

The weather tonight is affecting computer capabilities...gotta love still being in the 'dial-up' world. (hehe). I am hoping to have the opportunity to read every one's posts and post my own thoughts by the weekend but I am not in a place to make any promises...

If you feel led to do so, please remember the following people in prayer:

  • a dear friend, and previous co-worker, Beverly, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last Friday. The doctors feel confident that they 'caught it in the early stages' but it is still a scary time.
  • my niece-by-marriage, Kaylyn, who is scheduled to give birth to her beautiful daughter, Chloe, this Thursday. All babies are a blessing but Chloe's arrival is filled with a special type of joy since her sweet mother and father have already grieved the loss of a child through miscarriage, and the sudden events that led to losing twin girls that were stillborn. Kaylyn has LITERALLY been in bed for the past 35 weeks except for the short amount of time she was allowed to be mobile for her father's funeral in November after a sudden and VERY unexpected heart attack. She has had more than her fair share of grief and there are so many who are prayerfully anticipating little Chloe's debut.
  • one of my Pre-K students. This child is beyond amazingly precious but he has some significant developmental delays that are obvious to all except his parents. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for a parent to accept that their child is not on a "normal status". Please pray for their comfort, strength, wisdom, and that they will be able to quickly overcome their shock so plans may be put into action that will allow for improved care and special accessibilities for their baby boy.
  • my 'baby sister' who is having a very difficult time in adjusting to her recent move to West Texas, especially after her husband recently lost his job. They are not in an ideal situation but I know that the Lord will meet all of their needs. I am 13 years older than my sis and can only imagine how hard it must be for parents to "let go". God bless all of the moms and dads out there!!
Looking forward to becoming a bit more table-balanced, so to be able to re-connect with all participating in this study. Am praying for the safekeeping and care of you all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

(runnin' late) Self Talk, Soul Talk Chapter 5 (personal reflections)

http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/2008/11/next-blog-study-book.html

I was excited about reading Chapter 5: TUNE IN: AWAKE MY SOUL immediately after reading Jennifer's words in the sectional intro. on page 62:
"Most of the self-talk pronouncements are in the Psalms...each will speak truth to your soul, and when it is applied, it will bring balance and wellness to your soul."

Oh, how I LONG for balance and wellness in my soul. I believe I am on the right path but the journey is far more intense and moving more slowly than I ever anticipated.

I appreciated her thoughts on the importance of and the steps needed to keep our "thought closets" clean. I shared this concept with a precious friend the other day and he encouraged me to not only "clean out that closet but to destroy it and build a new one". Hmmm...not a great testimony of my refusal to not allow 'junk to enter' (pg. 65).

Even though I have, repeatedly, read Psalm 57, I have never thought about David's words: "Awake my soul!" Those words alone led me to re-read Chapter 5 several times and really think about what it meant for one's soul to be awake.

Jennifer's words on page 66 were, in fact, a means of waking my soul: "The initial undeception that leads us to faith in God is the big one, but other, daily undeceptions keep our souls clean and thriving...We need constant reminders of truth and a heightened awareness of reality. We must constantly challenge our souls to be fully aware, awake, and tuned in."
  • I confess that I am not constantly challenging my soul. It seems that the 'bad thoughts' are often so much easier to believe that I won't allow the Truths to take root. I wonder why that is...
    • Is it due to those negative thoughts simply being there far longer? Is it because it takes less effort to simply believe the words spoken by another than searching out what God says? Is it simply a part of living in a fallen world? These are the thoughts that I need to prayerfully lay before the Lord and allow Him to lead me to a place of repentance, when necessary.

Jennifer's words on how we allow distractions to divert us from the truth and risk the care of precious treasures hit me like a brick. I believe that my biggest distractions are in being overly concerned about what others may think of/about me (lest I be a disappointment) and my strong inclination to avoid conflict & pain. I MUST (as Jennifer advises on pages 71-73) to not allow ANY sort of distraction to displace my treasures by constantly waking up my soul, focusing on what God deems valuable, and placing all distractions firmly where they belong.

The view of how Satan lulls us into a place of complacency simply because we grow accustomed to the distractions that he places in the way was a moment of 'awakening' for me. I have grown weary in fighting off the "roaring lion" because I've been using my own means of protection and weapons that are not from God. I SO APPRECIATED the specific Scripture references that were used throughout this chapter to silence that 'roar'.

God, used this chapter, to truly awaken my soul. I thank Him for his persistence and I thank Jennifer for allowing Him to use her as a means to spread His message(s).

End of the Chapter Questions:

  1. What undeception has brought you liberty? The most recent undeception has been that this is not my battle, alone; the battle is being fought by God and the weapons He has made readily available. I only need to TRUST in Him, RELY upon Him, and take Him at His Word.

  2. Have you identified your real enemy? I think I am my own worst enemy. I have allowed Satan to distract and discourage me.

  3. Do you need to tell your soul to tune in more often? Most definitely YES!! Minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins (#110)


http://fridayfillins.blogspot.com/

  1. Please don't tell me that chocolate is bad for me.

  2. Can you let me sleep in in the morning?

  3. The color blue makes me want to be at the beach; any beach!

  4. I have a craving for chocolate almond ice cream in a waffle cone.

  5. If my life had a pause button, I'd pause it while my Papaw Davis was living. I'd listen more and talk less.

  6. Eyes are the predictors of one’s mood.

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing absolutely nothing (I am beginning to see a Friday evening trend here…hmmm…), tomorrow my plans include cleaning, budgeting, reading, blogging, spending some ‘school district money on my precious Pre-K kiddos, & listening to my brand new CD by Todd Wright. If you like praise and worship music, this CD has some amazing songs. His website is toddwrightband.com and Sunday, I want to begin the packing preparation for the upcoming trip to Jamaica!! My passport is on the way!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Treasured Memories of a Dear Friend

This is David: my childhood hero, turned friend, who will hold a special place in my heart for an eternity.

My friend, David, found his forever love, Coralee, and I couldn't have been more pleased. Their love for one another was beyond obvious and she was soon to become my treasured friend who also holds a special place in my heart. I was 15 years old when they wed.

On December 19, 2008, my dear friend Dave lost his life after overcoming a myriad of health issues. Among these "issues" included being a blessed recipient of a double lung & heart transplant in November 1994. Each day of David's 51 years was a miracle to all those who loved him.
(David & Coralee, with their 2 children during his last hospitalization.)

I am so grateful that David is with the Lord and is no longer having to fight so hard for his physical life yet at the same time, my heart is broken. I never imagined it would be this hard to say goodbye-for-now.
For as long as I can remember, I have prayerfully been thankful for the amazing gift of having David in my life. I remember when I was very young watching him serve in various capacities during the worship services. I had no idea, at that time, who he was, but he had already carved out a special place within my heart because of the kindness he showed towards a pester-y little girl.
I was watching David the whole time I was growing up. Because of the respect I saw him show others, the consistency of his attendance at worship services and the connectedness he shared with his family, I began to realize (or at least hope) that there were men who could be considered “good” and were worthy of trust. Because of David’s example, I became better able to open up towards others. Looking back, he was my first memory of someone being a “real” example of Christ.
As I became older, I was privileged to not only know of David but I had the opportunity to get to know him. He became my "big brother" and in many ways, my "best friend" for many years. He was, unknowingly, my safe place during times of abuse. He held me as I cried over difficulties I experienced within my family. He comforted me at the time when several dear friends, within a very short time frame, lost their lives at such a young age. He helped me to pass History classes from Middle School all the way through college. He guided me through confusion, conflicts and mistakes. He was always there for me, regardless of the time of day or night. He always seemed glad to see me. His home, before and after his marriage, was the place I most felt welcome.

For the longest time, David was the first person with whom I wanted to share “good news” and the only person I wanted to tell of “the bad”. He provided me with a physical sense of safety and security that I had never known. He listened to me, talked with me, prayed for me, advised and encouraged me without ever expressing shame, disappointment, or harsh judgments.
I am so grateful that David allowed God to use him in such ways to provide a very scared, insecure, vulnerable little girl a place of safety and refuge; especially at the times there didn’t seem to be any other place to turn. David helped me to make wise choices during those difficult pre-teen and teen years and helped me to find healing from the not-so-wise-choices.
I thank God for allowing David to be a part of my life. I thank David for allowing God to use him in such meaningful, miraculous ways to shape my life. I am grateful for Dave’s unconditional love and acceptance. I thank David for the many moments of safety, security, rest, and protection. I thank him for allowing me the privilege to be a part of his family by encouraging me to build relationships with his parents, his sisters, his wife, and later his children.
I could never adequately express my love and appreciation for this man who made such a lasting impression on my life. He was the strongest man I have ever known and I am so grateful that I was privileged to be a part of his life. I, repeatedly, told David how much I treasured our friendship and I, now, hope and pray that he did, in fact, know how much he and his family mean to me.

Self Talk, Soul Talk Chapter 5 (personal reflections)

http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/2008/11/next-blog-study-book.html

This past week has been filled with activity and emotion. I have read and re-read Chapter 5 yet am still mulling over the thoughts and ideas. I will post my thoughts/responses when my mind slows down and allows for some filtering time :). God bless!

God's Timing

This past week has been especially hard. I have felt like Satan has been pulling double-duty interrupting my thoughts in the day and causing chaos in my dreams at night. The emotional and physical fatigue have led to thoughts/feelings such as: 'Does what I do/say/think/feel really make any difference.' & 'I need to stay away from others until I can be more of a blessing than a burden.'
When I received an email regarding the Top 100 Christian Women's Blog of 2008, I was deeply touched. I wasn't even aware there was such a thing but somehow, this blog, for reasons beyond my understanding (outside of the graciousness of God) was a 'winner' in the category of:
"All New Flavor Blog: This blog is less than a year old but already shows such a tremendous capacity to bless. You just can't wait to see where she'll go from here!"

I have been SO blessed by reading the posts of other Christian women and I am grateful, that in whatever way possible, I may have, also, blessed others. Thank you to those who nominated and voted. God used this as a stepping stone to get me out of the mire that I was sliding around in.

If you haven't checked out this list, it is filled with blogs that will bless and enrich you. Check the list out at http://www.internetcafedevotions.com/2009/01/top-100-christian-womens-blogs-2008.html