Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THE THANKSGIVING "SPECIAL" BOUQUET




Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.

During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder.

Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an air bag that saved her life but took that of her child?

"Good afternoon, may I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her.

"I....I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.

"For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving "Special?" asked the shop clerk. "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."

Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."

Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi, Barbara...let me get your order."

She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses; Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.

"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk.

Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said as she gently tapped her chest.

"Uh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uh....she just left with no flowers!"

"Right, said the clerk, "I cut off the flowers. That's the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."

"Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!" exclaimed Sandra.

"Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery."

"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk, "and for the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel."

"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.

"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

"Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.

"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems," laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?"

"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny" times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us."

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special."

I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life," Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too...fresh."

"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment.

"I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.

"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?" Sarah asked.

"Nothing; nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."

It read:

"My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the life I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."

Praise Him for your roses, thank him for your thorns.

--- Author Unknown ---



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are You A Woman on The Edge?



If you asked me that question this week the answer would have to be a resounding YES! It seems I’ve allowed life take me on an emotional roller coaster ride this week. A lot of little things all mixed together have on the proverbial edge. After reading the article below, I realize I need to jump right off of that ledge and straight into the arms of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who is always there to catch me when I’m ready to jump, and who would help me from ever even getting to that point if I could just remember to continually turn to Him in the midst of my humanity!

This article was a very timely reminder of just how much God loves me and wants the best for me! How I can live more peacefully when I choose to rest in Him! It was just too good not to share. I hope you will be as blessed by it as I was!


Five Areas of a Woman’s Life That Need God’s Touch

by Cindi McMenamin Author, Women on the Edge
Article Found at: http://www.crosswalk.com/11635806/

My heart was convicted as I read in Scripture of a woman who was so desperate for God's healing in her life, she was willing to do anything to just touch Him (Mark 5:24-34).

I had to ask myself, how desperate am I for God's touch on my life? There are times I might be desperate to feel and look younger, to be thinner, to have more in the way of peace and happiness. But how desperate am I to be whole and complete in every way?

After surveying nearly 100 women, I found several common areas in which women, myself included, need the touch of God to be whole and complete. I also found that Scripture addresses these areas of a woman's life so that we can receive His healing touch. See if you can relate to needing God's touch in these areas of your life, as well:

1. Our Hearts - So They Can Be "Set On Things Above"
Women often stress over the temporal - bills that must be paid, whether or not a man will come into our lives, if we'll be able to have a child, what someone is saying about us, how our body looks, and so on. At times we are more concerned about what the scales say than what God says. Our heart is closely attuned to our bank balance, rather than our life's balance. Yet God instructs us in Colossians 3:1-2: "set your hearts on things above." If our priorities were in heaven, not on this earth, we would not only be happier and healthier, but less financially drained and emotionally spent. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us not to "store up treasures here on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven ….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." It takes God's touch to clear our hearts of what this world says is important and focus it on the things above.

2. Our Minds - So They Are Transformed and Renewed
It's amazing how many women profess to know God and follow Him, yet their thinking patterns are just like those of anyone else in the world. Scripture commands us: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is" (Romans 12:2, NLT). Furthermore, God's Word instructs: "fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise…and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9, NLT). What mental anguish we would spare ourselves from if we would let God transform our mind and renew our thoughts to think as He would.

3. Our Mouths - To Be Wholesome and Pleasing to God
Because women tend to be communicators, we can cause much damage with our mouths if we do not bring them under God's control. Whether it is gossip, criticism or unkind remarks, our mouths can be instruments of righteousness or unrighteousness. In Ephesians 4:29 we are told to "not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." God's touch on our lives can make us women whose words heal and encourage, rather than distract and destroy.

4. Our Bodies - To Be Pure and Holy for Him
Are you one to worry and stress about what the scale says, how many calories you took in, and whether or not you can still fit into a certain size? God's command to us is "Give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?" (Romans 12:1, NLT). It is important that we keep our bodies healthy and in good shape (as we are His temple), but God says our most prevalent concern should be that we keep our bodies holy. In fact, God calls keeping our bodies holy our "spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1, NIV). One of the ways we can keep our bodies holy is by how we choose to dress. People can tell much about us, and whom we love, by how we dress. Do we call attention to ourselves or the God who made us? If the way we dress says "Look at me!" we may want to rethink how we dress so that others can see Christ through us. Can others see Christ in you or are you getting in the way?

5. Our Emotions - To Be Calmed with the Peace of God
There are days when, hormonally or just circumstantially, we need God's touch to calm our frazzled emotions and level out our lives. Philippians 4:6-7 says "Don't' worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and request to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel" (CEV). A woman who is controlled by God's peace is not on the edge, but in the spacious place of His embrace.

I believe if we seek God's touch in those five areas of our lives we would rarely have reason to feel we are going over the edge. For instance, when you get frustrated in a relationship, go back to the principle of letting God transform and renew your mind to only think on whatever is pure, right, lovely, good, and so on. And when you are about to lose it over finances or something that takes you by surprise, remember to not be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything…keeping a heart of thanksgiving for what you've been given. And when your heart begins to desire something that you cannot attain, remember to set your heart on things above.


Cindi McMenamin, a national speaker and the author of several books, will lead you to a spacious place through her newest book Women on the Edge. For more on her books and ministry, see http://www.strengthforthesoul.com/



Monday, June 21, 2010

Grandma's Hands



Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. 

"Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice
strong.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to her.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked.. "I mean really looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned
them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never
really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was
making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

"They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed
upon the floor.

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

"They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

"They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled
neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and
cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent
and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and
again continue to fold in prayer.

"These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember
God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of
my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been
stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

When you read this, say a prayer for another person watch God's answer to prayer work in your life. 
Prayer, Let's continue praying for one another.

Sharing this with anyone you consider a friend, it will bless you both! 
 
 
 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Learning to Dance in the Rain: The Power of Gratitude





The following is the introduction from the book Learning to Dance in the Rain: The Power of Gratitude by Mac Anderson and B.J. Gallagher.  I received this in an email from a friend today.  The message is so beautifully simple yet vitally important I wanted to share it with you all...

The date was July 16, 2008.  It was  late in the afternoon and I was sitting in my hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky.  I was scheduled to speak that evening for the Kentucky Association of School Administrators  (KASA). I was a little "down in the dumps." I hadn't gotten to exercise lately because of my traveling schedule and recently I'd experienced some mild bouts of  vertigo (that inner ear condition that can cause the room to start spinning.)  You got it...speaking and "spinning" are not good partners!

My keynote presentation was scheduled for 7:00 PM, but I had  been invited to show up at 6:00 to see a performance they said I'd enjoy.  Little did I know that I was about to see something I would never forget.

They introduced the young musician. Welcome...Mr. Patrick  Henry Hughes.  He was rolled onto the stage in his wheelchair, and began to play  the piano.  His fingers danced across the keys as he made beautiful music.

He then began to sing as he played, and it was even more  beautiful.  For some reason, however, I knew that I was seeing something  special.  There was this aura about him that I really can't explain and the  smile...his smile was magic!

About ten minutes into Patrick's performance, someone came on  the stage and said..."I'd like to share a 7-minute video titled, The Patrick Henry Hughes story." And the lights went dim.

Patrick Henry Hughes was born with no eyes, and a tightening of the joints which left him crippled for life.  However, as a child, he was fitted with artificial eyes and placed in a wheelchair.  Before his first birthday, he discovered the piano.  His mom said, "I could hit any note on the piano, and within one or two tries, he'd get it."  By his second  birthday, he was playing requests (You Are My Sunshine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).  His father was ecstatic. "We might not play baseball, but we can play  music together."

Today, Patrick is a junior at the University of Louisville.  His father attends classes with him and he's made nearly all A's, with the exception of 3 B's.  He's also a part of the 214 member marching band.  You read it right..the marching band!  He's a blind, wheelchair-bound trumpet player; and he and his father do it together.  They attend all the band practices and the half-time performance in front of thousands.  His father rolls and rotates his son around the field to the cheers of Patrick's fans.  In order to attend Patrick's classes and every band practice, his father works the graveyard shift at UPS.  Patrick said..."My dad's my hero."

But even more than his unbelievable musical talent, it was  Patrick's "attitude of gratitude" that touched my soul.  On stage, between songs, he would talk to the audience about his life and about how blessed he was.  He said, "God made me blind and unable to walk.  BIG DEAL!  He gave me the  ability.. the musical gifts I have... the great opportunity to meet new people."

When his performance was over, Patrick and his father were on the stage together.  The crowd rose to their feet and cheered for over five minutes.  It gave me giant goose bumps!

My life was ready to meet Patrick Henry Hughes.  I needed a hero, and I found one for the ages.  If I live to be a hundred, I'll never forget that night, that smile, that music, but most importantly, that wonderful "attitude of gratitude."

I returned to Chicago and shared Patrick's story with my wife, my friends, and our team at Simple Truths. About two weeks later, I received a letter from a friend. He said, "Mac, I think you'll love this quote."

"Life is not about waiting for the  storms to pass...
        it's about learning  to dance in  the rain!"
                                                         -Vivian Greene

I thought...that's it!  We all face adversity in our life.  However, it's not the adversity, but how we  react to it that will determine the joy and happiness in our life.  During tough  times, do we spend too much time feeling sorry for ourselves, or, can we, with  gratitude...learn how to dance in the rain?

It almost sounds too simple to feel important, but one word... gratitude, can change your attitude, thus, your life, forever.  

(Above Photograph "Dance In The Rain" by Marinshe )


   

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!





Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. ~Proverbs 1:8

As we approach Mother’s Day, it is good to remember all the ways that our mothers have taught us. The woman in this proverb brings practical knowledge in the affairs of day to day life. From learning to tie shoes to empathizing with discouragement from a hard day, the role of this woman blesses her children for the rest of their lives Whether your earthly mother fits this bill or not, the mother of proverbs stands as an example to help us navigate the opportunities and challenges of life.

Commentary by: Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
From: http://thedailybibleverse.org/


Mother's Day

Monday, May 3, 2010

When I Say That I am Christian






When I say that "I am a Christian" I am not shouting that I am clean living.  I'm whispering, "I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven."


When I say "I am a Christian" I don't speak of this with pride.  I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say "I am a Christian" I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.
 
When I say "I am a Christian" I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
 
When I say "I am a Christian" I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say "I am a Christian" I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say "I am a Christian" I'm not holier than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!



A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first, to find her.
















Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!
 











Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things We Can Learn from a Dog





This is a photo of my beautiful German Shepperd, Bullet.  I think there's a lot we can learn from our pets.  The following list is from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Loving Our Dogs:


1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.


2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.


3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.


4. When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.


5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.


6. Take naps and always stretch before rising.


7. Run, romp and play daily.


8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.


9. Be loyal.


10. Never pretend to be something you're not.


11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.


12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.


13. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.


14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.


15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.


16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.


17. When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.


18. No matter how often you are criticized, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout.
      Run right back and make friends.



 Now, I would love to hear about YOUR pets and how they have enriched your life! 


 












Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Morning Motivation




When I woke up this morning lying in bed,  
I was asking myself;
What
 are some of the secrets of success in life?
I found
 the answer right there,
in my very room.

The fan said - Be cool!
The ceiling said - Aim high!
The window said - See the world!
The clock said - Every moment is precious!
The mirror said - Reflect before you act!
The calendar said - Be up-to-date!
The door said - Push hard for your goals!
And the carpet said - Kneel down and pray!















Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Buzzard, The Bat and The Bumblebee


My friend Cindy sent me the following in an email. I thought is was well worth sharing. It's just a simple reminder of something we can so easily forget in the midst of our troubles. Have a blessed day!




THE BUZZARD: If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

THE BAT: The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.


THE BUMBLEBEE: A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom.. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.


PEOPLE: In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem!




Just look up!
Sorrow looks back,
Worry looks around,
But faith looks up!

Live simply,
love generously,
care deeply,
speak kindly and
trust in our Creator who loves us.

SHARE THIS WITH A FRIEND .... I just did!


I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
Lamentations 3:22 NIV




















Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Soaring Like An Eagle






But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 NLT



I found the prayer below and I loved the analogy of the eagle soaring in the face of storms.  My life is a little stormy at the moment.  They are not bad storms mind you. They are just the storms that accompany change, but they are storms nonetheless. 

It is so comforting to know that I worship a God who is greater than any storm!


Why me? Why not me? My answer -- it's not about me -- it's about You and it's about Your plans and Your purposes. I will be forever grateful for the freedom, hope, and joy this truth has brought to my life.

I look upwards into the Face of my Lord and as I do, I am reminded of the eagle. I often find myself praying the scripture “. . .those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." As I think on this truth my spirit begins to soar. I recognize the lack of fear that exists in an eagle as he faces storms of every type throughout most of his life, yet never falters. I recognize he just adjusts his flight to flow with the storm, knowing in the end he will be safely brought home.

I love watching birds fly, but especially an eagle that soars higher and faster -- never limited by the circumstances surrounding his flight. Like all of us, Jesus, we need the same ability to soar in the face of storms. We need to be sensitive to those around us, and we need to be able to adjust to the circumstances we are facing. Obstacles are always going to be with us, but I praise and thank you that over the years, I have come to understand the importance of embracing struggles, focusing on the purposes You have shown me, and laying down all of the other garbage that tries to confuse and derail me.

My prayer today is one of thanksgiving for the ability You give each one of us to overcome. You have given us all gifts and talents to sustain us. You teach us every day to trust You -- to recognize that life is a journey filled with gates to open and trails to be cleared.

I thank You also that You are teaching me about patience -- which I acknowledge is not my strength. Somehow I know that perseverance, patience, and thanksgiving are the winning combination for my day today. I thank You that I can now embrace with joy and thanksgiving the discipline and focus it takes to get me to a place of peace and joy. Help all who pray this prayer to soar on eagle's wings today. Bring them safely back to the haven of rest You have prepared for them, where they can recognize as they end their day, that their life counted for something -- counted for Jesus and for His cry for His people.

Preceding is from: Trusting God




























Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Whack! Take that Garcia!







Every now and then, I have a bad habit of allowing silly things in life to get the better of me instead of resting in the knowledge that no matter what happens in this life, God's got my back.  So, every now and again I think the good Lord takes the opportunity to say, "Whack! Take that Garcia!." 

Yesterday was one of those days...

We are in the process of preparing our house to sell.  There is much to be accomplished and it was starting to get to the point where I wondered if we'd be able to get it all done in time.  We had decided to hire a landscaper because our yard had really got away from us this Spring and the weeds had taken over the mulched areas in a BIG way.

We had been waiting for a few days for a landscaper to call us back, but I (the impatient one) was getting a little antsy Sunday afternoon and instead of just trusting, I started to STRESS! Fortunately, I am blessed with a wonderful husband (the patient one) who was in the midst of talking me off the ledge and telling me, "Everything is going to be ok and it will all work out, you'll see, we'll get everything done." when his cell phone rang...

Yep, you guessed it.  It was the landscaper.  Not only was he calling us back, he wanted to know if he could come out right then to look at our weed infested yard.  He did and we agreed on a price.  He'll start working on beautifying our yard today.

While I was in the midst of my stressing out, our good friend Claire was with us and she was just amazed at the timing of the landscaper's phone call.  My husband wasn't.  He told Claire, "Every now and then God likes to whack her (meaning me) upside her head to remind her that He's in control."

Thanks Lord... I needed that!


Corrie Ten Boom once said, "Let God's promises shine on your problems."


You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will. You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it?  Hannah Whitall Smith






















Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good-Bye Southern Living! So Long Insecurity!



Hi Ya'll! Ha! Now, won't it be funny when I move back North next week and I'm still saying things like Ya'll?  Well, you can't live in the South for 5 years without picking up a few local phrases here and there, right?  One of my all time favorite sayings down here in the South is: "Bless Your Heart" - and the jury (in my mind at least!) is still out as to precisely what that means... but, I digress! 

What I really wanted to talk about today is the Beth Moore book I just finished reading called So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us   I just can't begin to say enough about this book and the impact it has had on my life!  And, being as short as I am on time right now while trying to prepare for my move, rather than write a full out review of my own, I'm going to include a few links to reviews for you to read at your leisure:




Review From Publisher's Weekly:
Prolific Bible teacher and women’s ministry leader Moore (Get Out of That Pit) moves away from her characteristic dead-on expositions of scriptural principles in her newest; the topic is insecurity, and the content, she admits, is close to an autobiography. Moore, always transparent with her own personal struggles, is refreshingly so throughout this text. Readers will be chortling in laughter one moment and sucking air the next as Moore exposes the many faces of female insecurity. The author names and claims each one, then defuses every bit of power these nonsensical inner voices possess by countering their lies with God’s truth. Women, no matter what their age, battle against advertising’s siren call for unattainable physical perfection; the habit of making a man’s love the ultimate validation; and the worldly definition of success as money, power, and status. Moore uses personal essays, women’s true confessions, expressive prayers, and lots of commonsense suggestions to jar women out of their insecure rut. Readers will delve into this work and find themselves comfortably uncomfortable, and this is a very good thing.

I read this life altering book along with seven other woman from my church.  We met weekly to discuss what we had read and to share our thoughts, feelings and experiences with each other.  We followed along online at the LPM blog and answered discussion questions that were specific to each of the chapters we had read that week.

Insecurity is toxic and destructive and robs more joy from the lives of women (and men too!) than probably anything else I can think of!  It ruins lives, destroys relationships and basically  prohibits you from living your life to its fullest!
I highly recommend this book, and if at all possible, I also suggest you look for a site near you that is hosting the So Long Insecurity Live Simulcast on Saturday, April 24, 2010.  Click HERE to find a host site near you!

Hopefully, a few of the lovely ladies from the study group I attended will pop on here and leave some comments as to how this book and study has impacted their lives.  I can attest that for me, this book has given me the knowledge I needed as well as exposing the power and strength I never knew was there all along.  I am now ready to continue the battle against insecurity all the way to its defeat!

Thank you for stopping by today! If insecurity is an issue that you struggle with, I hope you'll pick up a copy of this book and learn how you too can win the battle!
























Your POSITIVE thoughts and comments are always welcome. Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly. Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Carrot, The Egg and The Coffee Bean



A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" the mother asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? 

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

 












Your positive thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Please keep comment 'language' family-friendly.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Are You a Bucket Filler or A Bucket Dipper?




You have heard of the cup that overflowed. This is a story of a bucket that is like the cup, only larger, it is an invisible bucket. Everyone has one. It determines how we feel about ourselves, about others, and how we get along with people. Have you ever experienced a series of very favorable things which made you want to be good to people for a week? At that time, your bucket was full.

A bucket can be filled by a lot of things that happen. When a person speaks to you, recognizing you as a human being, your bucket is filled a little. Even more if he calls you by name, especially if it is the name you like to be called. If he compliments you on your dress or on a job well done, the level in your bucket goes up still higher. There must be a million ways to raise the level in another's bucket. Writing a friendly letter, remembering something that is special to him, knowing the names of his children, expressing sympathy for his loss, giving him a hand when his work is heavy, taking time for conversation, or, perhaps more important, listing to him.

When one's bucket is full of this emotional support, one can express warmth and friendliness to people. But, remember, this is a theory about a bucket and a dipper. Other people have dippers and they can get their dippers in your bucket. This, too, can be done in a million ways.

Lets say I am at a dinner and inadvertently upset a glass of thick, sticky chocolate milk that spills over the table cloth, on a lady's skirt, down onto the carpet. I am embarrassed. "Bright Eyes" across the table says, "You upset that glass of chocolate milk." I made a mistake, I know I did, and then he told me about it! He got his dipper in my bucket! Think of the times a person makes a mistake, feels terrible about it, only to have someone tell him about the known mistake ("Red pencil" mentality!)

Buckets are filled and buckets are emptied, emptied many times because people don't really think about what are doing. When a person's bucket is emptied, he is very different than when it is full. You say to a person whose bucket is empty, "That is a pretty tie you have," and he may reply in a very irritated, defensive manner.

Although there is a limit to such an analogy, there are people who seem to have holes in their buckets. When a person has a hole in his bucket, he irritates lots of people by trying to get his dipper in their buckets. This is when he really needs somebody to pour it in his bucket because he keeps losing.

The story of our lives is the interplay of the bucket and the dipper. Everyone has both. The unyielding secret of the bucket and the dipper is that when you fill another's bucket it does not take anything out of your own bucket. The level in our own bucket gets higher when we fill another's, and, on the other hand, when we dip into another's bucket we do not fill our own ... we lose a little.

For a variety of reasons, people hesitate filling the bucket of another and consequently do not experience the fun, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction connected with making another person happy. Some reasons for this hesitancy are that people think it sounds "fakey," or the other person will be suspicious of the motive, or it is "brown-nosing."

Therefore, let us put aside our dipper and resolve to touch someone's life in order to fill their bucket.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ever Feel Like a Monster?





I saw this band Skillet for the first time the other night. I could really identify with their song Monster (video and lyrics below). If you're anything like me, there are parts of yourself that you don't share with many - if any - other people. Thoughts, feelings and emotions that you keep locked up inside of yourself usually because you're afraid to trust anyone with what is the deepest, and often darkest, parts of you.

No matter how tightly we keep the secrets of our hearts and minds locked away from other people, there is One who knows our every thought before we even think it... and He still loves us in spite of all that we are or all that we fail to be.

God knows your heart

The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3 NLT)

But here is the awesome part: He still loves you, NO MATTER WHAT!

And for that I will always praise Him!

Are you ready to accept the unconditional love of a forgiving Savior?
If so, CLICK HERE



Skillet's Web Page
Skillet's Facebook Fan Page

Monster
By Gavin Brown and John Landrum Cooper

The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can't control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can't hold it

It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can't control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster

My secret side I keep hid under lock and key
I keep it caged but I can't control it
'Cause if I let him out he'll tear me up, break me down
Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster

It's hiding in the dark, it's teeth are razor sharp
There's no escape for me, it wants my soul, it wants my heart
No one can hear me scream, maybe it's just a dream
Maybe it's inside of me, stop this monster

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I've gotta lose control, he something radical
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster



Thursday, April 8, 2010

Your Attitude is TRULY a Choice!





Attitude, it can make us or break us! What's yours doing to you??

Attitude, it's contaigous! Is yours worth catching??

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength ~ Proverbs 17:22 NLT



Today's post is dedicated to my friend Karyn D. who reminded us all this morning how important it is to have a GOOD attitude! Thank you Karyn!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Get OUT Crap Demons! Get Out and STAY Out!!!





I am a woman possessed! Maybe you are too!

Do you hear those voices in your head?
You know, the ones that are always telling you things like,

YOU'RE STUPID
YOU'RE TOO FAT
YOU'RE TOO THIN
YOU'RE NOSE IS TOO BIG
YOU'LL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH, PRETTY ENOUGH



Well, I'm saying: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


I am borrowing a term I heard one of my fellow members on Nutrimirror use and (if you'll pardon my use of the vernacular here) I've named those voices CRAP DEMONS, because that is exactly what they spew out of their tiny little demon mouths!

The crap demons will set up camp if you allow them but I've decided it's high-time I kick them to the curb! I am choosing another way! My goal will be to speak TRUTH into those nasty lies they keep whispering to me! I am choosing to start talking back!

When I hear their ugly, hateful voices I will remind myself that I am:

An Attractive Woman
An Intelligent Woman
A Capable Woman
A Good Wife
A Good Mother
A Good Daughter
A Good Friend
A Good Employee

And Most Importantly!

A daughter of the King Most High! Created in His image and likeness!

God Made Me!

And God Doesn't Make Junk!

So that take THAT crap demons!

Now, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

and close the door on your way out please....
it's a little drafty in here!