Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

28 August 2012

Eternity in 5 Minutes or Less

I suppose this would be more accurate if titled: "Eternal Blessings in 5 Minutes or Less"

As a Christ follower I used to wonder...

* How much time do I need to spend on my daily devotions?  

* Do I need to set aside time all seven days or just six, since I attend church on Sundays?  

* Should I read a specific number of verses or chapters from the Bible?

* Should I buy a book or do something on my own?

* How much time do I need to commit to in order to be a "good Christian"?

Through the years, I've come to understand that there are not "good" or "bad" Christians.  Once you commit to follow Jesus, you are a work in progress.  It's a journey & a process that only becomes perfected on the day we stand in front of God.  As His Word says, 

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, 
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns." 

I've prayed about it & adopted the philosophy that it's not the quantity of time I spend with God that matters nearly as much as the quality of time I spend with Him.  And, in keeping with the way I handle almost every other situation in my life, I begin with baby steps.  My motto has been, "Start small... just start."  So, I have consistently set my mandatory goals rather low - with the knowledge that some days God will take me further into study & prayer and other days He will work through a small amount of time.

Today was a day that my commitment to spend 4-5 minutes reading a devotional book blessed me in a way that I'm certain no other words could have.  Without going into the details of some challenges I face lately, let me just say, the following short devotional caused my heart to SING praise to my Heavenly Father...   
"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9 
Sometimes, we must accept life on its terms, not our own. Life has a way of unfolding, not as we WILL, but as it will. And sometimes, there is precious little we can do to change things. 
When events transpire that are beyond our control, we have a choice: we can either learn the art of acceptance, or we can make ourselves miserable as we struggle to change the unchangeable. We must entrust the things we cannot change to God. Once we have done so, we can prayerfully & faithfully tackle the important work that He has placed before us: doing something about the things we can change ... and doing it sooner rather than later. 
Can you summon the courage and the wisdom to accept life on its own terms? If so, you'll most certainly be rewarded for your good judgement. 
Challenging Your Faith: When you encounter situations that you cannot change, you must learn the wisdom of acceptance ... and you must learn to trust God. 
"Two words will help you cope when you run low on hope: accept & trust." ~ @ChuckSwindoll #quote  
"Acceptance says: True, this is my situation at the moment. I'll look unblinkingly at the reality of it. But, I'll also open my hands to accept willingly whatever a loving Father sends me." ~ Catherine Marshall #quote 
"Surrender to the Lord is not a tremendous sacrifice, not an agonizing performance. It is the most sensible thing you can do." ~ Corrie ten Boom #quote 
"Sheathe your sword! Should I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?" John 18:11 
"He is the Lord. He will do what He thinks is good." 1 Samuel 3:18 
"Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18-19 
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord." Job 1:21 
Today's Prayer: Dear Lord, Let me live in the present, not the past. Let me focus on my blessings, not my sorrows. Give me the wisdom to be thankful for the gifts that I do have, and not bitter about the things that I don't have. Let me accept what was, let me give thanks for what is, and let me have the faith in what most surely will be: the promise of eternal life with You. Amen 
(Directly from the pages of Finding Boundaries, 100 devotions for women published by Family Christian Bookstores)
I tweeted about it this morning: "Sitting on the patio swing in my red 'scotty dog' jammies - being blessed by God's faithfulness. He's never early, never late, always right on time!"

Eternal blessings in 5 minutes or less.... totally a possibility.  

YOU... can make it a reality!

A great YouTube video to go with this is His Grace is Greater by Larnelle Harris.

(shared this with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community)

27 August 2012

Life is for Sharing

A friend posted the picture below on Facebook. When I asked for her permission to share the picture & her words, she replied, "Feel free to share. Life is for sharing."
...where I learned a lot of life lessons

What she had shared with the picture stirred something within my heart:
These last couple of months, my husband and I have spent time looking ahead, after we married off our youngest daughter. However last week, I was taken back 30 years after the sudden death of my cousin's son. Oddly the only picture I took was on the starting line at Mountain Park Dragway. I stopped here on my drive out of Clay City, Kentucky. This is where I learned a lot of life lessons, so did my cousin's son, Joey. They closed the track this weekend in memory of him. 
What's happening around us in life often changes our focus.  As we enter into a new chapter, our focus is forward.  As we face a loss or radical change, often we look back.  There's no control over what will happen in our lives.  The only control we have is how we handle it.

Do we learn from what happens?  Do we grow from what happens? Do we look for good to come from the hard times?  Do we recognize & are we thankful for the "little" good things in life?

Where do we learn our life lessons?  Are we always open to learn more & become a better version of ourselves??

We need to share our lives with each other... 
  • to be honest with where we are & where we are headed Confess faults (failures, discouragements, etc.) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. James 5:16a
  • to encourage others that there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel that life can be at time - He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4
  • to reassure others that their efforts are not in vain - For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the LORD gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart! 1 Chronicles 22:13
  • to ease the burden of others Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Life is for sharing!

Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today... 

24 August 2012


Today... I am... a tad OVERWHELMED...

Tonight & tomorrow is Women of Faith in downtown Indy. God's been whispering in my ear that THIS YEAR is going to be really special for Him. As a friend & I were saying yesterday, we never really KNOW what He has in store for us (and through us) when we are faithful to do what we are led to do or to be where we are led to be.

And me... I have about a MILLION things going on in my life lately. Some of my LOVED & CHERISHED friends are going through stressful & hectic times right now... really STRESSFUL & HECTIC times... even horrendous for a few of them. Some have had plans to go to Women of Faith & are having road blocks even today! I am dealing with so many things, I can't even begin the list. I KNOW THAT GOD IS IN ALL OF IT... I also believe that satan is trying to interfere.

I sent the above note to the women who serve with me on our Women's Ministries Leadership Team at Madison Park along with the following request:
May I please ask your prayers for all of those attending WoF this weekend. God is ready & willing to do a GOOD WORK through this weekend. Please pray that our eyes will be focused on Him instead of the stresses of this world. Please pray that we will reach out & be inclusive to those around us who NEED TO SEE JESUS!

I closed that note with:
My deepest gratitude!! I am so blessed to have so many Godly sisters who "have my back".
 The moment I hit SEND, my eyes were filled with tears.  Yes, I am overwhelmed... I'm overwhelmed by the love of God & my gratitude for the Godly sisters who walk life with me! Like my mama used to say, "There's strength & safety in numbers!"

"For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." Matthew 18: 20

(shared this post with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gift community)

the thanksgiving precedes the miracle...

18 August 2012

I'm Stuck

Today I'm stuck

Come to think of it I've been stuck for awhile now. 

And, I really wish I could get unstuck.

I wonder... Is God allowing me to be stuck to learn something? Is God allowing me to be stuck while someone else is learning something?

I wonder... Am I still in the "wrap in a blanket & hide" stage of grief. You know, our old friend, GRIEF... the gradual, and often painful, acceptance of a new reality.

I understand there's nothing I can physically do to change this new reality.

I wholeheartedly believe in the miraculous power of prayer even when I don't know exactly what to pray. Do I pray for...
Protection... Provision... Wisdom... Strength... Health... Recommitment... Renewal
I'm haunted by what I've seen & heard. How THIS could be the "happy ending" is inconceivable. It's not about me... but my heart is broken by it. It goes against everything I've hoped for & dreamed about. I feel robbed and yet know that I'm the one least affected by all of this.

I believe that the plans God has for ALL OF His children are of a future and a hope. And yet, I see no hope in THIS future.

God, I believe in you! I trust you! I love you. I surrender to you & your will. Please hold me tightly God... while I'm stuck.

In one way or another...
aren't we all stuck at times?

(written a while ago... God remains faithful... I am trusting Him in the moments that I feel stuck)

16 August 2012

Candles in the Wind

Anybody remember Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album? I was listening to classic rock today & the words to one of those song reminded me of the lost & lonely souls out there. May we be light to them & shelter in the storm! 

Dear God, 

Please watch over your beloved children who live their lives like candles in the wind. Draw them near. Keep them safe. Kindle their hearts to brightly shine for You... 
in your perfect timing!

Thank you God,
A Former Candle in the Wind

14 August 2012

Coincidence? I Think Not...

This morning I woke up & followed my custom of reading my first devotional via the YouVersion.com app on my phone. It read...  
Our care for others is a measure of our greatness. How much concern do you show to others? This is a vital question that can accurately measure your greatness in God's eyes. How have you expressed your care for others lately, especially the helpless, the needy, the poor-those who can't return your love and concern? Your honest answer to that question will give you a good idea of your real greatness. 
Jesus said,  “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”  Luke 9:48 NLT 
My heart was touched and, I was immediately impressed to copy & share the devotional on the Women's Ministries Facebook page for our church.  So I posted the short devotional & scripture on the page without refreshing the page to see what had been recently added by others.
Imagine my surprise when the page refreshed & I saw what had been posted just minutes before by Dove Harbora safe haven for women & children in crisis...
Extremely thankful to be sharing our Saturday morning with The Encourager's Group, from Madison Park Church of God! THANK YOU so much for helping us transform 2 rooms into "homes" for 2 families! What a blessing this morning has been, as well as a privilege to serve with such a wonderful group of volunteers!

This is just one of the MANY wonderful Madison Park groups who support the Dove Harbor ministry...what a great group of women and a few good men!! THANK YOU!
Coincidence?  I think not! I believe that at the moment the Lord was impressing me to post that devotional, that He was impressing Dove Harbor to write their post on our page.  God's timing is always PERFECT!

What a blessing to have been a part of such a great "coincidence" orchestrated by God!

Life's Snapshots - Overlooking the Obvious

Sometimes it's best to overlook the obvious.
And, keep looking ahead for something which will bring a smile!

Take for instance, the LOML's table setting skills...

If I was way too hung up on the fact that after xxx years of marriage to that man he recalls nothing about placement of the silverware, this might not have tasted so wonderful...

the LOML's grilling skills!

Has the LOML (my husband) never been told about or seen how to set a table?  NO, there have been numerous attempts to help him out!

Does my husband really care about silverware being in the right place? NO!  

I'd love for him to do a FEW things around the house in a more conventional manner.  But, as all those "relationship" experts say, "You have to pick your battles."

I've adopted the philosophy that...
Sometimes it's just best to overlook the obvious!

11 August 2012

A Safe Harbor

I believe that Christians need some sort of accountability structure in their lives.  

I have an accountability partner with whom I've met regularly for almost 17 years now - WOW!!  Over the years, some seasons we've met weekly... other seasons we've touch base 2-3 times a month.   She's not afraid to ask me the hard questions.  I'm not afraid to ask her the hard questions.  I feel completely free to tell her my deepest darkest secrets too :D I know she is praying for me - even when we don't speak regularly.  I am praying for her daily too!

I have a small group through the Worship Arts Ministry at my local church.  During the school months, we meet once a month (plus a few extra social meetings).  In the summers, we meet a few times socially. They aren't afraid to ask me the hard questions. And, I'm not afraid to ask them the hard questions.  We lovingly encourage each other to grow in grace... in Him!

It would be so easy for me to settle into my day to day life & not seek to grow or become "a better me" without the love & help of accountability friends.

It's important to find a SAFE place to open up.  And, personally, I believe that if you ask God to provide a safe harbor to open up to others... He will provide it. We need each other.  Ask Him to help you find a place of accountability, if you don't already have one.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. James 5:16-18 The Message

08 August 2012

Life's Snapshots - Earning a Sticker

You are never too old to earn a sticker on the sticker chart...

in my opinion :)

Plate full of healthy food...
Give that girl a sticker!
Some days it's all I can do to get out of bed.  So, when I make the get out of bed & make the bed immediately, I give myself a "star."

Never hesitate to pat yourself on the back for an accomplishment... even the small ones :D

07 August 2012

August 2012 ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... here we go for... 

Today I find JOY in...

Wed 8/1
3 gifts white: the flower on my door sign; the wicker rocker handed down to me; the light at the end of this next tunnel

622. waiting for my walking partner & actually seeing a BIRD land
on this sign on my front door

623. an open floor for a... few moments

624. life-changing moment & claiming God's goodness in all

Thurs 8/2
3 gifts eaten: peach from the tree; pear tomatoes; cucumbers
625. Claiming... "For those who can see, the world’s beauty outweighs its burdens,
its grace greater than its grime." ~ Ann Voskamp
626. celebrating a new baby to Carly & Derrick

627. picking peaches & veggies w/the LOML next door

Fri 8/3
3 gifts: 10am 1pm 10pm - below... 
628. 10am Safety of my BFFHeiter - near miss in auto accident!!
629. 1pm Garrett showing Duchess at Indiana State Fair

630. 10pm thinking about getting out of "Dodge" tomorrow w/the LOML

Sat 8/4
3 gifts sitting: in a car for 5 hours; in the wedding of Amanda & Nick; at the table with friends at the reception
631. SiriusXM The Message all the way to Galesburg, IL :D
632. celebrating the lives, friendship & love of Amanda & Nick

633. date night after wedding reception
with the LOML... & best friend aka Bear 

Sun 8/5
3 gifts inside, outside, inside, upside down: below
634. leisurely start to the morning - inside
635. stops along the way... Sleepy Creek & The Beef House - outside

636. The chains that seem to bind you, serve only to remind you
that they drop POWERLESS behind you
when you PRAISE HIM! 

upside down

Mon 8/6
3 gifts in water: thirst quenched by everlasting water; my witness through baptism; life nourished by water
637. 'Missy' is the Indiana State Fair Champion Red Poll Heifer!!!

638. boys who treat hamburger gravy & rice like it's a gourmet meal :)
639. Seriously... I just pulled all the pieces of paper together & the pics together to complete & publish my July #JoyDare list
and a blog called Eat More Veggies...
Tues 8/7
3 gifts in His Word: abundant life (John 10:10b); hope as an anchor of my soul (Hebrews 6:19); peace like a river (Isaiah 48:18)
640. horribly groggy start to the day that allowed me to just WRITE :)
641. not feeling badly about taking an afternoon nap on a day when the night before held only 4+ hours of sleep
642. just one of my jobs

Wed 8/8
3 gifts in summer: babysitting neighbor's garden while she's gone; our little garden; bountiful fresh veggies & fruit!!!
643. a long drive to Cincinnati with only my thoughts & classical music
644. package of goodies i put together for my brother-in-law

645. acting like a kid with my sisters (we are a LONG WAY from being young)

Thurs 8/9
3 gifts hole, whole, half: missing the LOML through the night; 3 sisters reunited; small portion of Graeter's ice cream
646. waking up at 3am - but having my sister there to giggle with
647. showing CCM off to "Aunt Carol"

648. an empty Graeter's cup - 'cause I gobbled it down!

Fri, 8/10
3 gifts hard eucharisteo: could seriously name 100 lately!
When Your Story is Not Your Own
When Dreams Die
Where Can They Go?
649. temps in the low 60's for a morning walk
and dew on a spider's web :)
650. a counter FULL of tomatoes & more on the vine!
651. Friday family dinner - all 4 of us :)

Sat 8/11
3 gifts of metal: rusted patio furniture; mis-matched patio lights; silverware placement
652. putting a care package together for a sick friend
653. a total God thing regarding Dove Harbor
654. my husband's table setting skills...

my husband's grilling skills...

Sun 8/12
3 gifts half hidden: the rest of the story; the bottom of the pool; the bottom half of my garden plants
655. sleepless night - 100's of hymns memorized from childhood as a preacher's daughter :)
656. assisting the pool boy (aka the LOML)

657. left overs made into a great salad!

Mon 8/13
3 gifts in green: grass still wet from the night's rain; new growth on vines outside my window; sea glass & lobster floats on deck
658. getting rained in from morning devotions outside
659. new growth on the clematis & a GREEN lawn!

660. nightfall w/the LOML & beautiful colors

Tues 8/14
3 gifts in a ring, curve, sphere: Heiter's ringtone; the stream through the corn field; old blown glass lobster trap floats
661. fresh tomatoes on an egg sandwich
662. old blown glass left handed pitcher
663. memories of the cabin on Yellow Creek Lake

Wed 8/15
3 gifts ugly beautiful: 1. Being Stuck  2. facing a mountain in my life  3. my "gravel" driveway - grrrrrrr!
664. hearing the heart cry of a dear friend
665. devotions outside on a cool morning
(Seriously-is the SAME LOUD CRICKET who sang to me last night singing this a.m. as I finish my devotions out on the deck? Sing to the Lord...)

666. friends with whom I can share my soul

Thurs 8/16
3 gifts of family: 1. friends who FEEL like family  2. gifts for WoF weekend  3. Zumba girlfriends 
667. a WONDERFUL answer to prayer!
So blessed to be able to encourage a few friends who are battling LIFE these days!

668. crazy clouds

669. being sneaky & being able to honor a few Godly women!

Fri 8/17
3 gifts in the morning: 1. Walking w/Ruthanne at 8am. 2. Coffee with Shari at 10am. 3. Chris over for lunch on the deck at noon :) 
670. Walking w/Ruthanne at 8am
671. Coffee with Shari at 10am
672. Chris over for lunch on the deck at noon :)

Sat 8/18

3 gifts: red, read, written: 1. accent colors in my house  2. morning devotions  3. Life is for Sharing
673. BLT's - with garden tomatoes!

674. believing in child labor

675. touched by a friends shared picture - life is for sharing

Sun 8/19
3 gifts in church: 1. son's last Sunday w/us before college  2. niece from FL with us  3. sermon by @RevRoll 
676. reminder that God redeems us & uses us - no matter our past
677. lunch on the deck to celebrate Heather & Tyler

678. too many candles on the cake

Mon 8/20
3 gifts of serving: 1. Women's Ministries  2. Worship Arts  3. making meals
679. memories of when my 2 were starting elementary school after summer
"Mothers hold their children's hands for just a little while, and their hearts forever." ~ Irish proverb
680. walking twice - enjoying a treat

681. pizza party in front of the TV w/my boys
(last night before Tyler heads back to UC-CCM)

Tues 8/21
3 gifts: straight, turn, curve  1. One Way - to heaven  2. mistakes I've learned from  3. 8th street road & deer
682. Tyler's full head of hair - just like his daddy's

683. crammed in a Dodge Dakota w/my 2 favorite guys for 3 hours

684. setting Tyler up in his apartment & meeting his friends

Wed 8/22
3 gifts in light:  1. devotion light up my thought process  2. sun shining thru trellis  3. feet propped up as I gaze at the stars
685. great devotional reminder:
"If you can't change the circumstances, change your attitude—that will make all the difference in the world." ~ Jim Burns  www.HomeWord.com
Philippians 4:11-13
686. iPod on shuffle:
Song1 "Lord Have Mercy" @cbh4hope quartet. Song2 "Steamroller" @JamesTaylor_com Song3 Oboe Concerto 3 in G Minor @GFHandel
687. legs sore & throbbing from a day on them helping a friend!

Thurs 8/23
3 gifts old:  1. my memory (see #688)  2. friendships that last for years  3. a restaurant in a bldg over 100 year old
688. locking myself out of the house after walking
(gave me an opportunity to spend more time w/neighbor friend, Ruthanne)
Our walking partner - Koko
689. packing beside a sweet friend

690. Bonge's w/friends

Fri 8/24
3 gifts moving:  1. my friends from one house to another  2. the Holy Spirit constantly moving!  3. the traffic (NOT) on the way to WoF - but fun w/my friend as we sat in the traffic jam
691. frenzied morning getting ready for WoF & knowing that I would be blessed immensely

692. my hubby bringing me supper & walking me to the arena for WoF
693. fun girl time in Indy for WoF - Women of Faith

Sat 8/25
3 gifts fragile:  1. emotions - but not our resilience  2. relationships - but not when God is the center  3. the shells out on my patio & deck - beautiful, but fragile
694. fun picture taken at WOFcelebrate w/MPC WomMin tweet
695. crying tears of thanksgiving - knowing that God bring beauty from the ruble
696. grilled dolphin dinner after a busy weekend

Sun 8/26
3 gifts cut, sewn, buttoned - 1. salad bar stuff YUMMY  2. my mended BearBear (20+ year old present from the LOML)  3. my hubby's button up shirt at the meeting
697. lots of SALAD at Ruby Tuesday's :)
698. power nap that left pillow marks on my face
699. business mtg w/cute hubby (the LOML) on the platform

Mon 8/27
700. rain... but NO lightning on morning walk
701. DIFFERENT type of shopping
702. friends who open their hearts wide to others

Tues 8/28 Tyler's 20th Birthday :D
3 gifts long awaited: 1. once again regular times w/a long lost friend  2. joy over something which broke my heart  3. status change - embracing what I've been given

Star Wars presents equaled a huge smile!
703. God's perfect timing in a 5 minute devotional
704. my one & only son

705. dinner w/the LOML - talking about our son on his birthday :)

Wed 8/29
3 gifts - one, two, three:  1. the way i feel w/the LOML  2. the children we love  3. the trinity - how perplexing, how divine!!
706. His Grace is Greater than all my fears & all my tears!
707. the tango - always makes me smile
708. Date night

Thurs 8/30
3 gifts small: 1. a dollar store gift that brings a BIG smile  2. a flask of anointing oil  3. a smile can convey a thousand good feelings
709. Anointing & praying for a sweet young lady seeking God's hand upon her year with @MissionYear

710. giving a "happy" to my daughter

711. great quotes
"Acceptance says: True, this is my situation at the moment. I'll look unblinkingly at the reality of it. But, I'll also open my hands to accept willingly whatever a loving Father sends me." ~ Catherine Marshall

Fri 8/31
3 miracles - 1. perfect timing that just can't be humanly explained  2. my hubby & daughter traveling together 3. new life in Him
712. Absolutely awesome post by Ann Voskamp - so perfectly suited to my hubby & our marriage

713. new friendships in the making

714. road trips & renewed relationships

shared with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community
AND THUS CONCLUDES AUGUST 2012 #1000Gifts #JoyDare 

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... click on the name of each month below for each one...
January 2012... I find joy
February 2012... I find joy
March 2012... I find joy
April 2012... I find joy
May 2012... I find joy
June 2012... I find joy
July 2012... I find joy