Just a glimpse of me...

My photo
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 September 2012

Taking it Easy While Working Hard

Today, I've been thinking about how busy I am for not having a real job... and how BLESSED I am to be able to do what I do - a little writing, a lot of volunteering, a TINY bit of gardening, being a stay-at-home wife (& mom), participating in community events & church events, etc.
If God can do laundry... so can I :)
(gotta love The Far Side)
God never fails to bless me -- on a very personal & tangible basis -- when I give my time to His children in love.  I love the Lord & I love my church family at Madison Park. I love being connected to non-believers in my neighborhood & community. God designed every one of us & that makes every person very special in His eyes.

No matter what we do (a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker), the Bible says we should do it with 100% of our effort - as if to the Lord. A few great scriptures about working hard...

  • "Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically." Romans 12:11 
  • "This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers." 1 Timothy 4:10
  • "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
I'm busy & get worn out (and occasionally frustrated) but, I am at peace when I am doing the things I believe God has put on my schedule each day.  And... "so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone." 2 Peter 1:15 

There's nothing better than sharing GOD'S LOVE & HIS GOOD NEWS!

25 September 2012


We are DOING SOMETHING in my town...

This email was sent by Madison Park Church of God.
Email not displaying correctly? Click here.

Do YOU wish you could make a positive difference in our community & in our world. In the midst of our busy lives , we still long to do something meaningful.  Well here's a great chance! Beginning this coming Sunday, September 30, we can work together - DO Something Anderson!  During the week, hundreds of volunteers from 7 churches & the community at large are coming together to tackle work projects that the city has been unable to address, due to economic down turn and a shortage of government funding. All of the projects and work sites have been identified by the City of Anderson.

Participating Churches: 

  • Celebration Church
  • East Side Church of God
  • Florida Station Church of God
  • Madison Park Church of God
  • Main Street Church of God
  • Park Place Church of God
  • South Meridian Church of God

Community Sponsors

  • Bendle Lawn Equipment
  • Herald Bulletin
  • Phillippe Water
  • Ricker's

Open to the entire community!! Sign up with a friend or your family!!

DO Something Anderson is an initiative designed to make a positive difference in our community.  Volunteers from all over the area will be coming together  & working side by side! Visit the DoSomethingAnderson website... download the project list and sign-up form.  You may sign-up online too! There are a variety of "hands-on" tasks that can be done.  We are also in need of hospitality team members.  There's something for EVERYONE. Won't you join us!! 
Through a partnership with city leaders, the 2012 DO Something Anderson Blitz week has been designated as September 30 - October 6. Join us & make a difference!

Have a great week!
The Communications Gal - cyndee

RE: Women's Ministries at Madison Park
The best sources for all the information about what the women (young & not-so-young) of MPC are up to can be found via 
The Tuesday Scoop, our Facebook page & our Twitter feed. For the complete picture of what's happening at Madison Park Church, we encourage you to check the main website daily AND subscribe to the Threads Email Updates.

Loving God... Loving Women... Loving Well
Connect with each other & with us in the following ways:
Madison Park Church of God
Anderson, Indiana


24 September 2012

Conserving Energy

I'm conserving energy. Why? Because it seems to be in limited supply in my life lately. Is it really or are certain things stealing my energy? Do I begin each day with plenty of energy & squander it on non-worthy things (fretting, planning, speculating, etc.)?

Has anyone seen my energy?

The inability to "act" - my plague. The need of super energy for what the rest of the world does effortlessly - yep, that's me. Day after day after day of heartbreak & disappointment with not much of a hint for a better day in sight - BINGO! And yet, I faithfully list my "Joy Dares" daily & hold tightly to the memory of those moments of joy -- finding that they hold me up in the lowest of times & bring light into my darkness.

They say that hindsight is 20/20. But, I don't want to go much further in this unfocused frightening haze. The time traveling in the darkness of this fallen world has worn on me. Yet, this groping around in the dark has definitely heightened my sense of the presence of any light.

Where would I be without the mysteries of God... the peace that passes all understanding... the hope found in hopeless situations... His new mercies with the coming of each new day... the willing acceptance of whatever will come - no matter what!

I completely believe that God will give me the desires of my heart. But, in this time of trials, when in His presence, all I really KNOW is that I want Him to be glorified. Oh, don't get me wrong... I plead with Him for this to happen... and for that not to happen. I ask specifically for so many things & ask for them in the Name of Jesus. And, yet, before I can get to "Amen," I fall into His arms & surrender my will to His.

The Bible promises we will have the strength we need for each new day & that life won't dish out more than we can handle.

Apparently, the plan means I'm to be zapped of energy before 6pm & I can handle a lot!

Shared with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community on 9/24/12

21 September 2012

And what of the children who KNOW no love?

As a mom, I've placed a lot of hope (and weight) in MY efforts to love my children & bring them up in the knowledge of the Lord. I've reasoned with myself that I did all I could do, as they've made choices outside of my will.  And, I've taken more comfort from that than I probably should have!  But, as I thought about my effort, this occurred to me"
" ...what of the children who KNOW no love?"  
Photo by Joakim Eskildsen for TIME Magazine 
Do they stand less of a chance for a full life? Did my human efforts give my children a better chance than children who are not loved?  What HAPPENS to the children who know no love... the orphans, the child slaves, the abused children, the neglected children, the abandoned children... ?

(photo credit)
I guess I'm slow with the things of the Lord.  And, I was a bit surprised with the idea that MY efforts weren't necessarily what paved the way for my children to live full lives.  I've loved a scripture from my childhood days (perhaps because it mentioned HORSES)...
"Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots. We trust in the name of the mighty Lord." Psalm 20:7   
But... do I really?

As I take a closer look at my past, I recognize that I've trusted more in my efforts & mainly depended on God to have my back.  I robbed myself of joy as I suffered unnecessarily. I put God in a box... for "back-up love" in the times when I couldn't make it on my own.

It's been said, "When all you have is God, you find that God is all you need."  So, those who only have GOD on their side... they have all they need.  God's always present -- with or without recognition or understanding of who He is. God walks beside every person, patiently waiting for their hearts & eyes to be opened to him.  And, God protects while they are coming to a closer understanding & knowledge of Him.

I believe God expects each of us to give our best effort at everything we do.  But, I also believe that it's not a guarantee for a perfect outcome.  I believe God's love covers all equally.  He's the giver of all good gifts.  So, if we are doing our part, we are just helping extend one of His gifts.

(A follow up to Where Can They Go)

Shared with the Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts Community on 10/03/12

14 September 2012

Making Way For Beauty

My back is sore... my legs are sore... my arms are sore... I could probably just sum it up by saying practically all of me is sore!!

Why am I a wreck? Because I've been outside for hours making a way for beauty.

The privacy fence on the western side of our patio -- which blew down spring break of 2011 & my husband said he'd repair right away -- well, it's still standing in the pole barn... and "privacy" is limited in that area of our back patio.  Don't get me wrong, the LOML is a wonderful man.  However, we don't always see eye-to-eye on the urgency of things :)

I've learned in the past two summers without that fence, more than our privacy has suffered. The area beyond that fence is what I had termed as my Secret Garden. It was a winding path of paver stones leading from our back garage door around the south side of the house to the patio & deck.

My Secret Garden was framed with tall decorative grasses, a few shrubs & lush day lillies which bloomed vibrant orange most of the spring & summer. Covering the floor of my Secret Garden -- a thick carpet of English ivy. As the dark green ivy grew, it thoroughly covered the soil in that area & choked out any weeds that tried to creep in.

As the path near the privacy fence made the turn to enter the patio area, a few small prairie roses bloomed that first spring of 2010 when we closed on the house. They added just the perfect amount of color to the deep green of the ivy. But, that was before the fence blew down! 

In the subsequent summers, I learned that prairie roses flourish in full sun -- unlike English ivy. Not only was the privacy fence keeping our patio a bit more secluded, it was keeping the full sun out of that part of my Secret Garden & allowing the dark, green ivy to flourish while keeping the prairie roses in check. With the demise of the fence, the prairie roses flourished, the ivy declined & other weeds began to appear.

I see almost everything around me as a lesson about life.  And, here are some of my related thoughts:
  • When something falls down, you should probably fix it in a timely manner.
    - When your quiet time with the Lord gets pushed aside for life, then your life will end up suffering.
    - If you've spent time & energy to build something, like a relationship, it needs constant attention & should not be taken for granted.  If it begins to fall, begin fixing it!
  • Life is a matter of balance.
    - Though those prairie daisies were beautiful, they were invasive for the design of the garden.  Too much of a "good thing" might not always be so good!
    - Doing good things should never replace seeking the source of all good things (good gifts), our Father God. We need to seek our balance in Him!
  • The longer you neglect a "red flag" or problem, the more effort it will take & longer it will take to reconcile the situation.
    - I noticed LAST summer that the prairie roses were flourishing & the ivy was declining.  But, I didn't take the time to keep them controlled by weeding some out.
    - There's definitely something to that saying our grandma's spoke, "You need to nip that in the bud."  Get things when they are small -- don't let them grow out of control!
  • There's a design for our lives... that will result in the best possible life -- just like the ivy being planned for the beauty of my "Secret Garden"
    - Things don't just happen randomly.  There's something bigger. There is a plan for a future & a hope!
    - We can be a part of making our best life happen -- with just yielding to the Author of All things good! Just be still in His presence & learn.
So, the sore muscles today & the hard work have reminded me of a few things I need to be practicing daily. And, yes, my "Secret Garden" is taking shape.  The pulled excess prairie roses were thrown on a barren area by the pole barn which gets GREAT sun. I'm expecting a lovely garden next summer -- a reminder that today's hard work was making way for beauty!  That's a good life lesson!

12 September 2012

My Darkest Days

My darkest days were those when I hid behind my shame.

I fled from community & into the arms of solitude.

I reasoned that I was alone in my struggle... that it was a struggle of the unworthy, of the weak, of the lost.

In those darkest of days I sought to be healed but, refused any human help!

I believed in God's power of healing but... I would only accept His complete healing... on my own terms.

He would have to heal me quietly -- without the knowledge or involvement of others.

They say that when something hurts you enough... that then, and only then, will you truly change.

When the struggle's worn you down for countless hours, weeks, months, years... how can strength to begin such a change be found? And, what's the source of that kind of strength?

The strongest chord of a strand is the deepest one. When all the others unravel, the strongest remains. The chord that ties us to the eternal. The chord that binds us to the source of of all strength.

Light began to dawn the moment I stepped out from behind my shame & said,

  • "God, I will accept Your healing on Your terms."
  • "I will allow others to see my wounds."
  • "I will no longer define what is unworthy, weak, lost..."
  • "I will trust in the chord at the center of my being that can never be severed by this world or the powers below."
I cling tenaciously and with complete hope & acceptance of this promise...

"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." 

02 September 2012

September 2012 ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare


DONE - Woohoo :)
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... 

September 2012
Today I find JOY in...

Sat 9/13 gifts summer: 1. Our little yellow pear shaped tomatoes that look like light bulbs. 2. Fireflies over the corn & soybean fields. 3. Eating watermelon & cantaloupe before I even get them inside the house :)
715. a safe trip TO the softball tournament
for daughter & dad :)
Jim @ 3rd; Greg @ shortstop; Bear behind 2nd base
716. sister "outlaws" who are like sisters!

717. a yummy salad - but, too late

Sun, 9/2
3 gifts cut: 1. the grass on Fri - that's now long again  2. garden veggies for munching  3. time i spent worrying back in my 20's & 30's
718. quietly spending quality time with God in prayer
719. chick flick on a rainy day
720. praying thru the night for my driving husband & daughter
(knowing that they are in the Hands of God!)

Mon 9/3
3 gifts yellow: 1. footprints on the car mat  2. water in the sink after washing up  3. our solo sunflower
721. 8am the LOML & daughter home safely from softball tournament
(hubby's team winning their bracket)

722. sleeping half the day away beside the LOML
723. FaceTime with my son

Tues 9/4
3 gifts... cool, warm, sun-soaked:  1. cranberry juice early in the morning  2. my heart when the LOML send me a silly text  3. the floor of the sun room when the clouds broke for a few minutes today
724. friends who love my kids like they are their own
725. finally figuring out how to post a BUTTON
726. Sam's Club rotisserie chicken for dinner :)

Wed 9/5
3 gifts autumn: 1. the hint of coolness in the evenings  2. pumpkin everything being advertised  3. crops soon to be harvested
727. cows in the pasture next door

728. showing love to someone who doesn't really want it
729. the smile my husband puts in my heart

Thurs 9/6 
3 gifts growing: 1. my to-do list  2. my #JoyDare list  3. my faith in the promise that He who began a good work... will be faithful to complete it
730. devotional about procrastination - that i really needed TODAY!
731. getting lots of projects done around the house
732. a silly romantic comedy w/hubby & a pizza party day at home

Fri 9/7
3 gifts given:  1. promises to my husband when we were married  2. the crocheted table cloth given to my mom on her wedding day & then given to me on my wedding day  3. His life for my sin
733. cow chairs (blog post to come!)
734. productive time around the house
735. a hard rain preparing the ground for tomorrow

Sat 9/8
3 gifts made, masked, marveled: 1. tuna salad for lunch by my hubby  2. what my face looked like after working in the gardens all day  3. the satisfaction of a full day
736. pulling weeds, trimming shrubs, replanting flowers
in my polka-dot boots :)

737. tuna salad sandwiches w/the LOML
738. working outside until after dark

Sun 9/9
3 gifts framed: 3 pics on my headboard shelf - 1. a wedding picture  2. picture from our honeymoon  3. picture of our children when they were little 
739. lots of conversation with God through a sleep-deprived night
740. pruning, clearing - seeing results!
741. first bike ride since breaking my foot twice in one year!

Mon 9/10
3 gifts moving:  1. sun getting lower in the southern sky each day  2. the Holy Spirit within me  3. baby steps - but, in the right direction
742. having the LOML home for the morning
743. to/from Fort Wayne w/him for an afternoon business appointment
744. dinner at Fletcher's in Atlanta, IN -- not :/
(they apparently closed 5 years ago!)

Tues 9/11
3 gifts hard Eucharisteo:  1. the future of a new life  2. forgiveness when pattern stays the same  3. depression
745. walking w/Ruthanne & Koko -- talking about "grocery getters"

746. dinner at local Diner (aka Bonge's)
747. bonfire w/the LOML

Wed 9/12 
3 gifts in His Word: 1. abundant life  2. fulfilled promises  3. we win 
748. a constant companion (well, 2nd to the Holy Spirit)
749. a good book
750. girlfriends who love & support me

Thurs 9/13
3 gifts scented, scrawled, started: 1. wallflowers that smell like autumn  2. notes in all the books I'm reading  3. fall housecleaning!
751. work accomplished before 7am :O
752. Finders Keepers (House Laundry Rule)

753. funny coincidence as i looked at my iPad pictures
(2 pictures of Shrek?)
Fri 9/14
3 gifts drawn: 1. pictures kids did when they were young that were published in calendars 2. my father's first painting (at the age of 64)  3. water from the well that will never run dry! (John 4:10)
754.  gentle rain & a cool start to the day

755. a room made NEW for house guests :)
and a COW out the window :)
756. a day that didn't end until after 2am (Sat morning)

Sat 9/15
3 gifts paired: 1. blueberry muffins w/milk 2. bacon & eggs w/OJ  3. Saturday night church & diner at the Lemon Drop
757. hours of music in the house

 758. Saturday night church & the Lemon Drop
759. my talented hubby - the LOML!

Sun 9/16
3 gifts shared: 1. stories around the breakfast table  2. jokes around the dinner table  3. hostess gift from my house guests :)
760. brunch outside

761. dinner outside
our weekend guests after dinner
762. my hostess gift from our house guests

Mon 9/17
3 gifts ugly-beautiful:  1. gray day - good for resting & reflecting  2. getting caught in the rain & having a good laugh over it  3. mounds of laundry from a fun & full weekend 
763. weather that waited so we could have a good weekend
764. not learning from the cows!
and therefore getting SOAKED on the afternoon walk

765. simple supper after a full weekend

Tues 9/18
3 gifts fixed, folded, freckled: 1. warmed up egg casserole - easy!  2. beach towels after the weekend  3. residue from bonfire on the chairs - makes me smile
766. gray, cool morning - very refreshing
767. killer gorgeous clouds & no rain for the afternoon walk

768. corn on the cob :)

Wed 9/19
3 gifts conversation: 1. pc w/my BFFHeiter  2. texting & talking w/Kimberly Majeski  3. new vocabulary due to walks & talks w/neighbor lady (becoming a friend!)
769. fuzzy socks on a cool morning
770. lunch w/my "little" girl
771. the crops turning due to the cooler temps

Thurs 9/20
3 gifts salvation: 1. my parents & their example  2. my in-laws & their examples  3. mine & what I am striving to do with it!
772. sunning kitty cat

773. diet Coke, Triscuits & cheese by the pool
774. honest cries of broken hearts

Fri 9/21
3 gifts information: 1. crop talk w/neighbor  2. becomes valuable only when in line w/God's book  3. sometimes painful but often needed!
775. cold, cold morning & outside devotions

776. falling asleep outside while reading under mounds of blankets
777. my husband letting me know we need more sweetener in the sugar bowl

Sat 9/22
3 gifts rattling, receding, reclaiming: 1. the kitty toy rolling across the floor  2. thankfully NOT my husband's hairline  3. reclaiming my joy - by the moments!
778. working in the garage finally (oh my!)
779. making a huge pile of branches for the fire pit
780. drop dead gorgeous day!

Sun 9/23
3 gifts quiet:  1. time w/the LORD  2. just sitting beside the LOML - no talking :)  3. living miles from the city
781. writing a tearful blog post
782. lazy morning followed by busy day!

Mon 9/24
3 gifts finished: 1. devotions (early in the day)  2. walk (early in the day)  3. laundry (early in the day) 
784. devotions on the swing lookin' like a gangsta - HA HA!!

785. great quotes which ALWAYS remind me of God
"The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments." ~ Gustave Flaubert

Tues 9/25
3 gifts funny:  1. my husband  2. me (well, I think so)  3. my kids!
787. taking pics of leaves for my Florida nieces

788. incredible clouds today

789. getting excited about Doing Something!

Wed 9/26
3 gifts flourishing: 1. friendship w/Ruthann  2. relationship w/Jessica  3. love for my LORD
790. BUSY, BUSY day - but, got my reading done!
791. book club HAPPY - chocolate from Deanna
792. being totally relaxed & happy with the LOML

Thurs 9/27
3 gifts unexpected, uneven, unpopular:  1. tearful call from a loved one  2. my bangs!  3. the way I dress to work out
793. unexpected drive to see my daughter
794. walking around a pond where I used to walk regularly
795. songs in the night

Fri 9/28 - drove to CCM for Kelsey's concert :)
3 gifts shy: 1. 6 year old neighbor boy  2. new friends often  3. not me!

796. wonderfully productive day beginning w/early morning walk
797. blessings from volunteering
798. 100% GOD CONVERSATION with my mom about our "new reality"

Sat 9/29
3 gifts shelved: 1. winter clothes  2. canned foods in pantry  3. my worries! 
799. coffee & banana bread & devotions...

800. country roads on a lovely autumn-feeling day
801. sitting in a local cemetery with my favorite artist

Sun 9/30
3 gifts shining: 1. faces at church  2. sun peeking through the clouds of autumn  3. clean dishes
802. ORCHESTRA SUNDAY & a favorite song based on Ephesians 3:14-21
803. bike ride on country roads - no spills, dogs or rain :)
804. a local artist stopping by to paint
(and for a dinner of roast, potatoes & veggies)


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
August 2012... I find joy

01 September 2012

When There's an Elephant in the Room

What should we do when there's an elephant in the room?
  • Should we make sure that EVERYONE knows it's there -- point it out, share our thoughts, etc.
  • Should we keep our mouths shut or possibly pretend it's not there?  
What is the proper protocol for behavior when there's an elephant in the room?

As for me, just SEEING the elephant in the room often takes some time to manage - internally.  At first I certainly don't need to COMMENT about it -- we can all see it. Talking about it & commenting on it doesn't change a thing. It doesn't make the elephant go away.  So, I process - with the help of a few close friends.  And, I map my course of action.

Other folks I'm guessing... feel they need to talk about our pachyderm guest.  Maybe they need to hear their own voice asking:
  • Whose idea was it to invite that unusual guest? 
  • How did it get here & how long it will stay? 
  • What course of action should we take?
  • Should we quietly escort our friend out?
  • Should we let it stay here & hide it with a curtain, canvas or something?
I'm not certain that there's really a proper protocol for what to do when there's an elephant in the room.  I guess it's a personal choice on how to handle it.

The Indianapolis Zoo recently released an update on their newest elephant baby, Nyah.  She's quite a cutie.  I'd invite her to stay in the room, wouldn't you? 

Here's a video about her too:

Life is full of times when we encounter elephants in the room :)  Glad I have a personal relationship with God & His Bible to help me know what to do in any & every situation!

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,
and he will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking."

Fixin' Dinner for the Enemy

This morning a "Twitter friend," Priscilla Fowler, tweeted a scripture...  no comment... just the Word of God...

"If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.

If they are thirsty, give them water to drink."

Over the years that scripture has always gotten me... in numerous ways. I immediately "RT'd" in the following way:

RT @PriscillaFowler If your enemy's hungry, give him food to eat; if he's thirsty, give him water to drink.Prov25:21 // Planning a dinner now!

I'm not a fan of the word "enemy" - since in my view it insinuates that I have declared war on another person.  I may loathe things that other people do.  But, I am committed NOT to hate the person - just their choices and/or actions.  And, I have had my fair share of people in my life who, in certain seasons, have made it their business to make life difficult for me. Perhaps they consider themselves an enemy of mine?

My personal paraphrase of that scripture (the world according to stuckinindiana) would be:

"If the people who drive you crazy & are hateful to you

are hungry, give them food to eat.

If they are thirsty, give them water to drink."

This doesn't mean that I have to enable their questionable choices or behavior.  It doesn't mean that I have to agree with their choices, views, etc.  But, it does mean that, if I have the opportunity to provide for their basic needs - food & drink, I should not shy away from helping them. God provides for each of us EVERYTHING we need. Individually, we can be a part of providing for God's children or turn away.

So, tonight, I'm making a list of potential future dinner guests.

And you?

About Priscilla Fowler's work... Blissful Wife Ministries is a Christian community of women looking to reclaim bliss in their marriages. Find Priscilla on Facebook and at her website too!